Upstream Corporate Social Responsibility: The Evolution from Contract Responsibility to Full Producer Responsibility

Business and Society, Forthcoming

Posted: 31 Oct 2013

See all articles by Judith Schrempf-Stirling

Judith Schrempf-Stirling

University of Richmond - Robins School of Business

Guido Palazzo

University of Lausanne

Date Written: September 5, 2013

Abstract

The debate about the appropriate standards for upstream corporate social responsibility (CSR) of multinational corporations (MNCs) has been on the public and academic agenda for some three decades. The debate originally focused narrowly on "contract responsibility" of MNCs for monitoring of upstream contractors for "sweatshop" working conditions violating employee rights. The authors argue that the MNC upstream responsibility debate has shifted qualitatively over time to "full producer responsibility" involving an expansion from "contract responsibility" in three distinct dimensions. First, there is an expansion of scope from working conditions to human rights and social and environmental impacts broadly defined. Second, there is expansion in depth of this broader responsibility to the whole upstream supply chain without regard to contracting status. Upstream responsibility now includes all suppliers, including direct contractors and the chain of suppliers to such contractors. Finally, the change in CSR scope and depth has led to an evolution of CSR management practice.

Keywords: sweatshops, human rights, corporate social responsibility, sphere of influence

JEL Classification: M14

Suggested Citation

Schrempf-Stirling, Judith and Palazzo, Guido, Upstream Corporate Social Responsibility: The Evolution from Contract Responsibility to Full Producer Responsibility (September 5, 2013). Business and Society, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2347578

Judith Schrempf-Stirling (Contact Author)

University of Richmond - Robins School of Business ( email )

28 Westhampton Way
Richmond, VA 23173
United States
8042876309 (Phone)

Guido Palazzo

University of Lausanne ( email )

Quartier Chambronne
Lausanne, Vaud CH-1015
Switzerland

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