Corporate Social Responsibility - A form of corporate self-regulation, integrated into a business model. A business needs to take into account its economic, social and environmental impacts in the way it operates, maximising benefits and minimising downsides. It seems nowadays most companies are jumping on the CSR bandwaggon, mainly to get greater trust from the public, and therefor increasing revenues.
Marks & Spencer
Marks & Spencer (M&S) is one of the UK's leading retailers of clothing, food, home products and financial services. Ten million people shop each week in over 375 M&S stores in the UK.n addition, Marks & Spencer has 155 stores managed under franchise in 28 territories, mostly in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Far East, as well as stores in the Republic of Ireland, Hong Kong and a US supermarket group, Kings Super Markets. The company is structured in business units covering food and general merchandise. The general merchandise unit is further divided into womens clothing, menswear, lingerie, beauty and home.
Each business unit develops its own CSR strategy based around the brand value of trust. The issues tackled in the strategies are identified from a combination of customer research, understanding within the business and by talking with other key stakeholders, government etc.
For each issue an action plan is developed which balances customer and stakeholder expectations and other commercial pressures. For example, for food, 16 issues have been identified ranging from pesticides to labour standards.
The issues are grouped into three general areas: people, its own employees, and those employed in its supply chain; products, with an emphasis on producing high quality, value for money goods that have positive environmental and social benefits; and community, this category recognises the companys role in helping to create and maintain places within which to work and live. For each of the three areas M&S has a programme of work.
The founders of M&S believed that building good relationships with employees, suppliers and wider society was the best guarantee of long-term success. This remains the backbone of its approach to CSR. Since those early days M&S has built up a reputation as a trustworthy company. Trust is one of its core values and its approach to CSR focuses on maintaining and enhancing trust. In the past, before CSR was a defined concept, much of M&Ss work on environmental and social issues was through philanthropic gifts to charity work. However more recently there has been a move away from this traditional philanthropic giving as the company wanted to be more involved in the impact of its funding, with more of a focus on customers, staff and those producing its goods. This was a key driver for the launch of several CSR initiatives on health, employability and the environment in the last 5 years.
Starbucks Coffee is widely known for its social responsibility and fairtrade coffee. From the way they buy there coffee, to minimising the environmental impact, they seems to do a lot.
Starbucks bought 385 million pounds of coffee in 2008. Seventy-seven percent of that – 295 million pounds – was responsibly grown and ethically traded. By 2015, their goal is to buy 100 percent of our coffee this way. Last year, their ethical sourcing principles for coffee impacted more than one million farmers and workers.
In 2008, they expanded their on-the-ground presence in Africa, hiring a director of agronomy to oversee the new FarmerSupportCenter in Rwanda. They also remain committed to opening a FarmerSupportCenter in Ethiopia in the future.