International Journal of Sustainable Society (6 papers in press)
CSR in a controversial industry: The case of Malaysian oil palm companies
by Puan Yatim
Abstract: This paper examines the CSR engagements of listed companies in a controversial industry namely the palm oil production industry in Malaysia. The study employs content analysis method to identify and describe CSR activities reported by the companies in their 2014 annual reports. While there remains considerable variability in the reporting practices and levels of CSR disclosures, the majority of palm oil companies report extensively on environmental-related information. The second most disclosed CSR information is on workplace CSR activities, followed by the community and marketplace CSR-related information. These findings show that the majority of palm oil companies appear to heed the call of stakeholders to minimize the negative social and environmental impacts of their operations by focusing on sustainable agricultural and workplace best practices within their CSR programs.
Keywords: CSR; environmental reporting; controversial industry; content analysis; oil palm; stakeholder; legitimacy theory.
Public Libraries and National Development Plans: a case of Gweru Public Libraries on the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset)
by Mthokozisi Masumbika Ncube
Abstract: Access to information, supported by universal literacy, is an indispensable pillar underpinning national development goals and sustainable development within communities. As public libraries play this fundamental role of information access, henceforth public libraries in Zimbabwe are expected to have mechanisms to support and implement national strategies and policies, such as ZimAsset, to benefit the communities they serve. However, public libraries, that is the Gweru Memorial Library, Mtapa Public Library, and Mkoba 6 Public Library, have not been active in terms of propagating informational resources on ZimAsset. The premise of this qualitative study was to find out the reasons why the libraries were not providing informational resources on the ZimAsset, in order to draw redress measures that the libraries could institute to facilitate such national development plans. The study used total population sample to sample the two library staff members from Gweru Memorial Library, with interviews used gather data. Opportunity sampling was used to sample library patrons, with questerviews used to collect data. Expert sampling was used to sample the chairperson and vice chairperson of the Zimbabwe Library Association (ZIMLA) Midlands Branch members, and two staff members from the Housing and Community Development department at the council who dwelt with libraries, with interviews used to gather data from this sample population. The major reason why the libraries were failing to propagate information on ZimAsset was lack of resources, this included financial, materials and human resources. In addition, the study found out that the Mtapa and Mkoba 6 libraries were underdeveloped to such an extent that they were not functional. Consequently, this affected functions within the Gweru Memorial Library, as the library was overwhelmed by users to initiate and provide information on ZimAsset. However, study findings also revealed that the libraries, in particular the Gweru Memorial Library, had not undertaken continuous needs assessment to anticipate informational needs of the Gweru community, including information on ZimAsset. The library, therefore, should undertake diverse fund raising activities to generate income, and advocate for volunteers and attach
Keywords: Public libraries; Gweru Memorial Library; Gweru community; national development; ZimAsset.
The Integrated Reporting of Financial, Social and Sustainability Capitals: A Critical Review and Appraisal
by Mark Anthony Camilleri
Abstract: Organisations are increasingly disclosing financial and non-financial performance as they are encouraged to become more accountable and transparent to the providers of capital, and toward other interested parties. Most of them are clearly specifying their environmental, social and governance (ESG) content, as they report material information and resort to assurance mechanisms in their corporate disclosures. In this light, this research provides a critical review of key theoretical underpinnings that have anticipated the development of the corporations integrated disclosures. Afterwards, it describes the International Integrated Reporting Councils Framework and its guiding principles. This contribution posits that there are both costs and benefits for those organisations who intend using the Framework. In conclusion, this paper outlines future avenues as it identifies knowledge gaps in the realms of the organisations integrated reporting of capitals.
Keywords: integrated reporting; ESG reporting; CSR reporting; Sustainability Reporting; Institutional Theory; Legitimacy Theory; Stewardship Theory; Agency Theory.
What do customers expect from Social Housing providers in the UK?
by Amrit Sagoo, Malik Khalfan
Abstract: This research presents a preliminary investigation to understand the customers perception and expectations of service delivery in relation to social housing within the UK. The aim of this paper is firstly to present an overview of the customer and the main providers of social housing. Secondly, the paper explores the nature of service delivery in social housing and its importance in achieving customer satisfaction. Thirdly, this paper reports on the survey undertaken with 60 tenants (customers) residing with 6 Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) during focus group workshops. The findings from the survey suggest that there are numerous factors that affect customer expectations including quality of accommodation, fair rent, value for money, services, and quality of repairs undertaken either as part of day to day repairs or in the form of planned maintenance. These findings are expected to lead to an increased understanding of the customer expectations and the development of a migration path, which would help social housing providers target customer focussed housing maintenance services and embed strategies in their organisational strategy in a structured manner. The findings of this study could also play an important role in developing a set policies and procedures by RSLs to maintain and manage both the housing stock and the expectations of the tenants.
Keywords: Assets Management in Housing; Social housing providers; Registered Social Landlords (RSLs); Social housing tenants; maintenance strategies; UK.rn.
Organic farming and fair trade approach: the experience of Italian Association for Organic Agriculture (AIAB) the case of Umbria
by Michela Ascani, Lucio Cecchini, Sergio Pedini
Abstract: There is a strong growth of organic and fair trade movements and in both cases, the rules have incorporated new components following the society's expectations. Direct market local experiments in which the movements approach towards criteria and determinations that tend to have an equalized relation have been taking place. This study regards the experience of GODO - Solidarity Purchase Group in Umbria Region (Italy), with the aim of investigating the behavior and the main characteristics of both consumers and farmers GODOs members, always related to organic and fair trade aspects, considering consumers and farmers differences.. The results point out that the short-chain marketing experience is a real example of the fact that it is absolutely possible and feasible to have a new approach between the two movements, but the research showed that this is not true to all kinds of consumers and farmers.
Keywords: organic movement; fair trade movement; cluster analysis; short chain.
Couples and Breadwinning in Low-Income Dual-Earner Households in India
by JEHANGIR BHARUCHA
Abstract: This study delves into gender and money among low income households in India. A fairly representative sample of low income couples with at least ten years of marriage and at least two children was chosen. It brings out how it is the husbands authority that is always in the forefront. Half or more than half of the household income is contributed by the earnings of the wife in 62% of the cases. Employment of women in no way leads to their empowerment among the Indian economically backward classes. Various aspects of household financial management have been investigated.
Keywords: Indian couples; finances; conflicts; empowerment; marital conflict; household finances.