Title: Contradictory perceptions on corporate social responsibility practices in the Brazilian tobacco industry

Authors: Marilia Bonzanini Bossle; Daiane Mülling Neutzling; Douglas Wegner; Marcelo Trevisan; Marli Knorst; Luis Felipe Machado Do Nascimento

Addresses: Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Av. Washington Luis, 855/409, Zip Code: 90.010-460, Porto Alegre, Brazil ' Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS), Av. Ipiranga, 6681, Zip Code: 90619-900, Porto Alegre, Brazil ' University of Vale do Rio dos Sinos (UNISINOS), Av. Independência 1750, Zip Code: 96815-000, Santa Cruz do Sul, Brazil ' Federal University of Santa Maria (UFSM), Av. Roraima, 1000, 74C/4309, Zip Code: 97.105-900, Santa Maria, Brazil ' Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Ramiro Barcelos 2350/2050, Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, Zip Code: 90035-903, Porto Alegre, Brazil ' Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Av. Washington Luis, 855/414, Zip Code: 90.010-460, Porto Alegre, Brazil

Abstract: Brazil hosts the main tobacco cluster in the world. Through an integrated production system, tobacco companies have been important to the development of the region and have used corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices along the production chain to respond to the criticism of their product. This paper seeks to identify the contradictions in CSR practices in the tobacco industry in Brazil. We interviewed 16 people who represent the main organisations in Brazil's tobacco industry, organising their perceptions into three groups: 'pro-tobacco industry', 'pro-tobacco growers', and 'pro-public health'. The results show that CSR practices are considered as effective means to legitimise this sector, minimising the tobacco industry's negative image and generating support for its permanence in the market. The discussion of the controversy regarding CSR activities contributes to the understanding of the practices employed and provides a glimpse into the future of tobacco farming in Brazil and other developing countries.

Keywords: corporate social responsibility; CSR; tobacco chain production; regional development; controversial sectors; Brazil; tobacco industry; tobacco farming; developing countries.

DOI: 10.1504/LAJMSD.2015.073060

Latin American Journal of Management for Sustainable Development, 2015 Vol.2 No.3/4, pp.193 - 210

Received: 14 May 2014
Accepted: 20 Sep 2014

Published online: 13 Nov 2015 *

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