Source: The Society for Business Ethics Newsletter, Summer 2010
In this edition of the newsletter, [the Society for Business Ethics] posts a report from the Institute for the Study of Corporate Social Responsibility, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada, and the Canadian Business Ethics Research Network (CBERN) on an ongoing collaborative case study project focusing on Canadian mining companies operating in developing countries:
Canada has a significant mining presence in developing countries, and the role and responsibilities of Canadian mining companies has become a major concern of the Canadian government and interested stakeholders, both in Canada and in the affected developing countries. This is an area of activity where there has been considerable conflict and disagreement about "what is happening and why it is happening." The problem is amplified when alternatives to "single perspective" case studies are not readily available. Many case studies suffer from a credibility problem, as they are perceived to be biased in favour of one particular perspective. This multi-perspective, collaborative CSR case study pilot project aims to address this problem.
The methodology of this initiative is modeled on the 2006 "Canadian National Roundtables on Corporate Social Responsibility in the Extractive Industries Sector" process. Through this innovative approach, persons with significantly divergent views were able to express those views within a neutral, structured dialogue. This dialogue facilitated the development of consensus-based policy proposals.
The research teams in this pilot project have followed a similar model to develop case studies around three different mines: Kinross Gold's Maricunga Mine in Chile, Golden Star's mine operations at Ghana, and Kinross Gold's Rio Paracatu Mineraïção Mine in Brazil. Each team was an international collaboration with partners from these developing countries including experts from the private sector, government, civil society organizations, and scholars from a variety of disciplines. The methodology and results of the case studies are posted online at .
The case studies provide new pedagogical tools for discussing CSR in the classroom. Ultimately, the case studies are expected to contribute to policy-relevant observations on how (or whether) mining companies can contribute to sustainable development at the local community and national levels. Although the pilot phase of this project has focused on mining companies, it is anticipated that this approach would be relevant for other CSR contexts, such as the apparel sector, toy manufacturing sector, or the food and drug manufacturing sector in both developed and developing countries.
As this is a pilot project, the participants are keen to receive comments in effort to improve the methodology and substantive understanding of the issues, and identify any errors. If you are interested in providing comments, discussing new initiatives based on this model, or for information about the Institute and for documentation on the Multiperspective Collaborative CSR Pilot Case Study Project please visit our website or contact Dr. Kernaghan Webb, Lead Project Investigator. For more information about collaborative research projects facilitated through CBERN visit www.cbern.ca.