Corporate Social Responsibility: Banyan Tree Holdings

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In today’s business environment, a firm’s survival is dependent on how it responds to its stakeholders; CSR is a way that response is communicated. This paper explores whether CSR is necessary for the survival of Banyan Tree in today’s environment. We will evaluate the possible ways that CSR benefits the company and show that CSR is not necessary for Banyan Tree’s survival but it does play a strategic role in building brand equity along with a sustainable business.

Introduction

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

There are multiple interpretations of what CSR means, and while there is no set principle, we have defined CSR as the duty of a corporation to create wealth in ways that avoid harm to, protect, or enhance societal assets for the purposes of discussion.

Prevailing approaches to CSR were disconnected from strategy such that it obscured many opportunities for companies to benefit society . The outlook of CSR has changed since and modern business organizations have started to incorporate CSR, both internally and externally into their operations, aiming to achieve sustainable business development. This evolution arose due to increasing governmental regulations and societal expectations regarding the operation of companies, thus creating a divergence in business performance and expectations. CSR facilitates businesses in narrowing their performance-expectation gap .

In the modern business environment, companies do not only compete on price and quality of service, they need to be aware that stakeholders are increasingly discerning of how a firm handles environmental and social issues . Taking into consideration the performance-expectation gap, firms aim to formulate their CSR initiatives to meet stakeholders’ expectations. Typically, CSR is viewed as a cost to the company, but it can also be a source of opportunity and competitive advantage that is essential for the company’s success in today’s increasingly competitive industry.

Survival refers to the state of continuing to exist , while sustainable development refers to development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs . CSR is the application of sustainable development to the activities and accompanying responsibilities of businesses.

CSR Model
Figure1. CSR Model

This CSR model will be the framework used to evaluate Banyan Tree’s CSR initiatives. It is based on 3 broad aspects of Environment, Society and Economy.

The economic aspect is attributable to the understanding of the direct tangible impact on the company and its relevant stakeholders. The social aspect largely refers to the societal impacts the company’s initiatives have on their employees and the community. The environmental aspect is to examine the impacts of CSR on the natural environment Effectively overlapping the three aspects will ensure the achievement of sustainable business development through CSR.

Banyan Tree and CSR

Banyan Tree Holdings (BT) was started in the 1980s after the founders Ho Kwon Ping and Claire Chiang took over Bang Tao Bay, an abandoned tin mine, and transformed a highly polluted site into a wildlife haven. Mr. Ho believes that the more affluent populace have a responsibility to use the means available to them to contribute to the economic development and betterment of people’s livelihoods in places that need improvement . BT was founded with the core value of driving sustainable development ; their strong belief in sustainable development and commitment to CSR is palpable as it continues to achieve extensive success in the hospitality industry . This value rests on a triple bottom line of economy, society and the environment . Mr. Ho attributes BT’s success to strategic brand building, deftly executed with CSR .

BT aims to achieve success in business that is grounded in good management practices as well as excellence in corporate responsibility . BT is...
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