Emerging Market Multinationals and International Corporate Social Responsibility Standards: Bringing Animals to the Fore
The literature presents a broad approach to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which aggregates a diversity of issues, such as the environment, labor conditions, and human rights. We addressed the impact of increasing CSR demands during the internationalization of emerging market multinationals (EMNs) on one particular subject, animal welfare (AW). This subject raises important ethical concerns, especially as we understand that animals are sentient beings. Through content analysis of annual reports, we tracked the evolution of AW-CSR activities throughout the internationalization of two large Brazilian meat-processing multinationals as they accessed markets with complex AW regulations. We also synthetized findings on broiler chicken on-farm AW research in Brazil and conducted interviews to gauge the impact of CSR standards on animals. Our findings show that, although EMNs that enter developed markets engage with various standards, the impacts of standard enforcement on actual welfare are not straightforward and call for broader AW and animal ethics developments. Uneven results among AW criteria indicate that some aspects are prioritized over others. Furthermore, some actions of actors such as EMNs and low-tier suppliers seem to counterbalance the expected impact of normative pressures to change the lives of animals for the better. We conclude that AW standards may improve AW in emerging markets; but these standards do not appear to be sufficiently stringent, and require improvements to have a more significant positive impact. A major signal emerging from this research is the fundamental need to broaden the animal ethics debate regarding the use of animals to produce meat.
KeywordsAnimal ethics Animal welfare Corporate social responsibility Emerging market multinationals
The authors would like to thank the section editor Suhaib Riaz and three anonymous reviewers, who have made significant contributions to this paper.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Certificate Number 2.963.757, October 16, 2018.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- ABIEC - Associação Brasileira das Indústrias Exportadoras de Carne (Brazilian Meet Exporters Association). Relatório Anual (Annual Report). (2018). Retrieved October 10, 2018, from https://abiec.siteoficial.ws/images/upload/sumario-pt-010217.pdf.
- ABPA - Associação Brasileira de Proteína Animal (Brazilian Animal Protein Association). Relatório Annual (Annual Report). (2018) Retrieved October 10, 2018, from https://abpa-br.com.br/storage/files/relatorio-anual-2018.pdf. https://www.iatp.org/sites/default/files/2017-11/2017_11_30_RiseBigMeat_f.pdf.
- Arenas, D., & Ayuso, S. (2016). Unpacking transnational corporate responsibility: Coordination mechanisms and orientations. Business Ethics: A European Review, 25(3), 217–237.Google Scholar
- Bain, C. (2010). Governing the global value chain: GLOBALGAP and the Chilean fresh fruit industry. International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture & Food, 17(1), 1–13.Google Scholar
- Bain, C., Deaton, B., & Busch, L. (2005). Reshaping the agri-food system: The role of standards, standard makers and third-party certifiers. In Agricultural governance: Globalization and the new politics of regulation (pp. 71–83). Routledge: Taylor & Francis Group.Google Scholar
- Barrientos, S., & Smith, S. (2007). Do workers benefit from ethical trade? Assessing codes of labour practice in global production systems. Third World Quarterly, 28(4), 713–729.Google Scholar
- Bessei, W. (2006). Welfare of broilers: a review. World’s Poultry Science Journal, 62(3), 446–455.Google Scholar
- Blokhuis, H. J., Veissier, I., Miele, M., & Jones, B. (2010). The Welfare Quality® project and beyond: Safeguarding farm animal well-being. Acta Agriculturae Scand Section A, 60(3), 129–140.Google Scholar
- Blowfield, M., & Frynas, J. G. (2005). Setting new agendas: critical perspectives on Corporate Social Responsibility in the developing world. International Affairs, 81(3), 499–513.Google Scholar
- Bock, B., & De Jong, I. (2010). The assessment of animal welfare on broiler farms. In Welfare Quality Reports No. 18. Cardiff: Cardiff University Cardiff.Google Scholar
- Boissy, A., Manteuffel, G., Jensen, M. B., Moe, R. O., Spruijt, B., Keeling, L. J., & Bakken, M. (2007). Assessment of positive emotions in animals to improve their welfare. Physiology & Behavior, 92(3), 375–397.Google Scholar
- Botreau, R., Veissier, I., & Perny, P. (2009). Overall assessment of animal welfare: strategy adopted in Welfare Quality. Animal Welfare, 18(4), 363–370.Google Scholar
- Brammer, S., Jackson, G., & Matten, D. (2012). Corporate social responsibility and institutional theory: New perspectives on private governance. Socio-Economic Review, 10(1), 3–28.Google Scholar
- BRF. (2016). Annual report 2016. Retrieved September 08, 2017, from https://ri.brf-global.com/en/financial-information/annual-reports/.
- Broom, D. M. (1991). Animal welfare: concepts and measurement. Journal of Animal Science, 69(10), 4167–4175.Google Scholar
- Broom, D. M. (2014). Sentience and animal welfare. Wallingford: CABI.Google Scholar
- Broom, D. M. (2016). Considering animals’ feelings: Précis of Sentience and animal welfare (Broom 2014). Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling, 1(5), 1.Google Scholar
- Burghardt, G. M. (2009). Ethics and animal consciousness: How rubber the ethical ruler? Journal of Social Issues, 65(3), 499–521.Google Scholar
- Campbell, J. L. (2007). Why would corporations behave in socially responsible ways? An institutional theory of corporate social responsibility. Academy of Management Review, 32(3), 946–967.Google Scholar
- Currie, G., Davies, J., & Ferlie, E. (2016). A call for university-based business Schools to “Lower Their Walls:” collaborating with other academic departments in pursuit of social value. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 15(4), 742–755.Google Scholar
- Czycholl, I., Büttner, K., grosseBeilage, E., & Krieter, J. (2015). Review of the assessment of animal welfare with special emphasis on the Welfare Quality® animal welfare assessment protocol for growing pigs. ArchivfuerTierzucht, 58(2), 237.Google Scholar
- DiMaggio, P., & Powell, W. (1983). The iron cage revisited: Collective rationality and institutional isomorphism in organizational fields. American Sociological Review, 48(2), 147–160.Google Scholar
- Doh, J. P., Littell, B., & Quigley, N. R. (2015). CSR and sustainability in emerging markets: Societal, institutional, and organizational influences. Organizational Dynamics, 44(2), 112–120.Google Scholar
- Donaldson, B., & Carter, C. (2016). The future of meat without animals (p. 336). Lanham: Rowmand & Littlefield International.Google Scholar
- Duarte, F. (2010). Working with corporate social responsibility in Brazilian companies: The role of managers’ values in the maintenance of CSR cultures. Journal of Business Ethics, 96(3), 355–368.Google Scholar
- European Union. (2007). Treaty of Lisbon. Retrieved April 11, 2018, from https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A12007L%2FTXTlex.europa.eu/legalcontent/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.C_.2007.306.01.0001.01.ENG.
- FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). (2017). Livestock production in Latin America and the Caribbean. Retrieved November 10, 2017, from https://www.fao.org/americas/perspectivas/produccion-pecuaria/en/.
- Federici, J. F., Vanderhasselt, R., Sans, E. C. O., Tuyttens, F. A. M., Souza, A. P. O., & Molento, C. F. M. (2016). Assessment of Broiler Chicken Welfare in Southern Brazil. Revista Brasileira de Ciência Avícola, 18(1), 133–140.Google Scholar
- Fiaschi, D., Giuliani, E., & Nieri, F. (2017). Overcoming the liability of origin by doing no-harm: Emerging country firms’ social irresponsibility as they go global. Journal of World Business, 52, 546–563.Google Scholar
- Fraser, D., Weary, D. M., Pajor, E. A., & Milligan, B. N. (1997). A scientific conception of animal welfare that reflects ethical concerns. Animal Welfare, 6, 187–205.Google Scholar
- Fundação, D. C. 2015. Brazilian multinationals ranking 2015. Retrieved December 06, 2016, from https://www.fdc.org.br/blogespacodialogo/Documents/2015/ranking_fdc_multinacionais_brasileiras2015.pdf.
- Gereffi, G., & Fernandez-Stark, K. (2011). Global value chain analysis: A primer. North Carolina, USA: Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness (CGGC), Duke University.Google Scholar
- Gereffi, G., & Fernandez-Stark, K. (2016). Global value chain analysis: A primer. Duke University: Center on Globalization, Governance &. Competitiveness (CGGC). Retrieved June 06, 2018, from http://hdl.handle.net/10161/12488.
- Gereffi, G., Humphrey, J., & Sturgeon, T. (2005). The governance of global value chains. Review of International Political Economy, 12(1), 78–104.Google Scholar
- Gereffi, G., & Lee, J. (2009). A global value chain approach to food safety and quality standards. Global Health Diplomacy for Chronic Disease Prevention Working Paper Series, February. Retrieved October 11, 2017, from https://gvcc.duke.edu/pdfs/GlobalHealth/Gereffi_Lee_GVCFoodSafetyl_4Feb2009.pdf.
- Gereffi, G., & Lee, J. (2012). Why the world suddenly cares about global supply chains. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 48(3), 24–32.Google Scholar
- GlobalG.A.P. (2018a). GlobalG.A.P Retail & Food Service Members. Retrieved March 07, 2017, from https://www.globalgap.org/uk_en/who-we-are/members/retailers-food-service.
- GlobalG.A.P. (2018b). GlobalG.A.P: What we do. Retrieved March 07, 2017, from https://www.globalgap.org/uk_en/what-we-do/.
- Jamali, D. (2010). The CSR of MNC subsidiaries in developing countries: global, local, substantive or diluted? Journal of Business Ethics, 93, 181–200.Google Scholar
- JBS (2016). Annual report 2016. Retrieved September 09, 2017, from http://jbss.infoinvest.com.br/enu/s-7-enu.html?idioma=enu.
- Jones, R. (1996). Fear and adaptability in poultry: insights, implications and imperatives. World’s Poultry Science Journal, 52, 131–173.Google Scholar
- Klerkx, L., Villalobos, P., & Engler, A. (2012). Variation in implementation of corporate social responsibility practices in emerging economies’ firms: A survey of Chilean fruit exporters. In Natural Resources Forum (Vol. 36, 2, pp. 88–100). Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.Google Scholar
- Lee, J., & Gereffi, G. (2015). Global value chains, rising power firms and economic and social upgrading. Critical Perspectives on International Business, 11(3/4), 319–339.Google Scholar
- Lipsey, M. W., & Wilson, D. B. (2001). Practical meta-analysis. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, Inc.Google Scholar
- Lowe, M., & Gereffi, G. (2009). A value chain analysis of the US beef and dairy industries. Duke University: Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness.Google Scholar
- Lund-Thomsen, P., & Lindgreen, A. (2014). Corporate social responsibility in global value chains: Where are we now and where are we going? Journal of Business Ethics, 123(1), 11–22.Google Scholar
- Maciel, C. T., & Bock, B. B. (2013). Modern politics in animal welfare: The changing character of governance of animal welfare and the role of private standards. International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food, 20(2), 219–235.Google Scholar
- Maloni, M. J., & Brown, M. E. (2006). Corporate social responsibility in the supply chain: an application in the food industry. Journal of Business Ethics, 68(1), 35–52.Google Scholar
- Mamic, I. (2005). Managing global supply chain: the sports footwear, apparel and retail sectors. Journal Of business Ethics, 59(1–2), 81–100.Google Scholar
- Marano, V., Tashman, P., & Kostova, T. (2017). Escaping the iron cage: Liabilities of origin and CSR reporting of emerging market multinational enterprises. Journal of International Business Studies, 48(3), 386–408.Google Scholar
- MarketLine (2016a). Company Profile: BRF S.A—extracted from Thompson One.Google Scholar
- MarketLine (2016b). Company Profile: JBS S.A—extracted from Thompson One.Google Scholar
- Martínez-Ferrero, J., & García-Sánchez, I. M. (2017). Coercive, normative and mimetic isomorphism as determinants of the voluntary assurance of sustainability reports. International Business Review, 26(1), 102–118.Google Scholar
- Miele, M., & Lever, J. (2013). Civilizing the market for welfare friendly products in Europe? The techno-ethics of the Welfare Quality® assessment. Geoforum, 48, 63–72.Google Scholar
- Muller, A. (2006). Global versus local CSR strategies. European Management Journal, 24(2– 3), 189–198.Google Scholar
- Nadvi, K. (2008). Global standards, global governance and the organization of global value chains. Journal of Economic Geography, 8(3), 323–343.Google Scholar
- Notteboom, T., Parola, F., Satta, G., & Penco, L. (2015). Disclosure as a tool in stakeholder relations management: a longitudinal study on the Port of Rotterdam. International Journal of Logistics Research and Applications, 18(3), 228–250.Google Scholar
- Ponte, S. (2007). Governance in the value chain for South African Wine. Danish Institute for International Studies – TRALAC Working Paper, 9. Retrieved August 07, 2017, from https://www.tralac.org.
- Ponte, S., & Gibbon, P. (2005). Quality standards, convention and the governance of global value chains. Economy and Society, 34(1), 1–31.Google Scholar
- Poulsen, R. T., Ponte, S., & Lister, J. (2016). Buyer-driven greening? Cargo-owners and environmental upgrading in maritime shipping. Geoforum, 68, 57–68.Google Scholar
- Ransom, E. (2007). The rise of agricultural animal welfare standards as understood through a neo-institutional lens. International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food, 15(3), 26.Google Scholar
- Sans, E. C. O., Federici, J. F., Dahlke, F., & Molento, C. F. M. (2014). Evaluation of free-range broilers using the Welfare Quality® protocol. Revista Brasileira de Ciência Avícola, 16(3), 297–306.Google Scholar
- Schmidt, F. L., & Hunter, J. E. (2014). Methods of meta-analysis: Correcting error and bias in research findings. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Sharma, S., & Schlesinger, S. (2017). The Rise of Big Meat: Brazil’s Extractive Industry. Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. Retrieved 2017, from https://www.iatp.org/sites/default/files/2017-11/2017_11_30_RiseBigMeat_f.pdf.
- Shaw, J. D., & Ertug, G. (2017). The suitability of simulations and meta-analyses for submissions to academy of management journal. Academy of Management Journal, 60(6), 2045–2049.Google Scholar
- Silva, R. B. T. R., Nääs, I. A., Broom, D. M., & O’Driscoll, K. (2011). Poultry welfare scenario in South America: norms and regulations. Revista Brasileira de Ciência Avícola, 13(2), 83–89.Google Scholar
- Sinkovics, N., Hoque, S. F., & Sinkovics, R. R. (2016). Rana Plaza collapse aftermath: Are CSR compliance and auditing pressures effective? Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 29(4), 617–649.Google Scholar
- Souza, A. P. O., & Molento, C. F. M. (2015). The contribution of broiler chicken welfare certification at farm level to enhancing overall animal welfare: The case of Brazil. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 28(6), 1033–1051.Google Scholar
- Souza, A. P. O., Sans, E. C., Müller, B. R., & Molento, C. F. M. (2015). Broiler chicken welfare assessment in GLOBALGAP® certified and non-certified farms in Brazil. Animal Welfare, 24(1), 45–54.Google Scholar
- Souza, A. P. et al (2018). Bien-être animal en Amérique du Sud: état des lieux. In S. Hild & L. Schweitzer (Eds.), Le bien-être animal: de la science au droit (pp. 135–167). Paris: L'Harmattan.Google Scholar
- Stephens, N., Dunsford, I., Di Silvio, L., Ellis, M., Glencross, A., & Sexton, A. (2018). Bringing cultured meat to market: Technical, socio-political, and regulatory challenges in cellular agriculture. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 78, 155–166.Google Scholar
- Thite, M., Wilkinson, A., Budhwar, P., & Mathews, J. A. (2014). Internationalization of emerging Indian multinationals: Linkage, leverage and learning (LLL) perspective. International Business Review, 25(1), 435–443.Google Scholar
- Tennent, R., & Lockie, S. (2012). Production relations under GLOBALG. A.P.: The relative influence of standards and retail market structure. Sociologia ruralis, 52(1), 31–47.Google Scholar
- Tuyttens, F., Federici, J. F., Vanderhasselt, R. F., Goethals, K., Duchateau, L., Sans, E. C. O., & Molento, C. F. M. (2015). Assessment of welfare of Brazilian and Belgian broiler flocks using the Welfare Quality protocol. Poultry Science, 94(8), 1758–1766.Google Scholar
- Valentine, J. C., Pigott, T. D., & Rothstein, H. R. (2010). How many studies do you need? A primer on statistical power for meta-analysis. Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, 35(2), 215–247.Google Scholar
- Van Horne, P. L. M., & Achterbosch, T. J. (2008). Animal welfare in poultry production systems: Impact of EU standards on world trade. World’s Poultry Science Journal, 64(1), 40–52.Google Scholar
- Veissier, I., Butterworth, A., Bock, B., & Roe, E. (2008). European approaches to ensure good animal welfare. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 113(4), 279–297.Google Scholar
- Vesterinen, H. M., Sena, E. S., Egan, K. J., Hirst, T. C., Churolov, L., Currie, G. L., & Macleod, M. R. (2014). Meta-analysis of data from animal studies: a practical guide. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 221, 92–102.Google Scholar
- Von Keyserlingk, M. A., & Hötzel, M. J. (2015). The ticking clock: Addressing farm animal welfare in emerging countries. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental ethics, 28(1), 179–195.Google Scholar
- Welfare Quality (2009). Welfare Quality® assessment protocol for poultry (broilers, laying hens). Welfare Quality ® Consortium, Lelystad, the Netherlands, 113.Google Scholar
- Yin, J., & Zhang, Y. (2012). Institutional dynamics and corporate social responsibility (CSR) in an emerging country context: Evidence from China. Journal of Business Ethics, 111(2), 301–316.Google Scholar
- Zyglidopoulos, S., Williamson, P., & Symeou, P. (2016). The corporate social performance of developing country multinationals. Business Ethics Quarterly, 26(3), 379–406.Google Scholar