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Corporate social responsaiblity or CSR can be defined as social Responsibility of Corporate to the society. The meaning of CSR has changed in the past few years becoming more fundamental. Today CSR is not about charitable work and philanthropy. It si about how companies take responsibility for their actions in the world at large. CSR can be viewed as a comprehensive set of policies, practices and programs that are integrated into business operations supply chains and decison making processes throughout the company. CSR incease the business profitability and can preserve interest of all shareholders.
The Philip Morris USA company's approach to Corporate Responsibility consists in a plan in which they are engaging with stakeholders to increase their understanding of the views of others and enhance their ability to help resolve those issues. Most of all they care about the public's expectations and they want to understand those expectations. They are monitoring public literature and information, conducting research and engaging with stakeholders. They want to understand what the stakeholders are expeting of the company and take action to respond to their expectations.
They know that external engagement with a wide variety of stakeholders can help inform the business decisions and they learned that trough experience and they engage with stakeholders in a number of ways: their employees regulary meet with a big variety of people like growers, suppliers, retailers and adult consumers in the purpose of doing business and they also interact with the media, elected officials, community leaders, scientist, investors and all kind of people who are showing their interest in tobacco issues. From these interactions they learn to build a better understanding of Altria Group(their parent company) and its companies, to indetify and manage energing issues and continue on efforts to align with society. Moreover, they want to be informed about the views of thier business from surveys on public opinion, attend conferences and closely monitoring the news reports.
Through this external enagagement with stakeholders they want to run a number of programs:
Tobacco Leaders program - which is a direct contracting program in how they purchase nearly all of their domestic tobacco.
Reducing their impact on Virginia's James River.
Reducing Enviromental Impact in Malawi.
Protecting their brands - froms those would misuse their trademark or engage in illegal activity involving their brands.
Eliminating Smoking Scenes from Movies Directed at Youth - in may 2007, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) decided to enhance the amount of information provided to parents on the issue of smoking in films.
Supplier Diversity Development - more innovation and better ideas.
The case against Corporate Social Responsibility:
Like I said before, most of the large companies want to please the public, their coustomers, saying that they are not in business just for the profits and they intent on serving larger social purpose like conserving energy and other resources in their operations , one of the most important things from my opinion, and that they are focusing on producing healthier foods or more fuel-efficient vehicles. In other words, they want to make the world a better place.
We can take as an example the market for healthier food. Fast-food outlets are expanding their offerings including in the meal a variety of salads and other things designed to appeal to health-conscious consumers, to atract them but in the end they are thinking just to gain profit. The same thing happened with auto-markets who profited from responding to consumers demand for more fuel-efficient. But those markets didn't become so common until they became profitable dor their markers. Those are opportunities that all the companies could take advantage of and prevent to suffer from losing profits but, unfortunately, not all of them are taking this advanatage. Those companies have one of two problems. The company's long-term financial interests are suffering because their executives are putting their own interests ahead of the company's ones or they are just simply incompent. Those problems can be solved by the pressure from shareholders for sustainable growth or by replaicing the incompetent managers with others who can focuse only on the company's long-term success. This is why the executives are hired. To maximize profits. This is their responsability. An appeal to social responsabilty can not solve those problems because this is not an effective way to strike the balance between profits and the public good. That is why we speak about privately owned companies and we come with a different story in wich is admirable and desirable for the leaders of successful public companies to use a bit of their personal fortune to improve social welfare or help fund charities, as many have troughout history and many do now.
Eventually we find out that social responsability is a financial calculation for executives. The olny way to influence corporate decison making is to impose an unacceptable cost on socially unacceptable behavior.
Phipil Morris Holland, the Netherlands:
Philip Morris International, in it;s turn, is a parent company for other companies like Phipil Morris Holland, a cigarette manufacturer in the Netherlands. This company practises a proactive empoyability policy. They encourage their employees to be aware of career posibilities inside as well as outside the company because , from their opinion, success can be measured by high job satisfaction and low staff turnover, a turnover that is about 4.2% in this company.
Philip Morris International has more than 60.000 employees worldwide while Philip Morris Holland hires about 1.750 workers and just about 1.250 work in the production department.The majority of the workforce in the production department and in technical functions is about 90% male.
There is also an active works coucil of about 15 members which deals with the company's strategy while monitoring the interests of the company as well as the employees.
Description of the initiative:
The initiative for this policy regarding employability came from the HRM manager at that time. He wanted employees to know that beyond the company's walls are other posibilities and to think more about their career, a career that can be built in or out of the company.
Employability, by the company's definition, is the ability to react to changes in working environment, also taking into account one's wishes and possibilities because ,doing that, the employees can stimulate their usability.
Both emplyer and employee have something to win from employability but they have to be aware of the advantages of flexible and abroad availability. The employee has the chances to grow and invest in the future and the employer has the advantages of flexibility for technological innovation and fluctuation in demands. For that both of them need to invest. For example the employee must be cooperative and show initiative and the employer needs to invest in financial support for cost of study and for the employees to win experience in other departments.
The success of this pocily could be shown through interviews with employees led by a research organisation (TNO Work and Employment). All employees report a better atmosphere because in PMH everything is possible and everything is allowed. Maybe that is why 60% of employees worked for this company for more than 11 years.
But not all workers are satisfied with the company's policy of stimulated training and self-fulfilment. They are seing this as an undesired obligation because not every one could or wished to participate. Fortunately, those problems could be solved.
PMI did not always understand the PMH's policy, it acknowledged the success of the company and started to supply financial support.
Nowadays we can see why the investments in employees development are so huge. The policy has proved its merits.
Exemplary and contextual factors:
The Dutch policy is unique in PMI but can be easly implemented in other firms as long as they are investing in their employees development without seeing positive results.
Tobacco giant Philip Morris sold cigarettes made using child labour.
Over time, Tobacco giant Philip Morris faced some problems because the company with which it has contracts in the Central Asian state of Kazakhstan used child labour on tobacco farms, workers as young as 10 that have been subjected to long hours of work.
A report by Human Rights Watch documented 72 cases of children working on the farms and migrantworkers who were subjected to conditions that often amounted forced labour because their passports were confiscated by their employers and they had to do additional work for no pay. After that the company was realy gratefull to Human Rights Watch for rasising the issues. They said they are "firmly oppsoed to child labour and all other labour abuses" and they are taking "immediate action" to stop the abuses.
Philip Morris purchased 1.500 tonnes of tobacco from Kazakhstan farms in 2009 and it is one of the most important companies who produces brands such as Marlboro and Chesterfield in over 150 countries around the world.
The report's author , Jane Buchanam, said that not just the Kazakh government should be blamed for those abuses because they equally share the blame with the PM itself. The company is responsable directly because they should be aware of all those thing that are happening in each and every company they have contracts with. They should closely monitor the firms; afterall is their name and reputation at stake.
"The commitments for the government have been very vague,"she said. "It had been a lot of work to get them to accept the idea that migrant workers, even if they are working illegally, still have fundamental rights."
And more than that, one women told the report's authors that after working with the tobacco, child workers developed red ashes on their necks and stomachs.This is known as the Green Tobacco Sickness and the workers were at high risk of contracting it, especially children due to their small body size. The ilness couses nausea, dizzines, headache, vomiting and muscle weakness.
Until now we traced the company's aproach to Corporate Responsibility and we found out that the Philip Morris company cares just about the public expectations and that they want to understand those expectations . For that they are engaging with stakeholders to increase their understanding of the views of others and enhance their ability to help resolve those issues.
As a consumer I can say that first you have to respect your customers and support their needs and expectations and manage the impact of the product because for PM is about cigarettes, a product that is not healthier at all. I am a smoker too and I'm very aware on how much cigarettes harms health.
After this we read about Employability and the programs in which the company's employees take part to be aware about the other posibilities and opportunities on the outside of the company. This makes you to feel free to do whatever you want with your career. In this way you are not feeling trapped or stuck with the same job for the rest of your life like the most people do. "This is my job, at least I have one, I feel secure, even if I don't like it I have to do it."
That's not the way. This is why PMH is running this program. The company makes this beacause it wants a good relationship with its employees.
The employers needs to create the right conditions that support the employees to realise their full potential.
Unfortunately every company has its problems. Philip Morris dealed with the use of child labour and abuses in one of the firms which PM has contracts with. I said once that the company is directly responsible, but it can also be indirectly responsible because the company has managers there or few "watch dogs" to report everything it is happening there. Even so, a giant like Philip Morris should not face with this sort of problems.
According to my opinion, all that this company should focus on is to balance the preferences of consumers with the interest of society and ensure that their business can compete and prosper.