Arguments For and Against Corporate Social Responsibility
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There are arguments for and against the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility. This student stands for the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility since it can ultimately have businesses help society whether it be through economic, legal, ethical, and philanthropic responsibilities, as well as transcendent education. If a company has the goal to reach all of these corporate levels of social responsibility, it can really help the people whether it be through helping out the people or helping out the environment. Although there are many examples of where a company has failed to uphold their own Corporate Social Responsibility. One failed Corporate Social Responsibility this student has focused on is McDonalds supporting and advertising during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
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There are a couple of arguments for the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility such as a company can and will do good if that is the company’s overall goal. Fat Tire is a brewing company that is completely owned by the people that work for it, creating an incredibly energized workforce that is motivated to make their brand of beer the best at all levels. They incorporate sustainability and earth friendly standards all while generating a profit. Some ways that they accomplish this are as follows according to McGraw Hill (2018), “(1) it recycles 99.8 percent of its waste, (2) it generates nearly 13 percent of the operation’s electricity on site with solar and biogas, and (3) it reduced water use by 12 percent from 2006-2015” (p. 85-86). Another example includes DuPont, which is a successful company that engineer new products that do not use up natural resources. According to McGraw Hill (2018), they put an emphasis on caring for the environment that connects with their customers and gives them a competitive advantage as well. The company prioritizes cutting pollution levels and have succeeded greatly at this by cutting seventy-two percent of greenhouse gas emissions for almost thirty years now. They wish to make this the standard for their industry and force the rest of the industry to strive for this type of responsibility as well. DuPont tries to be as sustainable as possible when producing their products so they can save the earth’s resources for the future as well. “Examples include corn based fabrics and new applications of its Tyvek material to make buildings more energy efficient” (p. 86). Fat Tire Brewing Company and DuPont have both included environmentally safe standards as a part of their overall company’s goals, which hopefully will give them an edge over the competition in the future.
There are a couple of arguments against the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility such as if they really are socially responsible or just saying they are socially responsible in order to get business. One example included insurance companies after Superstorm Sandy hit, affecting thousands of homes and businesses. Insurance companies were not sympathetic towards its customers and even denied paying some claims in order to meet their own goals. According to McGraw Hill (2018), “it was wrong for companies to watch out for their bottom line and avoid paying claims where they could make a case that the damage wasn’t covered; the insurers should have been more concerned about their devastated customers” (p. 85). Essentially, not everybody upholds their social responsibility and people tend to look out for themselves, which in the long run makes the people unhappy and creates trust issues going forward. Another example of failed Corporate Social Responsibility is when organizations tend to overlook rules and regulations for their own profitable benefit. According to McGraw Hill, “Walmart and other companies that buy products made in China have written codes of conduct and conducted onsite audits. Unfortunately, some enterprising Chinese consultants have set up services that help factories hide violations instead of correcting them” (p. 85). This can lead to the overlooking of sweat shops such as the ones in China which are a direct violation of ethical responsibilities as well as the United States legal responsibilities. Many companies that work with these Chinese suppliers may lose a great deal of business if the consultants reported what actually went on in the factories. For some companies the bottom line will always be the main source of motivation regardless of really happens behind the scenes and what they decide to tell their customers or the media.
This student stands for the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility, because this leads to ethical decisions such as not only helping the people, but also helping the environment. These examples can be seen in the Fat Tire and DuPont examples given above. Both the Fat Tire and DuPont corporations focus on being environmentally friendly while also becoming profitable. They do not just say they are a sustainable company, but they act on their words as well. They are going out into the communities and making a difference, which show that they truly care about their customers and want to do them right in every aspect of life, not just make a profit. These companies are also holding their competitors accountable with their actions and redefining what it means to be a socially responsible company.
There are many companies that have failed in dealing with their own Corporate Social Responsibility. In this scenario the 2008 Beijing Olympic McDonalds advertised their company while supporting this event. According to Wedekind (2008), the advertisement McDonalds did “featured athletes training and expressing their “dream” of eating McDonald’s food – equating it with a gold medal. The association of the athletes’ toned physiques with McDonald’s presented the message that McDonald’s food is part of a healthful diet” (p. 50). McDonalds had such a good reputation at this time and people wanted to believe what they were saying was true, but it was just false advertising. It was disturbing in the fact that obesity can kill people and cause major health problems, so to associate their food with high level athletes and making the connection that eating McDonalds food will make you look this way or have a good physic was basically a lie and not socially responsible at all. Wedekind (2008), also stated, “A May 2008 study by the Chinese National Task Force on Childhood Obesity found that one in five Chinese children under the age of seven was overweight, and 7 percent were obese,” it continues to state, “This is double the amount of obese children compared to just 10 years ago” (p. 50). This statement shows the trend of obesity throughout China while McDonalds was promoting their product during the 2008 Olympics, even though they knew it had the potential to cause health issues. McDonalds may have gone into their Olympic advertising campaign with genuine thoughts, but failed once they equated gold medals to Big Macs and fries.
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Corporate Social Responsibility is a great concept if it can be applied correctly and is genuine, as seen with Fat Tire and DuPont where they are earth and people friendly as well as profitable. It can also be abused and fraudulent at times such as a insurance companies and the destruction of Superstorm Sandy, Walmart and the sweatshops in China, as well as McDonalds “healthy” advertising during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The good in this concept can be seen in the idea that generations from now there will be Corporate Social Responsibility standardized as a norm creating a healthy environment. Many companies have adopted these policies and have spent decades implementing them resulting in incredible results for the environment and the people they serve, all while creating a profit. Other companies have tried to implement socially responsible policies, but failed miserably, and tried to make up for it by lying and deceiving their own customers to make up for it.
- Bateman, T. S., Snell, S.A., & Konopaske, R. (2018). Management. New York, NY: McGraw Hill
- Wedekind, J. (2008, September/October). The commercial games: selling off the olympic ideals. Multinational Monitor, 29(2), 50. Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.db07.linccweb.org/docview/208876243/F3E4927CFE9446F5PQ/19?accountid=10674#
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