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Corporate Social Responsibility And Ethics: Origin Energy

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Question:

Discuss about the Corporate Social Responsibility and Ethics for Origin Energy.

 

Answer:

Introduction

Origin Energy is an Australian based energy company which majors in electricity production, Natural gas exploration and production, and energy retailing. Australia is a country that uses a lot of energy and according to world standards; the country’s energy system is reliable although sometimes it is stretched to the limits. Energy is a limited resource and which is hard to store. Australia is moving towards producing energy from renewable sources although the highest percentage of energy used there comes from fossil fuels. Origin Energy which was formed in 2000 is a responsible company that produces affordable energy and at the same time cares for the environment by ensuring that all their activities are ethical and responsible.  Throughout their history, the company is committed to ensuring that their primary focus is on the community, sustainability, health and safety. At Origin Energy, the board is much aware of the need to maintain the highest standard of corporate governance and it is its responsibility to meet the stakeholder’s interests. The Origin Energy board is made of the chairman who is non-executive, two executive members, and five directors. The board has the responsibility of controlling the company and setting strategies and the same time providing leadership.

 

Background

Energy is a limited resource which costs people millions of dollars every day to purchase energy products. Origin Energy is a group that is committed to protecting the environment by ensuring that all its operations comply with environmental regulations and requirement (Trong 2012, p. 122). Everything that the company does is environmentally conscious and they collaborate with other companies like those which produce food to ensure that they practice farming which is not harmful to the environment. Corporate social responsibility is all about giving back to the community without expecting anything directly from those who will benefit (Verma & Prakash 2011, p. 23). The benefits of CSR are many including gaining competitive advantage, public reputation, shareholders value, creation and management of company’s reputation, and reduction of cost and risks. Although the benefits of CSR activities may not be realized immediately, they mean a lot for the success and survival of an organization in future. In other words, something that is done today to benefit the general public or the customers helps the company indirectly in future (Trivedi &Stokols 2011, p. 47).

 

Risks and cost reduction

According to Masoud (2017) engaging in corporate social responsibility activities is one of the effective ways of minimizing risks and reducing capital expenditures by an organization. Typically, organizations work under pressure to meet the shareholders demands and this may threaten the viability of an organization. In this case, CSR comes in to mitigate such threats by ensuring a high level of environmental and social performance (Mahmoud, Blankson & Hinson 2017, p. 199). Some CSR activities that help a company reduce risk and cost and increase shareholders value are producing products that are environmentally friendly and save energy. Additionally, creating relationships with people and customers is also useful. At Origin Company, the environment comes first and no single activity is operated that is supposed to destroy the environment. The management at the group ensures that all the employees follow all environmental regulations (Zhao, Chen & Xiong 2016, p. 135). The group protects the environment because they believe that if their activities harm the environment, they are hurting the whole generation. Such corporate activities directed towards the society wellbeing helps a company avoid colliding with the authorities hence saving money that could have been used in legal suits. Additionally, it helps the company attract more customers because people are convinced that a company that cares about the environment cares for them also. As a result, the company attracts more customers hence more profitability (Allen & Craig 2016, p. 229). These small favors done to humanity attract more customers to a company and as a result, the risk and cost of doing business are minimized. More customers mean increased profitability and more value to the stakeholders.

Competitive advantage

Competition is one of the issues that have been threatening many businesses in the recent past. Entry of new companies in an industry threatens the existence of the old one and if new ways of surviving are not implemented, then there are those who will be forced to exit the market (Falk &Settle 2011, p. 97). Managers have now realized that CSR is an effective strategy of differentiating itself from the competitors.  Different companies developed unique CSR strategies that will set them apart from the competitors. CSR activities benefit a company in many ways such as winning customer trust, getting government support, and also attracting investors (Masoud 2017, p. 23). Apart from caring for the company, Origin group also work with the community by supporting different groups. The company offers scholarships to the locals both in education and the sport sector. Many people have been able to improve their living standards especially those who are lucky to secure these scholarships (Rose 2017, p. 97). Caring for the people within the business environment by bettering their lives means that in one way all the other they will also be of benefit to the company in future.  Basically, this is all what corporate social responsibility is all about (Cavalieri 2007, p. 148). For example when people acquire quality education, they come back to work for the company and they bring in new ideas which help the company achieve its goals and objectives. Additionally, the company cares for the safety and health of its employees, the community and the customers (Baden 2016, p. 132). All these people matter at Origin group because without them the company would not be where it is today. As a way of ensuring a healthy and safe environment Origin is committed to achieve many things some which are listed below

  • To provide all the necessary requirements for a healthy and safe environment
  • To ensure that accidents which can be prevented do not occur a second time by investigating the cause of an accident and taking the necessary measures
  • To ensure that all employees are trained accordingly to ensure that they carry out their duties effectively,
  • Supervising employees and providing them with all equipment they require
  • To take the appropriate measures to protect the environment and the members of the public who may be harmed by its activities

Such CSR activities are attracts more customers which mean that the company will increase its market share hence competitive advantage and more value to shareholders.

 

Reputation

No one would want to be associated with a company that does not operate according to the values and laws practiced in the community where the business operates. A company that does not contribute in any way towards the welfare of the community is not a successful one as far as corporate social responsibility is concerned (?ychlewicz 2015, p. 65). Demonstrating the ability to fit well in a society create long-term relationships with stakeholders. Customers, suppliers, and employees want to be associated with an organization that is responsible and willing to contribute to the society. Practicing CSR is one way that is effective in creating a legitimate company that has a good image to the public. At Origin Energy, they are committed to impacting the lives of as many people as possible in Australia through influencing lives, protecting the environment, and the public (Lim & Park 2018, p. 104). Customers, the public, and the environment come first at original Energy and through this; the company have succeeded in winning admiration from the customers and the society in general. CSR is an effective yet a cheap strategy of taking a business to the next level because as the public benefits, the company will also be benefiting (Shea & Hawn 2014, p. 26). Therefore it is a win-win situation for the parties involved.

Objectives

To analyze the corporate social responsibility activities of Origin Energy company

To find out who benefits from the CSR initiatives

To demonstrate why companies need to develop CSR activities

To evaluate the importance of CSR in organizations

Methodology

Both qualitative research and qualitative research methods were used in this report. The qualitative study aims to answer the question why and how a decision was made by gathering in-depth information about behaviors of the parties involved.  On the other hand, quantitative research is used to quantify a problem using numerical data. By using the two research methods, this report examined the available information about the CSR activities of Origin Energy and what the company has achieved from these activities. Interviews were conducted with some of the company’s management team, employees and the local residents of New York City. Questionnaires were also used in this study whereby respondents were supposed to answer a few questions concerning how they have benefited from the company. To conduct interview with the mentioned parties, consent was obtained from the relevant authorities who were contacted through a phone call. Random sample methods were used to analyze data obtained in this research to ensure that the results are more accurate and the sample size was 30 people.

 

Findings

Based on the data obtained from the research, it is evident that CSR is not only beneficial to the people involved but to stakeholders and the company as well. CSR is an initiative that has many benefits and effective in ensuring that a company achieves its goals and objectives without compromising the stakeholder’s interests. Giving back to the society is two-way traffic which benefits all the parties that are involved.

Recommendations

It is recommended that companies should support the local community through beyond participating in local events. By supporting, it means marking local purchases whenever possible to promote other businesses in the locality. The management should come up with plans on how an organization is going to be socially responsible. CSR comes from the top and then passed on to the rest employees on an organization. It would be appropriate that companies develop socially responsible programs because it is one of the effective ways of improving a company’s performance and profitability. It would also be advisable to always encourage employees to generate new ideas that will encourage social responsibility

Conclusion

Every company needs to develop a strategy that will incorporate corporate social responsibility. In the current competitive market, companies need to use unique ways that will meet the stakeholder’s interests and at the same time give back to the community. CSR is a simple way that is supposed to ensure that a company has long-term relationship with customers, suppliers, and the general public who are the key contributors to business success. CSR does not only benefit the community but also the company itself and the stakeholders. Despite the fact that these benefits are not realized immediately, they mean a lot for the future business operations. Just like Origin group cares for the environment, its employees and the public, other companies should also do the same. 

 

References

Allen, M. and Craig, C. 2016. Rethinking corporate social responsibility in the age of climate change: a communication perspective. International Journal of Corporate Social Responsibility, 1(1).

Baden, D. 2016. A reconstruction of Carroll’s pyramid of corporate social responsibility for the 21st century. International Journal of Corporate Social Responsibility, 1(1).

Cavalieri, E. 2007. Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility. Symphonya. Emerging Issues in Management, (2).

Falk, J. and Settle, D. 2011. Australia: Approaching an energy crossroads. Energy Policy, 39(11), pp.6804-6813.

Kulshrestha, S. and Padiya, Z. 2011. Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility. Indian Journal of Applied Research, 3(5), pp.422-423.

Lim, S. and Park, B. 2018. An Analysis of the Relationship between the CSR activities of Public Enterprise and Social Reliability: Focusing on Authenticity and Appropriateness of the CSR Activities of Public Enterprise. The Korean Journal of Local Government Studies, 21(4), pp.411-435.

Mahmoud, M., Blankson, C. and Hinson, R. 2017. Market orientation and corporate social responsibility: towards an integrated conceptual framework. International Journal of Corporate Social Responsibility, 2(1).

Masoud, N. 2017. How to win the battle of ideas in corporate social responsibility: the International Pyramid Model of CSR. International Journal of Corporate Social Responsibility, 2(1).

Ross, D. 2017. A research-informed model for corporate social responsibility: towards accountability to impacted stakeholders. International Journal of Corporate Social Responsibility, 2(1).

Shaukat, A., Qiu, Y. and Trojanowski, G. 2015. Board Attributes, Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy, and Corporate Environmental and Social Performance. Journal of Business Ethics, 135(3), pp.569-585.

Shea, C. and Hawn, O. 2014. Social Perception of Corporate Social Responsibility and Irresponsibility: Asymmetric Benefits and Penalties of CSR Strategy. SSRN Electronic Journal.

Trivedi, C. and Stokols, D. 2011. Social Enterprises and Corporate Enterprises. The Journal of Entrepreneurship, 20(1), pp.1-32.

Trong Tuan, L. 2012. Corporate social responsibility, ethics, and corporate governance. Social Responsibility Journal, 8(4), pp.547-560.

Verma, S. and Prakash, U. 2011. Corporate Governance: Business Ethics and Social Responsibility. SSRN Electronic Journal.

Zhao, X., Chen, S. and Xiong, C. 2016. Organizational attention to corporate social responsibility and corporate social performance: the moderating effects of corporate governance. Business Ethics: A European Review, 25(4), pp.386-399.

?ychlewicz, M. 2015. Corporate benefits of CSR activities. Journal of Corporate Responsibility and Leadership, 1(1), p.85.

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