Circular economy and corporate social responsibility in the agricultural system: Cases study of the Italian agri-food industry
Agricultural Economics (AGRICECON)
The persistent exploitation of natural resources and the consequent use of consumption are driving global food demand with the result that agricultural activity is becoming less and less environmentally friendly. The circular economy (CE) can become a valid alternative, inserting the economic-agricultural system into the harmonic process of material circulation. The corporate social responsibility (CSR) model is particularly interesting not only because of the ethical dimension of the company
... on of the company but also as a factor of strategic business improvement that combines the concepts of CSR and CE as possible solutions for developing sustainable business processes. The objective of the work is to highlight a detailed framework of how the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) of the Italian agri-food industry can provide an adequate level of communication, circular strategies and social responsibility practices. The research methodology is based on a qualitative multiple study conducted on a sample of nine companies in the Italian territory. The study highlights the attention of companies on the issues of the CE for the achievement of the set sustainable objectives and the attention to CSR and CE practices. The work has several implications. It provides a further understanding of CSR and CE policies as enabling factors for the development of sustainable organizational performance in agriculture. Moreover, it better investigates the relationship between CSR and the CE. Finally, it analyses the SMEs state of the art in the CE field and strengthens the concept of CE by analysing corporate practices consistent with sustainability reports.