C4C - Commodities for Change: A Social Impact Agenda for Commodity Businesses
12 Pages Posted: 2 Jan 2009
Date Written: June 25, 2007
This paper provides a comprehensive conceptual framework for a social agenda for commodity businesses, mapping the different action options, and highlighting a number of examples. Providing basic and high-value commodities, the extractive industry fulfills a fundamental economic need. Operating in a wide variety of geographical and climatic conditions and socio-economic environments, extractive companies are often the primary economic growth engines in their communities. Further, in regions characterized by an under-provision of public goods and services such as education, health and high culture, companies often operate in a "company town" model, providing such services on a significant scale. They also often face vast uncertainty in the political environments in which they operate. If one adds to this the uncertainty in the regulatory environments such industries face as well as their potentially significant environmental impact, and intense scrutiny from corporate social responsibility (CSR) stakeholders comes as no surprise. The paper explores how extractive companies in the 21st century should position themselves vis-¿-vis these challenges as they enter multi-production site strategies and operate across jurisdictions in an environment of rising CSR expectations. When is it best to go alone, and when should one build a change community, seeking to establish industry standards or engage the public sector?
Keywords: Philanthropy, commodities, corporate social responsibility
JEL Classification: L70, L71, Q32, Z10
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