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The Role of Clusters for Sustainable Development: Socially Responsible Practices, Limitations and Challenges. Case study of a Bulgarian Industrial Cluster


  • Irena Slavova-Georgieva

    () (University of National and World Economy, department: Marketing and Strategic Planning)

  • Yovka Bankova

    () (University of National and World Economy, department: Marketing and Strategic Planning)


The concept of sustainable development as a global and long-term philosophy of development is directed towards achieving a balance and interconnectedness between economic activities, social aspects and the environment and offers an overall approach to solving the growing and complex global problems.This paper examines the possibilities that clusters? main characteristics ? spatial proximity, strategic collaboration and competition; interaction between stakeholders (businesses, educational institutions, non-governmental organizations) - can provide for the implementation of responsible business practices and joint corporate socially responsible activities which contribute to sustainable development.Based on publications in academic literature regarding the relationship between clusters and corporate social responsibility (CSR), known as the ?cluster? approach to CSR, as well as the results from a practical study of an industrial cluster in Bulgaria, we outline the potential of clusters to bring about not only economic benefits but also social and environmental improvements. The conditions for successful implementation of CSR actions in the cluster are studied, which for some industrial clusters can be prerequisites for improvement of their actual capacity for contribution to sustainable development and for others, they can turn into significant limitations. The results of the practical study show that in order for industrial clusters to use their potential for contribution to sustainable development, based on the main cluster characteristics (according to cluster theory), in addition to cluster activity, the social-economic and environmental context and the state of development of CSR and clusters in the respective country are also of defining importance.

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  • Irena Slavova-Georgieva & Yovka Bankova, 2017. "The Role of Clusters for Sustainable Development: Socially Responsible Practices, Limitations and Challenges. Case study of a Bulgarian Industrial Cluster," Proceedings of International Academic Conferences 5908307, International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences.
  • Handle: RePEc:sek:iacpro:5908307

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Abagail McWilliams & Donald S. Siegel & Patrick M. Wright, 2006. "Corporate Social Responsibility: Strategic Implications," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(1), pages 1-18, January.
    2. Jeremy Moon, 2007. "The contribution of corporate social responsibility to sustainable development," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(5), pages 296-306.
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    More about this item


    sustainable development; cluster; corporate social responsibility; mining industry; industrial cluster Srednogorie (Bulgaria);

    JEL classification:

    • M14 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Corporate Culture; Diversity; Social Responsibility
    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development
    • L72 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction - - - Mining, Extraction, and Refining: Other Nonrenewable Resources

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