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Browsing by Author "Luomajoki, Militsa"

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  • Luomajoki, Militsa (2019)
    This is a multiple-case study about how large international PC manufacturers’ commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are reflected in the companies: what new activities have been triggered, whom do companies seek to benefit with these activities, and how the companies measure their progress towards the SDGs. No previous research was found on the topic. The purpose of this thesis is to understand what possibilities and limitations there may be related to companies taking a role as development actors through the Agenda 2030. This thesis relies on a relatively wide theoretical discussion. The topic relates to theories of globalization, privatization of power, global development policy, global governance and both mainstream as well as critical corporate responsibility theories. A multiple-case study approach was chosen as no single company seems to provide a unique case enough on its own. The number of cases is limited to three based on theoretical guidance. The three case companies Dell, HP and Lenovo are the largest in PC manufacturing and together they represent over half of the global business. They all express a commitment to the SDGs and two of them report about their SDG progress on the Goal level. A document analysis was conducted on the companies’ public materials: the companies’ corporate responsibility reports from 2016 and 2014 and the companies’ global blog posts and press releases during October–December 2017. The 2016 reports were the latest reports available at the time of the data collection. The 2014 reports were used to confirm whether the reported SDG activities are truly started after the SDGs were launched. Blog posts and press releases were analyzed to gain understanding of how important the SDGs are for the company as a whole. The document analysis consisted of a content analysis of the chosen materials of each company separately and a thematic analysis for grouping the findings from all cases into themes of information. The key findings are that despite positive communication and good initiatives as such, the SDGs have in fact triggered very little new activities in the three companies. Also, reporting of progress is fuzzy and is not based on actual measurements of long-term development impacts. The companies have interpreted the beneficiaries of the SDGs through the business logic and by doing so, they have lost much of the Agenda 2030 spirit of “leaving no one behind”. It seems like the companies use the SDGs as a frame to prove that their established corporate responsibility activities are sufficient and that their business operations are legitimate. They seem not to have used the SDGs as a basis for planning their SDG activities. It can be concluded that the companies’ current contribution does not necessarily advance the SDGs in any relevant manner. At best, companies can add resources to development cooperation, but by putting the company and its priorities in the center of the planning, they often disregard a true development focus and the development opportunities in their activities. Industry specific initiatives that set clear minimum requirements for companies may be more efficient means for gaining positive development impacts in companies than generic development agendas, such as the SDGs.