Corporate Social Responsibility in Europe
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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.
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Chapter 5: CSR in the European Oil Sector: A Mapping of Company Perceptions

Elin Lerum Boasson, Jørgen Wettestad and Maria Bohn


Elin Lerum Boasson, Jørgen Wettestad and Maria Bohn 5.1 INTRODUCTION Compared with other businesses, the oil industry has been especially active in both developing and applying Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) instruments. But do they all approach CSR similarly? And what issues are their CSR activities directed towards? This chapter aims to track down the prevailing CSR perceptions in the oil sector. What is the ‘oil sector’ in this context? In Europe this sector is highly dominated by a relatively small number of multinational oil companies. We found it appropriate to include major companies as well as ensuring geographical representation encompassing different parts of Europe and major actors with a basis abroad. Most of the companies are involved in upstream as well as downstream activities. Moreover, we checked relevant federations’ member lists1 and added the criterion of being central companies/ operators on the British, Dutch and Norwegian shelves. On this basis, we singled out a set of 15 relevant companies: Amerada Hess, BP, Conoco, ENI, ExxonMobil, Gaz de France, Hydro, NAM, Orlen, Repsol, RWE-DEA, Shell, Statoil, Talisman and Total. After considerable effort, we managed to get a response from nine of these companies; mostly the European ones (Table 5.1). This is not surprising, as there appears to be some CSR ‘questionnaire fatigue’ among companies these days, not least in the big oil companies. As many of the dominating companies on the European scene chose to participate in the survey, the respondents do however represent a large part of the sector’s...

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