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Variation in implementation of corporate social responsibility practices in emerging economies' firms: A survey of Chilean fruit exporters


Laurens Klerkx is at Wageningen University, Communication and Innovation Studies Group, Wageningen, The Netherlands. E-mail:

Pablo Villalobos and Alejandra Engler are at the Universidad de Talca, Departamento de Economía Agraria, Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias, Talca, Chile. E-mail: and


As in many sectors in emerging economies, the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become important for exporting agri-food firms in view of their integration in global supply chains. The purpose of this research was to assess the implementation by Chilean fruit exporters of CSR practices that go beyond minimum legal requirements. The principal results are that, although socio-economic components of CSR such as poverty reduction and socially just working conditions receive much attention, firms consider comprehensive environmental practices as less important. The results also indicate a slightly higher implementation of comprehensive CSR practices by large firms as compared to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The main conclusion is that, although CSR is increasingly considered by Chilean firms, among SMEs in particular, more attention needs to be paid to raising awareness among managers about CSR practices and to providing assistance in their implementation. This supports findings on CSR implementation in other emerging economies that an active role of civil society and industry organizations is key and that targeted support strategies are needed to install a holistic awareness of CSR and help firms to improve on those aspects of CSR that are relatively underdeveloped.