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Title: Corporate approaches towards sustainability in Thailand : a study of natural rubber processing industry
Author: Sudmai, Nittida
ISNI:       0000 0004 7657 3446
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2019
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There is a wide diversity of approaches towards the inclusion and use of corporate sustainability concepts and practices across sectors and countries. This thesis explores and analyses corporate approaches towards sustainability in the Thai natural rubber industry, arguably different to approaches in developed countries. Specifically, the thesis identifies sustainability challenges in the Thai natural rubber processing industry; examines sustainability strategies employed by rubber processing firms; and analyses corporate sustainability activities in the industry. Empirical data was collected from multiple sources including in-depth interviews with key stakeholders, a regional questionnaire survey and case study analyses to allow a deeper investigation of practices and strategies at sectoral and firm levels of industry. The analysis makes three key findings and contributions. First, the research suggests that sustainability is a substantial challenge for the industry due to the complexity of sustainability related factors and their linkages. It was found that the economic climate, a lack of technology development, environmental problems, and impacts on local community are the major concerns. These findings extend the limited evidence base on sustainability challenges for the industry, in particular stakeholders' point of view. Second, the research indicates that there are four distinct strategic approaches among the Thai natural rubber processing firms responding to sustainability challenges and provides an outline of the key features of these sustainability strategies. These strategies are important to validate and compare existing typologies of sustainability strategy in the corporate sustainability literature. They also contribute to a better understanding of corporate strategic decisions towards sustainability in Thailand and probably beyond. Finally, the analysis suggests that the main motives to pursue corporate sustainability activities are not shaped by economic but institutional and normative factors. The most adopted activity patterns can be classified into environmental management, community involvement and employee engagement. This confirms the influence of local community and relative importance of local issues. It also sheds light on the role of business in the community and the social purpose of the companies.
Supervisor: Wehrmeyer, Walter ; Murphy, Richard Sponsor: Walailak University
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral