Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 105, Issue 3, pp 277–287 | Cite as

The Contribution of the Energy industry to the Millennium Development Goals: A Benchmark Study

  • Carmen Valor


This paper evaluates the contribution of the energy industry (oil, gas and electricity) to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in three countries (Argentina, Colombia and Mexico). To build this international benchmark, a tool was built (the MDG-Scorecard), by drawing on theoretical frameworks and guides on how businesses can contribute to the MDGs. Results show that companies are making efforts to contribute to the environment, human rights, employment creation and labour rights. However, their effort is close to nil for the Goals with the weakest links with their core business. Findings also suggest that there is no coordinated and consistent strategy to achieve the MDGs either intra-company or inter-companies.


Corporate social responsibility Millennium Development Goals Energy industry Latin America Empirical paper 



Business International Non-profit Organisation


International Business Leaders Forum


Intergovernmental Organisation


Millennium Development Goals


Multinational company


World Business Council on Sustainable Development



I gratefully acknowledge the financial support of CEALCI to complete this research (Grant 16/08). I am also grateful to Carlos Almiro De Magalhães Melo, Paloma Lemonche and Cecilia Cózar, analysts of this research project, and Orencio Vázquez, for his suggestions when building the benchmark.


  1. Bendell, J. (2005). In whose name? The accountability of corporate social responsibility. Development in Practice, 15(3&4), 362–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Birol, F. (2007). Energy economics. A place for energy poverty in the agenda? The Energy Journal, 28(3), 1–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Blowfield, M. (2005). Corporate social responsibility: Reinventing the meaning of development? International Affairs, 81(3), 515–524.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blowfield, M., & Frynas, G. (2005). Setting new agendas: Critical perspectives on corporate social responsibility in the developing world. International Affairs, 81(3), 499–513.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. BSR, Accountability, & Brody Weiser Burns. (2003). Business and Economic Development. The impact of Corporate Responsibility Standards and Practices. Accessed 10th February 2009.
  6. Christian Aid. (2004). Behind the mask: Revealing the true mask of corporate social responsibility. London: Author.Google Scholar
  7. Commission on the Private Sector and Development. (2004). Unleashing entrepreneurship: Making business work for the poor. Accessed 2 Aug 2006.
  8. Connor, T., & Dent, K. (2006). Offside! Labour rights and sportswear production in Asia. Oxford: Oxfam International.Google Scholar
  9. Corral, A., Isasi, I., Pérez, T., & San Miguel, U. (2007). Contribución de las empresas al desarrollo en Latinoamérica. Washington: Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo.Google Scholar
  10. DFID. (2002). Energy for the poor. Underpinning the Millennium Development Goals. Accessed 31st July 2006.
  11. Dutch Sustainability Research. (2005). Measuring the contribution of civil society and the private sector to achieving the Millennium Development Goals’. Accessed 30th July 2006.
  12. European Commission. 2005. EU Report on Millennium Development Goals 2000-2004; EU contribution to the review of the MDGs. Working paper presented at the United Nations High Level Event. Accessed 11th August 2006.
  13. European Commission. (2006). Implementing the partnership for growth and jobs: Making Europe a pole of excellence on corporate social responsibility. COM(2006) 136 final. Accessed 20th October 2010.
  14. Fig, D. (2005). Manufacturing amnesia: Corporate social responsibility in South Africa. International Affairs, 81(3), 599–617.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Forstater, M., MacDonald, J., & Raynard, R. (2002). Business and poverty: Bridging the gap. Accessed 3rd August 2006.
  16. Hamann, R. (2006). Can business make decisive contributions to development? Towards a research agenda on corporate citizenship and beyond. Development Southern Africa, 23(2), 175–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. IBLF. (2005). Business action for development. Report from the symposium. Accessed 3rd August 2006.
  18. IBLF & WBCSD. (2004) A business guide to development actors. Accessed 3rd August 2006.
  19. Jenkins, R. (2005). Globalisation, corporate social responsibility and poverty. International Affairs, 81(3), 525–540.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kapelus, P. (2002). Mining, corporate social responsibility and the “community”: The case of Rio Tinto’, Richards Bay Minerals and the Mbonambi. Journal of Business Ethics, 39, 275–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kolk, A., & Van Tulder, R. (2006). Poverty alleviation as business strategy? Evaluating commitments of front runner multinational corporations. World Development, 34(5), 789–801.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lodge, C., & Wilson, G. (2006). Multinational corporation and global poverty reduction. Challenge May–June, 17–25.Google Scholar
  23. Marques, J. (2007). The influence of the global business environment in realizing the Millennium Development Goals. The Journal of Global Business Issues, 1(1), 17–23.Google Scholar
  24. Merino, A., & Valor, C. (2011). The potential of corporate social responsibility to eradicate poverty: An ongoing debate. Development in Practice, 21(2), 157–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Nelson, J. (2006). Leveraging the development impact of business in the fight against global poverty. Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative Working Paper, 22. Accessed 19th December 2008.
  26. Nelson, J., & Prescott, D. (2003). Business and the Millennium Development Goals: A framework for action, Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum and United Nations Development Programme. Accessed 31st July 2006.
  27. Nelson, J., & Prescott, D. (2008). Business and the Millennium Development Goals: A framework for action (2nd ed.), Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum and United Nations Development Programme. Accessed 11th January 2009.
  28. Perrini, F. (2006). The practitioner’s perspective on non-financial reporting. California Management Review, 48, 73–103.Google Scholar
  29. Porter, M. E., & Kramer, M. R. (2002). The competitive advantage of corporate philanthropy. Harvard Business Review, 12(84), 42–56.Google Scholar
  30. Prahalad, C. K. (2006). The fortune at the bottom of the pyramid. Eradicating poverty through profits. Wharton: Wharton School Publishing.Google Scholar
  31. Prieto-Carrón, M., Lund-Thomsen, L., Chan, A., Muro, A., & Bhushan, C. (2006). Critical perspectives on CSR and development: What we know, what we don’t know and what we need to know. International Affairs, 82(5), 977–987.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Reisen, H. (2004). Innovative approaches to funding the Millennium Development Goals. OECD Development Centre, Policy Brief No. 24. Accessed 20th February 2007.
  33. Sachs, J. (2005). A practical plan to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, UN Millennium Project. Accessed 20th October 2010.
  34. Sharp, J. (2006). Corporate social responsibility and development: An anthropological perspective. Development Southern Africa, 23(2), 213–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Shell Foundation. (2005). Enterprise solutions to poverty. Accessed 1st August 2006.
  36. UNCTAD. (2008). World investment report 2008. Transnational corporations, and the infrastructure challenge. New York: UNCTAD.Google Scholar
  37. UNDP. (2008). Creating value for all: Strategies for doing business with the poor. Accessed 30th January 2009.
  38. United Nations. (2001). Road map toward the implementation of the United Nations Millennium Declaration, A/56/326. New York: UN.Google Scholar
  39. United Nations. (2002). Report of the international conference on financing for development, Monterrey, Mexico, 18–22 March 2002, A/CONF.198/11. New York: UN.Google Scholar
  40. United Nations. (2003). UN norms on the responsibilities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises with regard to human rights. U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/Sub.2/2003/38/Rev.2.Google Scholar
  41. United Nations. (2005). The Millennium Development Goals report. Accessed 1st August 2006).
  42. Useem, M. (1988). Market and institutional factors in corporate contributions. California Management Review, 30(2), 77–88.Google Scholar
  43. Valor, C., & Hurtado, I. (Coord.) (2009), Las empresas españolas y la responsabilidad social corporativa. La contribución a los Objetivos de Desarrollo del Milenio. Catarata, Madrid.Google Scholar
  44. Vissner, W. (2010). A new vision for corporate social responsibility. Market Leader, 3, 34–38.Google Scholar
  45. Waddock, S., & Boldwell, C. (2007). Total responsibility management. The manual. Sheffield: Greenleaf Publishing.Google Scholar
  46. WBCSD. (2005). Business for development. Business solutions in support of the Millennium Development Goals. Accessed 30th July 2006.
  47. World Bank and International Monetary Fund. (2005). Global monitoring report. Millennium Development Goal, from consensus to momentum. Accessed 1st July 2006.
  48. World Economic Forum, & BCG (2009). The next billions. Unleashing business potential in untapped markets. Accessed 12th February 2009.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universidad Pontificia de ComillasMadridSpain

Personalised recommendations