Corporate Social Responsibility and Development in the Philippine Special Economiz Zones

August 7, 2017 | Author: David Christensen | Category: Corporate Social Responsibility, Globalization, Labour Economics, Foreign Direct Investment, Employment
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From an outset in internship experiences at SunPower Philippines Manufacturing, Ltd., a solar panel and assembly facilit...



David  Christensen     Abstract   From  an  outset  in  internship  experiences  at  SunPower  Philippines  Manufacturing,  Ltd.,  a  solar   panel   and   assembly   facility   in   one   of   the   Philippine   Special   Economic   Zones,   this   article   seeks   to   explore   Corporate   Social   Responsibility   (CSR)   linkages   with   broader   development   issues   within   the   environmental   and   social   spheres,   drawing   a   perspective   to   the   conduct   of   the   semiconductor   and   electronics   industry   segment   as   a   whole.   The   paper   makes   use   of   a   discursive   and   conceptual   framework   drawing   from   globalization   and   CSR   literature   to   reflect   on   the   internship   experiences   of   participating   in   the   daily   functions   of   the   host   company’s   Environmental,   Safety   and   Health   (ESH)   unit   and   preparing   for   implementation   of   an   ISO   14001   environmental   management   system.   The   paper   holds   that   the   experiences   give   a   degree   of   credence   to   the   ‘transformationalist’   thesis   of   globalization,   by   which   globalization   is   seen   as   context-­‐dependent   and   that   positive   developmental   outcomes   can   me   made   possible   if   given   the  right  conditions.            

INTRODUCTION    This  paper  is  the  result  of  the  author’s  revisited  internship  experiences  with  the  solar  panel  assembly   facility  SunPower  Philippines  Manufacturing,  Ltd.  at  the  ‘Laguna  Technopark’  Special  Economic  Zone   south   of   the   Philippine   capital   of   Manila.   Revisited,   that   is,   as   the   internship   was   conducted   in   fulfillment  of  a  previous  Master’s  degree  in  engineering  (Environmental  Management)  and  took  place   over   a   four   month   period   in   2006   covering   site-­‐specific   tasks   relating   to   improving   the   facility’s   environmental   performance,   but   also   covered   appropriate   problem   areas   within   broader   development  studies  within  globalization,  export-­‐oriented  growth  and  corporate  social  responsibility   (CSR)   in   the   Philippine   Special   Economic   Zones   that   has   enabled   the   experiences   to   be   included   as   part  of  the  author’s  current  9th  semester  Master  studies  in  Development  and  International  Relations.  

  In  focus  in  this  paper,  CSR  is  what  at  first  glance  may  seem  an  oxymoron  of  a  concept  for  those  who   are   perhaps   instinctively   disinclined   to   consider   the   contribution   of   market   actors   in   international   development.   For   the   Philippines,   a   country   that   has   not   been   able   to   emulate   the   development   trajectories   of   the   East   Asian   tiger   economies   but   could   be   placed   among   the   newly   industrialized   countries   (NICs)   today   through   its   pursuit   of   an   export-­‐oriented   growth   model   (Christensen   and   Rasmussen   2007),   its   emphasis   on   attracting   foreign   direct   investment   (FDI)   as   a   strategy   make   it   especially   pertinent   to   explore   any   CSR   and   development   linkages.   This   is   argued   as   follows:   Considering  that  attracting  FDI  has  been  a  cornerstone  for  stimulating  economic  development  in  the   Philippine   case,   an   initial   healthy   skepticism   is   in   order   when   exploring   what   this   has   meant   for   broader  socio-­‐economic  development,  especially  when  considering  that  the  Philippines  continues  to   face   a   number   of   challenges   such   as   wide   income   gap   disparities,   pervasive   corruption   and   lax   legislative   enforcement   e.g.   (Christensen   and   Rasmussen   2007).   The   vacuum   of   effective   state   governance   mechanisms   may   leave   little   cause   to   believe   that   unchecked   private-­‐sector   driven   development  can  be  a  viable  alternative,  but  against  this  is  the  proposition  that  CSR  can  contribute  by   offering   a   conceptual   framework   for   companies   to   integrate   social   and   environmental   concerns   in   their   business   operations   and   in   their   interaction   with   their   stakeholders   on   a   voluntary   basis   (Prieto-­‐ Carrón  et  al.  2006).  On  this  basis,  this  paper  therefore  seeks  to  explore  if  the  multinational  companies   that   are   provided   incentives   to   establish   part   of   their   activities   in   the   Philippines   also   bring   about   positive  developmental  effects  in  other  arenas  (e.g.  within  the  environmental  and/or  social  spheres),   or  if  there  is  perhaps  a  more  insidious  side  to  their  strategic  business  practices  as  claimed  by  many   critics   typically   from   e.g.   NGOs   and   trade   unions   (Lodge   and   Wilson   2006).   In   this   paper,   this   exploration  is  carried  out  with  a  focus  on  the  conduct  of  multinational  companies  within  the  country’s   co-­‐called   Special   Economic   Zones.   More   specifically,   the   findings   will   be   based   on   the   electronics   and   semiconductor  industry  segment  to  which  SunPower  Philippines  Manufacturing,  Ltd.  belongs,  and  not   least  on  the  internship  experiences  themselves.       First,   the   paper   will   describe   Special   Economic   Zones   in   the   Philippines   as   the   institutional   framework   conditions  within  which  multinational  companies  including  SunPower  Philippines  Manufacturing  Ltd.   operate.   This   section   also   provides   the   historical   backdrop   concerning   the   Philippines’   choice   to  


pursue   an   export-­‐oriented   economic   growth   model.   The   next   section   handles   emergent   environmental   and   social   issues   that   have   arisen   as   multinational   companies   have   established   themselves  within  the  Special  Economic  Zones.  The  following  section  then  underpins  the  theoretical   discussion   concerning   these   problem   areas   by   delving   into   globalization   and   CSR   literature   and   identifying   some   propositions   that   the   case   study   of   the   Philippine   internship   experiences   might   illuminate.   Finally,   the   internship   experiences   themselves   are   presented   as   a   case   study   in   multinational   company   CSR   conduct,   which   includes   perspectives   on   the   electronics   and   semiconductor  industry  as  a  whole.      

SPECIAL  ECONOMIC  ZONES  IN  THE  PHILIPPINES   More   commonly   known   as   Ecozones,   Special   Economic   Zones   in   the   Philippines   are   institutional   arrangements   that   have   taken   the   form   of   geographically   demarcated   pockets   of   the   country   designed   to   provide   an   especially   favorable   investment   environment   for   FDI   (Richardson   2004).   In   rare   cases,   individual   buildings   may   be   designated   as   Ecozones   as   well.   Notwithstanding   these   exceptions,  in  physical  terms  today  (described  from  this  author’s  own  observations)  these  industrial   estates   are   often   laid   out   as   large-­‐scale   gated   communities   with   manned   vehicle   and   personnel   security  checkpoints  which  are  serviced  by  high  quality  and  well-­‐maintained  infrastructure,  e.g.  roads,   electricity   and   wastewater   treatment   facilities   that   are   often   above   the   norm   compared   with   the   adjacent  areas.  Operating  within  their  boundaries  are  numerous  manufacturing  or  assembly  facilities   often  belonging  to  some  of  the  most  recognizable  brand  names  in  e.g.  the  global  apparel,  automotive   or  electronics  industries.       The  Ecozones  help  spur  (economic)  growth  via  a  number  of  incentives  including,  among  others:  tax   holidays   for   businesses   established   within   them;   0%   import   duty   on   capital   equipment,   spare   parts   and   accessories;   and   simplified   customs   procedures   (Executive   Order   No.   226,   1987;   The   Special   Economic   Zone   Act,   1995).   Activities   taking   place   within   the   Ecozones   cover   all   manner   of   nontraditional   export   segments   from   garment   manufacturing   to   small-­‐scale   car   assembly   activities,   but   also   within   non-­‐tangibles   such   as   services   (call   centers)   and   information   technology.   In   many  


cases,   Ecozones   have   been   organized   to   be   specially   oriented   to   favor   clustering   of   similar   kinds   of   businesses   in   e.g.   designated   ‘Manufacturing   Economiz   Zones’   (which   make   up   the   majority   of   Ecozones)   or   for   instance   ‘Information   Technology   Parks’   (PEZA   2010).   Overseeing   and   administrating   the   collective   Ecozone   system   is   the   Philippine   Economiz   Zone   Authority   (PEZA),   attached   to   the   Department  of  Trade  and  Industry.           The   Philippine   electronics   and   semiconductor   industry   in   particular   is   an   industry   segment   that   has   made  extensive  use  of  the  Ecozone  arrangements  very  early  on  to  become  firmly  established  today.   The  first  wave  of  investments  within  this  sector  came  when  the  microprocessor  giant  Intel  took  the   pioneering   decision   to   establish   a   subsidiary   in   the   country   as   early   as   1974   (Pineda-­‐Ofreno   1985).   Helped  on  by  the  Ecozone  arrangements  since  that  initial  wave  of  investments,  the  segment  has  since   then  grown  to  account  for  the  largest  percentage  of  foreign  exchange  earnings  for  the  country,  with   electronics   products   and   components   alone   accounting   for   approximately   70-­‐86%   of   total   exports,   with  companies  within  the  electronics  and  semiconductor  industry  accounting  for  more  than  half  of   all  companies  inside  the  Ecozones  (Austria  2006;  Peralta  et  al.  2003).     Philippine   Ecozones   are   distinct   from   often   larger,   commercial   Free   Trade   Zones   (FTZs)   for   trans-­‐ shipment,  storage  and  re-­‐export  of  goods  of  which  the  Panama  Canal  Zone,  Singapore  and  Hong  Kong   provide   some   of   the   most   ready   historical   examples   (Wong   and   Chu   1984).   Focused   at   export-­‐ oriented   industrial   development,   Philippine   Ecozones   mirror   similar   institutional   arrangements   in   several   other   Asian   countries   and   elsewhere,   first   successfully   tried   out   in   Ireland   in   1956   and   followed   by   developing   country   examples   in   Puerto   Rico   (1962)   and   India   (1965),   and   with   the   Philippines  together  with  Taiwan,  the  Dominican  Republic,  Mexico,  Panama  and  Brazil  following  suit   in   the   1966-­‐1970   period.   As   observed   by   Wong   and   Chu   (1984),   in   the   Asian   experience   the   development   of   Special   Economic   Zones   (also   termed   Export   Processing   Zones)   was   brought   about   due   to   an   inability   for   some   countries   to   stimulate   economic   growth   by   way   of   import-­‐substitution   industrialization,  as  protective  tariffs  were  linked  with  high  capital  costs  and  inefficient  production.  As   an   alternative,   export-­‐oriented   production   sought   to   make   use   of   cheap   and   abundant   labor   resources  (a  perceived  comparative  advantage,  in  the  international  division  of  labor)  to  gain  access  to   capital,  technology  and  international  markets.  Because  the  Philippines  at  the  time  could  not  say  it  had  


access   to   either   of   these   perceived   prerequisites   for   economic   growth,   multinational   companies   thereby  became  an  important  vehicle  to  achieve  this  objective.     Drawing  a  perspective  to  the  domestic  political  context  during  the  time  that  the  Ecozones  began  to  be   part   of   the   Philippine   economic   landscape,   one   may   consider   that   the   country   has   had   a   tainted   history   that   has   oftentimes   been   dogged   by   political   instability   marked   infamously   by   the   strongmanship  of  the  Marcos  regime  (1965-­‐1986)  (Christensen  and  Rasmussen  2007).  This  president   was  at  the  helm  in  executing  domestic  economic  policy  throughout  much  of  the  period  that  saw  the   Philippines   both   beginning   to   be   overshadowed   by   the   economic   performance   of   today’s   Asian   ‘tigers’,  and  rush  headlong  into  the  period  of  structural  adjustment.  In  an  interesting  retrospective  on   the   political   economy   at   the   time   relating   to   the   decision   to   pursue   export-­‐orientation,   Bello   et   al.   (2006)  contend  that  the  main  reasons  for  the  failure  to  achieve  comparable  economic  growth  to  the   Asian   tigers   was   twofold.   First   was   the   problem   that   securing   land   reforms   and   income   redistribution   was   never   carried   out   to   the   same   extent   as   in   the   Asian   tiger   economies,   eventually   resulting   in   fundamental  structural  problems  and  massive  income  inequality  that  undermined  any  developmental   efforts.  Secondly,  and  somewhat  paradoxically,  export  orientation  was  seen  as  more  rhetorical  than   real,  with  export-­‐orientation  amounting  to  no  more  than  a  symbolic  set-­‐up  of  a  few  export  enclaves   within  an  essentially  domestically-­‐oriented  industrial  and  manufacturing  structure.      

EMERGENT  SOCIAL  AND  ENVIRONMENTAL  ISSUES   Whether   because   of   insufficient   policies   to   truly   reorient   the   domestic   market   structure   internationally  (Bello  et  al.  2006),  or  perhaps  because  of  fundamental  insufficiencies  inherent  in  the   Ecozones   and   the   multinational   companies   themselves,   what   quickly   became   apparent   was   that   export-­‐orientation  in  the  Philippines  (and  by  extension  the  Ecozone  system)  only  contributed  toward   overall   industrial   and   economic   development   to   a   limited   degree   (Wong   and   Chu   1984).   More   specifically,   some   of   the   overall   specific   objectives   fell   short   of   being   reached   including   e.g.   employment   generation,   foreign   exchange   earnings   and   export   growth,   transfer   of   technology   and   management  skills  and  backward  linkages  with  the  domestic  sector.  For  Asian  countries  as  a  whole,  


Wong   and   Chu   (1984)   attributed   this   at   the   time   to   the   relatively   small   scale   of   these   enclaves   compared   with   the   domestic   sector,   the   conflicts   of   interest   between   investors   and   host   countries   as   regards   e.g.   reinvestments   of   profits,   and   the   sensitive   nature   of   FDI   in   these   zones   towards   global   economic  conditions,  especially  under  recession  periods.                   At   a   level   below   these   macroeconomic   effects   to   the   Philippine   economy,   Pineda-­‐Ofreneo   (1985)   analyzed  in  particular  how  the  electronics  and  semiconductor  industry  fared  under  the  contemporary   conditions  of  maturing  export-­‐orientation.  Any  disconnect  with  the  domestic  sector  did  not  hamper   this   growth   industry’s   activities.   Under   what   were   effectively   booming   conditions   at   the   time,   multinational  companies  operated  with  ease  under  the  Ecozone  arrangements,  making  full  use  of  the   opportunities  to  concentrate  their  labor-­‐intensive  assembly  activities  in  the  value  chain  where  there   was   a   cheap   and   abundant   manpower   supply.   This   factor   especially   was   identified   as   key,   as   multinational   companies   within   the   electronics   and   semiconductor   industry   in   the   1970s   began   to   relocate  away  from  the  initial  Asian  countries  where  they  had  invested  in  during  the  1960s  (Taiwan,   Hong  Kong,  South  Korea  and  Singapore)  due  to  a  combination  of  both  increasing  unionization,  and  a   growing   labor   shortage.   This   relocation   followed   in   time   with   technological   developments,   as   electronics   products   grew   in   sophistication   and   the   markets   and   consumer   demand   expanded.   Semiconductors,   used   in   microchips,   then   as   today   continue   to   make   up   some   of   the   basic   needed   components   for   computers   and   electronic   devices,   and   proved   especially   ideal   for   assembly   in   low-­‐ wage  countries  because  of  their  characteristics  as  being  high-­‐value  commodities  which  can  easily  be   transported  great  distances  because  of  their  low  weight  and  volume.     Accrued   advantages   in   favor   of   the   semiconductor   and   electronics   industry   during   this   global   expansion   period   may   be   argued   to   have   fit   hand-­‐in-­‐hand   with   the   need   for   employment   among   unskilled   labor   groups   in   the   Philippines,   in   effect   a   ‘win-­‐win’   situation   for   both   sides.   The   counter-­‐ perspective,   however,   is   that   these   multinational   companies   didn’t   contribute   as   positively   to   development   and   acted   purely   out   of   an   imperative   to   maximize   competitiveness   through   shaving   labor   costs   to   the   fullest   extent   that   the   international   trade   system   allowed.   This   meant   skirting   unionizing   tendencies   elsewhere   in   Asia   and   leveraging   their   position   in   the   Philippines   by   unfairly   taking   advantage   of   highly   vulnerable   labor   groups.   Pineda-­‐Ofreneo   (1985)   highlights   this   as   the   focal  


problem   encountered   with   the   establishment   of   the   semiconductor   and   electronics   companies   in   the   Philippines,   particularly   pointing   to   the   effects   of   employing   women,   who   have   ended   up   forming   the   backbone   of   production   force.   The   employment   of   predominantly   unmarried   women   aged   16-­‐25   in   the  Philippines  (characteristic  for  the  industry  throughout  Asia)  offered  advantages  for  the  companies   in  that  the  workforce  thereby  consisted  of  young  girls  with  ‘inexperience’  who  could  then  be  ‘easily   manipulated’   and   ‘disciplined’   through   e.g.   production   quotas,   layoff   threats   and   the   hiring   of   managers  who  could  project  the  type  of  authoritarian  paternal  figure  that  is  present  in  many  Asian   cultures  (Pineda-­‐Ofreneo  1985).  The  workforce  could  be  more  easily  kept  to  minimum  wage  earning   levels,  and  more  easily  laid  off  as  they  were  not  perceived  to  be  main  family  providers.  Occupational   health   and   safety   is   also   identified   as   a   key   issue   for   the   semiconductor   and   electronics   industry   in   general,  as  the  labor-­‐intensive  production  steps  often  mean  monotonous,  repetitive  work,  degraded   vision   over   time   and   exposure   to   e.g.   hazardous   chemicals   and   carcinogens   eventually   leading   to   varying   degrees   and   types   of   acute   or   chronic   illness.   At   the   broader   institutional   level,   the   labor   relations   situation   was   aggravated   by   pressure   to   prevent   unionization,   the   interest   of   both   the   multinational   companies   themselves   and   the   Philippine   state   (so   as   not   to   discourage   FDI   to   the   country).     Besides   the   social   issues   presented   above,   Richardson   (2004)   provides   insight   into   a   separate   yet   perhaps   interlinked   host   of   environmental   issues   relating   to   the   effects   of   Asian   export-­‐orientation   and   increasing   FDI.   As   argued   by   Richardson,   it   is   a   misnomer   to   consider   environmental   issues   as   falling  outside  the  economic  sphere,  and  almost  a  fallacy  to  fail  to  see  how  rapid  industrialization  in   Asia  (helped  on  by  the  establishment  of  Special  Economic  Zones  throughout  the  continent)  has  led  to   pervasive,   incremental   and   long-­‐term   negative   environmental   effects.   This   includes   among   many   others   the   proliferation   of   consumer   waste   and   the   dispersal   of   chemicals,   which   accumulate   in   ecosystems  and  degrade  their  capacity  to  support  human  development.  Taken  as  a  whole,  however,   environmental   degradation   in   Asia   is   tied   in   with   rapid   widespread   urbanization   and   upscaling   in   industrial  and  economic  activity  in  general,  whereas  the  degree  to  which  this  is  directly  because  of  the   Special   Economic   zone   arrangements   may   perhaps   be   a   great   deal   more   ambiguous.   Richardson’s   findings   suggest   that   there   are   certainly   Special   Economic   Zone   examples   in   a   number   of   Asian   countries  where  environmental  issues  have  clearly  taken  secondary  priority  and,  as  in  e.g.  the  case  of  


such  zones  in  Vietnam,  described  so  far  as  to  be  in  a  state  of  ‘environmental  crisis’  owing  to  air  and   water  pollution.  As  well,  there  is  the  pervasive  issue  in  some  countries  of  lax  environmental  legislative   enforcement,   e.g.   in   China.   On   the   ‘flipside’,   Richardson   also   presents   research   showing   that   environmental   conditions   are   no   worse   off   compared   with   other   areas,   e.g.   because   of   the   greater   access  to  pollution  control  technologies  and  more  systematic  spatial  planning  in  the  Special  Economic   Zones.   Richardson   argues   that   while   Special   Economic   Zones   can   be   hotspots   for   environmental   mismanagement,  it  can  also  be  argued  that  they  in  some  cases  have  effectively  served  as  laboratories   for  innovative  environmental  policy  and  regulative  measures,  where  in  some  cases  enforcement  has   been   tighter   than   outside   the   zones.   In   addition,   access   to   international   markets   has   in   some   cases   addressed   regulatory   weakness   by   giving   the   benefit,   by   extension,   of   access   to   technologies,   management  techniques  and  financial  resources  for  improved  environmental  performance.      

CONFLICTING  PERSPECTIVES  ON  GLOBALIZATION  AND  CSR   The  emergent  social  and  environmental  issues  tied  with  the  export-­‐orientation  in  Asia  in  general  and   in  the  Philippines  (beginning  in  the  1970s  and  gaining  momentum  onward)  persisted  as  problem  areas   for   multinational   companies   to   deal   with   as   globalization   increasingly   took   (and   takes)   hold.   As   a   more  complex  mode  of  internationalization  and  development,  globalization  is  asserted  here  to  have   provided  the  contextual  conditions  for  CSR  to  take  to  the  fore  as  a  reflexive/reactive  framework.  As   presented  by  Angeles  (2003),  globalization  in  this  respect  is  understood  not  only  as  the  more  abstract   integration  of  economic,  political,  cultural  and  technological  activities  spanning  the  globe,  but  is  also   expressed  at  the  level  of  local  sites  and  at  the  industry  and  firm  levels.  In  pure  economic  terms,  this   means   ever-­‐increasing   amounts   of   FDI   in   developing   countries,   the   creation   of   networks   and   increasingly  flexible  production  strategies  along  the  value  chain  in  sourcing,  production,  distribution,   marketing  and  research  and  development.  The  effects  and  impacts  of  globalization  on  the  social  and   environmental   spheres   remain   contested   areas,   however,   making   it   worthwhile   here   to   dwell   on   some  of  the  propositions  as  well  as  explore  the  CSR  concept  in  more  detail.    


One  useful  classification  of  ontological  standpoints  on  globalization  of  relevance  to  the  discussion  of   multinational  companies  in  the  Philippine  Ecozones  is  provided  by  Held  et  el.  (1999),  who  speak  of  the   following   globalization   ‘discourses’,   in   their   terminology:   the   hyperglobalist,   skeptical   and   transformationalist  theses.  The  hyperglobalist  thesis  takes  a  positively  normative  stance  toward  the   effects   of   globalization,   and   is   perhaps   championed   by   people   such   as   the   pro-­‐market   economist   Jagdish   Baghwati   (2004)   whose   overall   claim   is   that   the   question   of   social   and   environmental   problems  is  not  one  rooted  in  trade  liberalization  as  fundamentally  dysfunctional  in  and  of  itself,  but   on   market   and   intervention   failures   (Christensen   2008).   Hyperglobalists   shed   a   positive   light   on   the   developmental   effects   of   FDI   -­‐   for   instance,   considering   the   social   issues   in   the   Philippine   semiconductor   and   electronics   industry   illustrated   in   the   previous   section,   Baghwati   provides   the   parallel   example   of   women   in   the   Bangladeshi   call   center   service   industry   who,   he   argues,   are   effectively   treated   to   wage   levels   higher   than   the   norm,   and   who   are   empowered   by   virtue   of   breaking   free   from   domestic   household   roles.   The   skeptical   globalization   thesis,   on   the   other   hand,   takes   the   opposite   view   and   is   perhaps   embodied   by   e.g.   James   H.   Mittelman   (2000),   who   places   great  emphasis  on  power  relations  and  how  this  leads  to  conflicts  across  the  globe  that  play  out  on  all   levels,   both   overtly   and   covertly   (Christensen   2008).   Mittelman   understands   globalization   to   be   a   transformative  process  through  which  this  power  play  occurs,  fostering  both  support  and  resistance   and   dividing   the   conflicting   parties   between   what   he   terms   the   ‘contents’   and   ‘discontents’   of   the   globalization   process.   Mittelman   in   fact   holds   forth   the   very   same   example   of   Philippine   female   Ecozone   workers   previously   mentioned   to   illustrate;   In   the   Philippines,   he   contends,   a   woman   working   in   one   of   the   country’s   Ecozones   will   likely   be   living   on   less   than   the   legal   minimum   wage,   in   poor  living  and  working  conditions  and  with  the  overhanging  menace  of  sexual  harassment  by  work   supervisors  (Mittelman  2000).     In  between  the  two  positions  above  is  the  transformationalist  thesis  (Held  et  al.  1999),  through  which   globalization   is   not   viewed   as   the   inherent   cause   of   either   positive   or   negative   effects,   but   that   a   variety  of  outcomes  are  possible  depending  on  how  globalization  is  handled  as  a  transformative  force.   This   position   recognizes   that   there   are   problems   of   increasing   inequalities   between   and   within   countries,  but  that  globalization  remains  open-­‐ended,  with  the  possibility  of  positive  effects  if  given   the   right   conditions   (Christensen   2008).   This   position   is   perhaps   given   credence   in   the   case   of  


Philippine  Ecozones  on  the  basis  of  e.g.  Richardson’s  findings  reviewed  in  the  previous  section.  Here,   there   was   no   clear-­‐cut   evidence   for   linkages   between   FDI   and   environmental   degradation   in   Asian   Special   Economic   Zones.   Rather,   it   appears   that   for   each   individual   country,   the   effects   of   globalization   are   entirely   a   context-­‐dependent   issue,   and   a   matter   of   getting   the   market   and   institutional  framework  conditions  to  balance  appropriately.     With   this   paper’s   intention   of   exploring   CSR   and   development   linkages   with   an   outset   in   the   Philippine  Ecozones  and  the  semiconductor  and  electronics  industry,  the  revisiting  of  the  internship   experiences   with   SunPower   Philippines   Manufacturing,   Ltd.   can   be   framed   within   the   overall   globalization   discussion   above.     One   pertinent   matter   in   this   sense   would   be   to   consider   which   of   the   three  theses  the  internship  experiences  support.  To  speak  of  ‘evidence’  based  on  a  singular,  even  in-­‐ depth  case  study  might  perhaps  be  stretching  the  extent  to  which  hard  conclusions  may  be  drawn,   even   if   e.g.   Flyvbjerg   (2006)   has   put   forward   a   comprehensive   set   of   arguments   going   against   established  ‘conventional  wisdom’  in  social  science  research  methodology  that  generalizations  cannot   be   drawn   from   single   case   studies.   Here,   it   is   put   forward   that   the   internship   experiences   at   least   generate  a  useful  set  of  insights  of  (as  will  be  shown  further  on)  a  unique  multinational  company  that   not   only   has   the   production   of   an   environmentally   friendly   technology   as   its   core   business,   but   through  its  conduct  gives  some  support  to  the  transformationalist  thesis  of  globalization.  During  the   time   of   the   internship   itself,   no   fully   developed   framework   was   considered   to   put   the   Philippine   experiences   in   such   a   context,   but   this   author   did   have   the   opportunity   to   reflect   briefly   upon   the   experiences   in   this   manner   during   a   master   thesis   study   on   sustainability,   innovation,   FDI   and   globalization  in  the  Costa  Rican  electronics  sector  in  2007.  The  small  passage  is  worth  recounting  in  its   entirety  below  (Christensen  2008),  which  uses  the  terminology  by  Held  et  al.  (1999)  and  lays  bare  this   author’s   position.   However,   it   is   not   fully   argumentative   or   conclusive   concerning   the   case   of   SunPower  Philippines  Manufacturing  Ltd.    A  main  part  of  the  exercise  in  this  paper  is  to  substantiate   the  position  further.     “Sometimes  personal  experience  counts  for  something.  The  author  of  this  study  has  been   fortunate   enough   to   have   been   able   to   see   the   globalization   at   play   in   developing   countries   first   hand,   first   from   a   childhood   growing   up   in   the   Philippines,   Indonesia   and  


Thailand   (right   at   the   time   the   Thai   Baht   collapsed   and   set   off   the   East   Asian   crisis).   Recently,   the   author   has   undergone   an   internship   with   an   American   transnational   solar   cell   producer   in   an   export   processing   zone   near   Manila   in   late   2006,   working   in   the   Environmental,  Safety  and  Health  unit.  It  is  the  author’s  opinion  that  the  issue  of  FDI  and   sustainability  is  of  extremely  vast  importance  to  the  developing  world,  but  that  it  would  be   apathetic  and  cynical  to  cast  aside  belief  that  globalization  can  be  harnessed  to  facilitate   sustainable  development.  It  is  not  blind  faith  in  the  market  that  is  behind  the  belief  in  the   transformationalist  thesis,  however,  but  a  pragmatic  stance  that  alternative  pathways  to   development   are   growing   harder   to   envision   as   globalization   takes   hold   in   the   international   political   economy.   The   problems   are   real   and   exist.   Seeing   first-­‐hand   how   developing  countries  go  out  of  their  way  to  attract  transnationals,  for  instance  by  setting   up  special  economic  zones  that  offer  tax-­‐exemption  incentives,  it  is  easy  to  be  skeptical  to   the   notion   of   environmental   and   social   benefits   and   spillovers.   And   so   it   should   be.   Critical   thinking  is  the  foundation  of  solid  research.  When  Mittelman  speaks  of  exploited  workers   in   the   Philippines   living   in   squalid   conditions,   this   author   can   profess   to   have   seen   the   problems   based   on   personal   interaction   with   the   very   same   workers,   at   a   level   entirely   different   from   an   academic   researcher   working   on   the   topic.   Globalization   in   this   and   many  other  cases  seemingly  does  strongly  favor  its  contents  over  the  discontents,  yet  the   transformationalist  thesis  persists,  in  the  author’s  view,  so  long  as  examples  of  success  can   be  found.”   Before   entering   into   the   case   study   itself,   it   is   necessary   to   further   elaborate   on   the   CSR   concept   that   has  only  been  mentioned  in  passing  so  far.  A  common  definition  given  by  the  European  Commission   states   that   it   is   “…   a   concept   whereby   companies   integrate   social   and   environmental   concerns   in   their   business  operations  and  in  their  interaction  with  their  stakeholders  on  a  voluntary  basis.”  (European   Commission  2001;  Prieto-­‐Carrón  et  al.  2006)  To  be  sure,  it  is  far  from  a  new  concept.  If  framed  as  a   more   principled   discussion   on   the   responsibilities   of   business   in   a   market   society,   this   has   been   argued   from   some   quarters   to   pre-­‐date   the   era   wherein   the   ‘globalization’   concept   has   become   a   popular   catchword   (Scherer   and   Palazzo   2009).   Before   the   advent   of   globalization,   a   clearer   distinction   between   the   roles   of   business   vis-­‐á-­‐vis   the   state   was   the   conventional   understanding,  


which  took  a  direct  outset  from  Smithian  economic  ‘invisible  hand’  thinking.  By  establishing  the  ‘rules   of   the   game’   for   a   market   system   to   operate,   the   state’s   role   was   seen   to   ensure   the   business   prerogative  of  exclusively  pursuing  profits,  and  was  assumed  to  have  the  capacity  to  simultaneously   make  sure  that  this  occurred  to  the  general  wellbeing  of  society.  However,  the  shortcomings  of  this   assumption   became   increasingly   visible   and   in   the   vacuum   of   effectively   regulated   markets   that   resulted,  demands  were  increasingly  placed  on  business  to  be  socially  responsible  by  either  adhering   to  ill-­‐enforced  regulation  or  even  go  beyond  compliance.  The  effects  of  globalization  in  the  modern   era  have  served  to  intensify  the  negative  effects  of  business,  and  at  the  same  time  put  pressure  on   business  to  respond  accordingly.  At  the  most  current  apex  of  CSR  discussion,  some  optimists  have  put   forward   the   case   that   business   can   pursue   CSR   to   be   a   so   ingrained   a   core   value   as   to   be   value-­‐ creating  for  themselves  and  society  as  a  whole  in  a  leadership  role,  see  e.g.  Hart  (2007).  Scherer  and   Palazzo  (2009)  assess,  however,  that  seeing  businesses  as  fully  both  economic  and  political  leadership   actors  in  this  manner  requires  a  shift  in  paradigm,  and  remains  contested.     On  an  operational  level,  a  number  of  CSR  initiatives  and  managerial  or  instrumental  tools  have  been   developed   over   the   years   to   assist   businesses   in   addressing   perceived   areas   of   responsibility   in   the   social  and  environmental  spheres.  The  reasons  for  a  company  to  adopt  CSR  practices  along  these  lines   are,  in  ascending  order  of  value  added  to  society  at  large  (Roepstorff  and  Serpa  2005):       •

Risk  management  

Organisational  structuring  

Positioning  in  markets    

Positioning  in  society  

  At   any   point   in   time,   including   in   the   present   era   in   which   business   is   increasingly   expected   to   contribute  more  broadly  to  societal  development,  it  can  be  reasonably  argued  that  there  will  be  great   disparities   concerning   the   attitudes   and   reasoning   behind   individual   companies’   adoption   of   CSR   practices  (as  above)  within  any  industry  segment,  sector  or  geographic  clustering.  In  this  context,  CSR   operational   managerial   or   instrumental   tools   can   be   seen   as   an   emerging,   even   maturing   form   of  


private   governance   framed   within   the   previous   globalization   discussion.   Within   the   environmental   sphere   in   particular,   Falkner   (2003)   explores   links   between   private   governance   and   international   relations,  seeing  one  of  the  first  concrete  examples  in  the  development  of  ‘good  practice’  voluntary   environmental   and   safety   principles   in   the   chemical   industry   in   the   United   States   in   the   1980s.   Of   further   relevance   to   this   paper   in   particular,   Falkner   also   highlights   the   work   done   by   the   International   Organization   for   Standardization   (ISO)   to   create   a   global   standard   for   environmental   management   systems,   called   the   ISO   14000   series,   which   provides   guidance   for   companies   and   organizations  to  systematize  their  efforts  and  seek  third-­‐party  certification.  It  is  worth  to  note  here   that  the  internship  experiences  with  SunPower  Philippines  Manufacturing  Ltd.  were  directly  related   to   setting   up   a   formalized   ISO   14000   environmental   management   system   at   the   facility.   Within   the   CSR   field   directly,   parallel   attempts   at   converging   and   standardizing   business   practices   have   taken   place  which  have  resulted  in  managerial  or  instrumental  tools  at  the  framework  level  and,  similar  to   the   ISO   14000   series,   at   the   practical   level.   One   of   the   most   important   framework   tools   has   been   the   UN   Global   Compact   (an   important   endorsement   for   responsible   business   has   thus   come   from   the   United   Nations),   which   lays   out   ten   principles   within   human   rights,   labour,   environment   and   anti-­‐ corruption   for   businesses   to   align   their   operations   in   accordance   with   (United   Nations   2010).   The   UN   Global  Compact  is  a  effectively  a  soft  measure  which  provides  overall  guidance  within  the  four  core   issues,   a   dialogue   platform   and   which   relies   on   peer   monitoring.   On   the   other   hand,   a   number   of   actual  CSR  standards  have  also  been  created  which  allow  for  third-­‐party  certification  in  some  cases   (Hohnen   2007).   Some   examples   of   these   include   e.g.   the   AA   1000   series   focused   on   business   and   sustainability   performance,   or   the   SA   8000   standard   for   workplace   conditions   developed   by   Social   Accountability  International  (SAI),  a  US-­‐based  non-­‐profit.  Most  recently,  a  process  was  set  in  motion   in   2005   finally   led   to   ISO   publishing   its   ISO   26000   guidance   manual   on   Social   Responsibility   in   November   2010   (ISO   2010).   With   ISO   being   perhaps   the   most   widely   recognized   international   standardization  body,  this  may  be  seen  as  important  step  for  global  CSR  convergence.  However,  ISO   26000  is  in  fact  distinct  from  an  actual  certifiable  management  system  standard  such  as  in  the  case   ISO   14000   series   -­‐   this   point   was   one   strongly   contested   point   throughout   the   stakeholder   consultation  process  in  developing  ISO  26000,  and  goes  to  illustrate  that  it  is  ‘easier  said  than  done’  to   simply  standardize  such  a  complex  issue  as  CSR,  and  make  it  approvable  via  third-­‐party  certification.    


The  discussion  on  CSR  managerial  or  instrumental  tools  primarily  aims  at  illustrating  that  globalization   is  linked  with  CSR  convergence  and  standardization  in  business  practices,  and  may  be  seen  as  a  form   of  private  governance  that  has  followed  a  similar  development  as  within  the  environmental  sphere  as   illustrated  by  Falkner  (2003).  The  brief  overview  of  some  existing  CSR  tools  shows  some  examples  of   how   this   can   take   concrete   form.   Beyond   the   ISO   14000   environmental   mangement   system   implementation   work   at   SunPower   Philippines   Manufacturing   Ltd.,   however,   it   is   unknown   to   this   author   whether   the   company   at   this   present   time   is   actively   working   on   adopting   some   of   the   formalized   CSR   tools,   which   do   handle   broader   CSR   aspects   in   carrying   out   business.   In   the   following,   the  internship  experiences  will  be  presented  with  this  limitation.  The  ISO  14000  implementation  work   described   as   part   of   the   case   study   is   considered   an   example   of   early   CSR   work   at   a   multinational   company  within  the  Philippine  Ecozones,  though  specifically  within  the  environmental  sphere.      

SUNPOWER  PHILIPPINES  MANUFACTURING  LTD.   Sunpower   Philippines   Manufacturing   Ltd.   is   a   Philippines-­‐based   solar   panel   assembly   facility   that   is   vertically  integrated  into  and  part  of  Sunpower  Corporation  headquartered  in  San  Jose,  California.  A   multinational  company,  Sunpower  Corporation  produces  high-­‐efficiency  solar  photovoltaic  (PV)  cells   and   panels   for   electricity   production   in   e.g.   residential   use,   primarily   for   markets   in   Germany   and   the   US.   The   internship   was   task-­‐related   to   assisting   the   Philippine   facility   in   setting   up   a   formalized   handling   system   for   managing   the   negative   environmental   impacts   associated   with   its   on-­‐site   production   processes,   in   preparation   for   third-­‐party   certification   in   accordance   with   the   ISO   14000   series   (the   ISO   14001   standard   specifically,   dealing   with   environmental   management   system   requirements)  over  the  long  term.  Anchored  at  the  facility’s  Environmental,  Safety  and  Health  (ESH)   unit,   the   internship   activities   meant   close   daily   liaising   with   ESH   and   production   staff   as   well   as   contact  with  management  and  HR  personnel;  but  the  scope  of  the  work  was  also  expanded  to  include   an   institutional,   contextual   analysis   of   environmental   performance   of   foreign-­‐owned   companies   in   the   Philippine   Ecozones   more   broadly,   and   specifically   within   the   company’s   industry   segment   (the   semiconductor   and   electronics   industry).   Besides   the   experience   of   interacting   with   Sunpower   Philippines  staff  on  a  daily  basis,  the  internship  thereby  also  afforded  the  opportunity  for  site  visits  at  


similar  facilities  at  other  locations.  Three  interviews  were  carried  out  with  environmental  engineers   from   three   other   multinational   companies   operating   in   the   same   industry   segment   (electronics   and   semiconductors)  in  the  Ecozones.  These  were,  respectively,  Cypress  Semiconductor,  Intel  and  Analog   Devices.  Further,  the  Intel  representative  interviewed  by  this  author  was  also  the  representative  of  an   industry  networking  committee  dealing  with  environmental  issues,  AESSEP  (Association  of  Electronics   and   Semiconductors   for   Safety   and   Environmental   Protection),   which   is   a   committee   that   is   part   of   SEIPI   (Semiconductor   and   Electronics   Industries   in   the   Philippines,   Inc.),   the   overall   industry   association.   The   practical   company-­‐centered   internship   activities   at   Sunpower   Philippines   were   thereby  also  seen  in  a  societal  and  developmental  perspective.       The  practical  tasks  that  the  internship  covered,  and  also  the  empirical  basis  for  the  findings  this  paper,   were  (in  the  following  chronological  order):     •

Participating   in   NEOP   (New   Employee   Orientation   Program)   training   for   a   2-­‐week   duration   together  with  a  batch  of  newly  recruited  production  line  staff.  

Conducting  a  clause-­‐by-­‐clause,  so-­‐called  ‘gap  analysis’  between  current  company  practice  vis-­‐ á-­‐vis  the  individual  ISO  14001  standard  requirements.  

‘Clean   room’   personnel   safety   training;   prerequisite   for   being   allowed   to   enter   the   production   area,   which   is   a   tightly   controlled   environment   regarding   parameters   such   as   humidity,   temperature,  particle  density,  etc.  and  requires  full-­‐body  protection  equipment.  

Developing  an  impact  assessment  methodology  that  covered  all  of  the  production  steps  at  the   facility,   as   well   as   non-­‐production   related   impacts   from   support   activities   e.g.   bus  shuttle   fleet   operations,  canteen  activities  and  the  water  purifying  system.  This  was  a  key  prerequisite  step   in   the   ISO   14001   standard,   and   was   conducted   in   order   to   identify   the   most   significant   environmental  aspects  at  the  facility.  

Internal   stakeholder   consultations   with   e.g.   ESH,   production,   HR,   facilities,   procurement   and   financial  accounting  staff  for  quantitative  data  gathering,  in  order  to  try  out  the  environmental   impact  assessment  methodology  and  which  was  conducted  in  parallel  with  developing  it.  

Participating  in  ESH  coordination  meetings,  which  set  quarterly  overall  objectives  for  the  ESH   unit  as  a  whole.  


Presenting   environmental   impact   assessment   methodology   to   the   ESH   unit,   which   together   with   an   executive   decision   to   actively   challenge   for   ISO   14001   certification   (a   top-­‐down   decision  from  corporate  headquarters  in  the  US  independent  of  the  internship  activities)  led   to  the  decision  to  designate  a  cross-­‐departmental  ISO  14001  committee.  

Conducting  basic  ISO  14001  training  for  the  committee,  which  included  e.g.  production  staff   who  had  no  prior  knowledge  of  environmental  management  systems.  

Participating   in   planning   workshops   with   the   ISO   14001   committee   and   preparing   a   detailed   ISO  14001  implementation  plan  on  this  basis.  

Presenting   the   ISO   14001   implementation   plan   to   a   management   meeting   in   the   final   week   of   the  internship,  which  secured  final  management  ‘buy-­‐in’  for  the  implementation  project.    

  When  reflecting  upon  the  internship  experiences  with  and  broader  CSR  and  development  perspective,   the  ISO  14001  specific  tasks  were  perhaps  not  as  insightful  in  and  of  themselves.  However,  the  day-­‐to-­‐ day  observations  throughout  the  process  gave  very  deep  insider  information  into  the  daily  activities   of   an   otherwise   quite   closed,   corporate   world   of   a   multinational   company   within   a   Philippine   Ecozone.   The   social   labour   relations   between   the   company   and   its   workforce   were   glimpsed   at,   as   well   as   environmental   and   occupational   health   and   safety   issues   for   the   very   apparent   reason   that   gaining  an  insight  into  this  was  a  significant  part  of  the  internship  activities.  What  will  be  presented  in   the   following   will   be   some   of   the   most   striking,   important   impressions   and   observations   within   the   social  and  environmental  spheres  relating  to  the  company’s  handling  of  CSR  issues.     Concerning  environmental  on-­‐site  issues,  what  was  perhaps  most  remarkable  was  that  that  producing   a  core  business  product  as  environmentally  ‘friendly’  as  a  solar  PV  cell  involves  the  use  of  staggering   amounts  of  toxic  and  otherwise  hazardous  gases,  acids,  high-­‐energy  consuming  production  processes,   high  resource  usage  of  water  and  the  resulting  high  production  of  wastewater,  necessitating  an  on-­‐ site   wastewater   treatment   facility.   However   even   without   a   formalized   ISO   14001   environmental   management   system   to   systematically   identify,   prioritize   and   reduce   the   company’s   environmental   impacts,  a  number  of  environmental  control  technologies  were  already  in  place  at  the  facility,  such  as   efficient  emission  scrubbers.  What  could  not  be  said  was  that  they  company  was  ‘dirty’  in  any  sense.  


Effectively,   the   company   was   aware   that   any   environmental   mishaps   would   have   serious   repercussions  for  its  production  activities.     Concerning   environmental   institutional   issues,   it   was   interesting   to   note   that   some   of   the   primary   functions  of  the  ESH  unit  and  its  staff  were  to  constantly  maintain  a  monitoring  and  follow-­‐up  system   of  all  applicable  environmental  legislation,  maintain  contact  with  both  regulatory  stakeholders  as  well   as  industry  networks  within  occupational  safety  and  the  environment,  and  maintain  contact  with  the   corporate  ESH  headquarters.  Especially  interesting  was  the  chance  to  see  an  internal  environmental   audit  conducted  by  ESH  headquarters  staff,  through  which  American  ESH  staff  paid  a  visit  and  double-­‐ checked   to   make   sure   the   Philippines   site   had   all   documentation   in   place   to   prove   it   was   both   in   compliance   with   internal   and   legislative   environmental   obligations.   As   well,   it   was   interesting   to   note   that   the   EHS   staff   at   regular   intervals   invited   local   regulatory   bodies   to   see   its   emergency   preparedness  system  and  routines,  which  was  a  purely  volunteer  initiative.     Concerning   social   issues,   it   was   far   from   the   overall   impression   that   the   workforce   consisted   of   predominantly   female   workers   who   were   afforded   poor   working   environment   conditions   as   might   have  been  the  case  in  the  earlier  years  of  FDI  in  the  Philippine  Ecozones  within  the  semiconductor  and   electronics  industry  segment.  The  workforce  was  roughly  split  between  males  and  females.  Observing   and  interacting  with  the  workforce,  this  author  also  was  surprised  to  learn  that  every  single  member   of   the   production   staff   (‘shop   floor’   workers,   though   this   is   misleading   term   when   production   took   place   in   a   controlled   cleanroom   environment)   was   in   possession   of   higher   education   qualifications,   and  were  all  engineers  by  training.  As  this  author  surmised,  it  was  perhaps  an  indication  of  how  low   the   wage   levels   in   the   country   were   in   general   as   much   as   it   showed   how   sophisticated   the   production   processes   were,   that   SunPower   Philippines   Manufacturing   Ltd.   felt   it   necessary   to   have   such  a  high-­‐skilled  workforce  trained  in  technical,  engineering  skills.  Unionizing  was  unheard  of,  which   this   author   learned   was   the   norm   in   the   Ecozones,   but   collective   bargaining   did   take   place   in   some   form  as  there  was  a  worker’s  representative  association  for  the  workers  at  the  site.       The  occupational  health  and  safety  regime  was  included  in  the  areas  of  responsibility  of  the  ESH  unit   at   the   company,   which   had   a   thorough   regime   of   procedures   and   routines   in   place.   In   fact,   it   was   the  


impression  that  these  issues  were  weighted  higher  than  environmental  issues.  In  case  of  emergency,   the  facility  did  have  a  medical  clinic,  as  per  legislative  requirements.  However,  the  company’s  efforts   were   not   entirely   faultless   concerning   e.g.   work-­‐related   injuries.   While   there   was   an   incentive   system   in  place  to  keep  injuries  at  a  minimum  level  (e.g.  production  team  salary  bonuses  for  a  certain  amount   of  time  gone  by  without  injury),  this  same  incentive  system  in  some  cases  encouraged  injuries  to  be   deliberately  unreported  by  the  production  staff.     Concerning   broader   social   concerns,   e.g.   with   the   surrounding   communities,   this   issue   was   raised   during  an  interesting  event  when  the  company’s  corporate  CEO  paid  the  Philippine  facility  a  visit  and,   as  per  the  company’s  norms,  presented  the  quarterly  financial  report  to  the  entire  gathered  Filipino   staff   at   the   large   canteen   facility.   The   CEO   made   himself   open   to   a   question-­‐and-­‐answer   session,   and   one   of   the   questions   from   the   floor   showed   open   concern   regarding   expansion   plans   in   a   new   geographical  area.  At  the  time  of  the  internship,  plans  were  underway  to  invest  in  developing  another   production   facility   at   another   Ecozone   further   south   of   the   existing   one.   However,   this   area   was   notorious  for  being  crime-­‐ridden,  as  was  explained  to  this  author  later,  and  the  questioner  pointedly   asked  the  CEO  how  the  company  was  taking  this  into  consideration.  Interestingly,  the  CEO  evaded  the   question,   simply   responding   that   it   was   a   very   good   one,   but   that   a   local   plant   manager   was   in   a   better   position   to   answer   the   expansion   plan   details.   Of   course,   this   shows   only   slim   anecdotal   indication   of   the   company’s   community   relations,   but   is   perhaps   indicative   of   a   possible   point   of   critique,  with  corporate  headquarters  far  removed  from  social  community  concerns  at  the  local  level   in  the  Philippines.     When   conducting   site   visits   at   other   multinational   companies   in   the   Philippine   Ecozones   and   interviewing   representatives   from   Cypress   Semiconductor,   Intel   (and   the   AESSEP   networking   committee)   and   Analog   Devices,   the   internship   experiences   were   seen   in   broader   context.   It   was   interesting   to   garner   that   in   terms   of   ISO   14001   certifications,   the   semiconductor   and   electronics   industry   segment   accounted   for   the   majority   share   (exact   numbers   are   difficult   to   come   by).   In   addition,   it   is   worthwhile   to   note   that   the   first   ten   companies   to   have   ever   gained   ISO   14001   certification   in   the   country   were   also   from   this   industry   segment   (Philippine   Business   for   the   Environment  1998).  The  SEIPI  industry  association  itself  believed  its  relationship  with  authorities  to  be  


an   open   dialogue   based   on   constant   communication,   and   claimed   to   be   very   active   in   engaging   communities  and  the  general  public,  pointing  to  community  outreach  programs  that  some  companies   practice.   If   taken   at   face   value,   these   claims   draw   an   impression   of   an   industry   segment   which   is   very   much  aware  of  its  influence,  but  which  chooses  to  pursue  interests  in  an  open,  non-­‐confrontational   manner  (Christensen  and  Rasmussen  2007).  Further  points  of  interest  were  noted:  It  was  mentioned   that  AESSEP  initiated  a  ‘Philippine  Environmental  Partnership  Program’,  a  voluntary  measure  where   the  industry  would  try  to  use  peer  oversight  to  monitor  their  member  companies.  And  when  asked   about   bottom-­‐up   grassroots   engagement   from   local   communities,   the   AESSEP   and   Intel   representative   responded   that   the   general   public   in   the   Philippines   becomes   very   active   only   when   their   direct   livelihoods   are   under   threat,   such   as   during   the   case   of   an   oil   spill   near   the   island   of   Guimaras   which   happened   near   the   time   of   the   interview.   Ongoing   engagement   with   industry   was   not   deemed   to   take   place,   but   when   legislation   is   enacted,   multi-­‐partite   groups   did   participate   in   consultations,  including  both  industry  associations  and  non-­‐industry  affiliated  NGO’s  (Christensen  and   Rasmussen  2007).       Taken  together,  the  inclination  on  the  basis  of  the  above  is  to  see  state-­‐market-­‐civil  society  relations   with   the   semiconductor   and   electronics   industry   as   one   where   the   industry   actively   participates   in   dialogue   and   action,   but   where   perhaps   the   symptoms   are   indicative   of   ineffective   or   under-­‐ resourced   state   and   public   control   mechanisms,   indicating   an   imbalance   in   favour   of   industry.   On   the   other   hand,   the   concrete   internship   experiences   at   SunPower   Philippines   Manufacturing   Ltd.   in   a   CSR   and   development   perspective   gave   no   real   indication   of   anything   decidedly   ‘insiduous’   in   the   company’s   activities,   although   some   points   of   critique   can   be   levelled   e.g.   with   occupational   health   and  safety  issues.  Following  the  typology  of  Roepstorff  and  Serpa  (2005),  CSR  engagement  with  the   company  could  be  described  to  be  as  high  as  the  level  of  ‘positioning  in  markets’  as  this  author  had   the   impression   of   an   extremely   competitive,   corporate   environment   which   took   all   matters   of   business   operations   seriously,   including   the   activities   of   the   ESH   unit.   However,   there   was   far   from   any  real  indication  that  the  company  saw  itself  in  a  societal  leadership  role,  thus  excluding  the  level   CSR  engagement  as  ‘positioning  in  society’.  Altogether,  this  gave  a  nuanced  picture  that  this  author   believes   can   still   give   some   credence   to   Held   et   al.’s   ‘transformationalist’   thesis   of   globalization.   Although   SunPower   Philippines   Manufacturing   Ltd.   did   not   and   does   not   see   its   role   as   a   driver   of  


broader   socio-­‐economic   development,   it   is   interesting   to   see   that   the   industry   segment   as   a   whole   practices   stakeholder   collaboration   with   the   state   and   civil   society   (to   an   extent)   on   e.g.   environmental   issues.   This   tells   of   a   story   other   than   multinational   companies   in   Ecozone   enclaves   that   go   about   their   business   completely   unmindful   about   local   developmental   implications   of   their   activities.    

CONCLUSION   This  paper  has  sought  to  consider  the  internship  experiences  at  SunPower  Philippines  Manufacturing   Ltd.   in   an   overall   CSR   and   development   perspective.   This   has   been   set   against   the   historical   backdrop   of  the  Philippine  export-­‐oriented  economic  growth  strategy  and  emergent  environmental  and  social   problem   areas   within   the   institutional   framework   of   Special   Economic   Zones   in   Asia.   As   well,   contemporary   globalization   and   CSR   discussions   have   served   to   set   the   stage   for   considering   whether   the  internship  case  study  lends  any  credence  to  the  ‘transformationalist’  thesis  of  globalization.  Here,   globalization  is  seen  as  context-­‐dependent  issue  where  CSR  driven  business  operations  may  be  seen   as  possibly  being  able  to  contribute  to  positive  developmental  outcomes  if  given  the  right  conditions.     As   recognized   by   this   author,   social   and   environmental   problems   are   real   and   exist   in   the   analysed   Philippine   setting   and   the   investigation   has   identified   an   imbalance   in   state-­‐market-­‐civil   society   relations   in   favour   of   the   semiconductor   and   electronics   industry,   which   wields   a   significant   deal   of   influence   and   ‘agenda   setting’   as   regards   institutional   conditions   for   multinational   companies   to   operate  under  the  Philippine  Ecozone  framework.  Through  the  internship  experiences,  however,  and   a  rare  glimpse  into  the  daily  activities  of  such  a  multinational  company,  it  can  be  asserted  that  this   doesn’t   necessarily   imply   negative   developmental   outcomes   within   the   environmental   and   social   spheres.   In   the   case   of   SunPower   Philippines   Manufacturing,   Ltd.,   CSR   is   not   conceptualized   explicitly   as   such   by   the   company   itself,   but   is   developed   to   the   extent   that   the   company   makes   use   of   CSR   engagement  as  a  way  of  improving  its  market  positioning.  Interviews  with  other  companies  and  the   industry  networking  committee  indicate  this  to  be  generalizable  to  an  extent  for  the  semiconductor  


and   electronics   industry   segment   as   a   whole.   The   transformationalist   thesis   of   globalizatio   can   be   given  some  credence  on  this  basis.       Further   final   perspectives   may   be   drawn   from   how   SunPower   Philippines   Manufacturing,   Ltd.   has   fared  since  the  time  of  the  internship  in  2006.  It  is  interesting  to  note  that  the  company  has  expanded   with   another   production   facility   in   the   same   country,   and   that   both   production   sites   have   now   had   third-­‐party   verified   ISO   14001   environmental   management   system   certifications   for   a   number   of   years   running.   It   is   not   known   whether   the   company   is   active   towards   making   use   of   explicit   CSR   frameworks   such   as   the   ISO   26000   guidance   manual   on   social   responsibility,   but   this   perspective   is   interesting   in   that   is   shows   how   much   further   institutionalized   environmental   management   has   become.                



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