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Social responsibility and import of certified organic food: A case study of 13 Swedish firms
Södertörn University, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The thesis explores how social responsibility is addressed by firms importing certified organic food from developing countries to Sweden. The approaches to social responsibility of 13 Swedish firms were investigated, of which the majority were small or medium size (< 250 employees) and none belonged to the market-dominating group of grocery retailers. The results show that a majority of the firms consider social responsibility in relation with their suppliers but in view of scarce resources trust intermediary firms for follow up. Many mix ethical trading approaches focused on production conditions, and fair trade initiatives focused on community development. Companies experience uncertainty as to whether organic certification that includes requirements for social responsibility will render a higher price premium. The co-existence of multiple social schemes related to organic trade enables flexibility but in some cases resulted in a perception of subjectivity and differentiation of control measures, which risks to result in a loss of systemic trust. Working through intermediaries has benefits but at the same time leads to the loss of connection to the place and people that the social responsibility targets. Organic certification schemes need to be clearer about the scope and purpose of included social aspects. Further research is needed to understand and compare the social effects and differences at farm or factory level, in relation to the four identified approaches to social responsibility in organic trade. The four approaches were:  organic certification according to a standard with social requirements, combining organic certification according to minimum production standard either with a separate social label, or with a business supplier code of conduct, or finally the belief that conversion to organic farming will automatically bring about social benefits.

Abstract [sv]

Uppsatsen undersöker hur företag som importerar certifierade ekologiska livsmedel från utvecklingsländer arbetar med socialt ansvar. 13 svenska firmor intervjuades om sina förhållningssätt, varav de flesta var små eller medelstora (<250 anställda) och ingen tillhörde de marknadsdominerade dagligvaruhandelskedjorna. Resultaten visar att en majoritet av företagen tar upp socialt ansvar med sina underleverantörer, men då resurserna är begränsade handlar de flesta via mellanhänder som också ansvarar för uppföljningen. Företagen upplever en osäkerhet kring om ekologisk certifiering som inkluderar socialt ansvar berättigar till ett högre pris på varan. Förekomsten av olika sociala program relaterat till ekologisk produktion möjliggör flexibilitet men uppfattas också av vissa som subjektivt och oklart i fråga om kontrollmekanismerna. Detta riskerar att minska tilliten till systemet. Det har fördelar att arbeta via mellanhänder men samtidigt förloras den direkta kopplingen till platsen för produktionen och till producenterna. Ytterligare forskning behövs för att förstå och jämföra vilka sociala effekter och olikheter på producentnivå som kan uppnås med de fyra identiferade förhållningssätten till socialt ansvar: Ekologisk certifiering enligt en standard som innehåller socialt ansvar, en kombination av minimistandard för ekologisk produktion och separat social certifiering eller kombinerad med företagets egen sociala uppförandekod, och slutligen synsättet att ekologisk produktion automatiskt resulterar i bättre sociala förutsättningar

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 73 p.
Keyword [en]
Organic food, Import, Convention Theory, Organic certification, Social responsibility
Keyword [sv]
Ekologiska livsmedel, Import, Convention Theory, Ekologisk certifiering, socialt ansvar
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-29432OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-29432DiVA: diva2:900101
Subject / course
Environmental Science
Uppsok
Life Earth Science
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2016-02-03 Created: 2016-02-03 Last updated: 2016-02-03Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
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Language
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