This essay will evaluate the growing importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and how this concept impacts on an organisations business environment. In particular the essay will look into WM Morrison’s stance on CSR and how this impacts the way they conduct business.
Greenberg (2003) defines Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as ‘Business decision making linked to ethical values, compliance with legal requirements and respect for individuals, the community at large, and the environment. It involves operating a business in a manner that meets or exceeds the ethical, legal, and public expectations that society has of business’.
UK’s Confederation of British Industry (2001) as cited by Peter Jones (2005) has argued that “CSR is highly subjective and therefore does not allow for a universally applicable definition”. However, different organisations have framed a variety of definitions for example the Commission for the European Communities (2001) defines CSR as “a concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in the business operations and in their interactions with their stakeholders on a voluntary basis”. For the Commission of the European Communities this means not just fulfilling legal responsibilities but also going beyond compliance to embrace wider social, environmental and economic goals. The World Bank (2004) defines CSR as:
‘The commitment of businesses to contribute to sustainable economic development-working with employees, their families, the local community, and society at large to improve the quality of life, in ways that are good for business and good for development’.
A little about Morrisons
Morrison’s is the fourth largest retailer in the UK and is also the UK’s fifth largest food manufacturer, with 14 UK based manufacturing sites including its own bakeries, abattoirs and produce packing plants. Bringing good practice in energy efficiency to such a large company is a big challenge. Morrison’s employ 134,000 people across 430 stores, serving over 10million weekly customers. It is therefore not hard to imagine that the running of such a large business means it has a large impact on the environment it operates within.
Morrison’s recognises its impact to its environment, according to the company values they embed the principles of CSR into everyday business and are taking practical action to address their corporate social responsibilities. In their yearly corporate statement Morrison’s states ‘We are doers, not talkers, and are focused on demonstrating our commitment to taking good care environmentally, socially and in our business’.
Why is CSR important?
CSR initiatives are important to the global public, A study cited by Barbara Parker (2005) of 25,000 consumers across 23 countries showed that two-thirds of those surveyed want companies to go beyond fiscal responsibility to also take on social roles. This research also showed the public forms their opinions about a company based in part on their CSR activities.
As well as enhancing a company’s reputation CSR initiatives help an organisation hire and retain their employees. The Echo study (2003) as cited in Barbara Parker (2005) found that decision-makers believe CSR initiatives help them attract, retain, and motivate employees. A US study showed employee morale is higher in organisations that are involved in their communities.
According to Needle (2000) there is a growing belief that ethical business is linked to enhanced performance. McIntosh (19980 also cited in Needle (2000) goes on to say “Some companies have acknowledged that there is enhanced corporate reputation to be gained through recognising that capitalism will be most successful when it cares for its customers, its producers, the environment and the communities in which it operates.”
McManus and White (2008) suggested moral obligations and business ethics are an integral and important part of business...