Social connectedness: the case of the palm oil value chain
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
With growing populations the demand for edible oils is increasing and with it the demand for palm oil is increasing, expected to double by year 2020. This puts pressure on many resources, environmental, social as well as economic. The palm oil value chain, stretching from consumers to producers, is long and rather complex, consisting of many actors who are connected to the palm oil issues through their business activities. NGOs, consumers and other external actors exert power on industry to take responsibility, and the pressure upon corporations is ever increasing. Therefore, corporations indulge in corporate social responsibility activities, taking on extended responsibility for activities occurring along the value chain corporations are connected to through its business activities. This study investigates the communicated conditions of responsibility in the palm oil industry by focusing on the Swedish food processing industry, which consists of actors who process palm oil into several products, such as snacks, cookies and margarine, and places those products on the store shelves for consumers to buy. Thus, these actors have a close connection to consumers in the palm oil value chain. From looking at the institutional structures of the palm oil industry; the codes of conducts, pressure from NGOs and stakeholder-initiatives among other, conditions of responsibility are derived. Then, by using four parameters; power, privilege, interest and collective ability, the responsibility of the food processing industries is analysed in relation to other actors across the palm oil value chain. The study reveals that NGOs exert power on the palm oil industry, and that corporations constantly are under pressure. The responsibility of the Swedish food processing industry is rather large, due to a privileged position and collective ability. However, being an actor with small potential to influence indicates limited power. Interest stems largely from raising awareness of CSR activities in order to not be scrutinized by NGOs and consumers and thus keep brand image. However, other actors might have higher level of interest in the issue. This study concludes that the Swedish food processing industry is taking responsibility measures, motivated largely by external pressure from legislation, NGO and consumer pressure as well as peer pressure. Though, there are still many challenges under siege and it is argued that the current measures might not be enough in order to bring sustainable development in the palm oil industry.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 55 p.
, Master thesis in Sustainable Development, 278
Corporate Social Responsibility, Food processing industry, Palm oil, Sustainable Development, Social connectedness, Value chain
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-262038OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-262038DiVA: diva2:852060
Master Programme in Sustainable Development
2015-08-10, Hamberg, Geocentrum, Villavägen 16, Uppsala, 08:04 (English)
Mark-Herbert, Cecilia, Associate professorHakelius, Karin, Ph.D.