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Assessment of the sustainability report of 2014 and 2015

Describe about the Corporate Governance and Socialism for Wesfarmers Management.

Introduction

Wesfarmers’ is an Australian company serving in the conglomerate industry. The main areas of its operation include retail market, chemicals and fertilizers, coal mining, and industrial safety products. The company has adopted sustainability practices related to economic, environmental, and social factors. This report will compare and analyze Wesfarmers’ Sustainability report of 2014 and 2015. The sustainability report is an important tool to communicate with the internal and external stakeholders. It helps in the development of good relation with them. This report will throw light on how much the company is following the GRI G4 guideline of government during the making of its sustainability report and publishing it. According to Denis (2016), the GRI G4 guideline mentions that a sustainability report should be simple and accessible. This report will focus on how much this report is easily accessible. By comparing the sustainability reports of 2014 and 2015, this report will highlight to what extent the company has improved in its sustainability practice.

Assessment of the sustainability report of the company has brought to the focus that they have a clear understanding of their stakeholders. In this report, information about both the internal and the external stakeholders are mentioned. There is a section named “our data” in the sustainability report page. Here, the company has included in detail its five-years data based on its social activities. As Servaes and Tamayo (2013) discussed, the sustainability practice involves different aspects related to total record of injury, injury frequency rate, and greenhouse gas emission, community contribution, use of energy, use of water, and waste amount. As per the sustainability record of 2014, the total recordable injury was estimated 5.0. It became 4.2 in 2015 (wesresources.com 2016). Therefore, it can be said that the total recordable injury has declined by 0.8 in 2015. It is also found that the 13 employees have claimed compensation in 2014. By 2015, this number became 11 proving the decrease by 2. The contribution to the community is recorded 0.24 in 2014. By the next year, it has become 0.12, which means the community contribution has declined by 0.12 in total. The report proves that the company is not showing positive results when it comes to community contribution. The inclusion of the negative points in the results makes it credible for the internal and external stakeholders. Whereas the estimated green house gas emission in 2014 was 627, in 2015, it was 569. In 2014, the energy use was 4.59. It became 5.11 in 2015(wesresources.com 2016).  The decrease of energy use is due to high production. It is estimated that the company has disposed 581 Tones in 2014 and recycled 2505 Tones (wesresources.com 2016). In the next year, they disposed 2058 Tones and recycled 2521 Tones. Apart from this, the use of water was 8148 Mega-liters in 2014 that became 7086 mega-liters in 2015 (wesresources.com 2016).  Through the sustainability reports published by Wesfarmers, the company has brought to focus the specific data and set of responsibilities. It has revealed the statistics without violating the guidelines of GRI G4. The analysis of the report shows that the company has covered all the four areas of social responsibility along with the economic and environmental factors.   

Comparison between Wesfarmers sustainability report of 2014 and 2015

The organizational data has shown that the company has become more aware of its social activities because of which the number has increased. However, the negative aspects marked by the company in its 2015 report require critical analysis. Leipziger (2015) discussed, in this competitive market, many companies publish inauthentic sustainability report to attract the stakeholders. This is unethical. After an in-depth analysis of Wesfarmers, one cannot point out any instance of ingenuity and falsification.

Categories

Sub-categories

2014

2015

Finance

The company has revealed its contribution to the society through the sustainability report. According to the report published in 2014, it is found that the company has spent $62349 for sales and operating revenue. It spent $7787 on employee wages, and $1880 on paying government tax. The accessibility of data was higher in 2015 than in 2014. (wesresources.com 2014).

In 2015, Wesfarmers published its economic contribution to the society. The sustainability report of 2015 revealed that the company spent $7830 on employee wages, $1578 million on paying tax to the government, and $315 million on lenders. Expenditure on shareholders and reinvestment amounted to $2246 million and $1413 million respectively. The accessibility of the report has improved since its previous report. (wesresources.com 2016).

Environmental

Social

Labor practices and decent work

To consider the environmental aspect, the company has published its data on carbon emission. In 2014, it was 4.1 per cent lower than what it was in 2013. Therefore, it is proved that the company has focused on sustainable maintenance to retain environmental health. In its sustainability report, other two important aspects are amount of energy use and carbon regulations. While presenting the data, the company has strictly maintained the guidelines of GRI G4.

In the sustainability report of 2014, the company has also provided the guidelines that they follow as a means of ethical practices.

It is found that the rate of carbon emission has decreased to 37 percent in the past five years. The company through this report has given all essential information to the external stakeholders. They have also followed GRI G4 guidelines.

They have revealed a set of objectives that they would follow for a better communication with their employees or the internal stakeholders. The importance of maintaining the guidelines is also highlighted. These guidelines are relevant and are of immense importance for an overall organizational development.

 In contrast with the report published in 2014, the sustainability report in 2015 underlined that the company has seen remarkable improvement. Ethical sourcing and Anti-bribery policy are the two major systems that they have incorporated into the organizational operation. To ensure sustainability, the company has set a target or objective for the upcoming years.

Human Rights

The company has followed the policies of human rights. It is mentioned in this report that the company has emphasized on employee health and safety related policies.  The report includes the fact that they have incorporated target for the coming financial years.

In the report of 2015, the company has revealed the low employee health and safety related issues that are achieved by following the guidelines. They have also given adequate information for the benefit of the shareholders.

Society

In 2014, the company has given information about their social compliance in order to improve the quality of environment. They have outlined the guidelines for serving the society in which they sustain and serve. They have provided the set of targets or objectives for the upcoming financial years.

In the report of 2015, the important inclusions are customer’s “health and safety” and “product and service labeling” along with “marketing communication”. The information is essential to get a clear understanding of GRI guidelines.

In the report of 2015, the company has focused on maintain the minimum quality benchmark and the product safety related information. Here they have pointed out the events that are conducted to create brand image to the target customers. They have also organized an event to get customer’s feedback about GTA5. The consumer’s feedback has evoked the points what should be appropriate for the company to sell.

The report provided by Wesfarmers is easily accessible. The 2014’s report on sustainability explains social responsibilities and the maintenance of guidelines in easy language. It has also provided much necessary and accurate information for the benefit of shareholders, investors, employees and customers. According to Leipziger (2015), these two sustainability reports are important tools of communication between the organization and the external and internal stakeholders. Fuente et al (2016) discussed, however, in the sustainability report of 2014, the company has not included any charts or graphs. In a contrast, the sustainability report of 2015 contains various necessary charts and graphs making the report more user-friendly. When it comes to understanding the viewpoint, both the reports include some positive and some negative viewpoints. The report included numerical data in the data tab. These are related to social responsibilities that Wesfarmers has undertaken. According to Harford and Maxwell (2012), they have also given data related to increased water usages in the sustainability report of 2015. It is a negative aspect that the company has provided in the report. It is a fact that every global organization should focus on the reduction of usage of the resources. Here, Wesfarmers has failed. They were seen unable to control exploitation of resources as found in both the reports. On the other hand, the company has outlined minimum amount of negative point of views on their sustainability practices.

Introduction

The discussion will now be based on comparing sustainability report of two companies. At sustainability report of 2014 and 2015, published by Fuji Xerox Australia will be analyzed. The company has published its report of 2014 in Australia, and the report of 2015 in Japan. The company is a Tokyo based organization. The main job of the company is to produce xerographic documents and products across the world. According to Crowfoot and Wondolleck (2012), they have an extended business in different corners of the world. Recently, they have come up with their new outlet in Australia and in 2015; they have revealed their report in Japan. As Carraro and Leveque (2013) discussed, for the benefit of the Japanese stakeholders and customers, the company published the report in the Japanese language too. The current study will compare and contrast the reports of 2014 and 2015 to gauge the progress and decline. According to Daily et al 2015, Fuji Xerox has abided by the G4 guidelines while making the sustainability report in the year so that the stakeholders can understand everything clearly. According to Portney (2016), the report helps the company to understand the significance of the sustainable policies for the betterment of their organization. The report also helps to indicate the sustainable growth of the company that exercise influence on their business operations. The accessibility of sustainability report is an important method through which the company tries to retain the trust and loyalty of both the internal and external stakeholders. The support of the stakeholders are mandatory for the expansion their business worldwide.

Accessibility of the reports

In 2014, Fuji Xerox Australia has come up with their sustainability report that they published in Australia. The company has complied with the GRI G4 guidelines thoroughly. According to Lim and Tsutsui (2012), the guidelines are followed to maintain a transparency in the reports. It acts as a proof of ethicality. Fiji Xerox has kept in mind security issues of Australia for an authentic report. The report also contains the impact and influence of environment, investment and community affecting their business operations. As discussed by Lähtinen and Myllyviita (2015), the main purpose of the report is to highlight the sustainable approach and policies that they strictly follow. Larcker and Tayan (2015) explained, it is helpful in underlining a clear organizational statement or objective before the audiences that consist of the workers, customers, and other people involved in the business. Castelo (2013) opined, the objective of it is to develop and maintain a good relation with them so that it does not hinder the business operations. In the report of 2014, one component that has given immense importance is the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of the company. Berger et al 2016 discussed, it helps to focus on the requirements of their clients. Apart from maintaining their own business operations, each company tries to do something for the society. They contribute for the well-being of the people. As discussed by Percival (2013), it is called Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Nikolaou and Tsalis (2013), it has an immense importance in developing the reputation of the company, which has major influence in the sustainability of the company. In addition, the CSR policies help the company to meet the expectations of the shareholders and stakeholders. (fxasustainability.com 2016. 2016)

The comparison of the sustainability reports of 2014 and 2015 is important to find out areas of improvement and the drawbacks of the company. It is found that the company has included other companies as a part of their service for improving their business operations. As discussed by Fassin (2015), it contains information related to the accounts of the company and demonstrates inter-organizational financial transactions. As a result of its expansion, the company has established their business in 21 countries of the world (fxasustainability.com 2016). Roca and Searcy (2012) discussed, the sustainability report also addresses the environmental management policies that the company follows maintain balance in the eco-system. The report has also tried to improve the system of supply chain management. Managing the supply chain system effectively is mandatory to cater a hassle free service to the customers. The development of the company depends on it.

The sustainability report of 2015 of Fuji Xerox Australia was published in Japan. The company has focused on ethical issues while preparing the report. Domingues et al (2015) opined, it provides a better understanding of the quality service provided by the company to its consumers. Here in this report, the company has introduced different sustainable policies for the overall improvement of the company. According to Costa and Menichini (2013), the report of 2015 is helpful in understanding the company’s disclosure policy that is important for their business functions. It helps the company to incorporate legislation and local policies keeping in mind the demands of current local market. It is found that the company has taken into consideration the fiscal report of 2014 (fxasustainability.com 2016. 2016). They have incorporated new policies and new activities in the fiscal year of 2015. The 2015 report has helped the company to find out and solve the current social issues faced by the company in the local market. According to Welford (2013), the data given the report proved that the company has emphasized on strengthening its environmental management because environmental issues play an important role in maintaining the ecological balance. They have also emphasized on various shared values to accelerate growth in the global market. As discussed by Bhaduri and Selarka (2016), these shared values and beliefs help the company to develop a relationship of mutual trust and loyalty in the global market environment.   It is a fact that the cultural diversity issues play an active part in developing both the personal and the professional life. The report showed that the company has indulged into making commitments to improve their organizational performances. Increasing their revenue by 10% by the next year was an important inclusion in the report. In addition, to develop knowledge of individuals, the company has taken into consideration managing the environment. Their focus is on developing their Corporate Social Responsibility to manage professional and personal relations well

Categories

Sub-categories

2014( Australia)

2015(Japan)

Environment

In their 2014 report, the company has considered environment management related issues. It is helpful in reducing environmental risk factors caused by environmental pollution. The company has also incorporated health and safety policies to improve the overall business operation.Fujixerox.com. (2014)

To improve service outside of the local market, the company has incorporated environmental systems. It assists the company to reduce emission of waste materials. It is important to maintain ecological balance.Fujixerox.com. (2016)

Financial

Social

Labor Practices and Decent Work

Human Rights

Society

Product Responsibility

In 2014, the company published their financial report that helps them to identify the economic growth. To solve various official issues, they have spent 47%. The expenditure on global services is 24%, and 17% in product services. (Fujixerox.com. 2014)

In the report of 2014, the company has emphasized on sustainable policies. These policies involve some community activities affecting the business operations. They have focused on protecting the labor’s dignity within the workplace. It is an important factor for the development of the company.

The report of 2014 has outlined the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility through which the company focuses on well being of the society. Thus, Fuji Xerox maintains the social rules and regulations to make the company more acceptable to the local market. 

The report of 2014 has given importance to Corporate Social Responsibility that stresses on the well-being of the community or the society. Therefore, the company tried to meet the requirements of the society. Fuji Xerox abides by social rules and regulations to make it more acceptable to the society.

The company has given importance to the product management service in its report of 2014. This service increases the product quality. The company has highlighted the importance of improved team spirit to improve the service quality for the overall development of the organization.

The report of 2015 includes small segments for easy access to the shareholders and the stakeholders. The expenditure on production services was 13.2%, in global services, it was 15.7%, and in office printers, it was 16.1%. All these expenditures have helped the company to develop the quality of the equipments. Thus, they have tried to maintain the quality of the products and services.(Fujixerox.com. 2016)

 The report of 2015 has given importance to the dignity and self-esteem of the workers within the organization. In a way, it helps the company to develop trust and loyalty among the workers. The workers are encouraged to perform better than the previous.

The report published on 2015 has emphasized on human right policies to protect the rights of the workers, consumers and other external stakeholders.

The report of 2015 revealed that the company has introduced Corporate Social Responsibility within its operations to encourage the workers for work in a more creative manner. It has emphasized on including global communities within the business framework of the company.

The productivity of the company in the present location is given importance in the report of 2015 published in Japan. They have introduced some development policies for an improved product and service qualy.

 

The sustainability reports of the company Fuji Xerox has been discussed and analyzed in detail. The reports were published in 2014 and 2015. After the analysis, some differences are found between the two reports. The primary reason behind the difference is that the reports are based on the two different companies. Australia and Japan have different cultural background. Larcker and Tayan (2015) discussed, Fuji Xerox has to comply with the ethical and social norms of the country in which they operate. It is also found that they have followed the guidelines of GRI G4. According to Armstrong (2015, the presentation of the reports is designed in such a way to satisfy the needs of the people residing in a particular country. The company has given importance in understanding the historical and cultural background of the people so that the stakeholders cooperate in the business operations. Keeping in mind these different factors, Fuji Xerox prepared their sustainability reports in 2014 and 2015 respectively. Now, discussion of this report will be based on Hofstede’s six-dimensional model to recognize and understand the factors causing difference to the sustainability report.

Power Distance: The Power Distance in Hofstede’s model focused on the equal distribution of power. It determines how much people believe in the equal distribution of power. It is found that Australian people believes in the hierarchical approach that relates distribution of power with the individual’s ability and skill. Australia has gathered a score of 36 in this dimension. It is very low. In Japan, people believe in hierarchical approach. They do not believe in equal distribution of power. Fuji Xerox had to comply with this difference.

Individualism vs. Collectivism: This dimension considers the individual aspects of the people. Australia has a score of 90 in the dimension that proves people are very much concerned about their families and themselves. Japan has acquired the score of 46 in the dimension. It indicates that Japan believes in collectivism apart from focusing on individual necessities. Keeping these scores in mind, Fuji Xerox has included various social activities at the time of publishing the report in Japan. The report of Australia contained financial benefit related issues for the stakeholders. It is given more importance than the overall benefit of the society.

Uncertainty avoidance: This dimension demonstrates the situation that creates uncertainty among people. They feel threatened by this uncertainty. The score of Australia is 51, which defines that Australia takes an intermediate position during such situations. The score of Japan is 92 and it proves that the country have adopted range of safety measures to avoid unknown threats. Therefore, Fuji Xerox has taken necessary social measures in the sustainability report. Environmental measures adopted by the company in the reports belong to this category. However, the report of Australia also included these measures.

Masculinity vs. femininity: It considers to what extent people strives to be the best. The score of Australia is 61 and the score of Japan is 95. The scores define that Japan focuses more on this difference than Australia. Keeping this in mind, Fuji Xerox has adopted a shared vision in its sustainability report. It has helped them to gain competitive advantage from the local market of Japan. In case of Australia, they have focused on the individual benefits of the stakeholders.

Long-term orientation vs. short-term orientation: This dimension defines how much people in a specific country consider long-term development. The score of Australia is 21 and the score of Japan is 88. It proves that Japan thinks more on long-term development than Australia. Therefore, to satisfy the needs of different people, Fuji Xerox has given short-term objectives for Australia and long-term objectives for Japan. The company has provided shared values for Japan.

Indulgence vs. restraint: This dimension of Hofstede’s model considers how much people can control their desires and impulses. The score of Australia is 71 and the score of Japan is 42. It indicates that Australian people believe in expressing desires and impulses and the Japanese people feel that controlling the emotions and impulses is against the social norms. Therefore, the company has emphasized on the value added benefits of the products in the sustainability report of Japan. In case of Australia, the company has provided essential information about the financial benefit of the stakeholders.

Part C: Conclusion and Recommendations

Conclusion:

After assessing the sustainability reports, it can be said that Wesfarmers and Fuji Xerox have followed the guidelines propounded by GRI G4. After evaluating the sustainability report of 2014, it can be said that the company has tried to make the report accessible for the benefit of the stakeholders and the shareholders. Incorporation of graphs and charts in the report of 2015 has made it more accessible to the investors and shareholders. It is a fact that publishing the sustainability report helps the company to remove transparency and knowledge gap and establish a healthy environment. It also helps developing public relations, which holds immense importance in the growth of the company. Improved public relation helps in the overall improvement. It is an advantage in the global competitive market. Both the companies have understood this fact very well and therefore, clearly stated important and essential data in the reports.

Although the companies have kept almost every factor in mind, still the reports could have been better. Therefore, some important recommendations will now be discussed in the following:

Improved Accessibility: To improve the sustainability report, Wesfarmers should focus on better accessibility of the reports to those for whom it is made. The company should include numeric data to forecast profitability of the company.

Incorporating social activities: The sustainability report provided by Fuji Xerox does not contain details about their social responsibilities. Inclusion of it could have made the report more attractive to all the investors and the shareholders. Their environmental compliances are also not detailed. However, it was necessary.

Outline sustainability indicators: It is found that inclusion of sustainability indicators is very important. The stakeholders and the shareholders should have the knowledge about the key sustainability factors that are helping the company to improve their situation. The company should clearly highlight the areas they are focusing on. The two reports by the two different companies have discussed the sustainability measures they have taken. However, it is not clearly stated to what extent they have gone to maintain the sustainability and what their main areas are.

Development of better communication: For the development of a better communication with the shareholders and the stakeholders, the company should focus more on removing certain knowledge gap. They could come up with a new sustainability website through which they will spread sustainability awareness. The website should include all the information about the steps and procedures that they have undertaken as a means of sustainability practice. They can also share some videos that display their work. It builds an environment of mutual trust and understanding.

Continue to support energy management and conservative initiative: the companies should focus more on including energy management and conservative initiative. They should explain in detail to what extent they are focused on improving their efficiency in these two areas. At present, energy management and energy conservation have become important issues. Therefore, the companies can attract the shareholders and the stakeholders by explaining through the reports how much they are considering these two issues. Many shareholders and stakeholders might become more interested to know more about the company if they concentrate on the energy conservation and management of resources that produce energy.

Make a public commitment: Although both the companies have provided information about their commitments towards environmental sustainability, and both of them have outlined the policies that they have taken, yet they should have come up with more commitments. It is away to show their concerns about the sustainability of the environment.

Completion of the assignment helps me to understand concept of corporate governance and ethical obligations of preparing sustainability report. In this assignment, I have completed two different parts such as sustainability report of Wesfarmers and Fuji Xerox. In case of Wesfarmers, I have compared two sustainability reports of 2014 and 2015. Here, I have learnt to identify the key factors, which enhance quality of a sustainability report. Apart from that, it has helped me to identify the key aspects that need improvement for improving the overall report. Moreover, I have compared sustainability report based on cultural requirement of people. In case of Fuji Xerox, the company has published the 2014 sustainability report in Australia and 2015 sustainability report in Japan. Here, I have identified the factors that influence the company differentiates both sustainability reports. Apart from that, I have learnt the principles of good corporate disclosure for both Australia and Japan. This assignment helps me to understand that in order to comply with the environmental policies an organization needs to comply with the G4 GRI guidelines while disclosure. This assignment helps me to evaluate the extent in which an organization is complying with the guidelines while disclosing sustainability report. The most important factor that I have understood after completing this assignment is how an organization can conduct sustainable business with good corporate governance practices. The importance of shared value while publishing report has been emphasized through this assignment. Nowadays, companies are publishing good corporate governance practices in order to attract stakeholders towards the brand. Therefore, the companies are highly motivated to improve the disclosure process of their sustainability report.    

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