Table of Contents

Corporate Social Responsibility in Europe

Corporate Social Responsibility in Europe

Rhetoric and Realities

Edited by Regine Barth and Franziska Wolff

The acid test of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is simply this: does it lead to positive impacts on society and the environment or is it just rhetoric? And if it does lead to positive impacts, how can these be enhanced? This timely book tackles this cutting-edge challenge by presenting empirical findings from a range of surveys and in-depth case studies. These build on a new methodological and theoretical framework for assessing and explaining the sustainability impact of CSR.

Chapter 8: Driving on CSR: SMEs in the Automotive Supply Chain

Tamás Pálvölgyi, János Szlávik, Noémi Csigéné Nagypál, Mária Csete and Miklos Fule

Subjects: business and management, corporate social responsibility, management and sustainability, environment, corporate social responsibility, environmental management


Tamás Pálvölgyi, János Szlávik, Noémi Csigéné Nagypál, Miklós Füle and Mária Csete 8.1 INTRODUCTION Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)1 play an important role in the economy of the European Union: 99 per cent of the companies operating in the enlarged EU are SMEs and they employ about two-thirds of all employees working in the EU. As EU Commissioner Günter Verheugen states, ‘[t]hey are an essential source of jobs, create entrepreneurial spirit and innovation in the EU and are thus crucial for fostering competitiveness and employment.’ (European Commission 2005b, p. 3). Although Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is mostly linked to big multinational enterprises, the role of SMEs is not negligible given their economic role, their social embedding and their primary relation with local communities. Therefore, their voluntary, beyond-compliance responsibility can contribute substantially to sustainable development. While there is some research on the CSR activities of European SMEs,2 there is scant information available about their resulting performance and impact.3 This impression was also underlined by the European Multistakeholder Forum on CSR in 2004, which stated that ‘we know relatively little about the scale and impact of CSR amongst SMEs’ (EU MSF 2004b, 2004c). In the present chapter we present the results of a survey that was carried out among 20 Austrian and Hungarian SMEs from the automotive sector in 2005 and 2006. Its aim is to contribute to a better understanding of CSR in SMEs by applying...

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