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Corporate Social Responsibility and International Business

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CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AND INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

The international business environment must be aware of and respond to a series of factors, some conventional ( the "SLEPT" factors, which are social, legal, economic, political and technological and the "C" factors, which are country, currency and competition) , and some particular (ethical/social and green/environmental) which have grown in importance due to the emergence of the very highly organized pressure groups.

ETHICAL, SOCIAL AND GREEN ISSUES

Concern with social and ethical aspects of international business and marketing has grown as customers have become more aware of their possible harmful social implications and the, admittedly and thankfully relatively small, amount of unethical practices by some businesses.

Of particular concern is the exploitation of developing countries by multinational companies through the depletion of their natural resources for little return, the degradation of their environment and the payment of low wages for the production of products which sell in developed countries for very high prices .For example ,the global tobacco companies have been criticized for switching their marketing efforts from the developed countries, where cigarette sales have falling, to the newly emerging industrialized countries who have been persuaded to increase their purchases of cigarettes.

The size and power of the multinationals has, in the past, enabled unscrupulous companies to get away with socially unacceptable and unethical practices. However, this is changing partly as a result of legislation by both home and host countries, partly as a recognition of the public relations problem that such practices can pose to companies, but most importantly because of changing social values, with customers around the world now demanding that companies should develop business programs and policies in accordance with social and ethical factors.

Also, green issues have become an important concern for customers around the world. We have already referred to the depletion of the world's resources because of the excesses made by multinationals, particularly in industries such as mining, forestry and oil extraction, but governments have begun to take measures by requiring those companies to implement policies which do not harm the environment. Similarly, we can observe that customers' demand for green products has increased. This fact represents a threat for companies unable or unwilling to respond to the consumers' demand. However, the more astute companies have recognized that, in fact, this represents a distinct marketing opportunity. Such companies have responded to this growth in awareness and the emergence of pressure groups by introducing business policies and strategies which are more socially and ethically sensitive and products and

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