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'The notion of corporate social responsibility is a waste of time. Decision-making in organizations is generally done logically and ethically to achieve what should be their primary goal: maximizing shareholders’ financial returns’.

CSR as a way to care about the community, environment, and profit

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is attained when the business adopts active and voluntary action towards economic, social and environmental developments. This is considered as being done for taking the advantage of opportunities and establishing a market reputation. Additionally, when the business succeed in fulfilling these three needs, the business is said to have possessed the three different levels of the triple bottom line (TBL). The fulfillment of the triple bottom line indicates that the business has attained the sustainability (Longoni & Cagliano, 2018). The question says that CSR is often called a waste activity to do and is a nonsense process. There are companies who publish reports on CSR works to let the world be aware of their social activeness. However, publishing a CSR report is also considered a waste of time. However, this essay takes a counter stand against these beliefs. Hence:

“It is wrong to say that CSR is just a waste of time”.

The essay tries to identify whether the notion mentioned in the chosen question is true. In serving the purpose, the essay follows an argumentative style to analyze the thesis statement from both positive and negative aspects.  

CSR is believed to be a way to get involved in caring about the community, the environment and the profit. Businesses across the globe are increasingly becoming concerned for the social responsibility. There can be various reasons for it. It can be for just to obey the laws. It can also be for fulfilling the demands of opinion formers, local communities, shareholders, customers, governments, NGOs, environment, and managing risk (Ni & Van Wart, 2015).

For:-

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is not a waste but is rather needs of the community around the globe. This looks evident if evidence are gathered to support that CSR reduces the social responsibility of consumers. For example, “Plastic Collective”, a venture formed by Louise went ahead to develop a mobile recycling machine to help the community develop the usable items from plastics found in the garbage. The purpose behind the innovation was to protect living animals from dying due to plastic wastes available in the seawater. It was also thought to create financial means for the community as they could earn by selling products made from such plastic wastes (Plastic Collective, 2018). In all these ways, “Plastic Collective” is not just recycling the plastic wastes and preventing animals from serious consequences but also easing out consumers’ responsibility towards the society. If CSR is just a waste practice to do, then how it is benefitting the community, the environment and the living creature.  

In Scotland, few companies are busy making roads of plastic wastes. They are giving preference to plastic remains over the ‘Asphalt’, which is one of the common substances being used in making of roads. Roads made of plastic wastes are much stronger compared to those made of Asphalt (Singh et al., 2017). Additionally, it is also helping in to reduce the amount of plastic wastes, which is increasingly growing with passing years. This innovative move is not just good for the environment, the people and the transportation means but also for the society who are supposed to take up the responsibility to become an active social agent.

CSR as a means to ease consumers' social responsibility

In Mexico, there are many campaigns being run from waste management to recycling to reduce obesity and conserve water. In addition, many awareness programs are also being conducted to help consumers realize their responsibility towards the environment and the society. Advertising campaigns are being used for awareness programs. There are many brands for just one product. Consumers sometimes intentionally purchase one of such brands, which distributes a portion of its profits to the environmental wellbeing such as protecting a jungle (Omicsonline.org, 2018). In this way, consumers are showing their responsibility towards a society of their interest by just having purchased the product. Some people like to donate for not-for-profit organizations. These organizations work in distinguished interests influenced from various social issues such as disabilities, child labor, human trafficking, critical diseases like AIDS and Cancer and a lot more. People are actually providing a social support to those affected from such social issues by just doing the donation (Omicsonline.org, 2018). Behind all these scenes, consumers are to give a little or minimal effort to be the socially responsible people. Real efforts have actually been mostly from organizations those that are active in CSR activities.   

Sweden is by and large also popular for its innovation towards using recycled products. One of the latest examples is of a mall especially dedicated to sell items made of the recycled products. In this way, the country and the brand is not just reducing the abundance of plastic wastes but also creating the employment opportunities. With this move, the brand is creating solutions at three levels of the triple bottom line. The use of recycled products is a much better way to reduce the adverse impact of plastic wastes compared to the incineration and disposal in a landfill (Singh & Cooper, 2017). Hence, this is a good move towards reducing the environment pollution. Staffs are getting paid for being a part of the mall. Consumers can avail products made of 100% recycled substances. Hence, the move is helping the people and the society.  

These companies actually help humans to have a good life. They protect animals from being extinct. They play a significant role in preserving the environment. Consumers despite being involved very minimally in helping the community, they still can be found as satisfied for having helped the people and the community they had intended. Their money could not have reached to people if these companies had not existed. These companies are actually the mediator between consumers and the society. There are a few customers who even find corporate social responsibility (CSR) as important for the community and the environment. It also can be said that a socially responsible consumer is that who is able to link his or her impact of the purchasing decision with that of the purpose of the company behind the product. For example, UPS Company is popularly known for its social responsibility for having used reusable envelops in express delivery. These envelops are being sourced from 100% recycled fiber (Ferrell, Liang & Renneboog, 2016).  

CSR helps to create a good life for humans and protect the environment

The fact that CSR is largely done to maximize the shareholder’s returns can have a different perspective. First of all, it depends on the model of social responsibility being adopted by the business. The assumption surrounding the fact stated in the question is that a large sum of money is distributed to other people; however, it could have belonged to shareholders and so. CSR can be seen by many as a strategy to build up a good relationship with stakeholders those that can have an influence on the operating license. However, CSR has other aspects as well. CSR is also about establishing relationships with people in the form of employees and customers. It is used to attract and retain skilled and talented professionals. It also helps to manage risks. It assures a reputation being built up in the market (Cheng, Ioannou & Serafeim, 2014). The “property” value of a company is often far less than its market capitalization. For example, approximately 96% of the Coca-Cola products are made up of the “intangibles”. Coca-Cola uses its market reputation to ensure that there are no issues in terms of availing the intangible resources (Austin & Gaither, 2016). In this case, only those that are less strategic and have no worries of losses would endanger the company’s reputation. Even if it is considered that CSR maximizes financial returns for shareholders, there should also be existing a balance between liabilities for the failures. However, it is often seen that actions often solely belong to the management and are mostly held liable for the failures. Many shareholders are not even aware of these responsibilities. In all such situation, these responsibilities will only fall to the management and they will be asked to take up that responsibility (Casey & Grenier, 2014).      

According to Giesler & Veresiu (2014), there are some obstacles that must be overcome by consumers to be able to consume on a responsible way. These obstacles are barriers of conduct, motivational obstacles and cognitive barriers.

Barriers of conduct is an obstacle for a justified CSR activity. Perhaps, the opportunity to purchase from the appropriate brand will rarely be created. This barrier is contrary to the consumer loyalty. Consumer loyalty means that consumers will mostly purchase form brands they trust the most. On contrary to this, the social responsibility of consumers will encourage to purchase from other than the trusted brand (Farooq, Rupp & Farooq, 2017). For example, if two companies are offering similar products at the same cost then according to the thesis statement, consumers will search the brand driving the social concern. Consumers will justify that CSR does really make a difference to the three layers of the triple bottom line (TBL) and also that these activities can empower consumers to take up the social responsibility. Instead, a large consumer population prefer shopping from brands, which they trust the most or are trusted by many.

Active participation of people in CSR activities to feel to have become the socially responsible body is often affected from motivational obstacles. These obstacles can be in the form of identity and perceived effectiveness. The perceived effectiveness is the one thing that encourage to think of two perspectives of any decision. Hence, perceived effectiveness does really impact the decision (Lee et al., 2014). For example, it was being planned out that waste would be classified into two separate types namely organic and inorganic to effectively manage it. It sound good then when the plan was made. However, people those who were deployed for this project could not effectively fulfill the project goal. Consequently, they ended up mixing both of wastes. The campaign soon turned into a disaster (Omicsonline.org, 2018). CSR activities when struck with such outcomes do indicate that these are more a marketing stunt than anything. These will do good publicity of a brand and will also help to improve the market reputation. Indeed, a good financial return does essentially require a constant improvement of the reputation to be able to use the “intangibles in manufacturing”.

CSR as a strategy to build up a good relationship with stakeholders

Cognitive barriers are also the obstacles of what CSR essentially means. Companies those that are believed to be as providing a platform for consumers to become socially responsible, they rarely communicate the process and information. There is hardly any attempt from companies for informing consumers that a portion of the benefit will be donated to the affected people or for a social cause. The exact amount to be donated is seldom revealed. The date of donation is also not mentioned. The foundation where all deposits will be kept is also not discussed (Reinecke & Ansari, 2016). These types of campaigns with hidden goals and a one-way communication often make people believe that such social campaigns never exist. Situations thus created are not actually justifying the CSR. Since, people are not sure of whether these stunts are genuinely the CSR, it appears that the thesis statement created for this essay does not hold true.   

Conclusion

In summary, this can be said that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is by and large an effective strategy to deal with distinguished issues related to the planet, the people and the profit. This also can be said that the thesis statement designed for this essay is also justifiable provided that it is effectively handled by businesses around the globe. The current practices and approaches especially those discussed in this essay indicate that there are areas of improvement in regards to accomplishment of the project. These projects often lack the information imparting communication, which are necessary to clearly pronounce the goals to avoid projects from getting failed.  

References

Austin, L. L., & Gaither, B. M. (2016). Examining public response to corporate social initiative types: A quantitative content analysis of Coca-Cola’s social media. Social Marketing Quarterly, 22(4), 290-306.

Casey, R. J., & Grenier, J. H. (2014). Understanding and contributing to the enigma of corporate social responsibility (CSR) assurance in the United States. Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory, 34(1), 97-130.

Cheng, B., Ioannou, I., & Serafeim, G. (2014). Corporate social responsibility and access to finance. Strategic management journal, 35(1), 1-23.

Farooq, O., Rupp, D. E., & Farooq, M. (2017). The multiple pathways through which internal and external corporate social responsibility influence organizational identification and multifoci outcomes: The moderating role of cultural and social orientations. Academy of Management Journal, 60(3), 954-985.

Ferrell, A., Liang, H., & Renneboog, L. (2016). Socially responsible firms. Journal of Financial Economics, 122(3), 585-606.

Giesler, M., & Veresiu, E. (2014). Creating the responsible consumer: Moralistic governance regimes and consumer subjectivity. Journal of Consumer Research, 41(3), 840-857.

Lee, K., Conklin, M., Cranage, D. A., & Lee, S. (2014). The role of perceived corporate social responsibility on providing healthful foods and nutrition information with health-consciousness as a moderator. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 37, 29-37.

Longoni, A., & Cagliano, R. (2018). Sustainable innovativeness and the triple bottom line: The role of organizational time perspective. Journal of Business Ethics, 151(4), 1097-1120.

Ni, A., & Van Wart, M. (2015). Corporate Social Responsibility: Doing Well and Doing Good. In Building Business-Government Relations (pp. 175-196). Routledge.

Omicsonline.org. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/critical-analysis-of-corporate-social-responsibility-concept-2167-0358-1000181.php?aid=80991

Plastic Collective. (2018). HOME. Retrieved from https://www.plasticcollective.co/

Reinecke, J., & Ansari, S. (2016). Taming wicked problems: The role of framing in the construction of corporate social responsibility. Journal of Management Studies, 53(3), 299-329.

Singh, J., & Cooper, T. (2017). Towards a sustainable business model for plastic shopping bag management in Sweden. Procedia CIRP, 61, 679-684.

Singh, N., Hui, D., Singh, R., Ahuja, I. P. S., Feo, L., & Fraternali, F. (2017). Recycling of plastic solid waste: A state of art review and future applications. Composites Part B: Engineering, 115, 409-422.

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