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This has lead to a greater corporate awareness of their impact in the multitude of regions they work and sell in. It has lead the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility to become a highlighted feature in the nature of global business today.
There are numerous examples of successful implementations of Corporate Social Responsibility in today's marketplace. Take one for example, the Caremark Corporation which is typically known to Americans as the owners of the CVS chain pharmacy and drug stores. This corporation has expanded rapidly over the past few years and has now become a global powerhouse. Yet, within its store locations, even in nations many corporations might exploit, they sill over excellent employee health packages that are equitable with the ones they offer their American employees in the United States. This seemingly small token shows corporate responsibility for their employees. However, not all seemingly wholesome American companies end up with a pristine image thanks to good practices of Corporate Social Responsibility. Recently, the Wal-Mart corporation fund itself in some pretty hot water when it was discovered to have been exploiting illegal immigrants in the United States to work for well under the federally established minimum wage, and with no health benefits for full time employees. This is a red flag of poor social responsibility on behalf of the Wal-Mart Corporation, who was even tied to the scandal with executive knowledge of such practices. Many believe that this has negatively affected Wal-Mart's image within the consumer's minds, leaving them vulnerable to drops if profit potential. These two corporations show both sides of good and bad social responsibility policies.
Is Corporate Social Responsibility Necessary?
However, even with cases at hand, there are some who would debate against the need for Corporate Social Responsibility as a fundamental part of business policy and practice. Many individuals and corporations have found much to criticize within traditional usage of the CSR within the business model. As it is constructed today, there are possibilities for flaws and flat out exploitation of the image having Corporate Social Responsibility policies within the business model. Many who is against the institution of CSR within business models present the idea that such practices actually distort the function of the utilitarian business model from being purely functional, "For most firms, most of the time, CSR is largely irrelevant to their financial performance," (Vogel 2008:1). This means that unnecessary money and resources are spent on the implementation of policy which has nothing to do with the function of the business. According to such critics, Corporate Social Responsibility is something that should be worked out within a corporation outside the context of the functioning business model. Several others present another argument, the idea that CSR is not sufficiently implemented, but rather a sheer tactic to say that the corporation is taking some initiative towards respecting the multitude of markets. Instead of becoming the revolutionary policy that it should be, many corporations use hints of CSR within their business model to pretend like they are taking real ethical concerns within the various markets they work in. However, failure to truly put that policy into practice shows that they are just milking the idea without putting any weight into it. This shows how corporations are once again trying to exploit not only the region and its people, but also the consumer's weakness for environmental and social protection policies. One final argument is that corporations with good CSR policies and practices have failed to show a true profit increase based on their implementation of ethical Corporate Social Responsibility. According to these critics, "Ethical' goods are a niche market: virtually all goods and services continue to be purchased on the basis of price, convenience and quality," (Vogel 2008:1). Therefore, there is an unfortunate limit of profit increases thanks to a costly implementation of CSR. To some, Corporate Social Responsibility just proves too costly.
However, many argue that CSR is a beneficial element of any business model. Those who believe in its benefits promote the concept that CSR helps corporations benefit in a plethora of different aspects and situations. There are a number of people who support implementation of Corporate Social Responsibility as a way for corporations to help protect and promote better business standard throughout the regions they produce and sell in. Many will state that "A number of companies believe there are benefits associated with acting responsibly and are, in turn, investing in initiatives that reduce their environmental footprint, increase the transparency of their operations, or improve the well-being of their workers and surrounding communities," (Assadourin 2006:1). Corporations understanding their impact in the various regions they do business in are an important feature of truly implemented Corporate Social Responsibility standards. In fact, CSR is said to be beneficial in looking beyond short-term profits into a more long-term and sustainable conductivity of business. On top of the benefits of implementing CSR, it proves a much better alternative for handling globalized business than the former method of control, the state system. According to CSR proponents, "The state-base system of global governance has struggled for more than a generation to adjust to the expanding reach and growing influence of transitional corporations, the most visible embodiment of globalization," (Ruggie 2007:4). Therefore, with the state-based system being unable to truly handle the onset of massive global growth, regulating individual companies through their own implementations of Corporate Social Responsibility policies proves a much better alternative.
In today's changing world we can see the dramatic impact business and production has had on the environment. Consumption has increased greatly due to transcontinental business, and so "the environment is becoming increasingly taxed as a result of this consumption and the continued growth of the human population," (Assadourin, 2006:1). With the knowledge of the depleting environmental conditions, implementation of Corporate Social Responsibility can be much more than just a token policy aiming to please the consumer market. It can be a real method of change which will one day preserve the environment as we know and love it today. According to many, "it is imperative that the members of the business community -- especially corporations, as the dominant business institutions -- take a leading role in creating a sustainable society," (Assadourin 2006:1). Without the proper implementation of responsible environmental policies, the degradation of the environment will continue unchecked, leaving us as a society to have to deal with a world of depleting resources.
On top of the environmental concerns with CSR, another major element of social responsibility lies with upholding human rights within various nations corporations produce and sell in. In many cases, the state itself is unable to properly handle the oversight of human rights within the context of a global corporation. Thus, the state-based system failed to guarantee workers in other countries the same type of workers and human rights seen in the United States and other Western nations. What resulted were many American corporations actually funding violations of human rights in the form of sweet shops and other exploitations of foreign workers. However, implementation of CSR has the ability to protect human rights, "Transnational corporations have greater power than some state to affect the realization of rights […] with power should come responsibility," (Ruggie 2007:11). With the ability to provide better working conditions for their employees, global corporations have a huge impact on the way of life in various nations. Because these transcontinental corporations have the potential for such an impact, "these corporations must bear the responsibility for the rights they may impact," (Ruggie 2007:8). And so, Corporate Social Responsibility becomes an essential feature I helping regulate and control the management of workers in foreign nations, without allowing them to be exploited and degraded for the good of a blind consumer market. In this context, Corporate Social Responsibility forces responsibility to make better decisions that will benefit cultures and societies all over the globe.
In analysis of today's global market, Corporate Social Responsibility is a must. Despite what many may believe about it not being taken seriously and used only as a mere band aid fix for other serious environmental and ethical problems production in foreign lands might create, it still proves to do more good than bad. It protects the environment and workers from the massive exploitation of the past. Corporate Social Responsibility hold companies to their commitments of responsibility, as well as to their commitments to the environment and people of the regions they produce and sell in. It also helps ease the consumer that the products they buy are not tainted with unethical policies and practices which lead to great suffering and the depletion of the world's resources. It may be inconvenient or costly for some corporation, must it essential for a sustainable and modern society. There is no excuse for corporate irresponsibility in an age where there are options for smoother and more ethical means of production and resource gathering. Therefore, even if some companies fail to take their Corporate Social Responsibility one…[continue]
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