Assessing the Effects of Corporate Social Responsibility Standards in Global Value Chains: Reflections on the “Dark Side” of Impact Assessment

Peter Lund-Thomsen, 2013

Name of publisher/editor

Copenhagen Business School

Geographic area


Summary & key words

This paper considers the issue of corporate social responsibility (CSR) standard impact assessment in global value chains. CSR standards have proliferated in recent years, and several studies have attempted to assess their effects on local producers, workers, and the environment in developing countries. However, much less attention has been paid to the “dark side” of impact assessment – the ethical and political dilemmas that arise in the process of carrying out impact studies. This paper addresses this gap in literature, arguing that impact assessments of CSR standards may do more harm than good to the intended beneficiaries - developing country firms, farmers, workers, and communities - unless these ethical and political dilemmas are given serious consideration. 


Subject (Categories)

economic social environmental CSR