January 24, 2008
Comparative CSR
Posted by Fred Tung

A recent piece in the Economist notes the various orderings of CSR priorities across different countries.  For example, the 3 most important CSR issues in the US are health care, the environment, and job losses from outsourcing, according to survey data.  In Brazil, only the environment makes it into the top 3.  Job losses from outsourcing ranks 13th in Brazil.  Brazil's other two top CSR concerns are safer products and affordable products.  Besides priorities, CSR institutional endowments--NGOs, think tanks, technical expertise--and traditions likewise vary across countries, such that countries' progress and priorities may tend to diverge over time. 

Developing countries, especially the BRICs--Brazil, Russia, India, China--are likely to grow in influence as their economies expand.  They may become important sources of standards setting, especially for the developing world.  Observers predict that China, for example, will be "deeply involved in the management of standards" in the next five years, and then "they'll build their own, and they'll become exporters of standards."  Given their differing priorities from industrial countries, China and other emerging markets are likely to want to define corporate responsibility to account for these differing priorities. 

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