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CSR priorities of emerging economy firms: is Russia a different shape of BRIC?

Lutz Preuss (School of Management, Royal Holloway University of London, Egham, UK)
Ralf Barkemeyer (School of Earth and Environment, Sustainability Research Institute, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK)

Corporate Governance

ISSN: 1472-0701

Article publication date: 9 August 2011




Against the backcloth of a growing geopolitical and economic importance of emerging economies, this paper seeks to ask whether emerging economy firms are willing to match their increased economic weight with greater social responsibility. Given a relative scarcity of research into CSR in Russia, particular attention is to be given to firms from that country.


The research question is examined through an analysis of differences between firms from industrialized nations, transition economies, and newly industrialized countries in terms of the breadth and depth of their sustainability reporting. This three‐way comparison analyses corporate sustainability reporting according to the GRI G3 framework developed by the Global Reporting Initiative.


The firms in the sample display clear evidence of a divide between industrialized and emerging economies, with Russia occupying a middle position. Contrary to expectations, however, emerging economy firms outperform those from industrialized nations in their coverage of GRI indicators.

Research limitations/implications

These findings leave open two possible conclusions: either emerging economy MNEs have leaped to the front in terms of addressing sustainability or they have been able to use GRI reporting as window‐dressing to hide a dirtier reality. From a different angle, the strong evidence of a North‐South divide in the sample also lends support to the national business systems approach to CSR.


The paper adds to a small but growing body of cross‐national studies into CSR that go beyond OECD member countries. In particular, it constitutes one of the first studies not only to tease out CSR priorities of large Russian firms but also to elucidate differences in terms of CSR priorities between newly industrialized countries and transition economies.



Preuss, L. and Barkemeyer, R. (2011), "CSR priorities of emerging economy firms: is Russia a different shape of BRIC?", Corporate Governance, Vol. 11 No. 4, pp. 371-385.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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