Aim of the article
Understands the restrictions and capacity of the mainstream CSR agenda.
Newell was attempting to increase the awareness that the mainstream CSR agenda is not ideal for all people, all companies and all government in the developing world. The ultimate solution would require the goodwill and participation of all these three parties. ‘In particular, the role of a strong state (though often not acknowledged), an active and well-mobilized civil society and a private sector willing and able to respond to CSR priorities emerge as prerequisites for the success of CSR initiatives.’ (Newell 2005:556)
Issues raised by Newell
Neglected rights of poor communities
The poorest people in the developing states are not able to represent their own interest when faced with companies entering their communities. The governments usually fail to recognize them as the relevant parties in negotiations. Sometimes, they are represented by groups that have different interests. These communities often are affected the most because they are located in the resource-rich country-side. The incentive that prompts these big companies to develop in these states is that they usually have loose regulations and the states desperately need investments from foreign companies. The corporations recognize this situation and unfortunately the poorest people of these states are exploited. (Newell 2005:543)
Poor citizenship of the companies
Companies perform cosmetic public relationship to mislead the world that they are benefiting local communities. These tactics usually do not contribute positively to the communities in the affected areas. Issues that are not immediately seen necessary are usually overlooked by the companies and the state governments. However, they usually make a huge environmental impact on the food supply and the habitats of the poorest people. ‘Anything else they do has to be justified as a cost saving, raising the question: What about issues for which there is not an obvious business case?’ (ibid.:545)
Insufficient involvement of the governments
Because of their obvious financial interests, the governments fail to established tougher regulations, actively monitor the environmental impact of the developments and help their people in need. Some government officials are even involved in corruption. (ibid.554)
Newell’s main argument
Power and economic benefits, these are the leading causes that Newell thinks why there is a struggle between the states, the foreign investing companies, and poorest communities in the developing world. Although all three parties should participate to maximize the effect of a positive outcome, the governments need to take the leading role. Without proper legislations, the weakest people, namely the poorest in the country-side, would get hurt dearly. The companies alone just would not do enough since they are only interested in financial benefits and corporate image. ‘First, many actions that...