Corporate Social Responsibility

Task Description

Students will need to do individual research on finding company CSR strategies (See resources for useful links on Moodle). Two company level CSR strategy cases will need to be selected and analysed in form of separate case studies.

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The selected companies can be from any country, but it is important to select companies that disclose information about themselves and publish CSR and Sustainability related information in the form of Sustainability/CSR/Non-Financial Reports. Students are encouraged to have an explicit rationale for their choice of companies.

First, for each company case, students have to apply one of the two most important CSR (measurement) frameworks to EVALUATE the overall CSR strategy: Global Reporting Initiative and ISO 26000 (one framework/company). This process of evaluation has to be evidence-based, namely, concrete information in company Sustainability/CSR/Non-Financial Reports will have to be matched with the topics and criteria included in the GRI and ISO 26000 framework. For this purpose, students are required to fill out a data table matching company practices and disclosures with different parts and criteria of the given CSR framework. (The template for the supplementary table is available on Moodle.) Furthermore, students are requested to upload on Moodle their filled out GRI Standards and ISO 26000 table as a supplement to their assignment.

To increase the reliability of data on companies, it is required that students search for independent sources about the company in addition to company publications. For each case a minimum of 5 independent articles are expected to be integrated into the evaluation process. Data on company CSR performance coming from the independent articles should also be integrated into the supplementary table. Thus it will be possible to grasp the strengths and weaknesses of the company’s CSR performance in a more objective manner which is the ultimate aim of the EVALUATION part. In their paper, students are expected to follow the logic of the CSR framework to evaluate the collected data on their selected companies.

Based on the results of the first EVALUATION part students have to proceed to the next step in the assignment. Thus, secondly, students have to ANALYSE and assess the companies’ CSR strategies by focusing on the following criteria:

· What values are implied by the CSR strategy?

· What stakeholder groups are targeted?

· What type of business relevance does the CSR strategy have?

· To what extent does the CSR strategy have a close integration with strategic business goals? How?

· What are the business benefits in the short term or the long term?

· What is the social/societal impact of the CSR practices?

Thirdly, students have to identify RECOMMENDATIONS on how the chosen company could upgrade their CSR strategy and practice? The recommendations should follow logically based on your evaluation and analysis for both cases.

Forthly, in the CONCLUSIONS section students are expected a) to briefly compare the two selected CSR strategies, b) to conclude on how useful each CSR evaluation framework was to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the company’s CSR strategy, c) identify major learning points about CSR in general.

Structure and length of the assignment:

· Introduction

· Company 1: Evaluation of company level CSR strategy with the GRI framework + CSR analysis + Recommendations on how to develop the CSR strategy

· Company 2: Evaluation of company level CSR strategy with the ISO 26000 framework + CSR analysis + Recommendations on how to develop the CSR strategy

· Conclusions on comparing selected CSR strategies, the two CSR frameworks, and CSR in general

· References

· Appendix

The length of the paper should be 2500 words long +/-10% (1,5 line spacing, and 12 font size).

Students will first submit a Draft Report, and later a Final Report. Both the Draft Report and the Final Report have to be uploaded to Moodle.

1. Draft report

Deadline: Please see on the Moodle page of the module.

The Draft Report should include the Introduction to the assignment, the 2 chosen companies, the rationale for choosing them, and a short summary of their CSR strategy.

The length of the draft report should be 500 words long +/-10% (1,5 line spacing, and 12 font size).

The Draft Report will not be marked, but is considered a compulsory element towards the coursework mark and will constitute the basis for classroom discussion. Moreover, students will receive written feedback for it.

2. Final Report:

Deadline: Please see on the Moodle page of the module.

Assessment

The assignment will be assessed based on the following criteria (see the grid on Moodle):

· Approach to task (10%)

· Knowledge and understanding of CSR-related concepts and practices (20%)

· Quality of analysis and evaluation of CSR strategies (40%)

· Conclusions and recommendations (20%)

· Referencing and written communication (10%)

The resit arrangement for the assignment is the same as above; you may resubmit the same paper, with corrections, that you submitted by the original deadline. The resubmission deadline will be specified on Moodle after the grades for the original submission are published.

Academic conduct notice

Harvard-style referencing needs to be used consistently throughout. Incomplete referencing shall result in reporting the case to the Academic Conduct Officer, who keeps a record of such violations. First offenders may resubmit their papers and may receive 50% at most. Repeated violations of academic standards shall be sanctioned in line with the plagiarism regulations as detailed in the Student Handbook.

Where the Academic Conduct Officer has reason to suspect that a piece of work submitted by a student was wholly or in part written by someone other than the student who submitted it, and this has not been disclosed by the student, they may call for the student to defend the work in a viva or a written comprehension test. The burden of proof in such a viva or test will be upon the student to demonstrate to the examination panel’s satisfaction his/her full comprehension of the work s/he has submitted. Failure to appear without satisfactory explanation will result in immediate failure of that assessment, with consequences of academic misconduct and application of sanctions.

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