To practice corporate responsibility : a study of how Swedish food retailers practice strategic corporate responsibility for image differentiation

Detta är en Uppsats för yrkesexamina på avancerad nivå från SLU/Dept. of Economics

Sammanfattning: Due to the increase of the emission of greenhouse gas and climate changes more and more customers demand environmentally sustainable products. The increased demand of sustainable products from cradle to grave is something that has affected the food sector. Many retailers within the food sector feel that they are less or more forced to be environmentally friendly. Nowadays many retailers have chosen to show customers and stakeholders that they want to “do good” by publishing annual sustainability reports. The Swedish food market has been one of many markets investing in being environmentally friendly. In the food retail sector ICA, Coop and Axfood have over 80 per cent of the total market share. This has resulted in them having a big impact on the food market. All three retailers have chosen to publish public sustainability reports and are thereby including Corporate Responsibility in their business strategy. This study focuses on how the retailers practice strategic corporate responsibility for image differentiation. The study has a qualitative method approach and consists of a case study. The empirical data was collected from ICA, Coop and Axfood’s sustainability reports. The data was related to strategic CR. According to findings in the study the food retailers practice strategic CR for differentiation but their environmental strategy is not always the same as their business strategy. This is an important piece if the company wants to be environmentally friendly but also for survival in the long run. If a company’s enivoronmental strategy differs from their business ditto, this is something that could harm the company’s market position in the future. CR and strategic CR is, however, a rather new field. Further research is required in this topic in order to investigate how food retailers should develop their strategy to get the best long-term effects.

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