Corporate Social Responsibility in the German Pork Industry: Relevance and Determinants

Sarah Heinen, Monika Hartmann


Due to manifold scandals meat production and processing has been in the spotlight of public concern over the last decades. CSR can safeguard an enterprise against risks following e.g. food safety, environmental or social incidences in a sector. To reap the full benefit of their CSR involvement it is essential for firms to communicate their activities to their stakeholders in a credible way. Given this background, the objective of the paper is to find answers to the following questions: To what extent pursue and communicate German meat companies CSR activities, what factors determine their CSR involvement and communication and regarding the latter, how do those companies evaluate a CSR standardization?
The results of our study are based on a standardized survey of 68 North Rhine-Westphalian companies in the pork value chain. The data is analysed using descriptive as well as uni- and multivariate methods. The findings show that companies of the pork sector already are active in the area of CSR. They also communicate their activities, however, not yet to a great extent. The level and kind of CSR performance and CSR communication vary between companies depending on firm characteristics (e.g. size). Main motives for firms to engage in CSR are differentiation from competitors and consideration of stakeholders’ requirements. In addition the analysis provides some indication that doing good has not to be at the expense of doing well. A CSR standard that could inform stakeholders in a credible way about companies’ CSR activities is evaluated very heterogeneously. The complementary implementation of voluntary more demanding and quasi-obligatory minimum CSR standards could be a solution to this problem.

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ISSN 2194-511X


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