Challenging the business case logic for sustainability as an instrument of CSR: Do consumer attitudes in Germany support a business case?
Abstract Purpose: The overall goal of this paper is to critique the purported business case for CSR and sustainability, which persists as a major contentious force in convincing companies to become more sustainable. Extant literature on sustainability, CSR and Socially Responsible Investments (SRIs) generally tends to focus on company perspectives decision-making and approaches. This paper considers an alternative and under-developed perspective and examines CSR from a consumer/ public perspective situ-ated in a German context. Methodology/approach: This paper builds a comprehensive literature review and employs a research philo-sophical point of view underpinned by a social constructionist stance. It examines indicators and attitudes towards sustainability and sustainable consumption together with socially responsible investments and considers whether the buying patterns of German consumers may serve as a rationalisation for a potential business case for CSR and sustainability. Findings: While the awareness of consumers of CSR in Germany towards sustainability tends to be generally relatively prima facie high, it is nevertheless noticeable that German consumers are predominately reluctant to pay a price premium for product possessing a superior sustainability performance. From the alternative lens of SRIs, rather than being a replete and widespread phenomenon, they are still largely a niche market.. For these reasons, the potential for the existence of a business case for sustainability, CSR and SRIs tends, in reality to be low, in spite of some populist or survey reports and perceptions. Originality/value of paper: The paper links a consumer perspective with the business case for CSR. Moreover, it focuses on the German context with tends to be underrepresented in international research. Keywords: Business Case, CSR, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Consump-tion, SRIs, Germany
Citation : Kraus, P., Britzelmaier, B., Stokes, P. and Moore, N. (2018) Challenging the business case logic for sustainability as an instrument of CSR: Do consumer attitudes in Germany support a business case? In: Tench, R., Sun, W. and Jones, B. (eds.) The Critical State of Corporate Social Responsibility in Europe Vol 12, Bingley: Emerald.
ISBN : 9781787561502
Research Institute : Centre for Enterprise and Innovation (CEI)
Peer Reviewed : Yes