Going Green, Corporate Social Responsibility

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Writing sample analyzing why and how companies should "go green" from an economical and social standpoint

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Going Green, Corporate Social Responsibility

  1. 1. “Going Green”: Understanding the newtrend of Corporate SocialResponsibilityMonique Singh12 April 2011MKT 360-02OVERVIEW
  2. 2. 2“Going Green”• The federal government is enacting more and more laws to punish companies that are notshowing themselves to be socially conscious (Gomez, 2011).• Many companies are starting to look into why they should “go green” on both aneconomically profitable, and socially conscious standpoint.• According to USA Today, 83% of consumers say that they will trust companies more ifthey are socially responsible (Iwata, 2009).• Companies that follow government guidelines to sustain the environment and also go outof their way to do so will attract more consumers, and younger (possibly more qualified)job applicants.• “Going green” will reduce your overhead costs, and the company will see great returndown the line once all of the initial costs are paid for (Orlitzky, 2011).• Going green is not a fleeting fad; it is here to stay – though the economy is in a roughstate, people still care about companies doing their part to help sustain the environmentfor future generations (Iwata, 2009).• “An overwhelming majority of corporate CEOs (93 percent) believe sustainability will bevital to the long-term success of their companies. These same CEOs also say that withinthe next ten years, were likely to reach a tipping point; one where sustainability and corebusiness are woven together.” (Brown, 2011).APPROACHIn this day and age, it is becoming extremely important for companies to take on aresponsible persona in how they handle their business. The public is finding more and more waysof obtaining information in regards to business behaviors and can easily ruin a company’s
  3. 3. 3“Going Green”reputation if consumers find that businesses partake in illegal, immoral, or environmentallydamaging behaviors (Gomez, 2011). This makes corporate social responsibility a relevant issuein today’s society and it is almost imperative that companies have some sort of plan of action onhow to behave in an environmental conscious way.Corporate social responsibility can be defined as how a company manages their businesspractices in a way that positively impacts society (Baker, 2009). So, the question here is: howdoes a company begin to implement a strategy to transform their business into a sociallyresponsible one?HOW TO GO GREENRecycling: Companies can first start their employees on an easy recycling plan by havingvarious forms of disposal for each type of waste product. Aluminum, paper, plastics, and regulartrash should be separated to ensure that they do not get mixed together and that recyclableproducts will not be sent to landfills where they cannot properly decompose (Orlizky, 2011).Employees should also not be able to have trashcans under or around their desks because thatwould make the separation process a bit more difficult to keep track of.Reduce printing: Another easy way to reduce waste is by emailing documents ratherthan printing them. Unless something absolutely must be on paper, offices should implement ano printing rule. Companies can also look for recycled or tree-free paper from places such ashttp://www.greenlinepaper.com/ (Morano, 2011).Turn off the lights: Buildings that can let in a lot of sunlight should try to open theirblinds and let the natural light in, rather than turning on unnecessary bulbs. This will not onlyreduce their own bills, but also conserve energy. It would also be wise to buy energy saving
  4. 4. 4“Going Green”bulbs such as a compact fluorescent one, which uses about 75% less electricity than anincandescent one (Howard, 2010).Reduction of fossil fuels: Seeing as fossil fuels create about 90% of greenhouse gasemissions in the U.S. (Koplow, 2001), it is important for businesses to find means of reducingthe amount they put out. Creating a carpool program can definitely reduce the use of fossil fuelsoutside of company hours, but there are many other steps that businesses can take to decreasetheir carbon footprint. During winter months, companies can keep their buildings at comfortabletemperatures, rather than keeping the thermometer high and making the employees feel as if theyare in a different season. Also take advantage of the government’s Cash For Caulkers program,which pays for insulation for eligible buildings (Ryan, 2008). Companies can also trim down thesizes of their shipping boxes to fit more products into one truck route and minimize emissions.Renewable energy: Another thing that companies can do to reduce fossil fuels, is to findways to obtain renewable energy products for their building. Because many companies cannotafford inserting solar panels on their building, they may just have to use the other ideas to reducetheir emissions. Solar energy is a great way to almost completely diminish fossil fuel releases,and it will even help the companies economically (Buerkle, 2011). Many solar systems have afour-year payback period to the point where the building will cost almost nothing to power, afterall the system’s components are paid for.Eco-friendly products: Many distributors are making their products more “eco-friendly”and some even help the environment. Sites such as http://www.greenandmore.com/ are full ofgoods that will help your business become more environmentally conscious. There are evenproducts, such as green furniture, that are made fully from recycled materials. These products not
  5. 5. 5“Going Green”only do not harm the environment, but they are made from products that have not gone to waste,and can even be recycled into something else.BENEFITSIn February of 2011, Steven Buerkle, co-owner of Signature Solar LLC, introduced thebasic benefits as to why a company would and should choose to “go green” with the use ofsolar power:•No Pollution, noise, or moving parts•The Sun rises every day•Proven, 50-year-old technology•Highest electrical production is during peak electrical cost period of day•No Fuel Risk (price, supply)•Recognizable environmental commitment•Uses local resources, reduces demand for imported fossil fuels•Solar panels have a 25-year warranty, 35+ year life•Warranties backed by substantial companies, e.g. BP, Shell, Sharp, Kyocera(Buerkle, 2011)Generally, “going green” with more than just solar power helps companies in the long run:Consumers view these companies as more responsible: As stated earlier, 83% of consumers saythat they will trust companies more if they are socially responsible (USA Today, 2009). This notonly helps the business retain customers, but also obtain new customers through word of mouth,or even good PR.
  6. 6. 6“Going Green”Establishment of upstanding public relations: Public relations firms help company’s gettheir stories into well-known and reputable publications. Public relations companies are muchmore likely to endorse “green” companies because they are much easier for people to trust.Being a “green” company makes a PR firm’s job much easier because more people are likely tohave confidence that the company’s business practices honorable, and the media will be morereceptive to allowing the company’s story in their own publications. Being a “green company,therefore makes a business’s chances of getting more customers through a Public Relationsservice, much higher (Morano, 2011).Less money spent in the long haul: Purchasing products and services such as renewableenergy or fluorescent light bulbs are definitely more expensive at first, but their benefits willprove to be worth it from an economical and social standpoint. Not only will having renewableenergy and the “green” mindset attract more customers – and therefore more revenue – it willalso lower energy bills once the initial costs are paid for (Buerkle, 2011).Being a step ahead: Many companies are looking to find ways to go green, but cannotyet afford it. Companies that have the purchasing power should definitely do so right away. Bigcompanies such as Walmart, Apple, and Starbucks are a few companies that are making theirway towards more sustainable and eco-friendly business practices. Grouping one’s name withthese businesses that are a bit “ahead of the pack” would greatly help a company’s businessapproach and position themselves as innovators in their industry (Gomez, 2011).COMPANIES THAT HAVE GONE GREENStarbucks: It is obvious that Starbucks attracts a certain type of customer. Many of theircustomers are environmentally conscious, either because they care or just because they have
  7. 7. 7“Going Green”enough money to do so. Starbucks has saved roughly 78,000 trees per year since 2006 with thecompany’s decision to use coffee cup sleeves made of recycled paper (Ryan, 2008). Starbuckseven tries to give jobs to shops that must close down due to their presence. A representative fromStarbucks states in their company principle that “every store is part of a community, and we takeour responsibility to be good neighbors seriously. We want to be invited in wherever we dobusiness. We can be a force for positive action – bringing together our partners, customers, andthe community to contribute every day.” (Starbucks.com, 2011). They also partner withenvironmental organizations that help the communities that they operate in, which has allowedmore consumers to see them in a positive light rather than a big business that takes awaybusiness from local coffee shops.Walmart: Though Walmart is completely prosperous without good PR, they have stilldecided to join the green movement, and have proven to be one of the front-runners in the wholetrend. They plan to eventually power each location with renewable energy sources, and havestarted with installing solar panels on various stores (Ryan, 2008). Though they do this mainlyfor profit, it has still made helped to reduce their long-standing bad reputation.Apple: The company has been working to remove harmful chemicals such as mercuryand lead from its products before disposal. They have also reduced their packaging by 53% tomake it easier to transport more products in one trip, and are able to transport 80% more boxes inevery airline-shipping container (Apple.com). Also, their facilities only contribute to 3% of theirgreenhouse gas emissions, and some are even fully powered by renewable energy. As the picturebelow shows, Apple has even manufactured their products so that they emit a great deal lessCO2e than a 60-watt incandescent light bulb.
  8. 8. 8“Going Green”Source: (Apple.com, 2010)CONCLUSIONCompanies that decide to go green have a chance of achieving both economic and social benefitsby saving money and obtaining good public relations. Many consumers are more likely topurchase from a company that shows themselves to be “green” as opposed to ones that are nottaking the steps to do so (Iwata, 2009). Though the initial costs may discourage a company frompurchasing green products or invest in renewable energy, they will find that in the long run, itwill greatly reduce their own energy bills and even attract new customers, while helping to retaintheir current ones. Many big companies are going green and becoming environmentallyconscious, and it would be a wise decision to group one’s business with such an advanced groupof companies
  9. 9. Works CitedBaker, M. (2009). Definitions of Corporate Social Responsibility. Mallen Bakers CSRWebsite. Retrieved from <http://www.mallenbaker.net/csr/definition.php>.Brown, R. (2011). Joining the mainstream. NZ Business, 25(2), 70. Retrieved fromEBSCOhost.Environmental Stewardship. (2011, Februrary). Retrieved from http://www.starbucks.com/responsibilityGomez, L. M., & Chalmeta, R. (2011). Corporate responsibility in U.S. corporatewebsites: A pilot study. Public Relations Review, 37(1), 93-95.doi:10.1016/j.pubrev.2010.12.005Howard, B. (2010, January). Turn Off Lights - Save Energy: Going Green, FuelEfficiency, Organic Food, and Green Living. The Daily Green. Retrieved from<http://www.thedailygreen.com/going-green/tips/energy-conservation-turn-off-lights-460107>.Iwata, E. (2009, June). Corporate Social Responsibility: Collegiate Case Study. USAToday Print, 1-3.Koplow, D., & Dernbach J. (2001). Federal Fossil Fuel Subsidies and Greenhouse GasEmissions: A Case Study of Increasing Transparency for Fiscal Policy.Rev. Energy Environ. Mindfully.org | Mindfully Green 26:361-389.Retrieved from <http://www.mindfully.org/Energy/Fossil-Fuel-Subsidies.htm>.Morano, R. (2011). Green Benefit Communications Strategies. Employee BenefitPlan Review, 65(8), 6-8. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.Orlitzky, M., Siegel, D. S., & Waldman, D. A. (2011). Strategic Corporate Social Responsibilityand Environmental Sustainability. Business & Society, 50(1), 6-27.doi:10.1177/0007650310394323
  10. 10. Ryan. 25 Big Companies That Are Going Green. (2008). Business Pundit:Your Daily Dose of Smart Business Opinion. Retrieved from <http://www.businesspundit.com/25-big-companies-that-are-going-green/>.The Story Behind Apple’s Environmental footprint. (2010, June). Retrieved fromhttp://www.apple.com/environment/

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