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Business, Society And The Planet: Nike

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Companies Description

The two companies shall be Nike and Coca-cola Australia. Nike is a company founded by Philip Knight, a University of Oregon track athlete and Bowerman William in 1964. The firm operated as a distributor for Onitsuka Tiger, a Japanese shoemaker before opening up its business. The firm serves as the largest seller of athletic footwear and apparels in the world with outlets in several countries across the world (Nike, 2015). The firms headquarter in Oregon in the United States. The firm enters into contracts with different shops worldwide with 45 offices in the world while managing factories in Indonesia, China, Pakistan, and India among other nations world (Nike, 2015).

Besides, the firm has a long history of its operations where the cries on child labor and a poor environment in its factories gave the path towards social responsibility activities of the firm. The issues led to the establishment of the code of conduct to stop the negative brand image created by their products and firm (Flammer, 2015). The core vision of the firm through its corporate social responsibility is to bring people, planets, and profits into balance for lasting success.

Nike is an international firm with a local presence that deals with the production and sale of shoes and other sports apparels. The firm engages in efforts towards minimizing environmental footprint by focusing on energy, water, and proper waste disposal in its supply chain and enhance sustainable use (Korschun, Bhattacharya & Swain, 2014). On the other hand, it strives to transform its manufacturing plant to include new technology that produces little or reduced harm to the environment and entering into a partnership with factories that meet the required environmental status of the society world (Nike, 2015).  In responding to the human potential, the firm aims to encourage and invest in economic empowerment to individuals in areas of operation.

The firm has several activities that it focuses on in its social responsibility efforts. For instance, the firm acts positively within its production to minimize the impacts of the ingredients used in production by encouraging product recycling. Besides, as a firm in the production department, the social responsibilities provide evidence towards climate stability as the firm engages in policies and advocacy programs aimed at reducing the effects it causes through the factory emissions to the environment world (Nike, 2015). Moreover, the firm uses a lot of water in production, and in this case, acts positively towards cleaning its water after use and discharging clean water to communities.

In this respect, the firm engages in cleaning activities and efforts to preserve their water sources through direct funding and tree planting activities along water catchment areas world (Nike, 2015). To the communities, the firm strives to create a sustainable value chain that meets the needs of the people in the society. In this respect, the firm carries out activities related to promotion of education to counter the earlier negative image on its use of child labor. In this respect, it challenges and empowers athletes to join its efforts towards sustainable living.       

On the other hand, Coca-cola is a multinational company operating in Australia and other several countries, but the plant in Australia remains socially responsible to the environment as it engages in several activities that promote the same. Besides, the firm has a well-documented report that it releases on a two-year basis concerning the corporate social responsibilities it does to the people (Coca-Cola, 2017). The firm contributes immensely to the socio-economic development of the locals by identifying the firm in several ongoing games where they act as sponsors to the main events and contribute towards the sustainability of individuals through health promotion exercises among individuals (Snider, Hill & Martin, 2003).

Therefore, the firm focuses mostly on the social aspect of giving by assisting the people in the areas of operation through different activities. The activities include participation in schools building, purchase of bicycles for the needy students, and empowering women in business by funding and opening up shops for them to do business and prosper economically (Coca-Cola, 2017). At the same time, the firm, being in the food and beverage division participates in activities that promote the conservation of water and other resources that act positively to the environment sustainability.

In this respect, the company covers diverse aspects of the economy by building the society through empowering individuals and participating in social activities such as games to promote the social dimensions of the society (Coca-Cola, 2017). Funding and promoting education goes in line with social giving as the firm empowers individuals from the low social classes and uplifts their ability to reach schools by donating bicycles to them and in the process promotes their health through exercising as they cycle daily to school and back home. The social report for the firm satisfies a certain percentage of responsibility that the firm engages in based on the sector it is involved.


Differences Between the Companies

The firms have differing social responsibilities to the society depending on the sector of operation and the effect the business causes to individuals living in the areas of operation. Therefore, the issues tackled in the society differ according to the industry that the two firms are involved in. In the case of Nike, the firm spends its efforts in the creation of proper working environment and employs the people living in the areas of development to in-cooperate them in the daily activities of the firm. The act responds positively to the attribute of social benefits by having the locals work in diverse sectors of the firm depending on their level of qualification for a particular task (Servaes, & Tamayo, 2013).

Altogether, they answer the challenges in its previous case of child employment in factories by the contractors thus the need to clean its image. The firm concentrates on environmental upgrade as its core business revolves around production that significantly uses part of the resources such as water from the environment. In this respect, the business has to work on the issues of production through research and development towards the use of technology in production for sustainable living (Kleine, 2014). 

Besides, the firm supports education ventures to the people residing nearby by building schools and supporting students to the higher levels of study and further have them absorbed into the production in the firm through employment (Nike 2015). Environmental issues such as pollution emanating from their working environments affect the air quality as well as the water quality of individuals. In this case, it protects the employees working within their environment by providing all the required gadgets to prevent workplace injuries and health related issues.

On the other hand, Coca-cola is a firm that concentrates on the food and beverage sector with significant differences and impacts to the people in the environment where they work. The firm bases its corporate social responsibilities towards activities that promote its market presence and brand recognition (Saeidi, Sofian, Saeidi, Saeidi, & Saaeidi, 2015). Apart from the little pollution effect in the environment through the processing plant, the firm has no other environmental effect that calls for social responsibility. In this respect, the company participates in events that promote social being such as games and in the process benefits from brand recognition in the process of discharging its social responsibility (Coca-Cola, 2017).

Besides, it differs with the other company in the social responsibility expressed through its activity of offering bicycles to the students for educational purposes. Therefore, the main differences between the two companies revolve around the fact that one base on the activities that promote its market while the other focuses on the aspects that align its operations to good practice in the society and specifically to the environment.


Explanation for the Differences

The differences in the two companies can be explained by their diverse nature of operations and the demands that the society has on them based on the adverse effects of the firm to the environment and the individual lives of people in the surrounding areas. In Australia, the government policies are stricter towards social responsibility activities to businesses in the manufacturing divisions. According to Rao and Tilt, (2016) such decision base on the fact that they engage in significant damage to the environment through pollution that not only affects the climate but also causes significant pollution to noise and water used by the people living in the areas.

At the same time, the individuals working in the production factories face serious effects on their health thus calling for a preferential treat for those in the manufacturing environments (Samsi, 2014). The production industry entails a lot of work where remuneration and worker handling issues vary thereby creating a concern for social responsibility. In this case, there exist serious differences in the manner in which their social responsibilities touch on the people aspect in the working environment.

Coca –Cola as a firm, participates in activities that promote good health lifestyles and economic empowerment towards creating a good name for the individual firm. The firm engages in fewer activities that affect the environment and do not cause serious human rights violation issues. The fact justifies the less intensive social corporate initiatives that the firm considers in its operation (Mialon, Swinburn,  Allender & Sacks, 2016). The issue serves as the primary difference between the two environments where the first works in the food and beverage sector with little production effects to the environment as opposed to the one dealing in the manufacturing industry (Snider, Hill, & Martin, 2003). On the other hand, the matching activities exist due to the similarity in the industry where they operate in as they both get involved in the manufacturing of products despite the level of production offered by both parties. 

Quality of Social Accounting Approach

The observation from the two firms demonstrates a partial adherence to the eight criteria recommended by Zadek towards social accounting approach. The firms have a differing level under which they meet the social accounting criteria. In the case of Nike, the comparability, completeness, information disclosure, management policies, and continuous improvement categories have been fulfilled. The report is intensive and carries a comparison to the issues addressed in the previous years.

At the same time, the firm publishes its social reports on the internet and other areas of its operations thus satisfying the open nature of the firm (ACCR, 2017). The continuous improvement is evident in the manner the firm concentrates on environment upgrade and water issues as well as those of human right by recording the progress on each aspect. Further, the report records of the management policies in support of the existence of social events. However, the firm falls short of satisfying the criteria of external verification, inclusivity, and evolution as it lacks a reference to other sources certifying the issues spelled out.                  

In the case of Coca-Cola, several issues according to the criteria remain in place. The information flow demonstrates continuous improvement and external verification and inclusivity. Besides, the firm through its social events improves the verification ability as the events are recorded in other media focuses on social responsibilities for firms (Kytle, B., & Ruggie, 2005). The reports on the firm’s social activities are clear and open to public scrutiny where the contacts and location of the events can be verified. Therefore, it is evident that this firm conforms to most of the criteria associated with Zadek concerning social accountability. 


Reflection of the Reports on the Values of the Companies

The social reports of the firms reflect their vision based on the activities done and the open nature of the report to public scrutiny. Coca-Cola’s core values commit to delivery of the highest standards for products enjoyed by the customers through services and products delivered by the firm. In this respect, the firm uses the social responsibility to influence more market for its commodity which ends up in consumption of the products. Therefore, the social responsibility affects the well-being of the company as it acts positively towards experiencing the service of the firm.     

On the other hand, Nike’s core values surround the practice of bringing people, planet, and profits into balance for lasting success. The activities undertaken by the firm ensure the sustainability of the environment as well as those of the people living in it. There is a significant conformity to its core value of responsible production in line with the events the firm engages in. Integrity and accountability in the firm through information disclosure guarantees the success of the organization and conformity to the legislations. Therefore, there exist a relation between the firm and the activities it engages in to respond to the challenges it poses to the environment. Despite the degree of reflection, both companies strive to act responsibly to the environment. 


Reflection on Group’s Discussion

The social responsibility issues discussed in the paper emanated from the group and focused on the course development touching on Zadek’s social accountability criteria. The reports were significant as they met part of the requirements stipulated in the social responsibility criteria. In this case, the companies chosen were essential to the topic of study as they depicted different issues linked to the aspect of corporate social responsibility. We agreed on the common reasoning of the difference in sectors and the way they impact the level at which firms meet their corporate social responsibility. 



ACCR. (2017). What ACCR does. Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility. Retrieved 2 May 2017, from

Coca-Cola. (2017). Corporate Social Responsibility. Retrieved from

Flammer, C. (2015). Does product market competition foster corporate social responsibility? Evidence from trade liberalization. Strategic Management Journal, 36(10), 1469-1485.

Kleine, D. (2014). Corporate social responsibility and development. The Companion to Development Studies, 7(1), 195.

Korschun, D., Bhattacharya, C. B., & Swain, S. D. (2014). Corporate social responsibility, customer orientation, and the job performance of frontline employees. Journal of Marketing, 78(3), 20-37.

Kytle, B., & Ruggie, J. G. (2005). Corporate social responsibility as risk management: A model for multinationals.

Mialon, M., Swinburn, B., Allender, S., & Sacks, G. (2016). Systematic examination of publicly-available information reveals the diverse and extensive corporate political activity of the food industry in Australia. BMC public health, 16(1), 283.

Moon, J. (2014). Corporate social responsibility: A very short introduction. OUP Oxford.

Nike. (2015). Corporate social responsibility. Retrieved from

Rao, K., & Tilt, C. (2016). Board diversity and CSR reporting: an Australian study. Meditari Accountancy Research, 24(2), 182-210.

Saeidi, S. P., Sofian, S., Saeidi, P., Saeidi, S. P., & Saaeidi, S. A. (2015). How does corporate social responsibility contribute to firm financial performance? The mediating role of competitive advantage, reputation, and customer satisfaction. Journal of Business Research, 68(2), 341-350.

Samsi, H. (2014). The effect of corporate governance on the relationship between corporate social responsibility disclosure and corporate value. The Indonesian Accounting Review, 4(01), 1.

Servaes, H., & Tamayo, A. (2013). The impact of corporate social responsibility on firm value: The role of customer awareness. Management Science, 59(5), 1045-1061.

Shabana, K., & Ravlin, E. (2016). Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting as Substantive and Symbolic Behaviour: A Multilevel Theoretical Analysis. Business and Society Review, 121(2), 297-327.

Snider, J., Hill, R. P., & Martin, D. (2003). Corporate social responsibility in the 21st century: A view from the world's most successful firms. Journal of Business ethics, 48(2), 175-187.

Snider, J., Hill, R. P., & Martin, D. (2003). Corporate social responsibility in the 21st century: A view from the world's most successful firms. Journal of Business ethics, 48(2), 175-187.

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