Corporate Social Responsibility and Competitiveness for SMEs in Developing Countries: South Africa and Vietnam
SMEs—the vast majority of firms in any country—have often been viewed as laggards when it comes to practicing CSER (Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility). Yet, such perception of SMEs is mostly based on applying “large firm thinking”. The study by a team from Copenhagen Business School, California State University Monterey and the Antea Group provides concrete evidence on how SME management and workers perceive CSER and which practices they undertake. Furthermore, our findings establish a foundation to investigate a potential relationship between CSER practices and enhanced business performance/competitiveness. The study provides a thorough analysis of how SMEs in three important sectors (agro-processing, textiles/garment/footwear and hotel/tourism) in two countries (South Africa and Vietnam) undertake CSER. In addition to presenting the formal CSER practices, it sheds light on the often overlooked informal practices. It provides concrete evidence for workers' understanding of CSER and its on-the-ground impacts on labor standards in these sectors in the two countries.
This publication is helpful for academics, practitioners, policy-makers, and the donor and NGO communities. It provides new insights into the impacts of CSER on SMEs and offers recommendations to overcome challenges to the real intention of CSER.
The Focales collection was launched in 2010 by AFD’s Research Department. It aims to give accounts of the field experiences of AFD or its partners (experts, researchers, consultants, practitioners…) in developing countries.
The publications in this collection describe practical case studies (projects, experiments, partnerships…) and put them into perspective. They may also present reflection on a sectoral or geographical issue which is always supported by concrete results. They are intended to cover all the sectors and fields of action of AFD.