The Perspectives and Roles of Multinational Enterprises in Local Sustainable Development
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As the rate of urbanization increases, cities face mounting socio-ecological challenges. At the local level, businesses are essential for developing cities and livelihoods and providing services to local communities. Local sustainable development addresses pressing urban challenges and future opportunities by mobilizing and empowering multi-level actors for creating transformative changes for societal systems, yet there is limited research linking the private sector, multinational enterprises (MNEs) in particular, and their impact on sustainable development at the local level. MNEs bring distinct strengths to the sustainable development agenda, including: their access to capital, resources, and advanced technology; their ability to transfer resources globally; and their impact on the global economy. Together, their collective resources and assets enable MNEs to reach large-scale solutions needed to coordinate and mobilize pathways for accelerating local sustainable development. The study used a mixed methods research approach to analyze sustainability reports uploaded and registered to the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database and filtered reports by MNEs with explicit reference to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In total, the study analyzed 349 sustainability reports. Through discourse and frame analysis, qualitative content analysis, and bivariate analysis, reports were examined to analyze how MNEs frame local-level sustainability efforts and to identify the roles of MNEs in local sustainable development. The results show that MNEs frame their local-level efforts with sustainability through five perspectives: corporate social responsibility, corporate citizenship, partnerships, sustainable development, and environmental, social, and corporate governance. The results also identify 10 roles that MNEs can play in local sustainable development, namely through three dominant categories: enabling, facilitating, and coordinating roles. MNEs contribute to local sustainable development as an awareness raiser, community capacity builder, consultant, employee developer, financer, innovator, leverager of supply chains and procurement, partner, product and service provider, and program deliverer. In conclusion, this thesis helps organizations and practitioners leverage the engagement of MNEs by providing an understanding of how MNEs’ legitimate their own actions towards society through the self-declaration of contributions in their sustainability reports which frame their efforts on local-level sustainability. The results show that MNEs are indeed willing to participate in efforts for local sustainable development and have the capacities, resources, and willingness to contribute to local sustainable development planning.
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Monida Laura Eang (2019). The Perspectives and Roles of Multinational Enterprises in Local Sustainable Development. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/14956
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