Session: The Impact of Multinational Corporations on Sustainability

Corporate Social Responsibility Stream


Day 3, Parallel Session 3A: 11:00am – 12:30pm

Location: Storey Hall (Building 16) – Seminar Room 3, Level 7, Room 3

Chair: Dr Nattavud Pimpa (RMIT University)


Kiril Sharapov Living Well for Less: Consumers, Corporations and Sustainability?

  • Presenter: Dr Kiril Sharapov (Central European University)
  • Abstract: ‘Live Well for Less’ is an advertising campaign by J Sainsbury Plc – one of the largest supermarket chains in the UK – promoting the company’s ‘commitment to provide customers with quality products at fair prices’. In July 2012, Unite – the largest trade union in the UK – revealed that ‘Sainsbury’s workers are using payday loans, struggling to pay for their children’s school uniforms, and haven’t had a holiday in years’ (UNITE 2012). The extent, to which UK largest retailers remain in control of its overseas supply chains, where reliance on forced/exploited labour is common, remains unknown. This presentation will interrogate the gap between the expectations of the growing global number of ‘mass affluent’ consumers for living well for less and the realities of the increasing social and economic inequality affecting daily lives of those in Dirty, Dangerous, Demanding jobs all over the world and the lives of the growing unemployed globally. Drawing upon the ongoing research into public understanding of human trafficking in Europe, this presentation will also assess the role of transnational corporations in making their commitment towards sustainability a meaningful reality for the growing number of the world’s poor rather than a license to live well, pay and care less for those who can afford it when life on Earth is in danger of becoming unsustainable for many of its species – including us.
  • About the presenter: Dr Kiril Sharapov is Lecturer in Sociology at Glasgow Caledonian University, currently on a 2-year research leave at the Centre for Policy Studies, Central European University in Budapest, Hungary.  In 2012, Dr Sharapov secured two years of research funding from the European Commission’s FP7 to explore how trafficking in human beings is understood by the general public in countries of the enlarged EU and its neighboring states. Kiril holds an M.A. in Human Rights from Central European University, and a PhD in Politics from the University of Glasgow. His areas of expertise in human rights and equality were developed through international research assignments in countries as diverse as Hungary, Ukraine, Kosovo, East Timor and UK. Dr Sharapov is a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy and of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA)
Young Sokphea Drivers of Multinational Corporations’ Sustainable Practice in Developing Countries: Lessons Learnt from Chinese Investment in Cambodia

  • Presenter and main author: Young Sokphea (University of Melbourne)
  • Abstract: Although Multinational Corporations (MNCs)’ Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) play very significant role in economic development, scholars argue that the practices of MNCs’ FDI towards sustainable development in host developing countries remain intense debates. This is due to different sustainability practices of MNCs’ FDI. Yet, the drivers that influence the different practices have not debated widely. Likewise, Chinese FDI in Cambodia is flourishing, but they are accusing of exacerbating Cambodia’ social and environmental. Using media analysis, an extensive literature review and expert interviews, this research examines the drivers that influence unsustainable practice of Chinese FDI in agricultural land in Cambodia. The research revealed that networking through joint venture of foreign investors with Cambodian politicians-cum-businessmen, tycoon or elites, who influenced rules and regulations enforcement, facilitated investors to behave unsustainably towards community social and environment. However, domestic Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), especially NGOs and local communities, to a lesser extent, influenced investors to practice more positively towards community social and environmental sustainability. The research concluded that CSOs played very significant role to influence sustainability practice of MNCs’ FDI. However, government, who perceived economic aspect as the only priority of development, was threatening CSOs’ activities. Apparently, growth-first-clean-up later development strategic was implemented in this country.
  • About the presenter: After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics and Rural Development from the Royal University of Agriculture (RUA) in Cambodia in 2006, Young worked for several local and international NGOs in Cambodia. In 2010, he graduated from Master in Regional and Rural Development Planning from the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) in Thailand, and he worked as a consultant for social and environmental impact studies of several mega investment projects in the Mekong region (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Thailand) until 2012. Currently, he is a PhD student at the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne. His research focuses on the political economy of sustainability practices of foreign investments in Cambodia.