Base of the Pyramid and Corporate Social responsibility: Why they interact and how

Abstract : For about two decades a number of Multinational corporations (MNCs) have developed strategies targeted towards low-income consumer with variable financial success. The dissertation revisits these strategies, known as Base of the Pyramid (BoP), in three essays. The first essay explores the underlying reasons for pursuing these strategies. It is shown that in some companies BoP initiatives have been relegated to philanthropic programs or simply dismantled, while in other cases they have repositioned their value proposition in the corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy of the company. This logic opens a full range of financial and extra-financial returns to justify the conceded investments. The analysis is carried out through a case study over seven MNCs on fifteen years of experimentations. The second essay discusses the internal challenge for moving a BoP CSR initiative, somewhat protected, towards a business as usual profitable project for the company. This analysis is based on a longitudinal case study of Schneider Electric and its Access to Energy program over the years 2011-2015. The BoP initiative initially benefited from the reformulation of the CSR strategy along core values to face the global energy challenge. As the initiative developed, growth and performance objectives were assigned. The essay analyzes the corresponding process. The organizational barriers to successfully overcome this strategic change are identified and related to the management control in place in the company. The third essay addresses the accountability and legitimacy of BoP CSR activities through the analysis of the company’s external involvement in the impact investing industry. It is shown that the investment management team of this external fund has developed the ability to make compatible potential conflicting institutional demands to simultaneously achieve profit and create societal value through the integration of performance-oriented management procedures.
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Thomas Andre. Base of the Pyramid and Corporate Social responsibility: Why they interact and how. Economies and finances. Ecole Polytechnique, 2015. English. ⟨tel-01282029⟩

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