Governance and Sustainability: Volume 15

Cover of Governance and Sustainability
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Table of contents

(15 chapters)

Prelims

Pages i-viii
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Abstract

Sustainability is recognised as an important objective in business planning and is of equal relevance to policy makers. It is equally accepted, almost universally, that the resources of the planet are finite and are being overconsumed on an annual basis. The prognosis therefore is that resources are being depleted and competition for access to remaining resources must ensue, increasing the transaction costs of business activity. Given that there are no further resources available to the world, then attention must be paid to the best way of utilising those resources, implying possibly different ways of organising or collaboration. This involves strategic decisions at both local and global levels, and Game theory is recognised as a key strategic tool by policy makers and by business decision-makers. Surprisingly therefore, although it has been recognised that Game theory has relevance to addressing the problems of manufacturing due to resource depletion, no detailed work has been done in this area.

Part I Addressing Sustainability

Abstract

Blockchain technology is an extension of distributed ledger technology and it is used in cryptocurrencies. Many studies describe blockchain technology and cryptocurrency is an application of it in a very broad sense. Blockchain technology has several applications. Some of these applications could have direct or indirect relevance to either or both pillars of sustainability advocated by Crowther, Seifi, and Wond (2019). Extending to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, one possible connection to sustainability may be the reduction of the use of paper for printing currency notes, which can save forests. Furthermore, the growing cryptocurrency market attracted the investors to focus on the price fluctuations but making them forget about the terrifying carbon problem associated with cryptocurrencies. However, this possibility has not been demonstrated anywhere so far. The issue examined here is how blockchain technology can be used for solving sustainability problems. We initiate a qualitative study of the blockchain technology/cryptocurrency and sustainability using the twin pillars of sustainability: (1) responsibility, (2) governance. An exploratory review linking blockchain technology/cryptocurrency and sustainability and its two pillars revealed many actual and trial applications by corporates as CSR initiatives and other novel programs by various agencies in various countries. In governance, corporates use the CSR route to address sustainability issues. However, no definition is an available linking cryptocurrency, blockchain technology, and sustainability and we developed a definition to fill the gap. This paper stresses that the sustainability perspective has not been used to develop the cryptocurrency definition, but rather technological and legal perspectives have employed.

Abstract

In recent years, there has been a growing importance of sustainability communication and the role of the Internet in contemporary corporate communication that has allowed the diversification of information dissemination tools. Thus, the objective of this study is to determine the quantity and nature of the content of the information related to sustainability disclosed through the corporate website of Portuguese metal mould companies. The results obtained based on the content analysis seem to indicate that the number of metal mould companies that discloses sustainability information is quite low. Those who disclose information are in a very limited way whether in quantity or in relation to the type of information disclosed. Considering the various dimensions of sustainability, the information disclosed about environmental and social aspects is scarce. The focus is on aspects related to the economic dimension, particularly in the areas related to products and services and customers.

Abstract

Development needs of a country like India are extremely disparate, and therefore a unifocus of financial and government agencies on investment considering economic returns shall fail to achieve overall development of the country. The gradual trickle of impact investing in India should begin to look beyond the traditional sectors like manufacturing and agriculture towards nontraditional sectors like culture and heritage which involves the affective and cognitive attributes of the community while being a part of its daily chores. If funds are judiciously channelized towards this sector, then a holistic impact on social and environmental growth can be expected along with the economic returns. Tourism and allied industries would be a direct economic beneficiary which would help generate employment, preserve tangible and intangible heritage manifestations and inculcate a sense of pride in the self and social cohesion. The current article presents two conceptual models arguing the higher efficacy of the impact investing model over traditional financing model.

Abstract

Continuously changing networked society chiefly takes more active role in ongoing transformations worldwide. Governments are dealing with numerous organized groups which arise from seemingly nowhere with particular set of requirements to make social change. In a globalized world quickly moving information flows, expanded physical mobility of people formed a new society with increased demand for better life, which cannot be emphasized without greater social responsibility of every actor in society. And this cannot be minded out, since modern society holds crucially powerful tools, such as media and internet, to fight for justice, values, and believes.

Territorial governments, even in most distanced regions, start facing similar challenges as those in crowded cities due to the call from society for greater social responsibility. Only set of stakeholders insignificantly vary in countryside compared to cities when calling for social change; however, the general body consists of variety actions to live better in a socially responsible way. Lately, farmers in countryside as well as local governments, even in post-soviet countries, are more frequently requested to mind the principles of social responsibility from the general public. Scientific literature proposes that it signalizes about the shift from industrial to postindustrial stage of development—knowledge and information age. However, any scientific evidence to disclose the factors that influence farmer's choice to act as a community citizen had not been provided yet. Authors presuppose that particular farmer's background characteristics, such as age, generation, education, or others, might be among the factors that highly shape the way farmers act with local communities as well as territorial governments from social responsibility perspective.

The main aim of this article is to disclose the factors that define social responsibility of agribusiness in their attitudes toward territorial government and local community.

Scientific literature analysis and generalization, survey, interview, and descriptive statistical analysis methods were applied. Data were collected in spring 2017 and autumn 2018 in Lithuanian farms. Research results helped disclose that age, generation, and education are among important factors in changing social responsibility attitudes of agribusiness. Significant dependency was observed among age and most of agribusiness representatives' social responsibility counterparts when dealing with territorial government and local community development.

Abstract

In this chapter, we analyze the contribution of two Iberian Foundations to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs; Global Goals). In particular, we studied the case of Eugénio de Almeida Foundation, from Portugal, and Yuste Foundation, from Spain, between 2016 and 2018. To achieve the main objective, three specific objectives were defined: the first one is to understand if sustainability is present in the Foundations Mission, Vision and Values; the second one is to analyze how the activities developed by each Foundations contribute to the SDGs and relate these activities to the SDGs targets and finally to do a comparative analysis of the results of the two foundations. To reach these objectives, we use the case study method based on the analysis of annual reports and websites of the two Foundations and cross-referenced information about the mission, objectives, values and activities developed since 2016 with the specific targets of Global Goals.

This chapter shows that Iberian Foundations contribute to the SDGs, since its mission fits the SDGs as its activities have a strong social nature and aim at sustainable development in the regions where they operate and beyond. However, we do not find the reporting evidence because the Foundations do not provide sustainability reports, nor do they provide sustainability information in their annual reports and accounts, or on their websites.

The study will present contributions at several levels: literature and practice. It makes contributions to the literature on relationships between sustainability practices and sustainability report and the regulation and institutionalization of sustainability practices and reporting for SDGs. Also, our study contributes to a better understanding of the role of Iberian Foundations as partners in achieving the Global Goals and their contribution to the effective, responsible and transparent development of institutions for United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Abstract

This paper intends to offer a comparison between the concepts of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and social business (SB) and rationalizes the application of both the ideas as potential ways of accomplishingsustainable development. It follows an axiomatic and theoretical approach to frame the relationship of CSR and social business with the fastest growing concept of sustainable development. The objective of this research is to shed some light on i. the basic differences of the theories, ii. underlying assumptions of both theories regarding sustainable development, and iii. the effectiveness or contribution of each concept in attaining sustainable development. This is basically a conceptual paper based on extensive literature review and followed by some qualitative research techniques such as case studies, in-depth interviews with CSR and social business experts and CEOs of corporate houses and social business enterprises as well as focus group discussions with beneficiaries and community representatives of both fields.Narrative analysis method is adopted to analyze obtained data. Result indicates that both CSR and social business can be significant ways to achieve sustainable development by means of eliminating poverty, unemployment and inequality, preventing environmental degradation and the like as both concepts are intended tosolve social problems. This research proposes that a combination of these two concepts is more likely to offer sustainable solutions to social problems.

Abstract

The growing power of China's economy with its ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative for building a new globalised world is generally believed to have an impact on global economic development and sustainability.

The current Chairman and President of the People's Republic of China Mr. Jinping Xi proposed the ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative in 2013 during his official visit to Kazakhstan and Indonesia. This was a Chinese initiative to create the Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) and the Maritime Silk Road (MSR) to promote a new model for international cooperation and development. In recent years, more and more countries from Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa have agreed to join the initiative and have established their regional plans for economic development and sustainability.

This chapter provides a critical review of China's ‘One Belt and One Road’ initiative for creating higher growth and economic development through infrastructure connectivity, increased trade and investment. It discusses the challenges of the ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative and reports on the risks associated with the development of this regional cooperation. It summarises arguments for a common approach to infrastructure development and regional cooperation by supranational institutions.

It concludes that the growing positive support for China's ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative and its development as one of the largest infrastructure and investment projects in history would bring significant benefits to the global economy.

Part II The Governance of Sustainability

Abstract

The objective of this chapter is to analyze the relationship between the perception and practice of environmental and corporate governance issues of insurance companies in Brazil, in the context of the global sustainability agenda. The implementation and dissemination of sustainable corporate actions demonstrates the organizations' responsible behavior and legitimizes their actions in relation to society. Based on the guiding actions of the Principles for Sustainability in Insurance, the sector has been sensitive to global challenges, including climate change and demographic change. However, the effective operationalization of an environmental action plan still shows itself as intermediate to incipient, evaluated by the coefficient of priority created for the various themes, considering the high risk management potential that characterizes the sector.

Abstract

The popularity of electric and hybrid cars has been growing worldwide, and Portugal is no exception. Companies have been offered incentives as a way to promote the transition to more sustainable transportation systems and supply chains. Celebrities and influencers are endorsing the new technology, and consumer preferences are changing. However, in Portugal, there are still consumers with misconceptions about the autonomy, cost and reliability of electric cars, which may favour the choice of a conventional car, in a new car purchase decision-making process.

In this study, we analyse whether purchase intention in the near future of an electric car varies with a pro-environmental lifestyle, perceived symbolic value of the electric car, mobility patterns, age, and place of residence, (performance, social, financial and externalities) risk avoidance, consumer perceptions, knowledge about the cost, the autonomy and the existing infrastructures. A sample of 308 Portuguese consumers was collected with an online survey. Results from survey subsample analysis of 170 consumers who unequivocally claim that would opt for an electric vehicle or not show a positive relationship between the purchase intention of an electric car, the fuel cost increase, the proximity of convenient charging places and battery lifetime perception. It was also found that age, knowledge and perceived symbolic value of the electric car, in general, have a positive influence on consumers' choice of an electric car. A negative relationship was found between the purchase intention, social and financial risk avoidance, perceived symbolic value of the electric car in particular and the number of cars each family has.

Abstract

Bangladesh is home to one of the world's leading ship breaking and recycling industries. Whilst these industries are booming in Bangladesh, it is not safe for workers or the environment. According to International Maritime Organization's (IMO) regulations, Bangladesh is lacking in a number of areas such as having a safe recycling plan and environmental protections reviewed by a competent authority. There is a need to develop safer working conditions, more stringent regulation and corporate responsibility programmes towards protecting human health and the environment. Possible solutions require stakeholders (industry, governments and the IMO) to work together in order to develop sustainable practice. This research contributes by taking a step forward by focussing on the implementation of sustainable practices in the supply chain of global shipping industries in a developing country. Using stakeholder theory, this research offers insight into the need and barriers to implementing social sustainable initiatives.

Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to analyze the reflection of corruption in Brazilian companies listed on Brasil, Bolsa, Balcão (B3). The methodological design comprised a qualitative and descriptive approach in which documentary research was used to gather data. Content analysis was employed to treat data retrieved from Standard Financial Statements, Explanatory Notes, and Sustainability Reports, from 2013 to 2017. The findings reveal a low level of disclosure of the companies listed on B3 concerning the reflections of corruption. The disclosed reflections include the increase in the company's operating costs and the impact on the company's future cash flow which can be direct, such as through the reduction of revenues from canceled negotiations, or indirect, through transaction costs due to the misconduct of the company.

Abstract

In 2014, the European Union (EU) adopted the non-financial reporting Directive (2014/95/EU) making the disclosure of certain non-financial topics mandatory for large listed companies. They are required to report on policies, actions and outcomes regarding their environmental impact, social and employee matters, impact on human rights and corruption. Denmark introduced mandatory corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting already in 2009, while Germany had no specific legislation on CSR reporting before 2017. Some authors allege that regulation positively impacts CSR reporting, while others argue that the voluntary nature of CSR reporting is essential (Romolini, Fissi, & Gori, 2014). Critics of mandatory reporting claim that non-financial reporting should develop bottom-up, as mandatory one-size-fits-all solutions are inappropriate given the differences among companies (ICC, 2015). The aim of this chapter is to evaluate the effect of legislation on reporting quality by comparing Denmark with a long tradition for mandatory reporting and Germany introducing mandatory rather recently. However, a rich body of literature exists on factors impacting CSR reporting other than legislation. These are among others: firm size, ownership structure, industrial sector and culture (Hahn & Kühnen, 2013.)

The chapter applies a content analysis of 150 CSR reports from German and Danish listed companies between 2008 and 2017 from four different industrial sectors. The chapter finds that mandatory reporting improves overall report quality by lifting the quality floor, yet, without lifting the quality ceiling. Size is important as improvements in reporting are largest in small and medium-sized companies. Companies in environmentally sensitive sectors tend to disclose more relevant environmental information than companies in less sensitive sectors. Both culture and ownership structure has a moderating effect on report quality.

Index

Pages 235-239
Content available
Free Access
Cover of Governance and Sustainability
DOI
10.1108/S2043-0523202015
Publication date
2020-10-21
Book series
Developments in Corporate Governance and Responsibility
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-80043-152-2
eISBN
978-1-80043-151-5
Book series ISSN
2043-0523