• Louise Cecilie Kolbeck
CSR has become more and more used and communicated by organizations in the last decades. CSR is divided into 3 areas, the economic, the environmental and the social. Of these three areas social sustainability is still less researched and lacks a clear definition, which makes it hard to operationalize for use in analysis and in business contexts. This motivated the researcher to investigate how social sustainability is defined in CSR reports. CSR reports are one of several communication channels used by organizations. To investigate this area 6 CSR reports were picked evaluated by relevance. An extensive literature review into the areas of CSR context, history, classification of theories, social sustainability and CSR communication were conducted. Insights from all these areas were used to form an analytical framework. From the literature review of context and history, 4 different historical/contextual backgrounds were identified: 1. Responsibility, serving the society from the 1930s, 2. good for business from the 1980s, 3. Corporate citizenship from the 1999s 4. Accountability from the 00’s and afterwards. In the classification of theories showed 4 different categories; instrumental, political, integrative and ethical. In the literature review of social sustainability, the subthemes of health, influence, competence, impartiality and meaning-making alongside the GRI standards were found to be relevant for the analysis. Last elements of CSR communication in reports were reviewed finding that factors like goal, audience, skepticism can have an influence on the communication in the reports. All the information from the literature review were put into an analytical framework giving an approach to the qualitative content analysis. Starting out with social sustainability, the findings from the 6 reports were that the areas of health, competence and impartiality were highly used in the reports. The organizations defined these areas with social sustainability. The areas influence, and meaning-making were represented, but not in all reports and not as many times. From the GRI standards, human rights, local communities, public policy and customer privacy were also identified in the analysis as areas the organizations reported about in connection to defining social sustainability. In the next part of the analysis the backgrounds of context and history were analysis in the reports. Here it was found, that the good business background or argument were used the most. The background of responsibility and corporate citizenship was also represented in the reports by most of the organizations. The background of accountability was identified in some of the organizations. This led to the findings in the analysis part of classifying the theories, that the context for defining social sustainability mostly comes from the instrumental category, even though both the political and ethical group also were represented in the analysis. Findings from the section on context and the classification of theories led to conclude that they organization defines social sustainability in a multifaceted way within the areas of health, competence, impartiality and human rights.
Publication date29 Jul 2018
Number of pages69
ID: 283508406