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Elusive corporate social responsibility (CSR) in global shipping

Sampson, Helen ORCID: and Ellis, Neil ORCID: 2015. Elusive corporate social responsibility (CSR) in global shipping. Journal of Global Responsibility 6 (1) , pp. 80-98. 10.1108/JGR-08-2014-0028

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Purpose – This paper aims to, using the example of the highly globalised shipping industry, shed light upon the practice of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the extent to which it might be relied upon to fill international regulatory gaps. Design/methodology/approach – The paper draws upon findings from a questionnaire study of shipboard accommodation. Findings – The paper finds that seafarers’ welfare remains under-considered by many companies. It suggests that the consolidation of regulation pertaining to seafarer living conditions under the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) has been timely. However, a priority for the international community should be to develop the relatively low standards currently required by existing regulation to provide for better standards of seafarer welfare across the global fleet. Research limitations/implications – This evidence from the shipping industry challenges arguments for the normative basis for CSR and lends weight to those suggesting that the apparent exercise of CSR by multinational companies should broadly be understood as an exercise in public relations. Social implications – The research points to the need for the MLC to be amended to raise the mandatory standards of shipboard accommodation in the merchant shipping industry. Originality/value – The paper contributes unique data on seafarers’ living conditions and augments the body of knowledge concerning the exercise of CSR in global sectors.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Seafarers International Research Centre (SIRC)
Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
Additional Information: Pdf uploaded in accordance with publisher's policy at (accessed 09/02/2016)
Publisher: Emerald
ISSN: 2041-2568
Funders: The Lloyd’s Register Educational Trust
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2024 14:19

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