CSR and the Plastics Industry: Untangling the rhetoric and the competitive advantage opportunities for SMEs in the UK
Sims, Steven Matthew
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) concept has been the topic of much debate over the last decades and the subject of extensive research undertaken in large multi-national organisations. No single definition of CSR is recognised. However, there is an acknowledgement amongst academics, government and business that there has been a lack of attention to, and understanding of CSR in small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), and how they differ from large multi-national organisations. This is deemed as a field of particular interest since SMEs account for >99% of all private enterprises in the UK, employing 14.4 million with a combined turnover in excess of £1'600 billion. The aim of this research paper is to close the knowledge gap and provide a deeper understanding of the nature of CSR engagement in SMEs in the Plastics Industry and investigate if there is a business case for strategic CSR activities. Drawing on literature and both quantitative and qualitative research of 17 SMEs in the Plastics Industry of various sizes (micro, small, medium) and industry sector this research paper aims to; examine the definitions, theories and concepts of CSR, evaluate the industry perception and characteristics of CSR engagement and determine what barriers, boundaries and opportunities are experienced by SMEs.
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