Corporate social responsibility is a management strategy which combines and provides environmental, economic and social benefits for stakeholders. Corporate social responsibility has become a big concern for public worldwide, and it is still increasing, therefore businesses should put more effort and focus on corporate social responsibility more. Corporate social responsibility is in the evolving and matured stage. Although the idea has evolved long age on 1990, it has gained substantial development and opportunities in the recent time (ACAS, 2017). This essay argues on the fact that corporate social responsibility programs are not meant to promote the health of the workers in an organization but it also creates opportunities for the organization as well.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) denotes the responsibility of the organizations for the impact which their activities or the decisions have on the environment, the society and for itself. It is also referred to as the triple bottom line, where the concentration is upon the people, the planet and the profit. CSR is a management strategy which combines and provides environmental, economic and social benefits for stakeholders (Crowther, 2008). CSR has become a big concern for public worldwide, and it is still increasing, therefore businesses should put more effort and focus on corporate social responsibility more. CSR is in the evolving and matured stage. Although the idea has evolved long age on 1990, it has gained substantial development and opportunities in the recent time (Zhao, 2014). This essay argues on the fact that CSR programs are not only meant to promote the health of the workers in an organization but it also creates opportunities for the organization as well.
CSR relates to the organizations and businesses’ going beyond what has been put as their lawful duty, for mitigating the impact of the businesses over the society and the environment. There are four key conditions for CSR, i.e., it has to be voluntary, it needs to have a positive impact, it always has to be away from conflicting interest, and lastly, it has to act out of the basic legal, as well as, the best industry standards (Crane, 2008). CSR activities have put an obligation upon the businesses to keep a check on their actions and to work in a manner where the sustainability of the future is kept supreme. It is focused upon the organizations making profit in a manner, where the society and environment are safeguarded and even work is carried on for their betterment (Sprinkle and Maines, 2010).
Through the adoption of CSR activities, the companies can take a step in the direction improving upon the health of their workers, especially in the developing nations. This not only creates a positive impact over the localized population in the area where the company operates, but the company can also create numerous opportunities for them. One of the manners in which the company can benefit itself stems from the creation of goodwill (Mallin, 2009). When a company is constantly engaged in CSR activities and keeps the health and safety of the workers supreme, it is able to retain the talent. Furthermore, this also helps the company in attracting new talent, as workers want to be associated with such a company which has goodwill of treating the employees in the right manner (Gomez and Crowther, 2012).
Hitachi is one of the companies which has its focus upon the promotion of health and safety and takes initiatives for the employees under its CSR policies. The basic principle for the company is to ensure that their employees are safe and this has been unlined in the Health and Safety Policy of the Hitachi Group. The key principle of this policy is that the health and safety always comes first for the company (Hitachi, 2017). This is one of the reasons for the company’s success in developing nations. For instance, in India, which is a developing nation, Hitachi Data Systems were recognized as being the best information technology to work for in India. The reason for attaining the top position was given as the pride which the employees take in working with the company, due to its respect which the company had created by touching the lives of the people in a positive manner. Hitachi Data Systems is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi and the company is focused upon creating a safe and heath environment for all. Hence, Hitachi has not only benefited its employees, but also itself, by giving priority to the health and safety of the employees, through CSR initiatives (Ganguly, 2015).
Huawei is a Chinese company which has largely benefited from the CSR activities, which have their focus on the health and safety of the employees. Huawei is a telecom giant, having a substantial global presence. And in 2012, the company overtook Ericsson in terms of the net profit and its sales revenue (Cremer, 2016). The most interesting part of the success of the company lies in the ability of the company to make profit in a responsible manner. The company is constantly focused upon enhancing the security of the employee and the occupational health programs. In order to remind the employees of the company with regards to attention on health and safety, periodic emails are sent. Even the work, drink and eating of the employees is regulated so as to prevent the employee contracting diseases (China CSR, 2009). The statistics reveal that in 2008, CNY1.44 billion were spent by the company on the welfare of the employees. This is the reason why the strength of the company, in 2009 alone stood at 87,500, which keeps on growing, and consists of young engineers in majority (China Tech News, 2009).
It has often been stated that the CSR activities are a costly affair, which add to the costs of running the business. As per the different scholars and the opponents of the CSR and its activities, the companies which promote healthy work life balance for the company’s employees, fail in competitively thriving in the market. This is because the retention rates are increased, due to which, the workers often adopt a laid back attitude (Dima, 2016).
The companies have adopted CSR as a framework by a number of companies and the focus is upon the people of the company (Horrigan, 2010). For instance, the CSR of Volkswagen Group is committed towards going beyond the gates of the factories. The company works on promoting the societal, social and cultural projects and even creating equal opportunities and local structural development. The company supports over 200 projects across the globe and is aimed at benefiting the customers, local population, shareholders and the employees. The company takes initiatives in helping the flood victims, and has a substantial contribution in donations. In 2014 alone, the company donated over € 14 million in donations, and the purpose was different for science and research education, sports, charitable purpose, and cultural, religious and general welfare purposes (Volkswagen, 2014).
This example of Volkswagen Group depicts the point which has stated above. The costs of CSR are very high. Even though this does carry with it the benefits stated above, in financial terms, the costs outweigh the benefits. In short, CSR is a costly affair. CSR increases the costs of doing the business, which actually reduce the welfare and also undermines the economy of the market. The advocates of CSR fail to understand the role of profits and the raison d'être of the market economy. They simply want the companies to adopt corporate citizenship and carry on the activities with the collaboration of different stakeholders, for the promotion of sustainable development. They ignore to put their focus on the shareholder value and the profitability. However, there is no actual definition of sustainable development and even the actions which can promote the same are ambiguous (Institute of Economic Affairs, 2017).
By adopting the CSR activities by companies, the costs are likely to be increased for the companies and it also impairs the performance, as the managers make an attempt to take into account the wide range of objectives, setting up of new accounting, as well as, monitoring systems, and consulting with the stakeholders. The companies which chose to ignore the adoption of CSR activities have a powerful incentive as they can make certain that the same regime is imposed upon the competitors, resulting in the competition being limited across the economy and in general, making the people poorer. Another drawback of this lies in the attempts of the government to regulate the world in the name of CSR, where international standards are imposed, which reduce the trade and investment potential and also result in the development of the poor nations being held back. The businesses who try to promote CSR make an attempt to appease the anti-business groups. An attempt is made to make the company more popular but it is often ignored that the private business is derived from economic freedom and competition (Institute of Economic Affairs, 2017).
To conclude, CSR is a crucial technique, which shifts the focus of the companies on the working towards the needs of the society, the environment and their own people, while at the same time, maintaining their focus upon profits. The adoption of CSR activities has garnered a number of benefits for the companies, which is evident from the examples of Huawei and Hitachi mentioned earlier. However, CSR activities result in additional costs for the companies, which is evident from the example of amount spend by Volkswagen Group on the CSR initiatives taken by it. Moreover, the reliance of CSR companies on this concept results in the competition being hampered, which ultimately has a negated impact over the economy.
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