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Corporate social responsibility


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An overview about corporate social responsibility.

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Corporate social responsibility

  1. 1. KARUNYA UNIVERSITY CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY ASSIGNMENT 2 AMLIN DAVID 25-Aug-11This document contains the details of corporate social responsibility in relation to to theindustries
  2. 2. Introduction to corporate socialresponsibilityCorporate social responsibility is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a businessmodel. CSR policy functions as a built-in, self-regulating mechanism whereby business monitorsand ensures its active compliance with the spirit of the law, ethical standards, and internationalnorms. The goal of CSR is to embrace responsibility for the companys actions and encourage apositive impact through its activities on the environment, consumers, employees, communities,stakeholders and all other members of the public sphere. Furthermore, CSR-focused businesseswould proactively promote the public interest by encouraging community growth anddevelopment, and voluntarily eliminating practices that harm the public sphere, regardless oflegality. CSR is the deliberate inclusion of PI into corporate decision-making, that is the corebusiness of the company or firm, and the honouring of a triple bottom line: people, planet, profit.The term "corporate social responsibility" came in to common use in the late 1960s and early1970s, after many multinational corporations formed. The term stakeholder, meaning those onwhom an organizations activities have an impact, was used to describe corporate owners beyondshareholders as a result of an influential book by R. Edward Freeman, Strategic management: astakeholder approach in 1984. Proponents argue that corporations make more long term profitsby operating with a perspective, while critics argue that CSR distracts from the economic role ofbusinesses. Others argue CSR is merely window-dressing, or an attempt to pre-empt the role ofgovernments as a watchdog over powerful multinational corporations.CSR is titled to aid an organizations mission as well as a guide to what the company stands forand will uphold to its consumers. Development business ethics is one of the forms of appliedethics that examines ethical principles and moral or ethical problems that can arise in a businessenvironment. ISO 26000 is the recognized international standard for CSR (currently a DraftInternational Standard). Public sector organizations (the United Nations for example) adhere tothe triple bottom line (TBL). It is widely accepted that CSR adheres to similar principles but withno formal act of legislation. The UN has developed the Principles for Responsible Investment asguidelines for investing entities.ApproachesAn approach for CSR that is becoming more widely accepted is a community-baseddevelopment approach. In this approach, corporations work with local communities to betterthemselves. For example, Medco energy helps the rural people in Indonesia by providing themthe assistance of micro finance. A more common approach of CSR is philanthropy. This
  3. 3. includes monetary donations and aid given to local organizations and impoverished communitiesin developing countries. Another approach to CSR is to incorporate the CSR strategy directlyinto the business strategy of an organization. For instance, procurement of Fair Trade tea andcoffee has been adopted by various businesses including KPMG. Its CSR manager commented,"Fairtrade fits very strongly into our commitment to our communities.Another approach is garnering increasing corporate responsibility interest. This is called CreatingShared Value, or CSV. The shared value model is based on the idea that corporate success andsocial welfare are interdependent. A business needs a healthy, educated workforce, sustainableresources and adept government to compete effectively. For society to thrive, profitable andcompetitive businesses must be developed and supported to create income, wealth, tax revenues,and opportunities for philanthropy. Many companies use the strategy of benchmarking tocompete within their respective industries in CSR policy, implementation, and effectiveness.Benchmarking involves reviewing competitor CSR initiatives, as well as measuring andevaluating the impact that those policies have on society and the environment, and howcustomers perceive competitor CSR strategy..Benefits of CSRBelow are some of the benefits of corporate social responsibility. Big corporations spend theirCSR resources mainly on Value creation, risk management and Corporatephilantrophy 1. Shared value 2. Promotes competitiveness and innovations 3. Promotes a sustainable business model 4. Integrates business into the community 5. Develops Human capital 6. Incorporated into the business strategy 7. Mitigates the operational impact 8. Mitigates operational risks 9. Supports external relationships 10. Corporate philanthropy and scholarships 11. Short term benefits but not always sustainable
  4. 4. Statement of the problemOften it takes a crisis to precipitate attention to CSR. One of the most active stands againstenvironmental management is the CERES Principles that resulted after the Exxon Valdezincident in Alaska in 1989 (Grace and Cohen 2006). Other examples include the lead poisoningpaint used by toy giant Mattel, which required a recall of millions of toys globally and caused thecompany to initiate new risk management and quality control processes. In another example,Magellan Metals in the West Australian town of Esperance was responsible for leadcontamination killing thousands of birds in the area. The company had to cease businessimmediately and work with independent regulatory bodies to execute a cleanup. Odwalla alsoexperienced a crisis with sales dropping 90%, and the companys stock price dropping 34% dueto several cases of E. coli spread through Odwalla apple juice.Critics of CSR as well as proponents debate a number of concerns related to it. These includeCSRs relationship to the fundamental purpose and nature of business and questionable motivesfor engaging in CSR, including concerns about insincerity and hypocrisyMilton Friedman and others have argued that a corporations purpose is to maximize returns to itsshareholders, and that since only people can have social responsibilities, corporations are onlyresponsible to their shareholders and not to society as a whole. Although they accept thatcorporations should obey the laws of the countries within which they work, they assert thatcorporations have no other obligation to society. Some people perceive CSR as in-congruentwith the very nature and purpose of business, and indeed a hindrance to free trade. Those whoassert that CSR is contrasting with capitalism and are in favor of neoliberalism argue thatimprovements in health, longevity and/or infant mortality have been created by economic growthattributed to free enterprise.Critics of this argument perceive neoliberalism as opposed to the well-being of society and ahindrance to human freedom. They claim that the type of capitalism practiced in manydeveloping countries is a form of economic and cultural imperialism, noting that these countriesusually have fewer labour protections, and thus their citizens are at a higher risk of exploitationby multinational corporations.A wide variety of individuals and organizations operate in between these poles. Many religiousand cultural traditions hold that the economy exists to serve human beings, so all economicentities have an obligation to society (see for example Economic Justice for All). Moreover, as
  5. 5. discussed above, many CSR proponents point out that CSR can significantly improve long-termcorporate profitability because it reduces risks and inefficiencies while offering a host ofpotential benefits such as enhanced brand reputation and employee engagement.As corporations pursue growth through globalization, they have encountered new challenges thatimpose limits to their growth and potential profits. Government regulations, tariffs,environmental restrictions and varying standards of what constitutes "labor exploitation" areproblems that can cost organizations millions of dollars. Some view ethical issues as simply acostly hindrance, while some companies use CSR methodologies as a strategic tactic to gainpublic support for their presence in global markets, helping them sustain a competitive advantageby using their social contributions to provide a subconscious level of advertising. Globalcompetition places a particular pressure on multinational corporations to examine not only theirown labor practices, but those of their entire supply chain, from a CSR perspective.The rise of ethics training inside corporations, some of it required by government regulation, isanother driver credited with changing the behavior and culture of corporations. The aim of suchtraining is to help employees make ethical decisions when the answers are unclear. Tullbergbelieves that humans are built with the capacity to cheat and manipulate, a view taken from(Trivers 1971, 1985), hence the need for learning normative values and rules in human behavior.The most direct benefit is reducing the likelihood of "dirty hands" (Grace and Cohen 2005), finesand damaged reputations for breaching laws or moral norms. Organizations also see secondarybenefit in increasing employee loyalty and pride in the organization. Caterpillar and Best Buy areexamples of organizations that have taken such steps.Increasingly, companies are becoming interested in processes that can add visibility to their CSRpolicies and activities. One method that is gaining increasing popularity is the use of well-grounded training programs, where CSR is a major issue, and business simulations can play apart in this.One relevant documentary is The Corporation, the history of organizations and their growth inpower is discussed. Corporate social responsibility, what a company does to in trying to benefitsociety, versus corporate moral responsibility (CMR), what a company should morally do, areboth important topics to consider when looking at ethics in CSR. For example, Ray Anderson, inThe Corporation, takes a CMR perspective in order to do what is moral and he begins to shift hiscompanys focus towards the biosphere by utilizing carpets in sections so that they will sustainfor longer periods. This is Anderson thinking in terms of Garret Hardins "The Tragedy of theCommons," where if people do not pay attention to the private ways in which we use publicresources, people will eventually lose those public resources.The issues surrounding government regulation pose several problems. Regulation in itself isunable to cover every aspect in detail of a corporations operations. This leads to burdensomelegal processes bogged down in interpretations of the law and debatable grey areas. For
  6. 6. example, General Electric failed to clean up the Hudson River after contaminating it withorganic pollutants. The company continues to argue via the legal process on assignment ofliability, while the cleanup remains stagnant.The second issue is the financial burden that regulation can place on a nations economy. Thisview shared by Bulkeley, who cites the Australian federal governments actions to avoidcompliance with the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, on the concerns of economic loss and nationalinterest.. Critics of CSR also point out that organisations pay taxes to government to ensure thatsociety and the environment are not adversely affected by business activities.Denmark has a law on CSR. On 16 December 2008, the Danish parliament adopted a bill makingit mandatory for the 1100 largest Danish companies, investors and state-owned companies toinclude information on corporate social responsibility (CSR) in their annual financial reports.The reporting requirements became effective on 1 January 2009 The required informationincludes:Information on the companies’ policies for CSR or socially responsible investmentsInformation on how such policies are implemented in practice, andInformation on what results have been obtained so far and management’s expectations for thefuture with regard to CSR/SRI.Critics concerned with corporate hypocrisy and insincerity generally suggest that bettergovernmental and international regulation and enforcement, rather than voluntary measures, arenecessary to ensure that companies behave in a socially responsible manner. A major area ofnecessary international regulation is the reduction of the capacity of corporations to sue statesunder investor state dispute settlement provisions in trade or investment treaties if otherwisenecessary public health or environment protection legislation has impeded corporateinvestments. Others, such as Patricia Werhane, argue that CSR should be considered more as acorporate moral responsibility, and limit the reach of CSR by focusing more on direct impacts ofthe organization as viewed through a systems perspective to identify stakeholders.
  7. 7. Review of Literature 1. Tullberg believes that humans are built with the capacity to cheat and manipulate, a view taken from (Trivers 1971, 1985), hence the need for learning normative values and rules in human behavior. 2. As global population increases, so does the pressure on limited natural resources required to meet rising consumer demand (Grace and Cohen 2005, 147). 3. Robert Reich argue that governments should set the agenda for social responsibility by the way of laws and regulation that will allow a business to conduct themselves responsibly. 4. Branco and Rodrigues (2007) describe the stakeholder perspective of CSR as the inclusion of all groups or constituents (rather than just shareholders) in managerial decision making related to the organization’s portfolio of socially responsible activities 5. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has permeated management practice and theory up to a point where CSR can be referred to as the latest management fad (Guthey, Langer, &Morsing, 2006) 6. Davis (1973) describes the iron law of responsibility, as the fact that firms exercising power will eventually be held accountable by society. 7. At the individual level, CSR has been constructed by Ackermann (1975) as managerial discretion. According to this view managerial actions are not fully defined by corporate policies and procedures. 8. CSR thus becomes a question of stakeholder identification, involvement, and communication (Mitchell, Agle, & Wood, 1997; Morsing& Beckmann, 2006; Morsing& Schultz, 2006). 9. “The purpose of stakeholder management was to devise a framework to manage strategically the myriad groups that influenced, directly and indirectly, the ability of a firm to achieve its objectives.” (Freeman &Velamuri, 2006) 10. Radical improvements "represent technical advance so significant that no increase in scale, efficiency, or design can make older technologies competitive with the new technology." (Tushman& Anderson, 1986: 441) Lazonick (2001), therefore, differentiates innovating enterprises from merely optimizing enterprises by characterizing innovative enterprises as transforming technological and/or market conditions, so as to differentiate themselves from other forms in an industry to gain sustained competitive advantage