Emerging Market Multinationals and International Corporate Social Responsibility Standards: Bringing Animals to the Fore

  • Germano Glufke ReisEmail author
  • Carla Forte Maiolino Molento
Original Paper


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.


Animal 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.

Ethical Approval

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

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Germano Glufke Reis
    • 1
    Email author
  • Carla Forte Maiolino Molento
    • 2
  1. 1.Management SchoolUFPR Federal University of ParanaCuritibaBrazil
  2. 2.Animal Welfare LaboratoryUFPR Federal University of ParanaCuritibaBrazil

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