This alone was a violation of the subcontractors’ contract with Primark; furthermore, the third party employed children (another violation) and the wages of even those who were of legal working age were only about half the minimum wage permitted by the State (yet another violation).
Business performance is no longer just measured by their market performance; it is also affected by their strategies in non-market environments (Baron, 2000). As evidenced by the reaction to BBC’s feature on Primark (Arnott, 2008a), activists and media groups particularly in pluralist Western societies have inflated the importance of these non-market strategies (Orlitzky et al, 2003). One of the foremost construct which captures non-market strategies collectively is the concept of corporate social responsibility or CSR.
Carroll (1983) defined CSR as involving “the conduct of a business so that it is economically profitable, law abiding, ethical and socially supportive” (608). This is only but one definition among the many that proliferated in the literature since the 1950s but they all underscore the companies’ responsibility for public good (Blowfield & Murray, 2008). Some of the issues subsumed under the CSR concept include human rights, environmental protection, sustainable development, and philanthropy. Further, the European Commission’s (2004) definition emphasizes the voluntary integration of social and environmental concerns in businesses’ operations and in their interactions with stakeholders. The concept of stakeholder in the definition equates to the company’s accountability to them (Jacobs, 1997).
In this essay, Primark’s approach to CSR is reviewed using Carroll’s CSR pyramid as the analytical framework. Carroll’s model is used because it has been the most durable as well as the most widely cited framework for understanding the various components