In this essay we are going to start to look closer at what is important for a business and what is important for society. We are going to look closer at Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and find out what it means for a business and society. Some businesses, especially big businesses, shape many aspects of our lives. Some are around us all the time. Some have turnovers larger then a normal person can imagine. Some multi nationals have turnovers larger then some states. That being the case, how de we want them to conduct themselves? How do we want them to behave?
To start, we have to answer some questions. What is important when you are a businessman and you manage a business? Do you have some responsibility to the society and the rest of the world? To answer these questions we are going to look at both sides of the spectrum. At one side of the spectrum we have the free market views of people like the economist Milton Friedman. He has argued that a business not should think about the society and the problems that the society meets. The only social responsibility of a business is to make money and get the highest profit as possible – anything else is theft from the shareholders pocket. “There is one and only one social responsibility of business–to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud." (Friedman 1970). He also claims that you cannot do good with other people’s money, social work is only for governments and for social workers. The business of business is business.
On the other side, almost every business in the world is part of a society. Businesses are social creations. In that case don’t we expect some more responsible behavior from them? Can we expect them to use their power and influence to make society better? Or at least not to do any harm? Don’t you think that a business has wider responsibilities, since it depends in aspect of the society in which case it operates? In the article that Karnani wrote against CSR, she says that a lot of the largest companies claim that they think about the environment and not just to maximize the profit. They claim that they produce healthier food, and reduce pollution. Some even say that they make the world a better place. But is this the case? Can we believe all we read? When we speak about CSR there are four ranges of criteria’s that has to be conducted. Economic responsibility, you have to make profit. Legal responsibility, the importance of obeying the law. Ethical responsibility, to do what’s right, avoids any kind of harm. Discretionary responsibility, contribute to the community without expecting to get something back. (Boddy. 2011). The first two criteria’s is on Friedman’s part of the spectrum. The third and fourth are on the other side, the “responsible” end. “Companies seem to acknowledge that their responsibilities go beyond monetary obligations and have widened their economy-driven views to include social, environmental, and philanthropic aspects.” (Scholtens cited by Matute-Vallejo, J. Bravo, R. and Pina, J. M. 2011).
This essay looks at a case study of Tesco. We can, without any problem, place Tesco nearer the “responsible” end of the spectrum of the “Friedman” end. Due to the fact that Tesco has a CSR policy. They create jobs all over the world and help people develop skills and careers. In the latest CSR report the chief executive makes it clear that Tesco works with their carbon footprint. He promises that Tesco would cut the emission in the supply chain by 30% by 2020. He also states that Tesco has reduced their environmental footprint. In 2050, Tesco has a goal to become a zero-carbon Business. In the report Leahy, the chief executive also present a community plan with five promises. “Support local communities, to buy and sell our products...