Corporations are business organisations which are running for the benefit of shareholders. Organisations have a variety of responsibilities; for their own employees, customers and suppliers, to community in which they are located and to the society (Boatright, 2003, p371). Companies needs to consider the two main aspects of their operation; the quality how they manage the workforce and the process of the business. In addition, they can not forget about their impact on society and environment. Companies getting a lot of pressure because the stakeholders are always interested and looking what company doing, if it doing good or bad considering its products and services, their impact on local community and environment.
Most corporations recognise these responsibilities and put a lot of effort to accomplish them. Huge number of corporations even publishes those responsibilities in statements as their principles or beliefs (Boatright, 2003, p371). According to Boatright (2003), that was the main reason the concept of corporate social responsibility was born. The main definition of corporation social responsibility (CSR) is about how companies manage their own business process to produce a positive impact on society and environment. In more detail corporate social responsibility recognises quite a lot of different kind of responsibilities (Boatright, 2003, p371). Economic responsibilities cover the production of goods and services, concept of fair wages and treatment of workforce and also earning a profit. Legal responsibilities manage the assets of corporation in the interest of shareholders. In addition, corporations have numerous of legal responsibilities to employees, customers and suppliers. However, CSR often is expressed as a voluntary model of responsibilities that is beyond the legal and economic responsibilities.
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Therefore, CSR activities often involve some sacrifice of profit in a result that it is often beyond the corporation's economic and legal responsibilities and not necessarily for corporate interests (Boatright, 2003, p375). It is beneficial for corporations to be recognised as socially responsible. It often attracts more partners, customers and it usually leads to better recognition and stronger place in the market and better competitive advantage.
CSR companies are increasingly paying attention of creating corporate ethics programs. Those ethics programs consist of the rules and policies for organisational procedures motivating and monitoring ethical performance (Boatright, 2003, p394). In addition, created rules and policies include organisation's values, mission statements, codes of ethics, training materials. All of this to show and to prove that company is socially responsible and environmentally sustainable.
Nowadays it is very important for companies to be environmentally friendly and sustainable. This aspect of the business attracts more attention of a public and shareholders. Being environmentally sustainable is not just about "green" products but also about whole organisational process and innovation in global economy (Green, 2010). According to Green (2010), the company is environmentally sustainable when it introduces the best practices to protect environment, its natural resources and the communities around. Consequently, most people now understand that environmental and energy issues can not be solved only by governments. Corporations and individuals are part of those problems so it should be step up and contribute for solving the problems and innovation for change and improvement.
According to Droppo (2007), it is time consuming and quite costly to become green company. There is no escape from that because people becoming now more aware of the importance of protecting our environment. There is new demand of products that meet new sustainability and environmental standards (Droppo, 2007). According to that corporations have to show real commitment to those changes and to incorporate it in business strategy. Furthermore, successful way of incorporating change in business strategy is developing a code of ethics. Code of ethics is a statement of a standards and core of values and vision of an organisation (Boatright, 2005). Successful corporations follow and value their code of ethics.
There are many organisations which promotes environmental sustainability by scanning the corporations on their impact to society and environment, scanning if they are socially responsible and truthful about their announced beliefs, CSR and code of ethics. One of those organisations is BITC (Business in the Community) in UK which was set up in 1982 and now has over 830 members. BITC is the largest and one of the oldest national-business led coalitions dedicated to corporate responsibility. BITC is one of The Prince's Charities, and the president of BITC is a Prince of Wales. Initially BITC was dedicated to regenerate local economies across the UK through charitable contributions. Later BITC widen up and started pay more attention by helping institutionalise and maintain CSR and integrating sustainability into their members' business strategies.
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BITC vision is:
"Business in the community work with business to built a sustainable future for people and planet"
This organisation also has criteria for its responsible business members:
"Have clear leadership, governance and values
Help develop employees and the future workforce to build successfull working lives
Influence behaviour through your products and services
Manage social, environmental, and economic impacts in your supply chain
Invest in the communities in which you operate and those communities in greatest needs
Take action to reduce climate change and prepare for a low carbon economy
Work with others to promote action and greater change"
BITC unites the businesses which are socially responsible and which ones and helps want to be and make a difference in community and environment together. BITC most important responsibility is to mobilise more businesses to integrate responsible business practice and to take action for people and planet. They new business plan involves to grow and engage their membership in UK and internationally. BITC seeks to create and share one vision of a sustainable future in its collaboration with members and partners.
BITC have its premier members which were invited by BITC to take a significant leadership role. Those members include: "AVIVA", "Barclays", "BT", "Camelot", "J Sainsbury plc", "Lloyds TSB Banking Group", "M&S", "Unilever" and many others. According to BITC the premier members' commitment and responsibilities include:
"Leading the movement and reporting upon its progress
Improving its impact in corporate responsibility issues
Telling its stories through business in the community to inspire, engage, support and challenge other companies"
BITC has chosen and awarded company of the year 2010. The company awarded is "Unilever". It is one of the world's leading suppliers of fast-moving consumer goods, which include food, personal goods and home care products. Unilever creates, market and distribute the products that are used by most of the people in everyday lives. Unilever has created food (Ben&Jerry's, Flora, Colman's), home care (Domestos, Persil, and Surf) and personal care brands (Dove, Impulse, Sunsilk). Some of the brands are even huge market leaders.