Corporate social responsibility as a business strategy: Stora Enso-WWF partnership project
Environmental Sociology Centre for Independent Social Research St. Petersburg, Russia
The paper analyzes the strategic partnership between transnational corporation Stora-Enso and international nongovernmental organization NGO WWF as a business strategy that helps the company to adopt its business to the turbulent environment of the economy in transition.
In this paper I draw from the theory of institutional sociology to explain complex interaction between transnational actors and actors in localities that jointly form a governance generating network in order to implement the project. In addition I use the theory of organizational isomorphism (DiMaggio and Powell, 1983). The concept of mimetic isomorphism was particularly important for this paper. The paper is based on qualitative field research during two expeditions to the area (in 2002 and 2006) and follow up updates in 2007-2009. In total 43 interviews have been conducted.
The paper examines the cooperation between the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the concern Stora Enso during implementation of the "Pskov Model Forest" project in North West Russia. The paper assess the effectiveness of the partnership and its outcomes for both participants. For Stora Enso, the project has become one of tools for adaptation of its business to the local context. WWF, as Stora Enso´s strategic partner, assisted in resolving problems coming from state authorities, local stakeholders and the population. It also contributed to "legitimizing" Stora Enso in the eyes of international stakeholders.
Through the project Stora Enso attempted to create an optimum algorithm for successful business routine in Russia. This algorithm was intended to be applied in all Stora Enso daughter enterprises working in different regions. Thus, the mimetic isomorphism would be exploited. However, instability and turbulence of organizational fields in Russian regions has become an obstacle in carrying out this plan in its original form. For its part WWF also tried to create a model of sustainable forest management which could be further disseminated over the country. In this case, the aforementioned solution of the State Forest Agency on creation of model forests network has opened up prospects of realizing the principle of mimic isomorphism.