Sample Business Studies Research Paper on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Company Statement Analysis

Introduction

Corporate social responsibility entails treating the stakeholders of a firm ethically in a responsible manner (Hopkins 68). Social responsibility entails both economic and environmental responsibility. Corporate responsibility ensures that each company govern itself with integrity, fulfills its missions and values and at the same time measure the environmental and social impacts of its activities. Corporate social responsibility also addresses human rights, corporate governance, health and even working conditions (Carroll 31). Coca-Cola Company is one of the companies committed to creating sustainable development by delivering economic, social and environmental benefits for all its stakeholders. Coca-Cola has a well-established sustainability plan that covers both social and environmental issues that are critical to the business. They are the leaders in sustainable packaging, energy, and climate change. The company has ensured sustainable energy as it sources 100 percent of electricity from renewable sources. Also, the company has put in place measures to reduce carbon emission from the plants in line its aim for curbing climate change. In 2015, Coca-Cola introduced a new brand with reduced sugar across its territory to curb increasing obesity that has been blamed mainly on soft drinks. The company later announced the launch of Coke-Zero that is sugar-free to show its commitment corporate citizenship. Coca-Cola believes that sustainability is crucial to long-term financial success.

Some of the strengths of Coca-Cola’s CSR policy mentioned above are that it balances corporate power with responsibility, discourages government regulation, promotes long-term benefits for business, and improves stakeholder relationship. The weaknesses are that it lowers economic efficiency and profit, imposes unequal costs on competitors, places responsibility on businesses rather than individuals and that it requires skills businesses may lack.

According to the Coca-Cola Corporate Social Responsibility Report (2016), the main objective of the program is sustainability. However, there are diverse views concerning coca cola’s CSR strategy as well as numerous strengths and weaknesses. The Coca-Cola Company CSR policy has many strengths. To begin with, the policy has created a balance of corporate power and responsibility. The Coca-Cola company, like other businesses, possess too much power and influence. There is a common belief that power is often accompanied by responsibility (Carroll 32). Coca-Cola has proved this by participating in many projects that empower the community. The company has an education program in which students from needy families are awarded scholarships based on merit. The 2015/2016 Company report shows that Coca-Cola reached out to more than 100,000 youths through the education program. Second, Coca-Cola has demonstrated responsibility by reducing the sugar content in the drinks and also creating a zero-coke that has no sugar to promote general wellbeing of their consumers. Coca-Cola has invested in grassroots programs that have enabled 3million people to be physically active thus showing support for active lifestyles. Third, the company has ensured sustainable environment through the use of recyclable containers, using recycled materials to make PET bottles and reducing the carbon emission through use of low carbon energy. 

CSR has helped to discourage government regulation of the Coca-Cola business. Regulations often tend to increase economic costs of running and operating businesses (Carroll 32). Coca-Cola is one of the leading companies in the world as its high profitability because it has self-regulatory mechanisms. The company has also undertaken actions that show that they are committed to protecting consumers and also protecting the environment. Coca-Cola company has been using recyclable bottles since its inception, and this shows that environmental protection is a priority for the company (Mullerat 67). The recent introduction of coke-zero in the market has shown that the company has the well-being of its consumers at heart. Governments support CSR because it ensures that corporations comply with the rules and regulations that are meant to protect the general public from business malpractices. The coca cola company has been able to function without government restriction as they have demonstrated socially responsible behavior in the long term.

Coca Cola’s corporate social responsibility has promoted long-term profits for the Company. The Company has created a global image for itself as a company that has the interests of the stakeholders first. Apart from its aggressive and personal marketing stunts worldwide, Coca-Cola has maintained an image of happiness that is universally understood. Coca-Cola company has also demonstrated its responsibility in the personal lives of people. (Carroll 34) The company carries out social investment by supporting charities and supporting young people yearly. Coca-Cola is a household name globally as it has also expanded and established an office in every continent worldwide. Currently, Coca-cola was worth $182.9 Billion as at May 2017 making it one of the five best brands in the world.

Corporate social responsibility has enabled Coca-Cola to improve stakeholder relationships. In a recent survey, employees of Coca-Cola who were interviewed admitted that their responsibility and commitment to the company was driven by corporate social responsibility (Fernando 87). The company has an image to maintain thus they stay committed to their course. The recently introduced changes such as working with suppliers to reduce carbon emissions have made them win the trust of the stakeholders. In as much as the aim of each business is to make profits, Coca-Cola has managed to win the society’s trust as well as make billions of profits. Besides, Coca-Cola also has enhanced its business reputation by implementing CSR. The company continues to attract consumers and at the same time enhance their profitability because they are known to care for the environment and all the stakeholders. People are naturally pulled to a firm with the interests of the community at heart. 

On the other hand, Coca-cola has faced numerous disadvantages of corporate social responsibility. First, CSR lowers economic efficiency and profits. Coca-cola has had to make decisions that may be considered as unrealistic for businesses because they are committed to social responsibility. In 2003, an Indian NGO Centre for Science and Environment published a report that showed that the Coca-Cola drinks were contaminated with pesticides and called for the enforcement of the water standards (Fernando 88). The negative media attention affected coca cola’s revenue as a result of the publicity spread worldwide causing 10 American universities to ban the drinks.

Second, Coca-cola often imposes the hidden costs to the stakeholders. Businesses do not usually cater for the social proposals that are undertaken by businesses. Instead, society indirectly pays for the costs (Carroll 35). One of the sustainable environment measures that Coca-Cola plans to implement by 2020 is to return to nature the water that is used in beverages by investing in water-based community projects. There is a high probability that when this is implemented, the shareholders will likely receive fewer dividends while consumer will be charged more for the drinks. However, the extra costs are usually too negligible to be noticed. Had the public known that the costs incurred in CSR were paid by them, they would not advocate for the company to act in socially responsible manner. It is evident that the hidden costs drive up the cost of operating the business.

Third is that Community social responsibility imposes unequal costs among competitors. CRM has put Coca-Cola at a competitive disadvantage because the money used in creating sustainable environment could have been used to improve the company to get more profits. The only advantage that coca cola has is that the aggressive marketing skills have made the company the leading manufacturer of soft drinks. The competitive advantage issue mostly works for small size companies and the middle sized ones.

Fourth, corporate responsibility places responsibility on business rather than individuals. An entire company cannot be held responsible for decisions made by individuals yet this is the practice of business responsibility (Carroll 33). When coca cola is making the decisions of corporate responsibility, the whole team of company executives takes part. It has been argued that the managers should contribute their money to the social cause instead of contributing company money in the name of corporate social responsibility. Corporate social responsibility places added burdens to both the business and the society.

Fifth, CSR requires skills that many businesses lack. Business people are often trained in production, marketing, personnel and not issues to do with poverty or violence in schools. (Carroll 33) This means that for Coca-cola to adequately take part in the eradication of poverty in the poor cities, some of its personnel have to be freshly rained thus leading to unnecessary expenses and poor approaches to solutions. Many people have questioned the efficacy of business people addressing social issues. Critics to CRM have put forward the view that business people including those at coca cola lack the expertise to solve social problems.

Presently, coca cola is conforming to its ethics policies. In 2003, however, an NGO in India accused the company of using excessive pesticides in its soft drinks. In March 2010, Coca-cola was again accused by the Kerala state government of damaging the water and soil fining the company $47 million. The community members were significantly affected by the extent of water pollution. As a result, Coca cola was accused of caring for profits only rather than the health of the public. Presently, Coca cola is named among the best companies that are strictly adhering to their corporate social responsibility. Coca-cola is committed to corporate responsibility and sustainability thus their motto of delivering for today and inspiring for tomorrow. (Carroll 32)  The company has put in place workable plans to ensure that they respond to challenges like carbon emission and renewable energy. Health is a present concern to many people and coca cola has put in place measures to regulate the sugar and calorie intake in their products as well as promoting physical activity. This explains why many stadiums have been renovated globally by Coca-cola.

Ethical theories in business guide the decisions made by both the stakeholders and the owners of the business. Each theory emphasizes on a different point or a different decision-making style. The theories include deontological view, utilitarianism, rights theory, virtue theory, the natural law, absolutism, and contractarianism. The Coca-Cola policy satisfies all the mentioned theories. The deontological view guides the company thus the reason Coca-Cola is involved in sustainability (Ferrellet al. 461). The company is aware of its obligation to make the environment better for the future generations hence the reason they are involved in activities like recycling water and containers. The natural law also plays a role in the decisions made by coca cola. The youth empowerment program, for example, is an effort to show that the company is interested in the societal activities (Ferrellet al. 462). Utilitarianism and virtue theory also play a role in the decisions made at coca cola. When coca cola decided to reduce the calories in their drinks, the company was guided by the increasing cases of obesity worldwide that was blamed on soft drinks. This shows the company’s commitment to making a decision that had an overall good for everyone. A healthy society is a productive society (Sisaye 123). The principle of rights also guides the company’s decisions hence the reason the company has continued to develop pathways for sustainable agriculture in line with the company’s principles. Every human being has the right to live in a clean environment. The theory of contractarianism has helped coca cola to make decisions that show that they respect the personal liberties of every individual. Coca-cola is one of the corporations that are involved in eradicating poverty world-wide. In addiction sustainable water use has been promoted by the need to ensure that people live in a clean environment.

Recommendations

Coca-cola as a company is aimed at developing the various regions, promoting economic growth, creating jobs, creating a sustainable environment and also contributing to training. To achieve these goals, the company has involved all the stakeholders to be part of the mission. The coca cola corporate social responsibility has been effectively drafted and implemented and its effectiveness depends on the implementation on a number of recommendations. First, Coca-Cola must continue with its culture of having a diverse team of employees. Currently, the company has a diverse team of employees in place. The company does not discriminate the employees based on race or gender. Second, the company should provide a safe working environment to the employees. Regarding wages, the employees of Coca-Cola are some of the best-paid workers globally. The aggressive nature of Coca Cola’s products has managed to infiltrate extensive cultures globally. Coca-Cola has managed to reach out to the consumers through its personalized advertising skills. In addition, the company also emphasizes on sustainability thus the reason they have environmental-friendly packaging. The corporate responsibility of coca cola is highly successful as is communicated annually by the company. The company has managed to create a multi-billion business with the society and the environment at its center thus showing that CSR is achievable.

Conclusion

The coca cola company has properly implemented the CSR programs thus ensuring that environmental destruction is eliminated. As a multinational company, coca cola has proved to the world that any company can achieve its financial goals at the same time protecting the environment. This is because, for ages, many companies have stayed clear of corporate responsibility with the reason that it adds them unnecessary expenditure. In real sense, however, many consumers are attracted to companies that have sustainability at heart. Over the years, coca cola has managed to stay away from scandals like child labor and corruption. This positive image has played a role in attracting consumers to the company. Coca-cola also has aggressive advertising that is often personalized according to various cultures which have further drawn many consumers worldwide. Most notable is that coca cola has managed to increase employment and help raise the standards of living in all the countries with their markets. This shows that Coca-Cola is truly committed to its corporate social responsibility that ensures creation of jobs to the locals. Indeed the coca cola company has used the CSR strategies to increase its profits and at the same time create a sustainable society.

Works Cited

Carroll, Archie B. Business & Society: Ethics, Sustainability, and Stakeholder Management. , 2018. Print. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=TeLdDQAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=Business+and+Society&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjbiKb2parXAhXFAxoKHU7nDncQ6AEIJjAA#v=onepage&q=Business%20and%20Society&f=false

Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability Report 2015/2016. (n.d). Retrieved November 6, 2017, from https://www.cokecce.com/system/file_resources/426/2015-2015_CRS_Report.pdf

Fernando, A C. Business Ethics and Corporate Governance. Delhi: Dorling Kindersley (India), licensees of Pearson Education in South Asia, 2010. Print. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=_32bJs_nfNIC&pg=SA5-PA16&dq=How+has+Coca+cola%27s+corporate+responsibility+promoted+long+term+benefits+of+the+company&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj35p_IpKrXAhWIDBoKHWE9CmoQ6AEIOzAE#v=onepage&q=How%20has%20Coca%20cola’s%20corporate%20responsibility%20promoted%20long%20term%20benefits%20of%20the%20company&f=false

Ferrell, O C, John Fraedrich, and Linda Ferrell. Business Ethics: Ethical Decision Making and Cases. Mason, OH: South-Western/Cengage Learning, 2013. Print. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=sI1jqoMRW7gC&pg=PA461&dq=A+decision+made+by+cocacola+due+to+corporate+social+responsibility&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiC2ebSpqrXAhWIVRoKHfGBD2oQ6AEIKDAA#v=onepage&q=A%20decision%20made%20by%20cocacola%20due%20to%20corporate%20social%20responsibility&f=fals

Hopkins, Michael. Corporate Social Responsibility and International Development: Is Business the Solution?Hoboken: Taylor and Francis, 2012. Print. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=4IqtKZ8JlCwC&printsec=frontcover&dq=What+is+Corporate+Social+Responsibility&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj56vqNqqnXAhVC1hQKHS4nAZQQ6AEIJjAA#v=onepage&q=What%20is%20Corporate%20Social%20Responsibility&f=false

Mullerat, Ramon, and Daniel Brennan. Corporate Social Responsibility: The Corporate Governance of the 21st Century. Alphen aan den Rijn: Kluwer Law International, 2011. Print. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=xvqvrYMTUg0C&printsec=frontcover&dq=corporate+social+responsibility&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiOvfW2o6rXAhUHXRoKHdinAWwQ6AEIKzAB#v=onepage&q=corporate%20social%20responsibility&f=false

Sisaye, Seleshi. Ecology, Sustainable Development and Accounting. Routledge, 2015. https://books.google.co.ke/books?hl=en&lr=&id=vudWCgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=Ecology,+Sustainable+Development+and+Accounting+-+Page+123&ots=k9ST_yQ3cs&sig=X9L0kRX1e1GLuNm_xXOYLEbsaYc&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false