Corporate social responsibility (CSR) can well be explained as the balance, social and economic, and environmental wellbeing of a company throughout its time of existence. This means that apart from the company concentrating on producing and selling its goods and services to the consumers, there are other important things the company and its stakeholders are expected to get involved in and consider them as an essential aspect of their operations. It is the responsibility of the company to make sure that whatever is done is in line with the ethics and values of the communities or societies so that anyone who is connected to the company can be happy and enjoy the existence of the company. The Corporate Social Responsibility is entirely based on the company or organization doing their business to achieve financial success while at the same time considering the values and ethics of the community people and taking care of the environment as a way of ensuring that they don't ruin the environment and affect the people who are living around the environment of the company.
There are codes of corporate social responsibility used by various organizations in their adoption and application of CSR concepts in their operations. Not all the companies use the CSR concepts or apply them in their daily processes in line with the ethics and values of the societies. There are a number of ethical theories that explain more about corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the codes of it as well as how each of these concepts of CSR is applied in company operation to make profits and make sure that the community remains in a good state. This paper elaborates several concepts of CSR, the ethical theories of CSR, and lastly, talks over the examples of companies that have applied CSR codes and how they apply CSR. Lastly, there is the elaboration of the benefits which have been brought about by CSR to these companies and organizations.
Corporate Social Responsibility Functionality in Companies
As stated earlier, the core reason as to why companies employ the corporate social responsibility is to have their business up and running to achieve the financial goals they have set for themselves while at the same time looking at the interests of the people, their ethics and conserving the environment for a good future of all the people involved or somewhat connected to their company. A company may be a good producer of the goods and services required by society. Still, if it does not give back to the society in terms of protecting the surrounding environments, then it will not be operating according to the required standards of corporate social responsibility (Krukowska, 2014, pp. 39-57). The companies which employ the CSR codes in their operations understand that the responsibility to conserve the environment is a joint responsibility of all the people. Thus as a producer company, they have to take part and contribute to environmental conservation so that the people around as well as the company itself may enjoy the existence of a good environmental condition.
Global Ethical Trends/Ethical Theories
The application of CSR is not just a simple process but instead requires a good understanding of several ethical aspects as far as the wellbeing of the environment and society is concerned. There are thus many theories that explain the expected code of conduct, whether in the local company, regionally, and globally. The most important of all, which applies to all companies in the global ethical trends and theory because it provides the expected way of action by all companies in the world. Traditional approaches in line with the CSR comprise the normative ethical concepts. The normative ethical concepts are the traditional universally accepted theories that propose and describe the manner of action by companies that are morally accepted in the entire world and have to be used by all the companies that consider the people and the environment as an essential part of them. Any company can use this theory as a governing guide that will direct the company towards doing whatever is morally right to the company and in the eyes of other people in the world (Saenz and Romero, 2019, pp. 552-561). Any action on whether to increase the profits of the company or to change the operations that will later leave the societal people complaining about the organization is not a morally acceptable act; thus, the company should not get involved in it.
The other traditional theory that clearly explains the actions of companies as per CSR is the theory of consequentialist or teleological theory. This theory focuses so much on the outcome of the actions that a company involves itself in and suggests that if the company finds that the result of an action is not good, then it is not a ethically acceptable action, and the company should avoid it. For example, a company which produces leather products and lacks a proper site to dump their waste materials and finds a space free of charge where they can have the waste dumped around a water catchment area should think about the action before it can be taken (Huang and Zhao, 2016). If dumping the waste there according to the views of the company will pollute the water which is consumed by the people every day, then the company can decide to do away with the dumping of waste in that particular site. This applies even in cases where the company feels that there might be a negative outcome many years after the action. Then the company has to avoid the dumping and do what is right as per the morals of the society and traditions.
Non-consequentialist or deontological traditional theory suggests that if the principles followed are morally right, then the action which is to be taken is morally correct, and there is room for acting regardless of the outcome. The two ethical theories are conflicting in a way because one is based on the morally right principles, while the initial one focuses on the action itself being morally right. However, the non-consequentialist theory does not apply so much in corporate social responsibility because it will affect the companies in a negative way (Usman and Amran, 2015, pp. 749-763). The likelihood of companies applying the no-n-consequentialist theory over the consequentialist theory is so high because they might choose to do what is morally right as per the principles and take actions that are not favorable to the environment and the people who are connected to the company. This will result in negative effects on the company as well as the surrounding people because of an action that is not right, yet the principles considered before the action was taken a right.
Categories of Traditional Ethical CSR Theories
The above ethical theories can be further divided into smaller categories whereby consequentialist theory is separated into egoism and utilitarianism, while the non-consequentialist concept is separated into the ethics of duties, rights, and justice. Egoism explains that an action is ethically right if the individual company adopts to act for the fulfillment of its short term needs and long term interests. This can lead the company to act, but it has to consider the outcome of this action and be aware of the best way they can avoid the adverse effects (Zychlewicz, 2017, P. 69). The theory of utilitarianism is based on the principle that an action is ethically and morally right if it outcomes in the highest good for the most significant number of individuals affected by the action. In other words, this theory is so much into the utility concept whereby a lot is done to maximize the pleasure of many people and minimize pain.
Most companies are using this theory in CSR because they may want to act, but they fear it may bring about adverse effects. For example, a company with over 10000 employees in two big branches considers closing one company branch which will make maybe 5000 people lose their jobs and then conserve the jobs for the other 5000 employees instead of allowing the issue affecting the company later affect the 10000 employees of the company making them lose their jobs and then more adverse effects be experienced in the company (Bai and Chang, 2015, pp. 505-530). Therefore, the company will be forced by circumstances to employ an action of closing one of the branches regardless of how painful it may be to the employees of the closed company branch, but the company will take care of a part of the employees rather than all of them getting affected in the long run.
Ethics of Duties
This theory of consequentialism illustrates that actions must be directed by universal ideologies that apply irrespective of the magnitudes of the action. All actions are ethically right if accepted out as duties; thus, it remains the responsibility of the company to evaluate and analyze an action to identify whether it is right or wrong as per the ethics of duties. After determining the outcome of the action, whether positive or negative, then the company will be in a position to proceed with the action or come up with changes that are in favor of the environment and the people who rely on the company so much.
Ethics of Rights and Justice
This category of the non-consequentialist is based on natural or human rights and not political or legal rights. This means that in CSR, the company needs to look at the actions which seem right morally as per the natural way of thinking but not as the law dictates (Hadjimanolis, 2017, P. 95). The rights of individuals like life, liberty, and property will solely determine whether a particular action is right and will be performed as a duty.
Companies Employing CSR Codes
There are several companies which have bought or applied the corporate social responsibility in their operations while others have not. According to current research, the operation and functionality of the companies which use CSR codes like coca-cola and others are high and so much different depending on the way the companies assimilate the concept of CSR. This is because a company using CSR is result-oriented, and a lot is considered before an action can be taken (Kim et al., 2019, pp 26-34). The outcome of an action in CSR companies matters because the company is always concerned about the way the surrounding people and the environment will get affected. As a result of this, the company is still on the right track. It does what is morally and ethically right in favor of the company's desires, interests, and those of the employees and the people connected to the company.
Examples of Companies Using Corporate Social Responsibility Codes
Many of the known companies in the world are known to have applied the CSR codes in their operation. Some of these companies are discussed down here with the way they have used these CSR codes and the results they have been able to achieve out of this;
This is one of the companies known to apply CSR in a bid to remain socially responsible locally and also globally. It considers remaining on top of environmental practices by hosting educational sittings for workers regularly. It has been able to come up with a more significant-good foundation for the benefit of the community, which contributes towards non- profit initiatives which align with the beliefs and practices of the company. It has also managed to found Habitat for Humanity in the local community.
The other company that has used CSR is mainly Microsoft, which is among the world's best producers or rather manufacturers of software. It uses CSR in all its labor to increase the trust of customers, to empower the individuals, and responsibly use the globe. Microsoft'...
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