Integrated Research Project Proposal : Concept and Role of Corporate Social Responsibility in Unilever

Integrated Research Project Proposal: Concept and Role of Corporate Social Responsibility in Unilever. Explore the role of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Unilever. Analyze their initiatives and impact, providing valuable insights for companies aiming to integrate CSR effectively.


Research Background 

Since the revolution of the business industry in the world, many changes have taken place in business organizations to adjust to the social, political, technological and other external factors (Aaker et al., 2017). In the modern business world, business organisations focus on making themselves accountable socially and externally regarding stakeholders. This initiative is called Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the business industry. Giant organizations are taking steps to mark up on social issues, taking care of their stakeholders through different actions of CSR. The CSR program helps these giant organizations not only to create marking in social factors but also to create noticeable impressions in the competitive market (Brito, 2012). The concept and role of Corporate Social Responsibilities have taken place in the wider organizational context. This study highlights the concept and role of CSR steps implemented in a giant organization named Unilever. This organization has been ruling in the consumer goods manufacturing industry for an extensive time and they have created goodwill by applying CSR in the wider social fields. The study will show how CSR has helped this organization develop its image in the business industry.

Research Rationale and Significance 

The study will investigate Corporate Social responsibility’s significant role and concepts in Unilever. It will also look at the wider area of these programs in the field of business. The study will also analyse the process of using this modern feature to bring out the positive intentions of business to the world. In addition, how CSR has played a role in making Unilever the current market leader in the field of consumer goods manufacturing (Unilever PLC, 2022) will be inspected by the study.

Research Aim and Objective 

This research aims to investigate the role and concept of corporate social responsibility at Unilever. Along with this aim, some objectives are as follows.

  •  To evaluate the importance and key aspects of corporate social responsibility in business
  • To highlight the implications of corporate social responsibility approaches for enhancing the market coverage of Unilever.
  • To investigate the issues and obstacles faced by Unilever while applying corporate social responsibilities
  • To identify the potential strategies for overcoming the barriers of applying corporate social responsibilities 

Research Question 

  • What is the concept and role of corporate social responsibility in the field of business?
  • What is the contribution of corporate social responsibility approaches behind the success of Unilever?
  • What barriers and challenges appeared in the journey of corporate social responsibility application at Unilever?
  • What are the strategies that helped Unilever to overcome the challenges and turn CSR into a competitive advantage?

Literature review

Significance of corporate social responsibility in business

From the beginning of the industrial revolution, profitable business organizations have discovered their responsibility towards society and the stakeholders (Green, 2013). The concept is that the elements of society are helping the business organizations to gain success and the stakeholders are also cooperating with the business to run daily functions and operations. So there must be some return from the business organization to the society and stakeholders. From this belief, business organizations have become accountable socially and to stakeholders (Glaveli, 2020). As a part of the CSR program, business organizations are taking the step to develop and fix social issues and help stakeholders to have satisfaction from the company. CSR program connects the related people and small, local organizations to the wider areas of the company. Unilever, they are running a business in more than 200 countries of the world (Unilever PLC, 2022). As a British multinational company, they have spread business greatly. Since the beginning of the success of this company, they have managed to fulfil the CSR activities, which have helped them to gain today’s success. 

Corporate purpose and the business principle of Unilever

Unilever has announced the company’s corporate purpose to ensure that they have a wide responsibility to society and the stakeholders. They have declared that their purpose in the market is to maintain a standard of quality of consumer goods, think about the environmental aspects which are being affected by Unilever, provide ethical behaviours, and maintain a proper relationship with the government (Unilever PLC, 2022).

The principle of Unilever is to apply corporate social responsibilities in the field of business in a way that can take care of their stakeholder by providing quality products, maintaining good relations with suppliers, and training their employees so that they can deliver good behaviour to the customers, providing support to the local community where the business operates, etc. (Wickert & Risi, 2019). These principles are related to the corporate social responsibilities of the company in a boundless way.

Unilever’s Approach to corporate social responsibilities

To meet the announced business principle, Unilever has taken some approaches to corporate social responsibility. These actions of Unilever have contributed to the wider succession of this big business organization in today’s market (Rangan, 2017). Looking at some of their basic approach to corporate social responsibilities, it can be identified that the role and concept of corporate social responsibility have been applied in the operations of this company to make it a role model in modern business.

Creating wealth, adding value, sharing the wealth

Unilever has taken this approach which is to make wealth through business in many countries of the world. Then they add value to the wealth with business activities, and finally, they have plans to share the wealth for the development of society and the stakeholders (Luck, 2019). This approach to corporate social responsibility has positively impacted the market.

Setting high standards in corporate behaviour

Unilever has taken steps to make it a role model in the field of business by developing corporate behaviour. This approach to corporate social responsibility has made the company more attractive to the stakeholders like employees, customers and suppliers (Luck, 2019). Now this organization is playing a role in setting this standard in the market so that other businesses can follow.

Safe and secured workplace

Unilever has taken this approach to corporate social responsibility for making the working environment secure and safe for their employees. They have many manufacturing plants which involves many risks to the employees and staff (Luck, 2019). Unilever has taken this approach so that the basic right of employees and staff can be met by having a secure and safe workplace. 

Allowing diversity in the workplace

As a multinational company, Unilever must regularly deal with employees and customers. As an approach to corporate social responsibility, Unilever has applied a diversified workplace. This workplace welcomes people from different races, ages, religions, gender, etc. (Korschun, 2018). The diversified workplace has set a standard for the workplace worldwide, and many other organisations are also following this approach.

Literature Gap

The literature evaluation primarily concentrates on the corporate social responsibility approaches at Unilever. In addition, the study has also focused on some sectors of the purpose and principle of Unilever in terms of corporate social responsibility has also been focused on in the study. There is a wider area of investigation about this company’s corporate social responsibilities role and concepts. Besides this, there have been some changes that happened after the pandemic of Covid-19 (Unilever PLC, 2022). Those changes have applied to Unilever’s corporate social responsibility to take place differently. 

Research Methodology 

Research Philosophy 

This study intends to focus on using interpretivism philosophy because this study generates human interest in interpreting the wider contexts of research (Wickert & Risi, 2019). This philosophy has been chosen for this research to make it more connected with the researcher’s interpretation. 

Research Design 

The descriptive research design has been applied in this study because the study will elaborate on the situations and events related to the objectives and will also collect data on the relevant fields. The descriptive design allows the researcher to expand the information on the objective field by highlighting the related phenomenon, situation or population (Luck, 2019). 

Research Methods

Choosing a proper research method can help the researcher to bring out the real purpose of the research and study. The qualitative method of research was implemented among the quantitative and qualitative research methods. This will help the study to bring out the aims and objectives of the research by inductive research methodology (Rangan, 2017). Inductive research allows qualitative data to be explained for the research purpose. 

Data Collection and Analysis

The study will use secondary research data to collect data. As this study focuses on bringing out the data related to Unilever’s corporate social responsibility, role and concepts, so relevant journals, workbooks, publications, and websites providing information about the proposed topic will serve as secondary data (Glaveli, 2020). The proper tool supporting this study’s proposed methodology will also apply these data. 

Expected Results 

This research study plans to bring out useful data about the implementation and role of corporate social responsibility in the wider business context of Unilever (Unilever PLC, 2022). The study will also highlight the data about this giant organisation’s concept of corporate social responsibility will also be highlighted in the study. The result will help the relevant field to be enhanced in knowledge and will also open an opportunity to use the result for the betterment of other businesses. 

Critical Reflection, 

The first stage of this research has opened an opportunity to complete the fundamental research to bring out the actual purpose. The first stage has also shown a well-organized road map for completing the rest of the study to serve the real purpose and objectives of the research. This increased the chances of bringing out useful information and knowledge from the relevant field and sorting them properly. 


Concluding the study, the literary part has primarily focused on the approaches and roles of corporate social responsibility in Unilever. Other sectors related to this study’s objectives will highlight the broader area of this giant organisation and the application of corporate social responsibilities. The practical actions, strategies and knowledge of this field will allow the business industry to recognise the proper role and concepts of corporate social responsibilities in organizations. 

Reference used in this Integrated Research Project Proposal

Aaker, J.L., Smith, A. and Adler, C. (2017) The dragonfly effect: Quick, effective, and powerful ways to use social media to drive Social Change. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 

Brito, M. (2012) Smart Business, Social Business: A playbook for social media in your organisation. Indianapolis, IN: Que. 

“Customer commitment statement” (2013) Encyclopedia of Corporate Social Responsibility, pp. 739–739. Available at: 

“Customer lifetime values” (2018) Encyclopedia of Corporate Social Responsibility, pp. 739–739. Available at: 

“Customer perceived value” (2013) Encyclopedia of Corporate Social Responsibility, pp. 740–740. Available at: 

“Customer satisfaction” (2013) Encyclopedia of Corporate Social Responsibility, pp. 740–740. Available at: 

Glaveli, N. (2020) “Corporate social responsibility toward stakeholders and customer loyalty: Investigating the roles of trust and customer identification with the company,” Social Responsibility Journal, 17(3), pp. 367–383. Available at: 

Harcourt, W. (2016) Corporate Social Responsibility. Rome: Society for International Development (SID). 

Korschun, D. (2018) Corporate social responsibility and its practical implementations in business

Luck, D. (2019) “Customer relationship marketing: Much more about corporate social responsibility than just technology,” Globalization and Social Responsibility, pp. 201–218. Available at: 

Unilever PLC (2022) At a glance, Unilever. Unilever PLC. Available at: (Accessed: December 8, 2022). 


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