Keogh, Christopher (2016) A study critically analysing the CSR activities of UK Supermarkets and how they compare when evaluated using a framework based on ISO 26000. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This thesis examines the corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities of UK supermarkets and measures how they compare amongst each other when evaluated using a framework based on ISO 26000, incorporating the seven core principles of ISO 26000. UK supermarkets first started to grow in popularity throughout British high streets circa the 1950s, since then the sector has experienced rapid growth levels over many years with UK supermarkets of recent times becoming powerful retail giants. This study addresses a gap in knowledge regarding the use of environmental standards within the UK supermarket sector; through providing a deeper understanding of the involvement of CSR within complex differentiation strategies, with relevant theories critiqued throughout. Secondary analysis is utilised through the examination of CSR reports published by UK supermarkets, providing a mixture of qualitative and quantitative data to be scrutinised. Each supermarket is then scored based on CSR activity levels, the results show the discount supermarket gaining the highest score with some of the UK supermarket ‘giants’ awarded the lowest scores based on the evidence provided, representing the overhaul that has occurred within the UK supermarket sector over recent years as discount stores are quickly gaining market share. These conclusions suggest that those supermarkets best implementing ISO 26000 are gaining a competitive advantage over competitors, however potential limitations of ISO 26000 become apparent during this study such that the applicability and usability of ISO 26000 for SMEs must come into question when implementing theory into practice, with issues such as a lack of power across the value chain and financial constraints coming into effect. Recommendations are made regarding ways in which supermarkets can improve CSR and sustainable development practices, the need for a standardised method of CSR reporting and potential future research on an international scale.

FINAL THESIS.pdf - Accepted Version
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