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Responsible Competitiveness: Making Sustainability Count in Global Markets

Published on Jun 22, 2008in Harvard international review
Simon Zadek1
Estimated H-index: 1
,
Alex Mcgillivray1
Estimated H-index: 1
Abstract
The need for a more responsible basis on which businesses and economies compete in international markets has never been greater. Global corporations with global strategies contribute to rising inequality and falling economic opportunities for lower-income communities across the developed world. Low wages and poor working conditions are sources of international competitiveness for businesses from Dhaka to Johannesburg, and weak environmental regulatory enforcement continues to deliver profitable opportunities to many firms, whether they are mining copper, shipping oil, or cutting down forests. Such markets that reward poor social and environmental behavior will impede our collective efforts to address today's greatest challenges, from water scarcity and food insecurity to civil unrest and the rise of fundamentalism. Economic protectionism, underpinned by xenophobia and racism, is the consequence of diminished confidence that open international markets can deliver the goods. A generation of innovative business strategies and practices are emerging that deliver profits from more responsible behavior. At their minimum, they protect companies' reputations and brands, reducing the risks of consumer boycotts, recruitment bottlenecks in the face of bad press, or restricted or more expensive access to capital. Beyond this, companies have enhanced productivity through improved working conditions and driven product innovations by engaging with communities and understanding their issues and needs. Global leaders like General Electric have built multibillion dollar businesses offering energy-efficient products, and last year UK consumers alone purchased around US$60 billion worth of goods and services marketed with ethical virtues such as child labor, human rights, and arms control. The challenge is to move beyond the exceptional and exemplary cases of responsible behavior to establish new norms of "responsible competitiveness" in global markets. Exceptional cases of responsible business behavior are important sources of insight and inspiration but will only deliver significant impact if they serve to reshape how markets more systematically reward and penalize all businesses' social and environmental impacts. Nike and Levi's, as premium brands appealing to socially and environmentally-conscious consumers, may successfully secure a competitive edge through improved labor standards. But achieving such standards across the whole apparel and footwear sector, including cheaper brands selling to more price-conscious consumers, requires accepted and enforced market rules. Ikea or Home Depot, similarly, might ensure that their wood products are made from sustainable forest reserves, but this will have little impact unless such practices are scaled up across all wood products. Achieving responsible competitiveness across global markets requires the right combination of business, government and civil society policy and action. Since 2002, AccountAbility has built a framework enabling the measurement and analysis of factors that advance the responsible competitiveness of nations. Pascal Lamy, Director-General of the World Trade Organization, summarizes the key drivers in his overview of this work in identifying the need for "forward looking corporate strategies, innovative public policies and engaged and vibrant civil societies." Innovative means of combining these three drivers of responsible competitiveness have emerged over the last decade. In particular, a host of collaborative initiatives, involving businesses, NGOs, and public institutions including governments and international agencies like the UN's International Labour Organization (ILO), have emerged to set voluntary rules, providing codes of conduct and standards for reporting and consumers labels. For example, factory conditions for millions of people working in the global supply chains of apparel and textiles sectors have improved over the last decade through several such initiatives, including the Fair Labor Association, the Ethical Trading Initiative, and Social Accountability International. …
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Paul E. Madlock (SEMO: Southeast Missouri State University), Brooke Hildebrand Clubbs (SEMO: Southeast Missouri State University)
The purpose of the current study was to extend organizational communication scholarship by examining the influence of culture on the use of motivating language by supervisors in organizations located in India. Furthermore, the influence of motivating language on employees’ perceptions of their supervisors’ communication competence and their own job satisfaction was examined. Participants included 180 full-time employees from various organizations located in India. The current findings indicate t...
Published on Oct 10, 2016in Society and Business Review
Purpose The paper aims to extend deliberation on legal and political aspects of debate over globalisation versus cosmopolitanism into the field of jurisprudence – philosophy of law. It gives particular attention to questions of the legitimacy of international law and emerging forms of economic governance for business enterprises, soft law, rule of law, accountability and human rights. Design/methodology/approach In terms of research method, the paper proceeds from normative, as opposed to empiri...
Published on Oct 1, 2013in Business Ethics: A European Review2.92
Marjo Siltaoja8
Estimated H-index: 8
,
Tiina Onkila8
Estimated H-index: 8
In this article, we analyse the discursive construction of business–society relations in Finnish businesses’ social and environmental responsibility reports. Drawing on critical discourse analysis, we examine how these discursive constructions maintain and reproduce various interests and societal conditions as a precondition of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Our study contributes to the recent discussion on discursive struggles in business–society relations and the role various interests...
Published on Jan 28, 2013in Asian Social Science
Kern W. Craig1
Estimated H-index: 1
(Troy University)
The United States and India have much in common (besides Indians), enough in fact to constitute a comprehensive alliance. Both countries are former British colonies. Both use the English language: unofficially but more in the US; and, officially but less in India. Both are complimentarily large, the US in terms of area and India in terms of population. The people of India are however younger and poorer. Both countries have long coastlines and together they are adjacent the major oceans of the wo...
Published on Jan 1, 2013
Valentina Marano4
Estimated H-index: 4
This dissertation examines firms’ adoption of corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices as a function of their embeddedness in global business networks (GBNs). The main proposition is that GBNs affect an organization’s adoption decisions as they channel CSR related institutional influences from its multiple partners and provide access to necessary resources and information. The empirical results, based on longitudinal data on 710 U.S. corporations, provide general support for the embeddedn...
Published on Jan 1, 2012
Klaus-Dieter Gronwald1
Estimated H-index: 1
(Mahindra Satyam)
The common understanding of global sourcing as a procurement centric task of companies to resolve shortage of talents in the context of established offshoring and outsourcing models will be reviewed for product sourcing and service sourcing separately. Understanding offshoring as a location-specific delivery model and outsourcing, on the other hand, having significant impact on the governance, delivery system and the companies’ organisation (onsite or offshore), global sourcing is seen as a comb...
Published on Jan 1, 2011
Michael Zerres2
Estimated H-index: 2
(UHH: University of Hamburg),
Richard Sobotta (UHH: University of Hamburg)
Der Maschinenbau ist das „Herzstuck“ der deutschen Investitionsguterindustrie. Als Lieferant komplexer und innovativer Guter fur alle wesentlichen Wirtschaftsbranchen und Bezieher technologisch hochst anspruchsvoller Vorprodukte ist er der wichtigste Knotenpunkt der deutschen Industrie. Mit 13,6 Prozent des Gesamtumsatzes des verarbeitenden Gewerbes steht der Maschinenbau im Zentrum der industriellen Leistungsfahigkeit Deutschlands. In den uber 6.000 Unternehmen des Maschinenbaus dominieren uber...
Published on Jan 1, 2011
Y. Pınar I Soykut Sarica (Işık University), Aslı Şen Taşbaşi (Işık University)
The broad objective of this paper is to examine the challenges faced by the Turkish labor market in the aftermath of the so-called trade liberalization period, particularly questioning whether a prominent change in pattern can be observed in labor demand elasticity. In the study, labor demand elasticities in the export-ing and import-competing sectors are estimated based on research undertaken between the years 1984 to 2001. Thus, the study looks for a vigorous link, or a dichotomy - if there is...
Published on Jan 1, 2011
Biopharma outsourcing involves a foreign entity partnering with Indian CMOs/service providers for research and development. This chapter discusses the various models employed in biopharma outsourcing and which model is more suitable to which type of business. This chapter introduces the reader to the Indian regulatory framework relating to the biopharma industry, and the likely issues and hurdles which may be faced by the parties during the outsourcing process.
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