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From Multifunctionality and Sustainability of Agriculture to the Social Responsibility of the Agri-food System

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  • Werner Hediger

    (, Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft, Chur, Schweiz)

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    Abstract

    With regard to the agri-food system, we investigate the relationship between the concepts of multifunctionality and sustainability of agriculture and the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR). The latter provides a theoretical link between the views on agriculture’s multifunctionality and sustainability, and between their welfare economic and capital-theoretic foundations. It encompasses a wider range of societal concerns and actors involved. Those are environmental and socio-economic impacts of food production, processing and trade, the double role of citizens as consumers and tax payers, agri-food chain governance and the role of market power that allows downstream companies in this value chain to absorb tax money and resource rents. All these issues must be taken into account when assessing the agri-food system from a sustainable development perspective. In sum, this underlines the need of developing a broader perspective that involves concern about the social responsibilities and performance of all actors along this value chain. Building on this background, we propose the concept of CSR to complement those of multifunctionality and sustainability in order to contribute to a more enlightened debate on agricultural and food policy and its contribution to sustainable development.

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    File URL: http://repec.agrarsoziologie.ch/YSA/YSA2013/hediger13.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Swiss Society for Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology in its journal Yearbook of Socioeconomics in Agriculture.

    Volume (Year): 6 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 59-80

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    Handle: RePEc:cha:ysa001:v:6:y:2013:i:1:p:59-80

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    Web page: http://www.agrarsoziologie.ch
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    Related research

    Keywords: agricultural policy; multifunctionality; sustainability; social responsibility; market power; agri-food chain; governance;

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    References

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    1. Michael Maloni & Michael Brown, 2006. "Corporate Social Responsibility in the Supply Chain: An Application in the Food Industry," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 68(1), pages 35-52, September.
    2. S McCorriston & CW Morgan & AJ Rayner, 2001. "Price transmission: the interaction between market power and returns to scale," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 28(2), pages 143-159, June.
    3. Monika Hartmann, 2011. "Corporate social responsibility in the food sector," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 38(3), pages 297-324, August.
    4. David P. Baron, 2007. "Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Entrepreneurship," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(3), pages 683-717, 09.
    5. Werner Hediger & Bernard Lehmann, 2007. "Multifunctional Agriculture and the Preservation of Environmental Benefits," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 143(IV), pages 449-470, December.
    6. Markus Kitzmueller & Jay Shimshack, 2012. "Economic Perspectives on Corporate Social Responsibility," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(1), pages 51-84, March.
    7. Patrick Caron & Ernest Reig & Dirk Roep & Werner Hediger & Tristan Le Cotty & Denis Barthelemy & Anna Hadynska & Jakub Hadynski & Henk A. Oostindie & Eric Sabourin, 2008. "Multifunctionality: refocusing a spreading, loose and fashionable concept for looking at sustainability?," International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 7(4/5), pages 301-318.
    8. Steve McCorriston, 2002. "Why should imperfect competition matter to agricultural economists?," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 29(3), pages 349-371, July.
    9. Bromley, Daniel W & Hodge, Ian, 1990. "Private Property Rights and Presumptive Policy Entitlements: Reconsidering the Premises of Rural Policy," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 17(2), pages 197-214.
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    11. Hediger, Werner, 2000. "Sustainable development and social welfare," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 481-492, March.
    12. Michael C. Jensen, 2010. "Value Maximization, Stakeholder Theory, and the Corporate Objective Function," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 22(1), pages 32-42.
    13. David P. Baron, 2001. "Private Politics, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Integrated Strategy," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(1), pages 7-45, 03.
    14. Besley, Timothy & Ghatak, Maitreesh, 2007. "Retailing public goods: The economics of corporate social responsibility," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(9), pages 1645-1663, September.
    15. John Hartwick, 2001. "National Accounting with Natural and Other Types of Capital," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 19(4), pages 329-341, August.
    16. Richard J. Sexton, 2013. "Market Power, Misconceptions, and Modern Agricultural Markets," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 95(2), pages 209-219.
    17. John Gowdy, 2005. "Corporate responsibility and economic theory: an anthropological perspective," International Journal of Sustainable Development, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 8(4), pages 302-314.
    18. Hediger, Werner, 2010. "Welfare and capital-theoretic foundations of corporate social responsibility and corporate sustainability," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 518-526, August.
    19. Paton, David & Siegel, Donald S., 2005. "The economics of corporate social responsibility: an overview of the special issue," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 309-312, September.
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