Unilever is committed in delivering the quality products that right in the consumer needs in terms of nutrition, hygiene, and personal care. The firms ensured that their competitive brands can help the people feel good, look good, and get more benefits as they enjoy their life (Unilever website). This vision of the organization states and manifests their ability and willingness to put more effort in creating the products that will answer the needs of the market. Unilever is a British-Dutch multinational corporation that manages the wide arrays of consumer products which includes food and beverages, to personal care, and even cleaning agents. These products are widely recognized because of the firm's ability to expand their management control and through establishing business branches al-throughout the different nations. Although the firm is recognized as a dual-listed company - one is Unilever NV in Netherlands and another is Unilever PLC in UK - still the firm is consisted in establishing a unified structure when it comes in management. This means that the two companies are not completely separated entities and they have the same directors and other important management positions that can aid the company to achieve the effective operation. As of the competition, the Unilever recognizes it contemporaries that are also performing in the local and international market. In the international scene, Nestlé and Procter & Gamble are its close rivals, while there is a relevant competition in terms of the product ranges because of the companies like General Mills, Johnson & Johnson, Pepsico, and many others (Unilever website).
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In this paper, the aim is to critically examine the application of the European and global integration among the organizations. In order to satisfy this aim, there are objectives that need to be considered. First is to measure the effects or impact of the European and global integration on the organization - the chosen organization in this assessment in Unilever. Second is to investigate the range and effects of environmental legislation directives and guidance and the processes that the organization needs to adopt. And third is to explore the socio-cultural, ethical, and moral issues that affect the organizations in the current economic environment to establish and implement good practice.
The management of Unilever presented the different possibilities as well as challenges in incorporating the globalization in their operation. If we observe closely, the European Union or EU's policies are drawn to the concept, principle, and transparency of the business performance. This also gives highlights in the organization's facilitation of governance and the integration processes. As Unilever starts to touch every nation's culture, there is a significant form of engagement in the global economic imperatives. The Unilever asserted that their operation do not forget to recognize the corporate social responsibility and which they claim as the heart of their business (Cescau, 2007). Actually, the corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an essential element of present and future social policies. The strategy is to develop the multinational economic and financial groups that is needed in global market economy or firms that going through serious of internal crisis. The strategy is a replacement for many socially and ethically irresponsible practices to avoid or lessen the possibilities of bankruptcies, fraudulent actions, and even disrespecting for the basic working values. People being brought by their values and attitudes in work are guided by the core values and reflecting the moral principles. These values affect the situation in facing the issues and problems on one's perceptions in relation to their choices and actions (Fry, 2005).
But despite of the organization's action in emphasizing the CSR functions, the transition towards the responsible and sustainable firm is on-going, which means that the firm must continue its responsible actions even in different cultures. At this point, Unilever attracted various criticisms from the areas of politics, environment, and human rights because of their inability to achieve the CSR goals within the various dimensions - like cutting of trees (China CSR, 2009). Hence, corporate social responsibility does not exist in isolation from the society in which companies operate. It is another way to response the needs in different societies with different expectations. The corporate social responsibility is not only obliged to the business strategy, partnered the willingness of management to deliver it, but also people who are prepared to accept the kind of responsibility in their personal career and action. The corporate social responsibility is more effective with the communication and readiness to learn more and using their skills efficiently (Britwum, Enu-Kwesi, & Akorsu, 2006).
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Within the circle of the European or global integration, we can find that it presents significant challenges. The global integration traced in the performance of the organization suggests that there are common misunderstandings on the true meaning of globalization and it leads the Unilever to be not consistent with the concepts of CSR. It is suggested that in order to measure the impact and effects of the globalization in the performance of an organization, they must know first the essence of globalization and its relationship with the organization. In this way, the organization can gain advantages like exercising the meaningful approach with the relation to globalization (Hay & Rosamond, 2000).
The European integration and globalization are broad fields in discussion. More likely, there is no one or single concept of globalization and its theories are presented in the current economy of UK. For the organizations such as Unilever, their ability to perform in market-conforming ebb of demand and needs is taken from their understanding on the concept of globalization but also because of the apparent economic constraint that can also contribute in the organizations limitations. The future Western social model may challenge the implications of the globalization in the social context as much as its role in the economy (Hopkin, 2000).
Unilever in Wider Environment
Globalization might not fully traced or found in the action of the Unilever pertaining in its social and environmental activities. According to Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, the company might address some ambitious plans such as creating jobs and aiding the increase of the household income, improve the livelihood programs in order to link it through the success of the business and community relationship. Part of the organization's plan in supporting the future and determining the extent of the globalization is includes the stakeholders, shareholders, suppliers, and investors around the world. Since the organization wants to sustainable plans focuses and targeted to enable the people to increase their quality of life. But this is argued that the firm also has a great potential in increasing their contribution towards the environmental impact. As emphasized in the plan, the Unilever aims to aid in the improvement of the people's health and well-being, have control in the environment impact of products, and manage to provide the agricultural raw materials as their input for their products.
Exploration of the Good Practice
The concept of corporate social responsibility accommodates a wide variety of achievements and initiatives that covers the moral and ethical concerns such as the code of conduct and good governance. The aim for corporate social responsibility is to have an overall positive impact on society through a socially responsible conduct. It also includes the voluntary integration by the companies of social and environmental concerns towards the commercial activities and the relationship with stakeholders (Fonteneau, 2003).
The corporate social responsibility is an important way for organizations to increase their contribution to society and to sustainable development. The strategy covers the things and organizations have an impact beyond its immediate operations and legal obligations. Because of corporate social responsibility that goes beyond legal obligations that involves the issues of health and safety in the workplace, employment policies and environmental protection (Noon, 2008). A business recognized the role of the corporate social responsibility in contributing to the development of the communities in which the business operates. The application of the responsibility is common in pushing the initiatives for the business (Perigot, 2003). Ethics is primarily concerned in exploring the question of what are the values and principles of good behavior and well-being that may affect the decision-making. The fundamental needs emphasize the issues of standards criteria of behavior, ethical and spiritual well-being (Vasilecu, 2008).
An ethical process reflects the requirements for being a leader, as well as leaders can influence the follower empowerment to facilitate the values across the proposed strategies. Corporate ethics and social responsibility overlaps the concepts the positive human health and well-being through the human existence and their relationships to values and attitudes. The development in a workplace's spirituality, character ethics, and positive leadership to incorporates the social responsibility. The business ethics and corporate social responsibility had drawn interest for decades as it became a major principle or guideline in a business society. It is a call from the ethical missteps done by a company that results in many allegations as it continuously expressing the responsibilities in business (Sims, 2003).
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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a concept wherein companies integrate social and environmental concerns into their business operations and in their interaction with their stakeholders on a voluntary basis. The important aspect of this responsibility is voluntarism. Businesses are expected to recognize the opportunity and the responsibility to set high standards for protecting the natural, human and economic environment of the citizens in their areas of operation (Singh, Kundu, & Foster, 2006).
For the customers, the CSR is important to ensure that the organizational policies add value to the customer satisfaction and earn their loyalty. Aside from the broad commitment to social welfare, there is an assurance that the products and services offered to consumers are of the highest quality and that these products and services are provided with due regard for the welfare of employees (Britwum, Enu-Kwesi, & Akorsu, 2006).
For stakeholders, the company provides training for small scale artisans as part of its responsibility. This is helpful but it will be even more helpful and educative to all stakeholders including the academic community if the results of post training evaluations or tracer studies are publicized. This will allow society to reflect if the money being invested is yielding desired results. It may also lead to suggestions for modifications where necessary (Britwum, Enu-Kwesi, & Akorsu, 2006).
Corporate social responsibility is an essential element of present and future social policies. The strategy is to develop the multinational economic and financial groups that is needed in global market economy or firms that going through serious of internal crisis (Okafor, Hassan, & Doyin-Hassan, 2008). The strategy is a replacement for many socially and ethically irresponsible practices to avoid or lessen the possibilities of bankruptcies, fraudulent actions, and even disrespecting for the basic working values (Heugens & Otten, 2005).
What is missing?
Unilever has been criticized in the deforestation because of their introduction of palm oil. According to the report of Greenpeace UK (2001), Unilever admits that they dump toxins which do not only causes deforestations but also damaging the Indonesia's rainforests. This is one of the failures of Unilever in committing to their environmental responsibility. Their aggressiveness to produce a product might affect the sustainable environmental support. All of the sustainability and competitive performance of the organization are aimed to be obtained in 2015, therefore Unilever acts in the most possible as they can. Because of the production of the palm oils of the organization, the business is required to satisfy certain policies in Roundtable Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) European Union (Unilever website). Probably these policies are endorsed by the RSPO that is designed to tackle the environmental and societal problems in the pursuance for the sustainable production of the palm oil.
Another issue that Unilever is facing is the animal testing where they can face the legal requirements and application of necessary law. Unilever's their idea of "developing the alternative approaches to animal testing" (Unilever website) arose various criticisms because the firm is suspected to put a little effort to gain the good publicity in terms of the ethical issues. In addition, the organization is also accused in child labor. Accordingly, the firm is using some low-cost production of materials like in Indian states. The cottonseed production in this state used the children to work which is apparently so-supported by most of the Indian-owned companies. The children do not work heavily but they are often referred as agents and called seed organizations (IRC, 2003). The fact that the children are involved in working is already considered as a child labor. However, Unilever denied the accusation and even promote the actions against the child labor.
Specific Measures for Improvement
The term of organization in the midst of the globalization clearly defines the different forms of knowledge. Through adopting the various links within the social practice, therefore it is important that organization should develop their analytic approach and interpreting the different schemes that are found in the society in order to understand the flow of globalization (Jabri 1996). Organization should understand that the globalization exists and that it is, at some point, form of external economic constraint. In the overview on the manufacturing sector, there involves the factors of production and the mobility of capital. The organization is suggested to welcome any strategies to improve their relationship with the market environment. More likely, the strategic alliance or partnership can be a good example thus it does not only cut down the burden in investing and operation but also the potential in receiving the tremendous risks (Hombach, 2000). Furthermore, the organization can receive more of the benefits in adopting the international policies because it aligns the organization's objective towards the economic sustainability and the awareness in sustaining the environment. This will also prevent the organizations like Unilever to be accused with the issue of child labor because they can improve the safety and health of the workforce and will not take too much advantage in low-cost producing countries. Diversification is one of the greatest factor in which the organizations should also manage because the globalization may leads its way the rigorous competitiveness of the organization and thus organizations should have a basic principle in the cost reductions, welfare retrenchment, labor market flexibilities and supply chain management as the organizations started to expand and be more global (Hopkin 2000).
The issues of globalization greatly affected the current and future management of the organization. Most likely, we can say that globalization contributed in the development of the societies. Apparently, as the researchers paid most attention in reflecting and studying the movement of the globalization, they recognized that it is associated with the issues with regard to power and knowledge. Aside from the effective use of technologies and its technical counterparts, the organizations acknowledge the various risks and developments that will give them the competitive advantage once they pursue their objectives and goals. Part of the developments and issues in globalization in the European integration that gives light in intensive deployment of the corporate strategies are the policy and policy-making, journalistic, and the importance of corporate communities. In recent years, the Western society like Europe created a tremendous approach in these developmental policies which became very popular in other related societies. With the increasing interdependence and heightened competition that generally affects the nation's economy; it is assumed that the global integration will not be the reason in the demise of the socio-cultural, moral, ethical, and environmental aspect.