Operations and Organizations
Professor Jack Cooke
Date Submitted: 04/30/2015
“Companies should not have a singular view of profitability. There needs to be a balance between commerce and social responsibility... The companies that are authentic about it will wind up as the companies that make more money.” This is a response by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz when asked about corporate social responsibility at a NASDAQ luncheon as reported by Fortune Magazine. These ideals are not new to us; as consumers we are constantly aware of where our money goes, but more recently how our money is being used by corporations. Compared to when commerce first began, social responsibility on the part of corporations is a fairly new trend and it has been gaining momentum steadily year over year. We as consumers constantly see television advertisements, notices on our beverage containers, and even information bubbles on our footwear boxes that state where our money, used to buy these goods, is going. Whether it be to saving endangered species, helping third-world countries, or benefiting research on disease, many companies are becoming more and more transparent about what they are doing to be more socially responsible. But how are these programs implemented? How do they affect the firm internally? And how do these programs affect consumers viewpoints?
First we need to define what corporate social responsibility or CSR really is. In their 2000 report on social responsibility, The World Business Center For Sustainable Development defines corporate social responsibility as “[T]he continuing commitment by business to contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the community and society at large." Looking at two corporations who do business in two different types of industries we can examine the different types of social responsibility programs that they offer and support both to their employees and to members of societies all around the world. Starbucks the coffee giant has a solid and well known reputation for their sustainable and social efforts and Nintendo, a video game software company, also offers social and environmental efforts which are numerous but not necessarily well-known.
There are several pre-established frameworks that a company may follow in order to implement and achieve these types of programs. While plentiful, the majority of CSR frameworks are nothing more than conceptual and derived from extensive research; however there is no doubt that corporations looking to implement CSR programs analyze these frameworks and put parts of what they have researched into practice; these firms tailor their strategies as they relate to their firm's corporate culture, standards, and goals specifically.
From Paul Hohnen, a researcher for the International Institute for Sustainable Development, corporations are recommended a “six task” framework for implementing CSR programs as follows: conduct assessment, develop strategy, develop commitments, implement these commitments, report progress, evaluate and improve (2007). While different in origin and in levels of importance, many of the implementation frameworks do possess quite a few similarities. For example, we can see these similarities and differences when we compare Hohnen's six-task model to Cramer's 2005 model which was derived from her role in setting up CSR programs in Dutch businesses. When compared to Hohnen the main difference is that Cramer's framework stresses the importance of shareholder's and the notion that CSR development groups need to listen and to consider stakeholder's expectations and wants while implementing these types of programs. As far as the other steps are concerned they fall right into line with Hohnen's model where both researchers, in the final stage,