Corporate Social Responsibility, in short represented as CSR has become important point of consideration for almost all the successful businesses. The basic idea of the 'CSR' is that every well established business must be socially responsible for the benefit of the society by engaging themselves in certain activities which will help to built up a positive environment within the society. Examples of such socially responsible activities include philanthropy, volunteer work, and the reduction of the environmental impact. (Baker M. 2009, Corporate Social Responsibility definition, mallenbaker.net) Here in this research work, I have investigated on the CSR strategy implemented by the world famous and one of the largest hotel group 'Accor'.
Before we examine our findings on CSR of Accor, we must define the term 'Corporate Social responsibility'. Research indicates that the definition most frequently used today was first developed by Archie B. Carroll in the late 1970's with slight revisions in the 80's and 90's. This four-part definition explains that businesses should focus on four strategic areas: economic, legal, ethical and philanthropic. Economic responsibility means that a business must establish a strong bottom line before it has the ability to do any other socially responsible activities. A business that operates within the parameters of the law meets the legal responsibility requirement. To be ethically responsible, the business must do more than what the law dictates; they should do what is right and just. Finally, philanthropic activities provide the business a way to 'give back' to the society that supports them. (Carroll Archie. B, 1979).
So, we can say that, Corporate social responsibility means:
Conducting business in an ethical way and in the interests of the wider community
Responding positively to emerging societal priorities and expectations
A willingness to act ahead of regulatory confrontation
Balancing shareholder interests against the interests of the wider community
Being a good citizen in the community.
Organisation back ground: Accor is a French Multinational corporation, operating in nearly 100 countries. The headquarter of which is established in Courcouronnes, Essonne, France. (Stephanie A. 2002). In the 1960s, the travel industry in France was booming, but many new hotels were concentrated only in major urban areas such as Paris. At the time, Paul Dubrule and Gérard Pélisson were both living in the United States, working for major computer firms. They went into business together, and in 1967, founded the SIEH (Société d'investissement et d'exploitation hôteliers) hotel group. Having seen the success of American lodging properties in suburban areas and along major highways, Dubrule and Pélisson opened their first American-syle Novotel hotel outside of Lille in northern France. In 1974, they launched the Ibis brand with the opening of the Ibis Bordeaux. The following year, SIEH acquired the Courtepaille and Mercure brands, and in 1980 the Sofitel hotel brand, which then consisted of 43 hotels. Two years later, in 1982, the SIEH bought out Jacques Borel International, the then world-leading brand offering restaurant vouchers. In 1983, the Group, which had restaurant tickets and hotels, changed its name to the Accor Group in 1984. (Stephanie A. 2002) The Accor Group continued to expand. In 1985, it launched the Formule1 brand, offering simple and functional accommodation at low prices.Â In 2006, Gilles Pélisson, nephew of Accor co-founder Gerard Pélisson, took over the Group as CEO. Presently it is the leading hotel group in Europe and one of the largest hotel chains in whole world managing about 4000 hotels worldwide.
For being such a well established organisation in hospitality industry it is forms an important responsibility for this organisation to look after the benefit of society. Also the organisation is well placed to support social development. So, as of October 2009, it was involved in CSR programmes across the world.
CSR concept of Accor: The Accor Group believes that our business should contribute to the social and economic growth of the countries, regions and cities where we work, and enhance the value of their wealth, heritage and culture. In 2006 the Accor started with the social and environmental project known as the 'Earth Guest Program' to prevent the environment form the environment from the major health hazards that threaten the world.(Matten D et al 2008)
RATIONALE: The researcher have made research on this particular topic to enhance the level of personal knowledge in the field of hospitality as well as on the corporate social responsibility related to Accor hospitality organisation where the researcher is working as a part time team member. So, it is more important for researcher to understand their current strategies as a corporate social responsibility i.e to understand the ways in which organisation promotes CSR and its application in practical field (Crane A 2008). Also after successful submission of this research work on CSR of Accor, the researcher will be able to complete post graduation on strategic hospitality management.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: The main aims and objectives of this research on CSR of Accor are as follows:
Aims of the research: There are two aims of research objective. The first aim is to identify the social mission of the Accor in terms of corporate social responsibility. From the social mission we can identify that, what the organisation is planning and doing something for the benefit of the society (Stuart M 1996). Next aim of this research work is to identify the way they are promoting and implementing the social mission program and the benefit of this program to the society and stakeholders of Accor.
Based on the aims we will now set the research objectives for this particular report.(Habisch.A 2005)
To investigate the tasks performed by Accor to fulfil their social mission.
To identify how the CSR program is creating a competitive advantage for the organisation.
To find out the ways the organisation is managing the stakeholder values and CSR at the same time.
To relate the organisation's influence on local development, protecting children and fighting epidemics.
To identify the organisation's influence on protecting the environment.
To measure the overall benefit to the society by the organisation's CSR program.
THE RESEARCH QUESTIONS: The research questions are the way to approach to a particular topic which will direct our efforts to collect critically read and evaluate our sources. (Mike Palmquist, 2010)
So, below mentioned are the two main research questions for this particular topic.
What is the social mission of Accor in terms of corporate social responsibility?
What is the organisation's influence on protecting the environment?
What is the organisation's mission in terms of local development, protecting children and fighting epidemics?
How the organisation executes its social mission statement?
How the social mission statement is promoted?
How the organisation does involve their employees?
How the program has benefitted various stake holders?
How does it create competitive advantage compared to other hotel chains in hospitality industry?
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY: To fulfil the research objectives we need to follow certain research methodology. 'Noel Perez, 2009' states that 'The research methodology defines what the activity of research is, how to proceed, how to measure progress, and what constitutes success. It provides us an advancement of wealth of human knowledge, tools of the trade to carry out research, tools to look at things in life objectively; develops a critical and scientific attitude, disciplined thinking to observe objectively (scientific deduction and inductive thinking); skills of research particularly in the 'age of information'. The research methodology is a science that studying how research is done scientifically. It is the way to systematically solve the research problem by logically adopting various steps. Also it defines the way in which the data are collected in a research project.'
The research methodology consists of two parts. One is qualitative research methods and the other is quantitative research methods.
Qualitative research method: (Bernard HR, 1995) describes 'Qualitative research is a type of scientific research. In general terms, scientific research consists of an investigation that:
â€¢ seeks answers to a question
â€¢ Systematically uses a predefined set of procedures to answer the question
â€¢ collects evidence
â€¢ produces findings that were not determined in advance
â€¢ produces findings that are applicable beyond the immediate boundaries of the study.
Qualitative research shares these characteristics. Additionally, it seeks to understand a given
research problem or topic from the perspectives of the local population it involves. Qualitative research is especially effective in obtaining culturally specific information about the values, opinions, behaviors, and social contexts of particular populations.'
There are three main methods of data collection in qualitative method are given as follows:
Focus group: In this process researcher brings small number of subjects to discuss the topic of interest and tries to gather information from them. (Goddard.W 2004)
Direct observation: Here the researcher can gather information being the member of staff of the organisation and while performing his duties at the same time observing the process of topic.
In-depth interviews: Here the researcher undertakes interviews with the person having sound knowledge on the topic and who is also responsible for the performing the duties related to the topic in professional level.
Quantitative research method: quantitative research may be defined as 'Use ofÂ samplingÂ techniquesÂ (such asÂ consumerÂ surveys) whose findings may be expressed numerically, and are amenable to mathematical (statistical)Â manipulationÂ enabling the researcher toÂ estimateÂ (forecast) futureÂ eventsÂ orÂ quantities.'(Kothari C.R 2008).
Surveys are primary method of data collection in quantitative method and can be done through online, telephone or mail.
To explore the CSR initiatives adopted by Accor the researcher uses qualitative methods to gather information on organisation's influence on protecting the environment as well as for the community development. The researcher will be focusing on the direct observation and in-depth interviews to gather important information on influence of the hospitality organisation (i.e. Accor) in terms of corporate social responsibility and also to understand their social mission concept.
To explore the organisation's effort to promote their social mission statement, involving the employees and the way its gaining competitive advantage the researcher will be using both qualitative as well as quantitative methods of research. The researcher is also planning to undertake a survey on benefits of CSR to various stake holders and also for understanding its uniqueness in creating competitive advantage. (Yin R.K 2003)
Direct observation: The researcher is presently working with IBIS hotel which forms a part of Accor hospitality organisation, so the researcher will be able to gather certain important information regarding the social mission of Accor on protecting the environment as well as developing the society through direct observation.
In depth interviews: The researcher will also fix an appointment with the General Manager of the same hotel as well as with the other hotel for the same organisation for an interview to gather through information on the social mission program as well as to know how employees are being involved.(Saunder M et al 2003)
Survey: The Survey will also be an important tool for the researcher to gather data on how the stake holder of this hospitality organisation gets benefitted by this program and the competitive advantage it creates in terms of other hotel organisations. This has to be completed using questionnaires. (Bendell J 2008)
Apart from all these, researcher will also undergo a theoretical study of previous research papers, Accor's annual report and books related to CSR for hospitality organisation to gather knowledge for the topic and complete this project.
CSR CONCEPT IN ACCOR
SOCIAL MISSION OF ACCOR FOR CSR
THE WAY IN WHICH CSR IS PROMOTED
RESULTS AND FINDINGS
Qualitative data analysis: The researcher is going to follow a code of content such as social mission statement, its influence for protecting the environment, development of the society in the interviews and observation. This is a sort of content analysis and it is going to help the researcher to undergo through analysis of the project. The data that the researcher going to obtain from the research method will be analysed by comparing and contrasting each data and this process will continue until the researcher is satisfied and find no new issues are arising.(Bryman A et al 2001)
Quantitative data analysis: The researcher will take into account the surveys and keep a record of the data and then after studying the data a conclusion can be drawn using numerical data.
Results and findings: With the data obtained we will be able to work towards identifying the social mission of Accor in terms of corporate social responsibility and also the way they promote their social mission.
All social researcher shares a number of ethical concerns. The researcher of this project will report findings completely, widely and objectively, with full information on methodologies employed. The researcher understands the need to frame Â research questions objectively, so as to widen the scope of social research, and to maintain confidence in the research process. The researcher also feels the importance to protect the statutory rights of members of the social community or groups being investigated, avoiding undue intrusion, obtaining informed consent, and protecting the rights to privacy of individuals and social groups and at the end while conducting the research the researcher feels important to remain sensitive to cultural and social differences. (Tully.S 2005)
TIME PLAN: The researcher of this project uses a Gannt chart. Which mentions the approximate dates for completion of each topic. (Yin RK 2003)
GANNT CHART FOR THE PROJECT.
16TH -23RD FEB
SUBMITTING THE REPORT
Auguy, Stéphanie. 2002 Fin de la fronde chez les gérants de Formule 1.
Baker M. 2009, Corporate Social Responsibility definition, mallenbaker.net
Bernard HR.1995, Research Methods in Anthropology, 2nd Edition. Sage
Bendell, J. (2008)Broader and deeper : the future of CSR research in business schools. Lifeworth.
Bryman A et al (2001) Quantitative Data Analysis with SPSS, Routledge
Carroll AB. 1979, A Three-Dimensional Conceptual Model of Corporate Social Performance.
Crane, A. et al. (2008) The Oxford handbook of corporate social responsibility. Oxford University Press.
Saunder M et al, 2003 'Research method for business students' 3rd edition Prentice hall.
Goddard W et al 2004, 'Research methodology an introduction' 2nd edition.
Habisch, A.(2005) Corporate social responsibility across Europe. Springer.
Kothari C R 2008, 'Research methodology: methods and techniques' 2nd edition.
Matten D. Et al. (2008.) Corporate social responsibility: readings and cases in a global context. Routledge.
Noel Pérez, Research Methodology: An example in a Real Project
Stuart Melvillie et al 1996, ' Research methodology' 1st edition juta and company lt
Tully, S. (ed) Research handbook on corporate social responsibility. Edward Elgar, 2005.
Yin RK (2003) Case Study Research Design and Methods, Sage.
As Accor group is a part of hospitality industry, so before going to find out the social mission of Accor and ways they promote it, the researcher need to first know the history of CSR and then understand the impact of corporate social responsibility in hospitality industry.
History of Corporate Social Responsibility
The history of corporate social responsibility stretches back for centuries; however the best documented information regarding the impact of business on society begins in the 1950's. Formal writing was published primarily in the United States, although "footprints of CSR" are evident throughout the world. (Carroll Archie. B, 1979) As we will see in the next section of this review, societal views of CSR are far ranging. Probably the most quoted antagonist of CSR, the famous Chicago economist Milton Friedman, actually saw its benefits. The infamous quote from Friedman, "Business's primary responsibility is to make money" emphasizes the pragmatism of this scientist; however, the quote in its' entirety was "the fundamental responsibility of any business in a free-enterprise system is to make a profit while conforming to the basic rules of society, both those embodied in the law and those embodied in ethical customs." (Carroll Archie. B, 1979) Clearly understanding the history of social responsibility helps us to appreciate further the information we uncovered in developing this project. Therefore this section traces the available literature from the 1950s to present day.
1950s & 1960s: Modern era of social responsibility
The modern era of corporate social responsibility begins in this decade with the publication of Howard R. Bowen, Social Responsibilities of the Businessman. This and future publications earned him the unofficial title "Father of Corporate Social Responsibility". (Carroll Archie. B, 1979) Bowen's work established the initial definition of "social responsibilities of business" as the obligation of business to operate their activities in line with objectives and values of society. (Carroll Archie. B, 1979)The idea that business should think of its actions beyond pure profit resonated with businessmen of the era.
The CSR literature of the 1960s continued efforts to define social responsibility. A prominent writer of this time, Keith Davis, developed the well-known 'Iron Law of Social Responsibility', which states that the emphasis of social responsibility in a business correlates to the size of the business. (Carroll Archie. B, 1979)The research of this project clearly follows these lines with the idea that the larger the business, (or more accurately, the larger the impact a business has on society), the larger the amount of responsibility it has to society.
1970s & 1980s: Four Part Definition of CSR and research
The end of the 1970s brought forth the most famous and continually used definition of CSR by Archie Carroll previously outlined. Literature of this era includes descriptions that suggest businesses during the period significantly emphasized corporate philanthropy and community relations. (Carroll Archie. B, 1979)As early as 1971, literature indicates that business has a 'multiplicity of interests' including stockholders, employees, suppliers, communities and the nation as a whole. The idea that business must include anyone other than the specific stockholders leads to the development of stakeholder theory. Stakeholder theory states that business's responsibility extends beyond groups with only financial investment and includes those with any relationship with the business. These groups include employees, customers, professional partners and local communities. (Carroll Archie. B, 1979)
The other significant development of this era was the Committee for Economic Development's (CED) publication Social Responsibility of Business Corporations. The CED's definition of CSR has three parts. Business must first emphasize economic functions. This component is followed by increase their awareness of changing societal values (environmental conservation, fair wages). Finally businesses must become more broadly involved in actively improving the social environment (poverty, urban blight). (Carroll Archie. B, 1979)These developing definitions gave way to Carroll's four-part definition as previously discussed.
Interest in CSR in the 1980s turned to establishing research measuring CSR as well as investigating the potential benefits to businesses, which participate in CSR activities. Research found that although the previous 30 years attempted to define CSR the concept remained vague and difficult to articulate clearly. A major contribution of this time period was from Thomas Jones, whose articles emphasized CSR as a process. This notion expanded the discussion of implementation of CSR from what business saw as a huge shift in corporate paradigm to 'easing' into CSR activities. (Carroll Archie. B, 1979) The 1980s research to develop a mechanism to assess CSR led to a need-hierarchy framework similar to Maslow's.
In 1990's CSR was accepted as a part of business world at this point of time, some new models were implemented as well as theories were developed these include, corporate social performance (CSP), business ethics theory and corporate citizenship.
In this brief review the well established history of CSR cannot be done justice. However, the researcher felt the importance of understanding the history, evolution of CSR and its development to understand the CSR activities and also to analyse where it must be going.
Introduction: More hospitality management positions are being taken by graduates of hospitality management programs than ever before. The holders of degrees in hospitality management think of themselves as professionals entering the profession of hospitality management. Professions require specialized knowledge and skills, continuing education within the profession, and must be good for the community and society. While professionals may receive large salaries, for an endeavor to be a "profession" it must have goals beyond high pay and be concerned with the long-term good of the company and also the community the company does business in (Jaszay & Dunk, 2006).
The hospitality industry is made up of many companies who are run by business people. Business people who put short-term profits ahead of concern for the long-term health of the company or who make additional profits by failing to spend the money necessary to handle toxic waste or pollution resulting from the manufacturing process, are not professionals and harm the reputation of the industry as a profession (Jaszay & Dunk, 2006). The scandalous behavior of some business leaders in the past decade has damaged the reputation of business with the community. The former "what is good for business is good for the country" has been replaced with a virulent distrust of big business.
Corporate social responsibility requires organizations to demonstrate responsible business conduct that does no harm in the marketplace, in the workplace, in the community they operate in, and to the natural environment (Roberts, 2007). The actions of business impact the local, national, and global community, so businesses have a responsibility to ensure that the impact is positive (Paton, 2007).
Corporate Social Responsibility involves "achieving commercial success in ways that honor ethical values and respect people, communities, and the natural environment" (Clark, 2006; Porter & Kramer, 2006). There is no universally accepted definition of CSR, but most of the definitions have to do with business having a positive impact on the community (Redford, 2005) and meeting or exceeding public expectations of good corporate citizenship (Brands that do good, 2003).
Geoffrey P. Lantos reviewed the CSR literature and redefined CSR by classifying it as ethical, altruistic, or strategic. Ethical CSR is mandatory and means that a firm must obey all laws and avoid doing harm as a result of its business. This could include harm caused by pollution, faulty products, and unfair labour practices. Good laws and governmental policies will often alleviate ethical CSR problems (Lantos, 2002).
Altruistic CSR involves a firm helping to alleviate external social problems and inequities through charitable funding whether it financially benefits the firm or not. This type of giving is at the stockholders' expense and may not be legitimate. Lantos points out that altruistic CSR may be fine for private companies as long as it comes out of the owner's profits and not by charging consumers higher prices or paying employees less which impinges upon ethical CSR.
Strategic CSR, on the other hand, involves choosing philanthropic activities that will also benefit the company and help it to reach its strategic goals. Caring corporate community service activities can enhance consumers' perceptions of the business and attract more customers. A restaurant may choose to support the arts to grow its business from the after-theatre crowd. Morale may increase if employees become involved in meaningful corporate volunteer programs, which can increase job satisfaction, which decreases turnover (Lantos, 2002).
Society and business are dependent on each other. Business provides jobs, products, and taxes while society provides workers, consumers, and policies. Neither can survive without the other so it makes sense for them to work together for the benefit of both rather than to continue at odds. Business decisions and social policies must be aligned for this to happen (Porter & Kramer, 2006).
Benefits of CSR: Business Ethics' list of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens showed these companies to have done better financially than all of the other companies in the S&P 500 Index (Clark, 2006). Thirty hospitality and travel brands listed in the Fortune Corporate Reputation Index were found to have a strong positive correlation between CSR and profitability. The same study also revealed that larger companies benefitted more from high CSR ratings (Brands that do Good, 2003), but smaller hotel chains and independent hotels may be able to implement environmental and social policies easier than the larger companies (Responsible Hospitality in Independent Hotels, 2005). While improvements in corporate citizenship result in strong financial performance, methods to measure the effects of CSR are still in the early stages of development (Roberts, 2007).
Community involvement can result in enhanced public relations as in the case of the rebuilding of LaRosa's Pizzeria after a fire. Two hundred volunteers who had experienced LaRosa's generosity over the years, filled in the gap left by inadequate insurance with work and loans and saved the pizzeria from bankruptcy (Detwiler, 2005). A good reputation can draw new customers and workers and help to raise staff morale (Redford, 2005). Doing business with companies that have good CSR reputations is becoming a preference for many consumers (Brands that do good, 2003; Act responsibly, 2003; Clark, 2006).
Organizational commitment to CSR is becoming an important issue for prospective employees, and a good CSR track record may be necessary to recruit top level candidates (Cotterill, 2007). People prefer working for companies that care. Meeting planners are incorporating CSR activities at meetings where participants can work together on charitable activities in the community (Scofidio, 2007).
Not only can CSR programs improve a company's reputation in the community, raise morale, and improve profits (Afiya, 2005), CSR programs can actually lead companies into more sustainable growth (Brands that do Good, 2003). Operating costs can be substantially reduced through waste reduction and conservation (Clark, 2006), and these sustainable activities are of interest and can be communicated to existing and potential customers (Clark, 2006). A corporate identity can be managed and communicated so that CSR efforts become part of its identity (Atakan & Eker, 2007).
Many companies' CSR efforts, however, are less than effective because they do not take into consideration their goals and strategies and instead are generic and fragmented activities (Porter & Kramer, 2006; Redford, 2005). Too many of the CSR programs are simply public relations campaigns that do not necessarily have anything to do with how the business is operated (Porter & Kramer, 2006). Other CSR programs involve business as usual without concern for social issues and then charitable donations made to causes deemed worthy (Jones et al 2006). Companies are feeling pressure from activists, customers, employees, and governments to be socially responsible, and while they understand the need to report on their CSR activities, many of their CSR efforts are not yet integrated into their core business activities (Jones et al 2006).
CSR and globalization: (Scherer and Palazzo 2007) claim that, in a globalized world, it is necessary a shift toward a new politically enlarged concept of CSR. In fact, globalization is weakening the power of (national) political authorities to regulate the activities of corporations that globally expand their operations: for instance, globalization forces national governments into a race to the bottom in order to win the competition with other countries for attracting corporate investments. Thus, they reason that corporations should be understood as both economic and political actors.
(Davis et al 2006) claim that, in addition to weak national boundaries that separate domestic from foreign companies, another crucial difference of the global competitive environment of the 21st century is the weak distinction between activities and transactions occurring inside as opposed to outside a corporate entity: while companies are moving part of their operations from the status of in-house activities to purchased goods and services, they are at the same time forming a variety of close relationships with suppliers and partners. This, together with the politicization of civil society in response to the smaller influence of national governments, has led to an important change in CSR practice: while CSR largely arose out of commitments by companies to their employees and to communities where they were located, now corporations are led accountable for their supply chain.
For example, after facing a consumer boycott following the news that its suppliers were exploiting child labour in several developing countries, Nike had to make substantial investments to promote improvements in the working conditions of its suppliers' factories (Locke, 2006).
Along this line, (Amaeshi et al 2006) argue that, even if a corporation is recognized as a legal person and the supply chain is a different entity so that the purchasing firm should not bear legally any responsibilities for the practices of its suppliers, there should be limits to responsibility. They argue that firms in a controlling position have the deontological duty to use power responsibly and influence the weaker parties by setting codes of conduct and standards. This view does not only represent a theoretical change: indeed an increasing number of companies are acting in this direction. For example, Marks and Spencer decided to invest £200 million for social and environmental responsibility through collaboration with NGOs and suppliers (Stafford, 2007).
Finally, it is worth pondering over the mutual influence that exist between globalization and CSR, and, in so doing, the recall of Polanyi's thought is natural. (Polanyi 1944) argued that the modern state was developed in conjunction with the self regulating market economy. Initially, the creation of market structures is enabled by social changes being pushed by the state; then the state becomes necessary to protect the society against the negative impact of the market economy. Polanyi calls this process "double movement". He wrote his book when the process of globalization had not yet started. However, we can still apply his ideas to the new global competitive environment. In fact, following (Ruggie 2003), today the role of the state can be interpreted as being performed by international organizations such as the IMF as well as multinational corporations (MNCs). On one side, globalization gives corporations the role of the state, and thus it calls for a corporate responsible behaviour; on the other side, a corporate social behaviour is necessary for corporations to control the societal backlash against this new role.
CSR Reports: Over half of the 250 largest multinational corporations published CSR reports in 2005, and a CSR rating industry has emerged (Porter & Kramer, 2006). Researches analyzed the content of hotel websites, annual reports, and CSR reports to determine the level of social responsible behavior reported by the top ten hotel companies (Holcomb et al 2007). Initiatives for sustainable tourism and CSR in the hospitality sector have been put forth over the past ten years by international and European organizations such as the World Tourism Organization. Increased attention, particularly in the public domain, is resulting in adoption of WTO ethical guidelines by more and more local associations and organizations. While reporting CSR activities does not necessarily correspond to actual CSR activities, it is obvious that CSR is becoming an accepted global initiative (Holcomb et al 2007).
Eight out of the ten top hotel companies (80%) reported giving charitable donations, 60% reported having diversity policies, and 40% mentioned social responsibility as part of their company mission statements. Community, environment, marketplace, vision and values, and workforce were the categories the top ten hotel companies' available information was entered into. Hilton Corporation was found to have the most comprehensive CSR reporting. Marriot came in as second most comprehensive and the Accor hotel group was third. (Holcomb et al 2007) suggested that most hotel companies can improve their CSR reporting and that hotel companies should "live up to their reputation of being 'hospitable' not only to their guests but also to society".
Disaster management, such as needed after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, is not generally listed on any of the CSR checklists commonly agreed upon in the literature. Best Western, Hilton group, Accor, Intercontinental, and Six Senses did, however, commit over $2.5 million, and other chains also provided aid (Henderson, 2007). Henderson calls for CSR efforts to be balanced between commercial and noncommercial priorities.
Stakeholders: Today's business environment is very complex with many stakeholders. Not only is there a need to be concerned with the wants and needs of workers, customers, and stockholders, but there is also a need to be concerned with future workers, customers, and stockholders, and also the media, rating agencies, governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the environment (Lane, 2006; Balmer et al 2007). Is the business sustainable, and how will it operate globally? Multinational corporations have the power and resources to improve the world, but require responsible leadership in order to benefit multiple stakeholders (Maak, 2007).
Stakeholder social capital is formed when responsible leaders promote mutually beneficial sustainable relationships between all the various stakeholders including those who may have been excluded in the past and future stakeholders. Sustainable relationships can foster a sense of good will as companies become a "force of good" for the multiple stakeholders and the community instead of just for shareholders and management (Maak, 2007).
Society and business have a direct relationship that has grown more contentious in the past decade. CSR reports are primarily the result of the insistence of employees who are demanding assurances that their companies are behaving themselves, and there is a correlation between companies that are seen as good employers and that take their social responsibilities seriously (Lane, 2006).
However (Linda Barber 2010) argues that the benefits provided by the employees such as training and development, communication and consultation, health and safety,work life balance, pay and benifits are sort of rebadging of good HR practice rather than a CSR activity.
Sustainability: Sustainability not only concerns the environment, but rather has to do with the ability of a company to operate successfully in the present without compromising its ability to operate successfully in the future (Doherty, 2007). Consumers are increasingly more concerned with how companies make their money and are expecting businesses to be responsible for their social, ethical, and environmental impacts on society and the community (Lane, 2006).
A "triple-bottom-line" approach adds environmental and social elements to the economic bottom-line for an increasing number of corporations (Maak, 2007; Doherty, 2007; Clark, 2006; Mathisen, 2006; Ashley & Haysom, 2006). Conservation and sustainable practices can result in substantial cost reductions for companies (Doherty, 2007). In the area of social equity, however, very few companies are going beyond human resource issues into the problems of hunger, disease, poverty, and injustice that exclude many from taking part in the global economy (Maak, 2007).
Unlimited growth in a finite system is not only impossible, but is the root of most environmental problems (Kallio, 2007). While many citizens know this intuitively, the capitalist economic system is founded in the idea of continuous growth, and the dogmas of economics are rarely questioned in the United States today (Kallio, 2007).
Where European sustainability concerns are focused on social and environmental impacts of products and services, U.S. sustainability concerns are focused on long-term profitability. U.S. firms are also less eager to comply with internationally recognized human rights and environmental standards (Hartman et al 2007).
Environment: European governments and businesses have moved far beyond the U. S. in CRS initiatives. In a study by the International Hotels Environment Initiative, it was found that 90% of British, 70% of Australians, and only 30% of Americans surveyed believe the tourism industry is bad for the environment (Clark, 2006). Green practices save money, attract new customers, and help to preserve the natural environment which much of the tourism industry is dependent upon (Clark, 2006; Kasim, 2006).
Mass tourism has historically had little concern for sustainability, although this has changed some in recent years (Kasim, 2006). But alternative eco-tourists have been accused of "loving nature to death and disrupting the lives of local people" (Kasim, 2006). For tourism to be sustainable, that is to meet the needs of tourists and locals while protecting and enhancing future opportunities, everyone involved (hospitality companies, tour operators, travel agencies, transportation companies, tourism businesses, governmental agencies, tourists, society, NGOs, etc.) must work together to address all of the social and environmental issues that negatively impact the destinations and the industry as a whole (Kasim, 2006).
Social Impacts: Eco-tourism focuses on the environment while sociotourism focuses on the local culture. Both alternative forms of tourism seek to reduce negative effects of mass tourism by being less intrusive and respecting the local people, culture, and environment (Minnaert et al 2006). Another interpretation of social tourism has more to do with the idea that everyone has the right to take vacations, regardless of income or social status (Minnaert et al 2006).
Pro-poor tourism approaches encourage tourist organizations to integrate business practices that create growth opportunities for locals to participate in the benefits brought by tourism (Ashley & Haysom, 2006). Donations to host communities may be appreciated but are short-term and are significantly less beneficial over the long run when compared to the financial and social advantages of investing in local workers and local businesses to support the operation (Ashley & Haysom, 2006).
Sun City, a resort in South Africa, has a full-time corporate social investment manager who develops and implements sustainable programs to teach skills and promote industries that supply Sun City and support the host community such as hydroponic farming, recycling, card and glass making plants, along with education, health and welfare programs, and support of the arts and cultural activities (Merchant, 2005).
Marriott's "Pathways to Independence" program puts welfare recipients through rigorous training to enable them to move into employment positions with Marriott (Mack M Brands that do Good, 2003). Charity is good, but integrated pro-poor activities such as these enable people to help themselves out of poverty while at the same time benefitting the benefactor.
Social problems caused by tourism, such as loss of traditional economies and culture, commercialization of arts and crafts, displacement of local people, and increased crime can make destinations less appealing to tourists (Kasim, 2006)
CSR and recession: Research findings indicate that around a third of adults surveyed are now so pre occupied with their financial situation that they have become less concerned with sustainability and ethical issues. This suggests that for some, especially those in less affluent groups and those threatened by recession, 'being greener is nice to do rather than need to do aspect of their life styles (Paul Ricard, 2009). The Global Financial Crisis has distabalised operations of many financial instituions around the world and also contributed to the weakening of some currencies. (De Bonis 1999) defines financial crisis to be a wider range of disturbances, such as sharp declines in asset prices, failures of large financial intermediaries, or disruption in foreign exchange markets. Due to the disruption of credit flow, multinational companies have been unable to support their overseas subsidiaries hence resulting in cost cutting measures.
The adverse economic climate has resulted in the reluctance of many multinational companies in pursueing their corporate social responsibilities. (Gray 1987) defined corporate social responsibility as responsibilities of actions which do not have purely financial implications and which are demanded of an organisation under some implicit or explicit identifiable contract. The most observed evidence of such a situation is the 5 undertaking of the downsizing strategy by many multinational companies. (Cameron 1999) describes downsizing as a tactic within corporate strategy for shifting the organization structure from what it is now to what it has to be in order to sustain competitive edge and satisfy customers. Downsizing has been widely accepted by many multinational companies as a strategy of remaining in business in these hard times. The resulting effect is a net reduction headcount and usually accompanied by a net labor cost reduction. The overall impact of downsizing has been a negative effect on the society. The loss of a significant number of jobs has led to an increase in poverty, crime, antisocial behaviour. (Amanda Bernes 2008) agrees and adds to this point by saying that "There is no doubt that the current tough economic climate will make companies think twice about spending money on anything but essentials to their business,"
However (Chloe Couchman 2008) argues that "companies need to understand that having sustainable policies in place can save them money, rather than costing them more.Â For example, using low-energy light bulbs can save on electricity, and they are better for the planet. Meanwhile, recycling schemes in conjunction with your local council contribute massively to reducing landfill sites, and there's no additional cost. Additionally, working with local communities is a way for companies to put something back into their local area, and can be a way of redistributing any monies they need to spend in a given year." Some sustainable initiatives will cost money initially, but should reap long-term benefits if they are well thought through, and become company culture, with objectives set to reduce targets.
(Fiona Pelham 2008) adds weight to this and says: "Those companies with a clear understanding and implementation of good economic, environmental and social practice will be in a much better position to survive the recession. Because they will benefit from better staff engagement, lower overheads from environmental initiatives often. Ultimately, a responsible economic policy is vital in these times."
Businesses must prioritise in the face of recession, but CSR and sustainability should
not be swept aside. In many companies, CSR is still fragile - only on the agenda when things are comfortable. CSR spending is often lumped in with marketing budgets, HR and training programmes, innovation budgets, research activities and other 'non-core'
activities, and it is here that cuts will be made. But companies where the management has fully integrated sustainability may be among the few to see it through. Many of the earlier stage 'add-on' approaches will not be robust enough or show enough foresight to survive the recession. Treating sustainability as a separate and ringfenced item to be dealt with will mean that it has not, and cannot, be integrated far enough into a company's management structure in order to see it at its most effective and its most beneficial - to both the company and the economy, society and the environment at large. Sustainability at its heart means a more integrated, more efficient management structure - one that should be more adept at weathering an economic downturn. Stemming from the credit crisis, one major impact of the current recession is that there has been a wholesale loss of trust in large business, especially in the financial sector. Regaining that trust and pushing our reputation to the forefront is going to be a key challenge in order to maintain our ability to operate successfully in most markets. This is where transparency and reporting will be paramount. Having something to shout about will be the cornerstone of any strategic reconnection with
dissatisfied or mistrusting customers. (Toby Radcliff 2009).