Firms Have Been Focused on Social Responsibility  Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

firms have been focused on social responsibility. This is when a company will engage in different practices that take into account the viewpoints of various stakeholders (such as: communities, the environment and the impact on the firm).

In the case of Chevron, they claim that they are committed to protecting the environment at all costs.

Evidence of this can be seen with company's Operational Excellence Management System. Implemented in 2007, this is designed to take into account a number of different viewpoints when starting any kind of new project. The most notable include: possible social, environmental and safety issues. This program is illustrating how the company is focused on addressing issues that will be impacted by their activities.

However, Chevron is also dealing with challenges where they contributed to incidents that harmed the environment, health or interests of other stakeholders (i.e. The Brazilian offshore oil slick). The combination of these factors is showing how the company has a mixed track record when dealing with these challenges. To fully understand what is happening requires examining their performance in regards to social responsibility. This will be accomplished by: studying the current policies, the implications of these actions and comparing the Barrow Island field (in Australia) with the recent off shore oil spill in the vicinity of the Brazilian coast. Together, these elements will offer the greatest insights as to the company's effectiveness in addressing a host of social needs.

Examine and critique an aspect of the company's performance with regards to fulfilling social needs within society. Highlight both areas of achievements and those requiring improvement. Do not focus only on the positive or negative.

Chevron has an outstanding reputation for promoting and supporting programs that will look out for the interests of different stakeholders. A few of the most notable areas include: respecting biodiversity, preserving freshwater resources and protecting ecosystems. As a result, executives will argue that the example they are setting shows how the interests of oil and gas can exist with the environment.

For example, in the company's Salak project, executives have found a way to build a huge natural gas field inside one of Indonesia's largest national parks. What has been making the project such as success is company officials are working with: farmers, local residents, environmentalists and government officials to create policies that will support everyone's interests.

This is showing how Chevron has a strong tradition of working with different stakeholders to limit the negative impact of their activities.

However, despite the focus on addressing issues that is impacting various stakeholders. There have been several different incidents which we were caused because of errors. A good example of this occurred at the Pembroke Refinery in England. Last year, as there was an explosion and subsequent fire that resulted in the death of four people. This is a sign that despite various procedures in place to address environmental and safety issues. There is a realistic possibility that accidents can occur based on the dangers of refining various products.

These areas are showing how the Chevron has a strong policy in place for monitoring the interests of stakeholders. Yet, the accident is an indication that these polices need to be improved to reduce the number of incidents as much possible. This means that the company will have to a use a strategy that is focused on constantly adjusting with the challenges they are facing. If this kind of approach can be taken, it will help the corporation to improve their track record of working with stakeholders. This is when the negative incidents will almost completely disappear. It is at this point, that the company can become an example of addressing the energy demands of customers and safeguarding other interests.

Examine and discuss the impact and implications of the company's actions on society and stakeholders.

The impact of the company's programs is having an effect on entire societies and regions around the world. A good example of this can be with the results of Chevron's activities in Angola. After the signing of the peace agreement in 2002, the country's entire infrastructure was completely destroyed from years of civil war. Chevron was at the forefront for helping to address some of the most critical needs in education through support of the Angola Partnership Initiative. This is designed to help address the needs of local communities by providing direct assistance for small, medium and large businesses. The way that this takes place is the company will offer training in business management and how to successfully start / operate a business. This is having a major impact on society by teaching Angolan's the ideas of entrepreneurship. Moreover, this is providing stakeholders with a way supporting the community and addressing the needs of the organization.

However, there are other stakeholders who will point out that these policies are designed to support the community to a certain extent. The reason why is because none of these projects are focused in areas that are critical to the needs of Angola or they are the result of Chevron's activities (such as: supporting environmental programs and poverty irradiation in the region). Instead, these initiatives are targeted in specific areas that will help to benefit the firms down the road. Angola is a good illustration of this with the company ignoring many critical infrastructure needs for the country. As a result, Chevron's track record is addressing the requirements of certain stakeholders. While at the same time, it is ignoring the other areas by only targeting select segments of society.

Provide your own on-balance conclusions about the company's performance in society.

Chevron has a mixed track record when it comes to always acting in a socially responsible manner. One the positive benefits of the firm's focus on this policy can be seen in Barrow Island, Australia (the Gorgon Project). For over 45 years, the company has been working alongside environmentalists, community leaders and government officials to responsibly extract natural gas. This is taking place in a reserve that is considered to be one of Australia's natural treasures. The effect of this strategy has allowed them to expand their operations and protect the environment at the same time. This is helping to create jobs that will generate a total of $37 million in annual revenues for the region. Currently the firm has been expanding their operations inside the area with these activities largely supported by all the different stakeholders. A good example of this can be seen with the Prime Minister Julia Gillard visiting the facility in 2010. After touring the location she said, "Having been here and seen Barrow Island and [the] Gorgon Project, it's given me a real sense of the size and scale of this project and what it is going to mean to the nation's future. This is a great project for employment in this country."

This is illustrating how Chevron can take into account the views of different stakeholders in their practices. The results are that these kinds of programs are supported by everyone. While at the same time, the company is able to increase production and access to reserves in the area. As a result, one could argue that this is blue print that needs to be utilized by the company on a regular basis.

However, despite the positive track record in areas concerning the environment. There are situations where the management of the firm has acted irresponsibly, which resulted in some kind of environmental damage. The best example of this occurred with an oil leak that spilled a total of 3,000 barrels of oil into the sea off the coast of Brazil in November 2011. At the time, the executives tried to play down the fact that a critical error contributed to the incident. The way that this was accomplished was to hide the total amounts of oil that were leaking and deny any kind of direct responsibility. The situation has become so strained that the government has banned the company from conducting any kind of drilling activities until the leak is completely sealed. Moreover, there are 17 company officials who will be charged with various environmental crimes. This is because of their involvement with the accident or knowingly lying to government officials about what they knew

These events are showing how the company has a mixed track record when it comes to the environment. This is from the desire to protect the positive image that the firm has created f over the last several years (based on social responsibility). Once some kind of negative incident occurs, is when executives will want to omit facts that could damage the company's reputation. This is what happened with the situation involving the oil slick off the Brazilian coast. As a result, Chevron needs to create a new policy that will focus on being forthright about any kind of mistakes that were made and fixing them. This will support a responsible image over the long run by showing how the firm is doing everything it can…

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