Introduction about Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate social responsibility, which is also known as corporate conscience, is integration of corporate self regulation into the business model assignment. It is built in self regulating mechanism, with the help of business monitors and ensures that it actively complies with the spirit of law, ethical standards as well as the international norms (Urip, 2010). It is a process that is adopted by the companies with the aim of taking responsibility of its own act. Companies do this with the purpose of encouraging a positive impact through their activities on the environment, community, customers, stakeholders and all the other members of the public sphere who are stakeholders of the companies. The following project report has been prepared on the CSR of Sainsbury (Baxi, 2005). Carroll’s model has been used for critically examining the CSR strategies undertaken by the chosen company. Major drivers of the CSR initiatives of the firm have been identified. Comments have been provided on their importance. Lastly, the project makes an effort to provide recommendations regarding the appropriate CSR strategies that might be adopted by the organization.
The corporate social responsibility activities of Sainsbury have been critically examined by using Carroll’s pyramid model of CSR. This model forms the basis of the concept of CSR. Archie Carroll provided the pyramid model for CSR (Pyramid of corporate social responsibility, 2011). As per this pyramid, there are four types of responsibilities that a corporation has. They are the following:
Economic responsibility- his is the first and the most obvious responsibility of an organization. According to this, it is the responsibility of the company to be profitable. Sainsbury, as all the other organizations, fulfills its economic responsibility and makes efforts to remain profitable. They work with the vision of being one of the most trusted retailers where people love to work and shop. It works with the goal of making the lives of its customers easy every day. This is done by offering great quality and services at fair prices (Werther, 2010). Sainsbury makes profits by adopting various strategies. It provides great food, compels general merchandize and clothing. For this, complementary channels and services are used.
Legal responsibility- This is the second responsibility of any company according to which it has to obey the laws that have been set forth by the society. Legal responsibilities are fulfilled by Sainsbury by following the laws which govern its processes. The company owes a legal duty of care to all its customers to make a safe retail environment (Accident in Sainsbury's, 2014). It follows the terms of occupier’s liability under which it has the responsibility to pay for the damages caused to someone who is injured if safe environment is not maintained at its stores.
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Ethical responsibility- The third responsibility is closely linked to the second one. According to this, a business has to do the things that are right even in the situation when it is not forced by the laws to do so. While considering ethical responsibility, Sainsbury goes a long way in fulfilling it. It supports no deforestation. The company claims that 95 per cent of the wood that is used for its products was made from recycled or FSC and PEFC full chain of custody services. It has planted 1.7 million trees with Woodland Trust since 2004.
Philanthropic responsibility- This is also known as the discretionary responsibility. This is concerned with the resources that an organization contributes towards social, educational, recreational and cultural purposes. In the area of fulfilling philanthropic responsibilities, Sainsbury engages with various organizations for understanding the issues fully and making better decisions (Chapple and Moon, 2005). It makes regular conversations with the NGOs, customers, colleagues, government and its agencies. In consultation with the NGOs and other stakeholders, Sainsbury has set 20 ambition goals that will help its customers to make more nutritious, ethical and sustainable purchasing decisions.
Corporate social responsibility is undertaken by a company because of several reasons. These become the main drivers such activities.
The major drivers taken by Sainsbury and their importance are the following:
The approach of the company- The approach that companies follows takes several components within the concept of corporate social responsibility. It is for this reason that corporate socials responsibility means many things for the many. Sainsbury takes CSR as providing its customers with the widest choice of quality food at fair prices. With the approach that it follows, Sainsbury considers its responsibility to pay its suppliers at a fair price.
Business strategy- The business strategy of the company is such that it recognizes that its growth by keeping its values. The company considers that it is the values that it follows which makes it different form its competitors and provides it competitive advantages (Nielsen, 2008). Customers prefer to buy its products because it stands ahead of its competitors by working along with following values. These are considered by the company as its identity. In this regard, these values become the main drivers behind the corporate social activities that the company follows.
Commitments- The commitments that are made by the company become another driver for the social responsibility activities that the company undertakes. It has made the commitments of undertaking various activities that make a difference to the society and community in which it works (Chen, 2011). This is important as the commitments motivate a company to move forward in the correct direction.
Alertness at consumer level- at present, the consumers are conscious and alert regarding the products that they buy and the processes with which they are manufactured. There has been a growing concern regarding the use of sustainable processes and practices. Protection to the environment and use of fair treatment with the animals, plants and other natural resources is the top priority of every person (Galbreath, 2009). As such, consumers favor to buy product from those companies that are concerned about the environment. As such, Sainsbury aims to increase its sales by working according to the processes that are considered to be ethical by the consumers. This becomes the driver for the CSR activities that are adopted by Sainsbury.
Various CSR strategies can be recommended which will be appropriate to the company and might be adopted by it. It can fulfill its legal responsibility by following a strategic policy that complies with all the applicable governmental laws, rules and regulations (Scott, 2007). For the issues where it has failed to fulfill its economic responsibility keep up its promises of saving consumer’s money on gas and electricity, government rules can be followed for conducting its new business related to energy sector in a sustainable manner. When the rules and regulations as well as the laws will be followed by the company, it will enable the company to fulfill its promises and earn profits by marinating then trust and loyalty of the consumers.
Also, for fulfilling the gaps that lie in the area of ethical responsibility, along with the commitments for future, Sainsbury can adopt CSR strategies that favor meeting the sustainability criteria at present (Cegarra-Navarro and Martínez-Martínez, 2009). Rules can be made by the company for encouraging all the people associated with it to follow their own responsibility.
It can be concluded form the report, that Sainsbury fulfills the four responsibilities stated as per the Carroll’s pyramid model. Economic, legal, ethical and philanthropic responsibilities are fulfilled by the company with the help of various efforts taken by it for long term. However, various other strategies need to be adopted by the company for managing the loop holes that exist.
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