The literature presents a broad approach to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which aggregates a diversity of issues, such as the environment, labour conditions, and human rights. The authors addressed the impact of increasing CSR demands during the internationalisation of emerging market multinationals (EMNs) on one particular subject, animal welfare (AW).
This subject raises important ethical concerns, especially as we understand that animals are sentient beings. Through content analysis of annual reports, the authors tracked the evolution of AW-CSR activities throughout the internationalisation of two large Brazilian meat-processing multinationals as they accessed markets with complex AW regulations. The authors also synthetised findings on broiler chicken on-farm AW research in Brazil and conducted interviews to gauge the impact of CSR standards on animals.
The findings show that, although EMNs that enter developed markets engage with various standards, the impacts of standard enforcement on actual welfare are not straightforward and call for broader AW and animal ethics developments. Uneven results among AW criteria indicate that some aspects are prioritised over others. Furthermore, some actions of actors such as EMNs and low-tier suppliers seem to counterbalance the expected impact of normative pressures to change the lives of animals for the better.
The authors conclude that AW standards may improve AW in emerging markets; but these standards do not appear to be sufficiently stringent, and require improvements to have a more significant positive impact. A major signal emerging from this research is the fundamental need to broaden the animal ethics debate regarding the use of animals to produce meat.
Germano Glufke Reis & Carla Forte Maiolino Molento. 2020. Emerging Market Multinationals and International Corporate Social Responsibility Standards: Bringing Animals to the Fore.