Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 73, Issue 1, pp 39-51

First online:

Caterpillar’s Interactions with Piracicaba, Brazil: A Community-based Analysis of CSR

  • Margaret Ann GriesseAffiliated withMethodist University of Piracicaba Email author 

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This study examines how Caterpillar Brasil Limitada, located in the city of Piracicaba, Brazil, expanded its concept of social responsibility over a 30-year period. It first provides a contextual overview of Piracicaba within the agro-industrialized interior region of São Paulo State. It then traces the history of the firm from its initial installation in the city. While Caterpillar maintained a distant relationship with the Piracicaba community for many years, it later realized the importance of becoming involved in city development. The community-based effort led by Caterpillar to elaborate and carry out a sustainable development plan for the city is a notable example of how a firm can encourage civil participation and offer strategic planning know-how to civil-society organizations. Finally, the study analyses some of the problems Caterpillar encountered and stresses the importance of developing open democratic channels and continued civil participation in joint partnerships between business and civil society.


Caterpillar company community development sustainable development Agenda 21