HomeIdeaEDITORIAL. Expo 2015 Milan, brands and sustainability. Looking for a new ...

EDITORIAL. Expo 2015 Milan, brands and sustainability. Looking for a new paradigm, from CSR to CSV?

Voluntary certification marks in various capacities attributable to sustainability - in the broadest sense of the term - deserve recognition and as much attention, in our times, pending the development of a new paradigm. Some food for thought.

Voluntary brands

It is possible to appreciate the voluntary brands governed by European regulations such as the 'organic' logo, the 'eco-label' on non-food consumer goods, the designations that certify the link of some foods to traditions and territories (so-called 'Geographical Indications ', e.g. DOP, IGP, TSG, and DOCG, DOC, IGT on wines). As well as private labels, in particular those that guarantee the sustainability of fish products (e.g. 'Friends of The Sea', MSC), those linked to the respect of workers throughout the supply chain (SA8000), to environmental protection and local communities (eg UTZ, 'Friends of Earth', 'Rainforest Alliance',), to 'fair trade'. In addition to international standards such as ISO 14000 (in environmental matters) and ISO 26000 (guidelines for social responsibility, a sort of framework standard). 


And the monitoring of Consumer associations and NGO, in support of the Supervisory Authorities, so that the authentic meanings of these brands are not debased or betrayed by fraudulent activities. We need the complaint, the 'name & shame', but also exemplary punishments, to prevent that isolated cases may compromise consumer confidence in the relevant supply chains.

Corporate Social Responsibility

However, we must not lose sight of the overall integrity of the companies that sometimes use these and other brands for the express purpose of covering other shortcomings (so-called greenwashing). The paradigm of the so-called 'Corporate Social Responsibility' - too often abused by 'Corporation' responsible for serious crimes, from land grabbing to deforestation and pollution, corruption, violation of trade union rights - therefore appears now obsolete and inadequate for legitimate conscious consumer expectations.

Creating shared value

Philip Kotler recently introduced the concept of CSV, 'Creating Shared Values'. Since these are values ​​to be shared with communities of stakeholders as broad as possible - to tend towards universal values ​​- attributing their 'creation' to a single organization does not seem realistic. We therefore prefer to decline the acronym in 'Contributing to Shared Values', and invite our more attentive readers to start a valuable reflection, which may also consider some of the themes developed around the so-called B-Corp ('Benefit-Corporation').

(Dario Dongo)

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.

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