Volume 3, 2007
Controversies in International Corporate Responsibility
Ying Hua, Xiaodi Yang
Case Study of Lafarge China and Shui On Cement
Emission-Related CSR in the Chinese Cement Industry
The cement industry is one of the most energy-intensive industries and among the largest CO2 emitters. Cement industry emissions in China have attracted particular attention, due to the country’s rapid growth. Yet few local Chinese cement companies have corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs, and even fewer have environmentally related CSR programs. This paper studies the environmentally related CSR practices in mainland China of two companies: Lafarge, a multinational cement company, and Shui On, a Hong Kong-based construction company and developer. We are interested in examining if there are differences in their environmentally related CSR practices, especially those related to emissions, in industrialized countries and Hong Kong on the one hand and
in mainland China on the other—given that environmental regulations on the mainland are lax and an awareness of global climate change is largely nonexistent. Our intention is to investigate the influence of the CSR practices of multinational enterprises (MNEs) on the local Chinese cement industry, because they could be regarded as an effective vehicle to improve CSR awareness and practice in the Chinese cement industry and to help alleviate the industry’s impact on global climate change. We found that beneficial knowledge transfer from MNEs to local companies has not gone beyond improving production technology and management methods to the point of influencing CO2 emissions. Lafarge China and Shui On Cement announced a joint venture partnership during the course of our case study, and we examine whether this venture may have an impact on emission-related CSR practices in the Chinese cement industry.