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Corporate Social Responsibility At Shipley Do-nuts

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Corporate Social Responsibility Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become a buzzword in the modern organizations. The reasons for focusing on it may be philanthropic, plain window dressing to avoid Government’s interference or simply a public relations exercise. The author has tried to analyze how well Shipley Do-nuts, a Houston based company, has managed to fulfill its ethical and social obligations. The internal and external influence to its CSR strategy has been studied with the help of SWOT matrix. Based on the study, the author is of the opinion that the company should shift its approach from a philanthropic one to a community based one to achieve sustainable development. The author has suggested use of a community sports area for achieving the same. Founded in 1936 in Texas, Shipley Donuts has become a popular doughnut chain in the United States with over 220 stores spread throughout the southern states. Since its inception, Shipley Donuts has been actively involved within its community which adds a whole new dimension to its mission of “making life delicious” (Shipley Do-nuts, 2008). The founder of the company, Lawrence Shipley, Sr. founded the company near the end of the Great Depression. He had witnessed the horrors that people of his community had gone through during the Depression. Thus giving the community back that made him rich was one of his top priorities. Moreover, in a country which is fighting a battle against childhood obesity, the role of a fast-food chain like Shipley Do-nuts assumes significance especially its attitude towards ethical practices and social obligations. The following sections discuss how well Shipley Donuts has contributed towards its Corporate Social Responsibility. Shipley has adopted a philanthropic approach to CSR. In this approach, the organizations give monetary donations, aid or lend their names to the local communities for social causes. According to Wood (1991), this approach helps them to become vastly respected in their local community and protects their home market even during times of fierce competition. Shipley has been associated with many social causes from schools, churches to charity groups. For example, Shipley lent its name to annual fair dedicated to cancer survivors and veterans during last October (Lowman, 2009). Shipley also makes significant contribution towards promoting the US culture and tradition. Shipley’s franchises have been known to donate a part of their earnings during Christmas to Angel Tree, a local organization that helps in buying gifts for poor children during the Christmas (Tribune Herald, 2009). Similarly, it gives away free doughnuts to its customers on June 5 every year in the memory of Chicago Salvation army which gave rise to the National Doughnut Day (Tribune Herald, 2009). Being a fast food chain, Shipley has also taken its obligation of “making America healthy” very seriously. Complete nutritional information of its products is displayed prominently at all its franchises and also at its website. Any customer can view the cleanliness of the kitchen area and the bakery techniques being used through its theater viewing windows. Moreover, to show its commitment towards health, it sponsors local sports teams like Houston Dynamos (professional soccer club in MLS) and Houston Astros (professional Major League Baseball team) (Shipley Do-nuts, 2008). Such has been Shipley’s commitment to maintain quality that it has been reluctant to grow too fast (the chain has added only 220 stores in its 74 years of existence compared to thousands of stores opened by McDonalds or Pizza Hut in lesser time) which is reflected in its strict criteria for a franchise. SWOT Analysis A SWOT analysis is conducted on the ethical practices being employed by Shipley to evaluate their CSR strategies Strengths Active involvement in community: From donating a part of its earnings to local charity organizations to sponsoring local sports clubs, Shipley has been actively involved in the community development. Moreover, it invites local organizations to seek assistance through its web site. This approach shows its commitment towards community building and has helped it to carve a niche for itself in the Texas community. Ethical practices: Shipley not only makes nutritional information about its doughnuts public, but also lets its customers know the processes being used at the kitchen through an open window system. This ethical practice has found wide acceptance among the Texas community who flock to its franchises. Sticking to traditional bakery techniques: Despite the advent of modern automated bakery techniques, Shipley Do-nuts have stuck to the traditional bakery techniques to retain its soft and fresh aroma and taste. This requires it to employ a greater number of workers thus helping the local community in finding a job (Shipley Do-nuts, 2008). Weaknesses Working conditions: To keep the costs of labor down, the company has resorted to the use of cheap illegal immigrants from Mexico in the past. The immigrants have often complai
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