Rhetoric and Realities
Edited by Regine Barth and Franziska Wolff
Chapter 8: Driving on CSR: SMEs in the Automotive Supply Chain
8 Driving on CSR: SMEs in the automotive supply chain 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...
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