Gap Inc

Topics: Human rights, Business ethics, Corporate social responsibility Pages: 5 (1471 words) Published: August 24, 2008
Chapter four of the textbook titled Business and Society defines global corporate citizenship as “the process of identifying, analyzing, and responding to the company’s social, political, and economic responsibilities as defined through law and public policy, stakeholder expectations, and voluntary acts flowing from corporate values and business strategies. Corporate citizenship involves actual results and the processes through which they are achieved” (Lawrence p.68). By definition alone, I believe Gap Inc. has demonstrated global corporate citizenship. The following paragraphs will address the actions the company has chosen to embrace including identifying the problem concerning human rights violations, analyzing the issues through various studies both internally and by external, independent firms, and responding to the problem by refraining from doing business with offenders of their new policy and procedures as well as educating their business partners on their new stance (Lawrence p.83).

The first example of Gap demonstrating global corporate citizenship is by identifying the problem. Gap understood the issue of the well being of workers by various sources including their own research coming from the Social Responsibility Report, and outside interests such as activist investors and the United States Against Sweatshops (USAS). In order to better understand the problem Gap had to complete an analysis of conditions to grasp the enormity of the problem (Lawrence p.83).

Understanding the issue was primary dealt with through the factory monitoring system then the report mentioned earlier named the Social Responsibility Report. This report detailed Gap’s effort to correct any labor malfunctions through its vendors. This factory monitoring program aimed to eliminate any business interest with any company that violated the following standards, no discrimination in employment, support for human rights, protection of freedom of association and collective bargaining, no children involved in labor, no forced work, and no corruption in its dealings (Lawrence p.83).

An important aspect to add to this debate was their willingness to make the report available to the public whether the information was negative or positive. This aspect in my mind adds to their creditability on this issue. In addition, Gap allowed an outside agency to audit its report to add to its transparency with the public. Another aspect of this case study is that Gap did not just do the research but they in fact have acted on the report. According to the case study Gap severed ties with seventy factories that did not meet the standards mentioned above. The company also hired ninety compliance officers that were designed to insure the factories were being compliant (Lawrence p.84).

The above paragraphs displayed Gaps willingness to identify, analyze, and respond to the company’s social responsibility. Gap has also included themselves in arrangements with local governments, civil groups, and trade unions to complete the governmental involvement to the cause (Lawrence p.84).

Economically doing this research and hiring the extra staff needed to govern their new program, Gap has spent millions to ensure business partnerships adhere to their code of conduct. In addition to the money spent on the program, Gap broke off dealings with businesses from 136 factories and turned down bids from more than 100 others when they failed to meet its labor standards (Gruner p.1).

Gap has demonstrated global corporate citizenship by identifying their needs with research, analyzing the information obtained and making that information public and then responding to their responsibilities on the social, political, and economic fronts by cutting business ties with factories who do not comply with their standards. In addition, Gap is working with local governments, and hiring compliance officers to monitor the factories. Although Gap’s system is not perfect, this...
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