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No retailer is an island in the sea of CSR

A multiple case study of how buyers and suppliers co-create CSR in the retail supply chain

Written by A. Bäckstrand, F. Sjögren

Paper category

Bachelor Thesis


Business Administration>General




Bachelor Thesis: Corporate Social Responsibility Carroll (1979, p.500) defines corporate social responsibility as: "Corporate social responsibility includes the society's expectations of the economy, law, ethics, and discretion of the organization at a specific point in time." This definition is achieved through Carroll's four-part framework, which describes the different levels of CSR and what companies should participate in to properly implement CSR into their business. In the past, companies only focused on the economics and laws they needed, but they are still important today, which is why they are the main levels of the corporate social responsibility pyramid. However, Carroll (1991) pointed out that not only economic and legal responsibilities are important but also constitute corporate social responsibility. Today’s companies need to do more than just profit and comply with regulations. This is why the next two levels of the pyramid were created. The purpose of the pyramid is to define various aspects of corporate social responsibility and describe the categories that define it, each of which aims to address different stakeholders (Carroll, 1991; 2016). These categories that constitute the definition of corporate social responsibility are depicted, so they will cover the entire scope of business responsibility and be interpreted by business professionals. According to Carroll (2016), economic responsibility is the basic requirement for any company to be able to operate and implement sustainability in its operations. Without economic responsibility, it is difficult for any company to fulfill other responsibilities and achieve success (Carroll, 1991; 2016). In the past, the economy was the primary concern of any business, profiting by providing products and services to consumers. Today, it is more profitable by providing consumers with value and products and services. Legal responsibility is a requirement from the external environment, because companies need to abide by the laws and regulations formulated by the government, as well as the ethics codified in the eyes of the society, that is, to fulfill the social contract and become a fair company (Carroll, 2016). Legal responsibility and economic responsibility coexist as basic requirements, so they are the first two levels of the Carol Pyramid. Ethical responsibility is seen as a requirement by society and is essential for companies to incorporate it into their operations. Moral responsibility includes norms, standards, activities, etc. (Carroll, 1991; 2016). In addition, ethical responsibility has aroused fierce debate among the public in the past and now, and companies should abide by it in order to avoid harm to society and thus their business. Morality works closely with economics and legal responsibility, even if it exists independently. 2.2 Corporate Social Responsibility in Retail Supply Chain Management Leppelt et al. (2013, page 146) pointed out that “CSR awareness is only regarded as an order qualifier and not an order winner”, which means that if the final consumer should even consider purchasing a product or service, it is a necessary feature of the product or service. In addition, the author expands that CSR is not only a feature required by the end consumer, but should also be regarded as a service in a B2B environment. The application of CSR in retail supply chain management includes how the company itself uses CSR practices internally and how the company makes external contributions to its supply chain, which means how suppliers and subcontractors work and integrate the CSR requirements of retail companies (Lindgreen et al. ., 2009. After studying many different definitions of supply chain management, Stock and Boyer (2009, p.706) defined this concept as follows: "Management of the network of relationships within a company and between interdependent organizations and companies A unit composed of material suppliers, procurement, production facilities, logistics, marketing, and related systems. These systems facilitate the forward and reverse flow of materials, services, finances, and information from the original manufacturer to the final customer, and achieve this by improving efficiency Value added and profits are maximized, and customer satisfaction is achieved.” When applying retail to concepts, Ayers and Ode gaard (2018) describe the retail supply chain as more than just a store, because it is a continuum, from raw materials The purchase begins and ends on the other side of the end consumer. Different retail supply chains also involve one or more middlemen, such as distributors. The author continues to refer to the retail supply chain as an iceberg concept, and the final consumer only sees retail supply The last part of the whole process of the chain, and there is a longer process behind it (ibid.). According to Ge et al. (2019) The retail supply chain has changed over the years. The traditional retail supply chain consists of the following steps: wholesale Manufacturers, distribution centers, stores, and customers, among which manufacturers and suppliers are excluded because they are considered to be outside the relevant scope of the retailer. However, the updated version of the retail supply chain includes more dimensional distribution centers because of The rise of new distribution channels (for example, directly from supplier to customer) has increased the number of choices for customers to provide products. Due to the reasons mentioned above, this is also due to the development of technology, there has been a new relationship between retailers and their suppliers. Joint strategic areas (ibid.). Read Less