Corporate Social Responsibility in the Wood Products Industry: US and Chinese Consumers' Perceptions

Zhen Cai; Aguilar, Francisco X.
April 2014
Forest Products Journal;2014, Vol. 64 Issue 3/4, p97
Academic Journal
This study examined US and Chinese consumers' perceptions of the economic, ethical, legal, and philanthropic responsibilities that wood products companies should be held responsible for. Survey data collected in the United States and China in 2011 were analyzed to determine whether this four-component corporate social responsibility (CSR) model was valid and to explore differences between the two countries. Results suggest that economic, ethical, legal, and philanthropic dimensions fit well a model of CSR. Responsibilities related to sound forest management were embedded in legal and ethical expectations. Wood products consumers from both nations self-reported higher expectations for companies' legal and ethical responsibilities than for economic and philanthropic responsibilities. US respondents' expectations for ethical and philanthropic responsibilities in the wood products industry had positive and significant effects on their stated preferences to purchase wood products. In China, only respondents' expectations for philanthropic responsibilities were found to have a positive and significant impact on stated purchasing preferences. The premise that wood products companies' primary objective is to attain economic profits may not be representative of consumers' expectations. Economic expectations seem axiomatic, and consumers instead deem this and likely other natural resource--based industries should exercise greater legal, ethical, and philanthropic practices.


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