Eco-labels: input or outcome of CSR? : A study made on three companies

by Jonsson, Carolina; Jakobsson, Madeleine; Johansson, Martin

Abstract (Summary)
Problem: The increased environmental awareness among people as well as businesses has led to the development of new concepts such as sustainable development and environ-mental marketing. One way of practising environmental marketing, which is based on the three principles social responsibility, holism and sustainability, is to use eco-labels on prod-ucts and services. Many companies see the usage of eco-labels as a means to gain competi-tive advantage. The number of eco-labelled products and services constantly increases, but does it mean that the number of companies practising corporate social responsibility also increases? The thesis strives to find out how a company through the usage of eco-labels contributes to a sustainable society by practising environmental marketing and thus social responsibility. The more specific purpose of this thesis is to:Explore the relationship between the usage of eco-labels on products and services and the implementation of corporate social responsibility (CSR) within three different companies.Method: A qualitative research approach was applied. Data was collected through six semi-structured interviews with the responsible of environmental/sustainability questions of three different companies (Scandic, Arla Foods and JC) and with the representatives within information/PR from two third party organisations (the Nordic Swan and KRAV).Results: We have drawn the conclusion that in order to have CSR incorporated within the organisation of the company, there is a need to have a balance between the different di-mensions (economic, environmental and social) of the company. The company also needs to take responsibilities that go beyond economic, legal, and ethical responsibilities. Scandic and Arla Foods have CSR fully incorporated within their organisations. JC have an imbal-ance between the different dimensions and have therefore not fully incorporated CSR. When it comes to the relationship between the eco-label and CSR, we can conclude that for the explored companies the relationship is dependent on the environmental philosophy and the environmental culture of the company having the eco-label. Scandic and Arla Foods have strong environmental cultures and their eco-labellings are seen as being the output of their CSR. JC do not have such a strong environmental culture and their eco-labelling is seen as the input of CSR. Third party organisations play an important role for CSR within the explored companies, both for the development and for the continuous im-provements of CSR. Third party organisations emphasise the development of CSR when the eco-label is seen as being the input of CSR, as in the case of JC. When the eco-label is seen as the outcome, as for Scandic and Arla Foods, the third party organisations help the companies to make continuous improvements.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Högskolan i Jönköping

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:eco labels corporate social responsibility csr socially responsible business practises sustainability environmental marketing green


Date of Publication:02/06/2008

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