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Corporate and consumer social responsibility in the food supply chain

Louise Manning
Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester, UK
Purpose The purpose is to analyse the interaction between corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies and consumer social responsibility (CNSR) and then contribute to theory-building by developing an interaction model. Design/methodology/approach The research included a literature review and the development of a CSR/CNSR interaction model for the food supply chain. Findings CSR is an organo-centric response to a series of supply chain drivers, which in a competitive market promotes corporate/product differentiation and more effective use of resources. CSR is however of limited value to the organisation if there is a lack of, or a change in, consumer engagement. Recent economic drivers have inuenced CNSR behaviour with the consumerism component rather than the caring component of CNSR playing a lead role. However, this is not the case with all food products and CNSR can be a solo, product-centric purchasing decision within the shopping basket. Organisations need to recognise that their CSR activities must remain congruent with CNSR in order that they maintain or improve market share and customer loyalty. Originality/value This research is of academic value and of value to policy makers and practitioners in the food supply chain. The results show that organisations need to consider the inuence of the nature of consumer social responsibility associated with their products and services in the development and renement of CSR strategies. Keywords Corporate, Social, Responsibility, Corporate social responsibility, Social responsibility, Consumers, Food industry Paper type General review

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1. Corporate social responsibility Corporate social responsibility (CSR) can be considered as a concept dening how companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and how they interact with stakeholders on a voluntary basis (EC, 2010). Spence and Bourlakis (2009) argued that the UK Government discourse on CSR focused on voluntary practices rather than government intervention namely that corporate responsibility (CR) is the voluntary actions that an organisation can take, over and above compliance with minimum legal requirements, to address both its own competitive interests and the interests of the wider society. Whilst the concept of CSR may be deemed as voluntary action at an organisational level many of the facets of CSR in the food supply chain address minimal legislative compliance, for example, food safety, animal welfare, environmental protection and employment law and employee health and safety (Lindgreen and Hingley, 2009; Lindgreen et al., 2009). Therefore, legislative compliance as the foundation for CSR is not in itself a voluntary action it is those additional actions and activities over and above this compliance element that provide additional value and benet to stakeholders. Any group or individual who can affect, or is affected by, the achievements of the organisations

British Food Journal Vol. 115 No. 1, 2013 pp. 9-29 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0007-070X DOI 10.1108/00070701311289858

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objectives can be described as a stakeholder (Neville et al., 2005 citing Freeman, 1984). Stakeholders can be primary (internalised within the supply chain) or secondary i.e. external to the supply chain ( Jones, 2005). Neville et al. (2005) determined the stakeholders that need to be considered by an organisation as being shareholders (and owners), consumers, employees, business partners, governments, non-governmental organisations including media, local communities (individuals and groups), and the natural environment. It is also important to consider other external stakeholders such as investors, credit rating agencies and nancial institutions. Bhattacharyya (2010) suggested that as CSR activities, unlike many other organisational activities, inuence both internal as well as external stakeholders this brings a strategic perspective to CSR. Manning and Baines (2004a) asserted that the interest in CSR benchmarking for social and environmental performance has led to an increase in guidelines and codes of practice and also to social accountability being a pre-requisite for the food supply chain and more specically, supply chain assurance standards. These private standards have been developed to create competitive advantage for their owners as they seek to differentiate their brands in a global marketplace. Porter and Kramer (2006 cited by Holme, 2010) also connected competitive advantage to CSR. They proposed that whilst on the one hand CSR can be seen as being a cost, a constraint or a charitable deed on the other hand it can be viewed as a source of opportunity, innovation and competitive advantage. CSR can become an instrument of change in an organisations values, behaviours, and performance (Holme, 2010). Indeed, the author determined that within commercial organisations CSR activities which support and develop the competitive uniqueness of a business or product offer considerable opportunities to secure a place in the market and argued that organisations are still developing their CSR related values during a period of global recession. 2. Corporate social performance CSR standards can contain both tangible and intangible benets for stakeholders. Manning et al. (2006) argued that in order for CSR policy to deliver quantiable benets, key performance indicators (KPI) need to be developed. Furthermore, they determined that an organisation should review its ethical performance, identify potential areas for improvement and then communicate this back to their shareholders and other stakeholders. Wood (2010) described this concept as corporate social performance (CSP) i.e. that there were a set of descriptive categorisations of business activity, which focused on the impacts and outcomes for society, stakeholders and the organisation itself. Furthermore, Wood (2010) asserted that relevant CSR outcomes were determined by the organisations structural linkages, both general and specic which connect it to information, issues and relevant stakeholders, and ultimately demonstrated the level of corporate social responsiveness. The key elements of CSP have been dened in terms of principles, processes and outcomes and nally the impacts of social performance (Figure 1). This approach requires that both CSP aspects and impacts are measured in order to determine an organisations actual performance. Wood (2010) further outlined the relationship between corporate social performance (CSP) and nancial planning (FP) in terms of the CSP-FP interaction. Jones (2005) proposed that stakeholder theory challenged the concept that organisations exist purely to serve the needs of

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Figure 1. CSP Model

shareholders. Wood and Jones (1995) determined that stakeholders were involved in four areas of the CSP-FP interaction: (1) Stakeholders are the source of expectations about what constitutes desirable and undesirable business performance. Internal and external stakeholders will inuence directly the mission statement of the organisation and then the inter-relating aims and objectives that are developed. (2) Stakeholders, especially internal stakeholders, experience the effect of corporate behaviour i.e. they are the recipients of corporate strategy, actions and output. (3) Stakeholders evaluate how well the organisation has met their expectations and/or how organisational strategy has affected the groups and organisations in the external business environment. These evaluations can be quantitative (i.e. measureable) qualitative (relate to perceptions and beliefs) or a combination of both. (4) Stakeholders act upon their particular interests, expectations, experiences and/or evaluations (Wood, 2010). This is especially true of consumers in the food supply chain. Determining the level of acceptable risk with regard to food safety provides an example of CSP-FP cost-benet analysis. Each stakeholder will be willing to accept different levels, and be prepared to demand or pay for differing degrees, of risk mitigation. Nestle (2003) determined that food safety can be assessed by either a science based or a value based approach (Manning and Baines, 2004b). Nestle (2003) argued that decisions about acceptability involve perceptions, opinions, and values, as well as science. Whilst, quantitative science-based risk analysis balances risk against

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benet and cost; qualitative value-based risk balances risk against dread and outrage. Neither method of risk assessment is mutually exclusive; however the approach used either individually, or collectively by stakeholders will act as a driver in determining how effectively an organisation implements specic food safety strategies. Stakeholders will, depending on their specic expectations, sit at different points on the quantitative/semi-quantitative/qualitative risk assessment spectrum with the consumer usually at the most qualitative point whilst other stakeholders take a more quantitative approach. It is therefore crucial for organisations to consider the corporate led CSR strategy and how it interacts with consumer initiated social responsibility (CNSR) The aim of this paper is to examine the CSR/CNSR interaction and to determine how this interaction has been addressed within existing CSR models and could be included in an alternative model. 3. The inuence of CSR/CNSR on brand value The degree to which the organisation meets individual and collective stakeholder expectations will impact ultimately on the CSP-FP interaction and inuence brand value and equity. Stakeholder expectations vary according to the nature of the stakeholder (Figure 2). Shareholder expectations surround the performance of the share price and the dividends received as well as the robustness of the organisations credit rating. Consumers and supply chain customers will have expectations concerning legislative compliance, supply relationships and price (Manning, 2007). Brand value therefore is created through the interface between the brand owner and multiple stakeholders and minimising the impact of negative relationships whilst promoting the value of positive relationships ( Jones, 2005). Macrae and Uncles (1997) dened a brand as a valuable yet intangible asset that is mainly used as a differentiation device, whilst to brand users a brand may create an emotional bond (Fan, 2005). Brands cannot only represent the products and services an organisation provides, but also the culture of the organisation itself (Manning, 2007). Strong brands can also create organisational focus and need to be led rather than being managed (Macrae and Uncles, 1997). Fan (2005) argued that the brand value is often dened in terms of economic rather than ethical measures of performance, but the inherent brand identity is created through the development of added value components ( Johnson and Peppas, 2003). These components can have both tangible (product/service quality, price, KPI) and intangible elements. Successful branding requires the customer (consumer) to engage with the intangible assets as well as the tangible ones (Manning, 2007). Bhattacharyya (2010) concurred arguing that strategic CSR activities create both tangible and intangible strategic resources, increase visibility and extends organisational reputation to a wider range of constituencies. Therefore, effective CSR strategies, and activities are those directed at improving both stakeholder relations and social welfare (Lindgreen and Swaen, 2010; Vallaster et al., 2012). Product differentiation and organisational reputation are key elements of branding (Goldsmith et al., 2003). Indeed, it has been argued that in a market environment where product differentiation becomes more difcult, many organisations are using their corporate character to build a brand identity ( Jones, 2005) with the resultant brand value becoming closely related to overall organisational behaviour, performance and to the inuence not just of customers and consumers, but all stakeholders. The intangible

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Figure 2. Identifying key stakeholder expectations

value of the brand has been included in prot and loss statements of some European organisations since 2001 (Jones, 2005). The Farm Foundation (2004) proposed that European retailers have used private label brands to indicate quality and provide service differentiation. This has lead to their considerable control over the manufacturing and processing sectors of the supply chain. In contrast, they argued that the United States (US) retail sector has lagged in leveraging the private brand as a market tool. Global governance and the interrelationship between foreign direct investment (FDI), trade, credit rating and sustainable development are key dynamics to CSR policy and the demands of both internal stakeholder and those of external stakeholders for more sustainable investments, compliance with internationally accepted standards and agreed instruments (Manning and Baines, 2004b). Aabo (2004) identied this conict in corporate governance between meeting shareholder requirements and the need to satisfy the varied demands of a range of stakeholders. George (2003) determined that the pressure on corporate executives to increase their stock prices and shareholder

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value in the short-term has caused them to lose sight of how lasting shareholder value is actually created. He argued that an organisation needed to be managed to meet the needs of all stakeholders rather than making decisions based solely on short-term considerations of shareholder value. He suggested that corporate governance is about mediating varied interests and concluded that organisations that focus on their customers and empower their employees to meet customer needs will inevitably provide greater growth in shareholder value. CSR strategy should therefore dene the organisations visions, governance, organisational structure and management systems and propose measureable organisational objectives and targets. Early (2002) suggested that the moral and ethical standing of an industry is a reection of the moral and ethical values of the executives who lead the organisations that constitute the industry. Authentic organisations are seen as real, genuine, reliable and trustworthy (Van den Bosch et al., 2005). The authors proposed that the more transparent an organisation appears to be the more likely its stakeholders will rely on its disclosures. This includes the communication of corporate vision and leadership, nancial performance, social responsibility, workplace environment and the benets of the products and services the organisation provided (Manning, 2007). The degree of inuence of stakeholders is variable, but the evolution of economic globalisation and information technology has led to a change in society (Leicht, 1998). The author asserted that the resultant social capital, whereby individuals co-operate for a common purpose, is an essential competitive advantage within society, but it could also be argued that this is true at both organisational and supply chain levels. Carroll and Shabana (2010) also addressed this social element and determined that CSR is not a new idea, but has evolved from the 1950s, developing to a concept which can be said to have four dimensions namely economic, legal, ethical and discretionary/philanthropic (citing Carroll, 1979, 1991). Jones et al. (2005) stated that CSR is focused on organisations being an integral part of society and as such they have the potential to make a positive contribution to social goals and aspirations. Amaeshi et al. (2007) concluded that CSR can be at odds with a capitalist approach, as multi-national corporations are challenged by the global interaction of their supply chains and being able to assure the practices of all the individuals and organisations involved. They further argued that the potential for irresponsible supplier practices puts pressure on these organisations to protect their brands by adopting responsibility for assessing and controlling the practices of their suppliers. Stigliz (2006) stated that corporations have becoming adept at image manipulation, and have learned to speak in favour of social responsibility even while they continue to evade it. He concluded that self-regulated CSR is not a strong enough mechanism on its own to drive business ethics and that such strategies must operate within regulatory boundaries. Du et al. (2010) concurred arguing that CSR efforts are driven not just by ideological thinking that corporations can be a powerful and positive force for social change, but more by the multi-faceted business returns that corporations can potentially reap from their CSR endeavours. They suggested that CSR communication needed not only to address general stakeholder awareness, but more specically consumer awareness whilst minimising stakeholder scepticism. This scepticism is based on the stakeholders perception of an organisations motives and whether they are seen to be extrinsic i.e. an approach to increase protability or intrinsic a motive which is based on a core organisational value (Du et al., 2010). A further term, corporate philanthropy, has been

described as the action when a corporation voluntarily donates a portion of its resources to a societal cause (Ricks and Williams, 2005). Ricks and Williams argued that the primary goal of philanthropy is the meeting of strategic corporate objectives rather than altruism. Brnn and Vrioni (2001) proposed that cause related marketing (CRM) will increase loyalty and build corporate reputation by attracting consumers to make a difference in society through their purchasing choices. However they determined that the impact on organisational image of CRM campaigns depends on the degree of consumer scepticism and how consumers perceive the net benet to the organisation and the reasons for an organisations engagement in cause-related programmes. Research by van den Brink et al. (2006) suggested that consumers do perceive a signicantly enhanced level of brand loyalty as a result of strategic CRM. However, they identied a caveat because consumers must perceive long-term organisational commitment and CRM is more effective with a low involvement product. Conversely the authors concluded that tactical CRM campaigns do not have a signicant impact on brand loyalty due to consumer scepticism. This recognises the impact of CNSR, which has both positive and negative effects on supply chain dynamics. Therefore, in order for such CRM activity to have a direct impact on corporate and brand loyalty such behaviour must be embedded in a long term, authentic, organisational strategy. 4. Social capital Stigliz (2006) proposed that in an unconstrained market economy private incentives are not always aligned with social costs and benets and if this occurs then the pursuit of self-interest itself will not deliver social benets. He argued that efcient economies are driven by organisations that address the impact of their actions on their employees, the environment and the communities in which they operate. The global food supply chain can be seen as an interconnected system with a large variety of complex relationships, reected in the market place by the formation of Food Supply Chain Networks (FSCNs) via alliances, horizontal and vertical cooperation, forward and backward integration in the supply chain, information ow and continuous innovation (Van der Vorst, 2006 citing Beulens et al., 2004). Each supply chain partner has access to, or owns, specic capital assets which are utilised at stages in the food supply chain as part of an input-output relationship to deliver the ultimate products and services. Organisational or indeed whole supply chain assets can be subdivided into natural, physical, nancial, human and social capital. Natural, or environmental capital, is the level of natural resources and environmental assets (Penn, 2010). Natural capital is nite and includes resource assets such as fresh water, soil, minerals, air, ora, fauna and other natural raw material resources. Many natural resources can be recycled, but ultimately they are mutually exclusive, can only be used by one person or organisation at a time and availability can limit organisational development or even viability. In this context, natural resources can be seen to be the nite foundation of the food supply chain. Financial capital and physical capital is sourced by the supply chain partners with human capital being created by empowering people through the increasing skills and capabilities (Leicht, 1998). Leicht determined that social capital is created when networks are developed between individuals or groups thereby facilitating the achievement of common goals. Social capital is the resources, based on trust, that multiply in social networks leading

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to co-operation among individuals, and collaboration between institutions and community organisations (Muthuri et al., 2006). Social capital is related to the capacity of supply chain actors to collaborate and interrelate and has three main constituents trust, norms and networks. Social capital is uid rather than xed and provides the opportunity to differentiate those organisations that seek to mitigate the negative impact of their operational activities and can as a result reduce corporate risk and ultimately add value to the corporate or product brand. Effective management of social or environmental risk assists an organisation to minimise economic burden by lowering the cost of accessing capital, reducing delay in project completion, and ensuring resource availability in order to maximise operational performance (Bhattacharyya, 2010; Hingley, 2010; Sodano et al., 2008). As global and local markets and consumer expectations continue to evolve so too will the CSR organisational models employed. Strategy is the art of creating value (Normann and Ramirez, 2008). Indeed, they proposed that strategy provided the necessary intellectual frameworks, conceptual models, and governing ideas that allow an organisation to identify opportunities for bringing value to its customers at a prot. Historically, value has been created in terms of dened product attributes or specied services, but the authors argued that an interactive strategy will involve a range of stakeholders who will co-produce value. For an organisation to add value through social capital there must be motivation, opportunity and the ability to take advantage of the opportunities afforded. Stigliz (2006) argued that whilst exploitation of natural resources is a key part of the global model, this has lead to failures in resource rich developing nations. Further, he suggested that TNC need better incentives in order to minimise the impact of their activities on the environment i.e. for their activities to be sustainable and/or be forced to pay the true cost of their environmental impact. 5. Sustainability and CSR models Sustainability has been dened in many ways, but can be described as offering the potential for reducing long-term risks associated with resource depletion, uctuations in energy costs, product liabilities, and pollution and waste management (Shrivastava, 1995). Helms (2004) described three elements of sustainable development: economy, society and ecology. Carter and Rogers (2008) proposed that organisations that are dependent upon key external resources can improve their economic sustainability through vertical coordination in supply chains. The development of a sustainable agriculture and food system must be an essential part of long term economic and environmental planning with a view to delivering global food security (Francis and Van Wart, 2009). Rana et al. (2009) introduced the notion of corporate responsibility (CR) with CSR as a sub-element (Figure 3). Furthermore, the authors argued that CR incorporated the social, economic and environmental strands of sustainable development and provided a holistic approach for organisations to understand the issues involved. This approach focused on developing corporate strategy with the effective use of capital assets and protability at its core. Although corporate nancial responsibility (CFR) has not been discussed in this paper it is an inherent part of overall CR with CSR and corporate environmental responsibility (CER) as supporting elements. CR is driven by corporate risk management and effective risk mitigation wherever possible. Maloni and Brown (2006) developed a framework for CSR applications in the food chain with eight categories:

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Figure 3. Five notions of sustainable development in corporations

animal welfare, biotechnology, community, environment, fairtrade, health and safety, labour, and procurement. This model combines the elements described by Rana et al. (2009) as CSR and CER into the totality of CSR. Andersen and Skjoett-Larsen (2009) concluded that practising CSR in supply chains required the embedding of CSR in the organisation, including subsidiaries abroad and offshore suppliers and that it should address employee training and sharing of experience, positive incentives for suppliers through long-term contracts and orders, and regular auditing of suppliers performance. Further reviews have been undertaken of CSR models (Macon et al., 2008, 2009, 2010). Andersen and Skjoett-Larsen (2009) sub-divided supply chain CSR into four key elements: knowledge enhancing mechanisms, knowledge controlling mechanisms, rm-specic assets and corporate history. Bhattacharyya (2010) outlined the benets of strategic CSR activities (Figure 4) and determined that once the constructs are operationalised, they could be used as a guiding framework by practicing CSR managers to better comprehend strategic CSR initiatives and design new initiatives. Spence and Bourlakis (2009) argued that CSR was an inadequate concept for capturing the necessary level of social responsibility for the whole supply chain. Indeed, they suggested a new approach, supply chain responsibility (SCR), which considered the supply chain as a whole and its response to issues beyond economic, technical and legal requirements in order to be able to address social and environmental benets. They proposed an intervening stage of corporate social watchdog (CSW) with the retailer in this central role determining both policy and context of responsibility. However, they did not include CNSR as a driver of social responsibility. Spence and Bourlakis (2009) proposed that SCR encompassed: a chain-wide commitment to achieving social (and environmental) benets; the legitimacy and possibility of all links in the chain to have a voice; a genuine partnership approach; and an acknowledgement of different approaches to ethics by different organisational forms within the supply chain. In order for SCR to be embedded in the supply chain this approach required all actors in the food supply chain to be committed to the realisation of economic, social and environmental milestones through the supply chain as an entity rather than by the strategic goals of individual organisations. However, ultimately it is the role of consumer ethics that

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Figure 4. Strategic CSR Activities

dominates the chain. If the consumer, as a supply chain stakeholder, is unprepared to pay for the cost of environmental protection or animal welfare standards then the product will not be accepted. The models discussed are summarised (Table I) and have been developed primarily, but not exclusively, to identify, manage and where possible mitigate food supply chain risks for individual organisations, TNCs and supply chain clusters rather than to focus specically on CNSR. Bhattacharyya (2010) included a product and business differentiation element to their model, in addition to economic elements, and Andersen and Skjoett-Larsen (2009) included a requirement for knowledge management but the interface with consumers is not formally addressed. Emerging challenges such as increasing global population, economic pressures, limits on fresh water and fossil fuel supplies and rising food prices will lead to an increased corporate focus on the role of CSR in delivering supply chain stability and reducing the risk of supply chain failure. Strugatch (2011) concluded that the emergence of sustainability as a kind of CSR, and reputation management and brand building strategies have underpinned the role of CSR. Lacey et al. (2010) in their research on the views of corporate leaders stated that of: . Chief Executive Ofcers (CEOs) 96 per cent believed that sustainability issues should be fully integrated into the strategy and operations of a company (up from 72 per cent in 2007); . CEOs 93 per cent believed that sustainability issues will be critical to the future success of their business; . CEOs 91 per cent reported that their company will employ new technologies (e.g. renewable energy, energy efciency, information and communication technologies) to address sustainability issues over the next ve years;

Carroll and Shabana (2010) Maloni and Brown (2006) Bhattacharyya (2010) Eight dimensions Four dimensions Firm-specic assets Four dimensions Triple bottom line; Five capitals and natural capital

Andersen and Skjoett-Larsen (2009) Rana et al.(2009)

Four dimensions Economic

Ethical; Discretionary/ philanthropic; Legal

Corporate history

Corporate responsibility (CFR, CSR, CER); Corporate citizenship

Animal welfare; Biotechnology; Community; Environment; Fairtrade; Health and safety; Labour and Human rights; and Procurement

Multi-dimensional Cost leadership; Sustainable competitive advantage; Product differentiation; Present business; Strategic resource; Generation of benets; New business opportunity/ benet; New business; New product/process; New product/market opportunity Enhanced environmental sensitivity; Socio-economic inclusiveness

Knowledge enhancing mechanisms; Knowledge controlling mechanisms


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Table I. Key elements of CSR and sustainable development models

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CEOs 72 per cent cited brand, trust and reputation as one of the top three factors driving them to take action on sustainability issues. Revenue growth and cost reduction was second with 44 per cent; and CEOs 58 per cent identied consumers as the most important stakeholder group that will impact on the way they manage societal expectations. Employees were second with 45 per cent.

This research highlighted the need for management behaviour within organisations, indeed whole supply chains, to be underpinned by an understanding of the dynamics of CNSR. So, how does CNSR drive the supply chain? 6. Consumer social responsibility The use of CSR initiatives to inuence consumers and differentiate product offerings has become quite common (Becker-Olsen et al., 2006). They utilise CSR as a push mechanism in the supply chain from the organisation to the consumer, however there is also a pull mechanism at play. The second CSR is CNSR. Consumers, through their purchases and consumption of products, are the nal judges of corporations behaviour (Russell and Russell, 2010). Indeed, they argued that consumer purchases often transcended product value and reected how consumers perceived the value to the community of the company producing the product. Sen and Bhattacharya (2001) suggested that there are both company-specic and consumer specic factors involved in the CNSR dynamic and a major factor is consumer perception of the degree of congruence between themselves and the organisation. Yates (2009) stated that 58 per cent of consumers thought that companies pretended to be green just to charge higher prices and that to gain customer condence green claims required clarity, credibility and comparability elements. Becker-Olsen et al. (2006) identied that the magnitude of the positive associations stemming from a social initiative depended on the consumers perception of the organisation, rather than simply the act itself i.e. consumers differentiate between an organisation doing ethical things and an organisation acting ethically. They proposed that consumer engagement with CSR is inuenced by perceived t (congruence of corporate mission and social initiative), perceived corporate motive (social centred versus prot centred) and the timing of the communication (reactive vs proactive) with t being considered as the perceived link between a cause and the rms product line, brand image, position, and/or target market (Becker-Olsen et al., 2006 citing Varadarajan and Menon, 1988).Therefore, low-t would generate a negative dynamic and conversely high-t a positive interaction underpinning where an organisation sits in their marketplace and ultimately will impact on brand equity. The perceived corporate motive i.e. whether their CSR strategy is primarily motivated through driving prot or is socially based will inuence the corporate: consumer inter-relationship. Studies of consumer attitude to corporate support of causes in the 1990s (Table II) showed that consumers are likely to switch to brands that claim to help a cause. The positive t attitudes were however, less in the UK compared to the US. Research by Becker-Olsen et al. (2006) concluded that greater than 80 per cent of respondents believed organisations should engage in social initiatives and 76 per cent felt those initiatives would benet organisations. Furthermore in the same research 52 per cent of respondents stated that they would

boycott organisations that had acted irresponsibly if reasonable alternatives were available. The term CNSR has been dened as the conscious and deliberate choice to make certain consumption choices based on personal and moral beliefs (Devinney et al., 2011). The authors argued that there are two basic elements rstly an ethical component relating to the perception of an organisations CSP and product performance and secondly a consumerism component that is expressed in terms of purchasing behaviour. They concluded that CNSR is a factor that is often overlooked in current corporate CSR initiatives. The CNSR dynamic is complex. CNSR is often issue specic, e.g. organic, or fair-trade criteria so one CSR parameter may be of interest to only a sub-set of the consumer market. Information regarding this individual issue will also inuence the CNSR dynamic. The information could be provided by the organisation, food supply chain or by other stakeholders, such as the media, cause related groups or the social circles in which consumers interact. A further inuence is the cost of caring about the specic issue. However, consumers will not sacrice functional product features for lesser, but more socially acceptable ones. Furthermore, there must be a real perceived incentive to change. Consumer engagement is also embedded in cultural rationales (Devinney et al., 2011). The IGD (2007) argued that increased disposable income has meant that shoppers are used to greater food affordability, and as a result food has begun to provide an emotional as well as functional role in consumers lives i.e. moving from a basic need to having a role in self-actualisation. In 2001, Which? undertook a survey in the UK to determine the key considerations of those purchasing food (Which?, 2005). Consumers stated that taste, quality, safety and price i.e. functional features were the most important factors. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) also surveyed consumer attitudes to a range of food issues (Which?, 2005). The results indicated that concern on issues such as the conditions in which livestock were raised, antibiotic levels in meat and the feed given to livestock was identied by between 39 per cent and 41 per cent of respondents. Duffy et al. (2005) undertook consumer research in July/August 2003 which suggested that whilst many consumers were interested in food production issues, the fragmented communication messages that they received was not giving them a clear reason to consider the implications of their purchases for the British farming industry, animal welfare and the environment. The level of consumer interest shown in the Duffy study was much higher with regard to livestock production issues than in the FSA study but also identied a distinct group of consumers (between 13.3 per cent and 27.3 per cent) who had no interest in how the social context of how their food was produced. The IGD

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USA (%) Awareness of companies supporting causes Likely to switch to brands that claim to help a cause Likely to pay more for a brand that supports a cause More likely to buy a product that supports a cause Source: Adapted from Brnn and Vrioni, 2001 79 76 54 78

UK (%) 68 86 45 N/A

Table II. Consumer attitudes to corporate support of causes

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(2007) in their research on consumer attitudes stated that only 10 per cent of consumers in their study identied themselves as high welfare purchasers with 36 per cent stating they did not buy any high welfare foods. A study in 2011 (Defra, 2011) concluded that 26 per cent of consumers where unconcerned about animal welfare issues with a further 26 per cent being aware of animal welfare issues, but not actively doing anything about the issue when purchasing food. This could indicate a consumerism trend between 2001 and 2011 in the studies examined. An example of CNSR in action is organic food sales in the UK, which have increased year on year between the years 1995 and 2007 with most rapid growth between 2004 and 2006 (Figure 5). The IGD (2007) proposed that the growth in sales of organic, free range and higher welfare food was partly a response to this decline in condence as shoppers perceive greater traceability in organic rather than in their conventional counterparts. Of households 9 per cent buy organic products more than once a fortnight whilst 23 per cent of households buy organic products more than once a month (Soil Association (SA), 2010). Purchases are grouped in specic areas namely dairy products (33 per cent of total purchases), produce (26 per cent) and meat (5 per cent) by volume of the organic market. Figure 5 highlights the impact of the CNSR ethical driver on the market, followed by the inuence of CNSR consumerism with the drop in sales 2008/2009. Defra (2011) state that there is no one clear reason why people eat organic food but important factors are nutrition value, health reasons, environmental concerns and animal welfare. However, sales of organic baby food increased by 21 per cent in 2009; in the UK exceeding 100 million for the rst time (Soil Association (SA), 2010) showing that for some consumers the ethical component outweighed the consumerism component of their purchasing. This interaction of ethical versus consumerism drivers was not consistent across all organic food types. The breakdown of the sales variance between 2008 and 2009 is detailed (Table III) and clearly shows that the purchase choice was not consistent across the range of food products. One element could be that the price differential between certain categories of organic and conventional products is smaller so relatively it costs less care. This differential has been determined (Table IV). It cost comparatively more to care for produce and bakery products and this has been

Figure 5. UK sales of organic products 1995-2009 in million

Segment Dairy produce Produce Home cooking ingredients Fresh meat Confectionery Hot beverages Breakfast cereals Chilled convenience foods Biscuits Bread and bakery Alcohol Fresh poultry and game Savoury snacks Canned food Source: Soil Association (2010)

Product share (%) 33 26 6 5 4 4 4 4 3 3 2 2 2 2

Sales performance 2009 vs 2008 (%) 26 2 15 1 2 23 29 22 29 2 21 2 19 2 40 2 30 2 28 21 2 14

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Table III. Product share of the UK organic market in 2009

reected in the sales performance between 2008 and 2009. However, the price differential was only 6 per cent for baby food for the items examined. The Defra report Attitudes and Behaviours around Sustainable Food Purchasing (Defra, 2011) identied that when purchasing food the major issues that inuenced the decision where what they need to stock up on (83 per cent), any special offers that week (82 per cent), ingredients for special meals (63 per cent), particular household food needs (60 per cent), with buying the best quality food at (43 per cent). The model developed as a result of this research (Figure 6) seeks to demonstrate the interaction between CSR and CNSR with specic emphasis on the information ow and who is inuenced by the ow. As previously described consumers are inuenced by information from a variety of resources, but within the family unit there may be a number of inuencers who impact on the purchasing decision. Bourlakis and Weightman (2004) considered these as being the: . Initiator (person who suggests the idea of buying the food); . Inuencer (person whose views inuence the decision); . Decider (person who decides on the whole or part of the buying decision); . Buyer (person who makes the purchase);
Differential as a percentage of organic price (%) 6 19 19 32 43

Item Jar of baby food (vegetable based) Milk (semi-skimmed) two pints Chicken breast llets (Kg) Blueberries (Kg) White thick sliced bread Source: Tesco Direct (2011)

Organic price () 4.85 1.10 14.48 16.60 1.40

Conventional price () 4.56 0.89 11.66 11.25 0.80

Table IV. Price differential between organic and conventional food items

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Figure 6. CSR and CNSR interaction the push pull mechanism

. .

User (person who consumes it); and Gatekeeper (person who regulates exposure to information and products intended for family).

This demonstrates the complexity of CNSR and this makes it difcult for organisations implementing CSR to understand consumer perceptions and ultimately their choices. Andersen and Skjoett-Larsen (2009) in their CSR model identied the benets of knowledge enhancing and knowledge controlling mechanisms. The development of retailer loyalty cards, and the technology which is driving the growth of e-shopping food sales, demonstrates how these tools can inuence both supply chain and consumer behaviour. Mowatt and Cox (2003) argued that this has allowed retailers to gather information to drive them and the wider supply chain. They concluded that it is the ability to gather and analyse consumer buying patterns and trends through data collection, loyalty card information, internet order histories and subsequent data mining which has enabled the shift to just-in-time ordering, the sophistication of stock control systems and the ability of retailers to target smaller target markets more accurately. As the model demonstrates the ability to identify, and act upon, complex consumer buying choices where the balance between ethical and consumerism considerations is both personal and inconsistent for each individual item in the shopping basket is crucial to retail success. The ability of an organisation to understand, inuence and predict the ne balance between the nancial, environmental and social factors, which drive both CNSR and CSR will ultimately inuence corporate brand value. 7. Conclusion CSR is an organo-centric voluntary corporate response over and above legislative compliance. The organisation may exert inuence over the supply chain, but CSR is

essentially an organisational response to meet primarily shareholder and secondly multi-stakeholder requirements. CSR promotes benets in a competitive market through corporate and product differentiation as well as driving efcient use of capital assets. Whilst shareholders have specic expectations in terms of return and share price, a range of stakeholders including consumers also make demands on the corporate body. These demands are varied and sometimes conicting in nature. Cause related marketing (CRM) has developed as a communication tool for creating enhanced brand equity often in terms of intangible assets, but the success of CRM largely depends on whether it is perceived as being a strategic inherent part of CR or a tactical process which can engender scepticism in consumers. The inter-relationship between CSR and CNSR has been explored in this paper and a model developed which also demonstrates the importance of information ow. Information ow from the supply chain can drive added value and product engagement whilst, developments in loyalty card technology at retail level has aided the ow of CNSR information to retailers and indeed back through the supply chain. This has afforded retail stakeholders the opportunity to dominate the communication of CNSR backwards in the supply chain ultimately to the primary producer. Indeed, CSR requirements in the supply chain may be driven as equally by retailer brand protection as by CNSR. CSR is however of limited value to the organisation if there is a lack of, or a change in, consumer engagement. Economic drivers inuence CNSR behaviour with the consumerism component rather than the caring component of CNSR recently playing more of a lead role. However, this interaction between ethical and consumerism elements is not consistent across all consumers and their interaction with all food products. Indeed, CNSR can be a solo, product-centric purchasing decision within the shopping basket. Organisations need to recognise that their CSR activities must remain congruent with CNSR in order for them to maintain or improve market share and customer loyalty. As CNSR can be reactive such as in the event of a food safety incident the interaction needs to be more fully understood. Future research will now be undertaken to determine how the CSR/CNSR model developed can be used to identify specic CNSR drivers by product and in the mix of the retail shopping basket.
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