Corporate Social Responsibility and ethical behaviour

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1 ) The definition of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) would be the responsibility of a business’s activities towards the surrounding, customers, workers and the society.

During my Career Exploration Week, I had visited the Yakult Company. One of the ways this company demonstrated corporate social responsibility would be when this company carries out environment responsibility. Since April 2011, Yakult had enforced its Environment Action Plan. One of the purposes of this plan is to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions. It also protects resources and more items that were not completed last time. This form of CSR had helped the public to reduce their health problems because the level of pollution had decreased.

Besides, the other environmental responsibility of Yakult would be when they organised a clean-up campaign. As a responsible corporate citizen, it naturally means they have to protect the environment with the local association. For many years, Yakult had actively organised this campaign to clean up the rivers, roads and other areas mainly around Yakult Honsha plants. In 2011, 10 Yakult Honsha business sites helped to beautify nearby areas. This had helped the society to live in a more comfortable environment and helped reduce the spread of disease. The average life span of the society would increase.

Moreover, Yakult also carried out social responsibility by co-sponsoring the first annual Zuiderzee Klassieker Bicycle Touring Event on the 24th September 2011. This is event is famous and had attracted about 425 participants to join and they managed to collect an appreciable amount of fund too. Yakult would also be co-sponsoring for the following year and they targeted more participants. Lastly, this event helps those people who suffer from intestine, liver and stomach diseases. These patients who take part in this event would definitely ensure a better health in the near future.

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2 ) One of the examples of Yakult’s ethical behaviour would be when Yakult ensure the assurance of raw elements. Yakult would select suppliers that have undergone a detailed investigation to ensure that their supplies are safe to consume. With respect to raw materials used at Yakult plants that are in Japan and other countries, Yakult confirms the inspection performance of raw materials suppliers before choosing raw materials and then commences extra inspections upon the receipt of raw materials to ensure that only materials that are in consent with applicable standards are used.

Besides that, the other ethical behaviour from Yakult would be when Yakult ensures the safety of products. Yakult had introduced internal product quality standards so that the products formed would be of high quality and safe to consume. Yakult had fixed various types of new machineries that can help us to monitor our products’ quality and observe the rest of the batch as well. This quality management system is to assure the safety of our products that are produced. Yakult Honsha has one of the best product safety systems to detect radioactive substances in products to prevent customers from consuming it.

Moreover, the other ethical behaviour carried out by Yakult is the work life balance for employees. Yakult’s aim is to create a comfortable working environment for their workers, ensure they have good health and maximise their workers’ abilities. The Yakult’s Personal Department is improving to avoid excessive work hours and to make a comfortable workplace that can help work activities. Yakult is a very fair company because they implemented this rule in their company and this had benefited their employees and vice versa.

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3) There are many benefits that Yakult can get from being involved in a socially responsible behaviour. If Yakult practises this, their company would have a good reputation. A company with good reputation would tend to be able to be easier for it to recruit and retain human capital. This could reduce the costs of recruiting and retraining employees. Therefore, Yakult can maximise their profit and minimise their lost. This brings to a better organizational performance as their workers become specialised in their tasks and they would be more dedicated and motivated to offer to their company. Therefore, they would be more productive overall.

When Yakult practises ethical behaviour, a moral course in unstable times could be maintained. During times of major change, attentions to business ethnics are very critical. For example, times of things are faced by business right now, both profitable and non-profitable. When this happens, there is usually no clear moral compass to lead the leaders through complicated conflicts that tend to happen. Conflicts that involve what are right and what are wrong. By having ethic responsibility in the workplace, leaders and staffs are sharpened to how they would want to act, consistently.

Besides, by being ethically responsible, Yakult had managed to cultivate strong teamwork and productivity among their workers. Ethically responsible would make each worker’s behaviours to be what leaders’ prefer. Often, an organisation would find it pretty surprising when they see variation between values they prefer and behaviours reflected by workers. By having these good values in the workplace, openness, honesty and community would build up and these are the important ingredients to have strong teams. Employees in Yakult could see the strong alignment between their values and those of the company’s. Thus, they would be motivated to show a better performance in their following task.

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4) Yakult may be reluctant to engage in socially responsible behaviour would be because of the cost involved. Whenever Yakult organises events such as sponsorship, charity, products donation and also involvement to voluntary environment standards would definitely bring unnecessary cost to Yakult. When Yakult has to pay more cost, it simply means that there would be lesser profits for stakeholders and also lesser money that can be used to develop Yakult’s company in the future. The growth of Yakult would be slower compared to others or even stunted. Involvement in social responsibility also places companies that get involved in this to be at a competitive disadvantage compared to other companies that do not.

Moreover, Yakult is reluctant because social responsibility can cause unintended consequences for business without caring how the money was spent or where was it spent. When a business attempts at exercising social responsibility conflict with the government efforts that is similar, this would confuse the public. This can also cause taxpayers to dislike their government for giving a service that a private business also pays for. Another unintended consequence would be when a company invested in a program as a social responsibility and that program was unsuccessful.

The other reason would be because of fairness. Yakult felt that when a company chooses to invest in corporate responsibilities, it has the power to spend its money anyway it likes. Usually, this means that when companies select from a long list of charities, organisations or a group of social concerns, board members and executives who have power to choose would definitely involve their personal preferences and biases into account. This kind of social responsibility is done just to be visible to the public rather than to help those in need sincerely.

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5) One of the major challenges faced by Yakult to create a CSD report would be the lack of clear protocol. This had caused a large range of frequently used reporting methods to be incomparable between different companies. This is because corporate social disclosures are voluntary and it is independent of the accounting standards and the conceptual framework. Different companies would have different ways to show their corporate social responsibilities because there are no clear or exact explanation for terms such as sustainability, social responsibilities and social impact. The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is trying their best to overcome this issue.

Moreover, the other limitation of CSD would be the issue when Yakult or any other companies choose to only disclose positive or good CSR information. This means Yakult only wants to disclose information that are useful to users and comparable with other companies. For example, positive events or initiatives that had been done would be organising clean-up campaigns, reinforce the Container and Packaging Recycling Act and provide sponsorships. All negative initiative done by the company would not be shown or disclosed in the CSD report and thus, the society will only know good deeds done by these companies.

Besides that, the other limitation of Yakult to do the CSR report would be because of the impact of a company’s action towards the surrounding would be difficult to measure. Actions such as organising talks on plants and implementing plant festivals and also study visit for local communities and employees’ family. The advantages or disadvantages of environment actions done by Yakult may not be visible for a long time and are very problematic to measure and assume. The environmental initiatives are hard to be classified under either one of the following recognition criteria which are the asset and expense recognition criteria.

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