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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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4.1. Different CSR approaches of Louis Vuitton in Japan and Saudi Arabia

CSR, as an International marketing strategy, is hard to be mass produced in a general way, for that ‘CSR is more a philosophy, a moral code, than a product or service.'(Paetzold 2010, p.70)For the company we chose, Louis Vuitton's adaptable CSR approaches among various countries added colour to the company's marketing blueprint. In the case of Japan and Saudi Arabia, Louis Vuitton differentiated the two markets by their culture attributions and social circumstances, due to what the CSR approach of the two countries did not share the same path, Japan as environment oriented while Saudi Arabia as corporate citizenship oriented.

In 2009, Louis Vuitton cooperated with Japanese non-profit MoreTrees  and built their own ‘Louis Vuitton Forest\' in Nagano, aiming to the overall goal of protecting and regenerating forests in rural areas throughout Japan. The reforestation project is a long-term project with plans and projections into the next 40 years. During that period of time, the main purpose of the forest is for carbon offset, not for the usage of public tourist attraction or commercial use.

After the launch of Louis Vuitton Forest, the company got praised by the Japan society for its engagement to build a beautiful and sustainable homeland for all human beings. Ryuichi Sakamoto, one of the founders of MoreTrees, highly praised Louis Vuitton's contribution, said, \"It feels really good that we were able to collaborate with Louis Vuitton. By working together for a number of years, I hope that we\'re able to make this a truly great forest.”

While for Saudi Arabia, in 2011, Louis Vuitton opened its first family room in Dubai and announced to collaborate with the artist Nadim Karam who presented ‘The Travelling Elephant', an artwork created by artists and a group of Dubai-based international children, produced during a unique and emotional children's art workshop.

The art piece was then donated for the benefit of START foundation in the Middle East, a non-profit organization offering art education for refugee children, orphaned children and autistic children. “Dubai is a role model for economic and social transformation in the region. “ It is natural for Louis Vuitton to develop itself in Dubai. ” said Damien Vernet who is the general manager of Louis Vuitton Middle East & India.

4.2. Causes of the different CSR approaches

4.2.1. Implicit CSR & Explicit CSR

Matten and Moon (2008) built an institutional theory framework which helps to identify cross-cultural differences by sectioning CSR into Implicit CSR and Explicit CSR. Implicit CSR refers to ‘national, regulatory institutional frameworks where companies need only follow the laws and government directives' (Tengblad and Ohlsson 2009, p.657),while explicit CSR is characterized by ‘less regulation and more incentive and opportunity for business organizations to fill social niches'.(Jamali and Neville, 2011,p.604)

According to the theory, Global South countries, many of which are developing countries, tend to act explicit CSR because of the ‘weak institutions and poor governance\' which lead to ‘delegate responsibility to private actors' to solve the society problems (Matten and Moon 2008, p.418). On the other hand, for developed countries with self-contained society structure and strong support by the government, corporations usually choose an implicit way that put less focus on social issues.

Japan and Saudi Arabia belong to different groups in terms of development degrees, Japan as a developed country while Saudi Arabia as a developing country(see Appendix4).Due to the distinction, Louis Vuitton purposefully aimed at the social problems reflecting the negligence of education in Saudi Arabia by paying tribute to disadvantaged children as its fundamental and defining value. However, in Japan, Louis Vuitton changed their CSR approach to environmental issues considering that in developed countries such as Japan, there has been increasing concerns about the way of life in recent years.

4.2.2. Long-term orientation & Short-term orientation

Hofstede (2005) described a model of five dimensions of national cultures considered ‘can be understood within the context of a set of cultural dimensions characteristic of different societies' (Williams and Zinkin 2008, p.3). Due to his research, Japan is among one of the most long-term oriented societies always ‘prepare for the future' while Saudi Arabia belongs to short-term countries that concern more about ‘the present' (see Appendix5). The two different goals led to various focuses of CSR and thus shaped into different CSR approaches of Louis Vuitton.

Among long-term oriented culture, ‘societies became more environmentally conscious that give opportunity for company to internationally merchandise its CSR initiatives' (Paetzold 2010, p.76).  Therefore, green marketing played an important part in Louis Vuitton's CSR approach in Japan, for the reason that Japanese people regard environmental protection as their duty for future society. On the contrary, the short-term oriented culture resulted in the fact that the society of Saudi Arabia shows great enthusiasm about solving current social problems, which led to Louis Vuitton's engagement on the issue of education.

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