Corporate Social Responsibility Report

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Although corporate social responsibility has no universal definition, it is understood to be the way firms integrate social, environmental and economic concerns into their values, culture, decision making, strategy and operations in a transparent and accountable manner and thereby establish better practices within the firm, create wealth and improve society. (Industry Canada, 2011) This report will represent the critical analysis of the current Corporate Social Responsibility practices of Air Canada followed by recommendations for improvement.

Air Canada is Canada’s largest full-service airline and the largest provider of scheduled passenger services in the Canadian market, the Canada-U.S. transborder market and in the international market to and from Canada. In 2010, Air Canada carried over 32 million passengers to 178 destinations on five continents. The airline initially operated as Trans-Canada Air Lines when it first opened for business on September 1, 1937 then changed its name to Air Canada in 1964 when it had grown to become Canada’s national airline. The airline became fully privatized in 1989. Today, Air Canada is the 15th largest commercial airline in the world, with approximately 23,200 full-time employees. Air Canada supports charitable organizations with a primary focus on children and youth, through its Community Investments Program which will be examined later in this report. In addition to this program, Air Canada gives customers the option of off-setting the climate change effects of carbon dioxide produced by their flight by joining efforts with Zerofootprint, a not-for-profit organization that uses high standards in carbon offsetting, to help mitigate the environmental footprint of their travel. Available projects for customers to partake in include forest restoration project, landfill gas recovery project and tire recycling program to name a few. Since the launch of the program in May 2007, Air Canada customers have made a meaningful contribution to the fight against climate change by contributing thousands of dollars to carbon offset. To be exact, 16,414 tones of carbon dioxide emissions have been offset which is the equivalent of taking 4,063 cars off the road for a year.

The most notable of the organizations Air Canada has invested in has been the Kids’ Horizons program which has been a source of pride for all Air Canada employees. Kids' Horizons works in partnership with charities and non-profit organizations to offer effective programs that make a difference in the lives of young Canadians. Kids' Horizons is especially focused on the health of Canadian youth, alleviating child poverty, and answering the wishes of seriously ill children. Customers have the option of donating their Aeroplan Miles to the Kids’ Horizons program in efforts to increase the funding provided to the program. In addition to this program, any person or organization that requires funding for a charitable organization can apply for support directly on Air Canada’s website and if they meet the requirements funding will be approved for that charity. This proves to be an effective measure for reaching out to the local communities.

Air Canada has a history of supporting organizations that focus on improving the lives of Canadians such as the Kids’ Horizons program mentioned above and by sponsoring local events or activities by non-profit organizations who contribute to the community’s economic growth. Although Air Canada supports many organizations in the community, it does maintain a high level of ethical standards and regulations required from the supported organizations. For example, Air Canada is one of the NHL’s largest financial backers; they own the naming rights to Air Canada Centre, the NHL arena in Toronto. In response to the violent nature of the game, Air Canada threatened to withdraw their substantial sponsorship of the league unless the NHL takes immediate and serious...
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