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Write a report to be presented to the board of directors responsible for the company’s corporate social responsibility strategy. Your report should include an analysis of the proposed strategy taking into account the following issues:
1.Explore corporate social responsibility in different organizational and national contexts focusing on the six core characteristics of CSR
2.Explore the variety of theoretical avenues and the diversity of theoretical concepts in CSR
3.Examine strategic approaches used currently by the chosen corporation in fulfilling their community responsibilities

1.Make recommendations identifying how a more sustainable CSR strategy can be developed for your chosen company. The suggestions should analyse the following aspects:

1. How ecological responsibilities could be further enhanced in the chosen organisation’s corporate strategy
2. How the chosen company might enhance social welfare by developing products for consumers or responding to demands from consumers for greater responsibility.
3. How the chosen organisation might enhance their CSR strategy in regards to the recruitment and retention of employees

Introduction to M&S

Mark and Spencer plc (M&S) is a global multinational retailer in British with their headquarters situated in London city. In 1984, Michael Marks and Thomas Spencer formed a partnership and started M&S Company (Farrell 2016). Currently, M&S Company has 1,433 stores across the world where it has specialised in the selling of clothing, food products, and home products (Marks and Spencer Group 2016). The company has employed 85,000 people in its outlets across the globe. M&S is approved by the London Stock Exchange where their main trade associates are Euro commerce, the Confederation of British industry, and British Retail Consortium. It emerged to be the leading retailer in entirely three carbon trust values, waste and water, along with certification to the ISO 50001 energy management standard in 2014 (Farrell 2016). In 2017 the corporation emerged as the top in the Confederation of British industry retailer and ranked second greatest company overall, in the initial corporate human rights standard (Khan 2013, pp. 12). In the year 2007, M&S launched a plan A which was targeting to reduce pollution and eliminate wastages (M&S 2015). The company achieved most of its commitments and engendered a yearly profit of $105million from plan A (Marks and Spencer Group 2016). Every corporate body must protect the interest of the society as a whole. CSR creates an expectation for every corporation to participate in societal development (Harvey 2017).  This report will provide CSR strategy for M&S Company

There are six main features of CSR which acts as the crucial features that hold the meaning of the concept of practising CSR activities (Belal 2016, pp. 13). They include:

These are corporate social responsibility activities that go beyond that prescribed law. The activities help the company to maintain and survive in the market (Hannington 2016, pp. 15). M&s has used the strategy, and it has helped the company to keep and stand in the market. Employment is one of the problems facing the young generation; in 2016 the company launched a program which helped 5,000 youths get employed. Together with their neighbour social network created better connections with local charities in 2015. It introduced M&S spark card for their customers who had nominated a charity. More than 5.6 million customers received the cards which helped to raise a total of $24million (Farrell 2016). The company launched a program called forever fish, where they used cash raised up by charging for carrier bags, create a yearly beach, channel and river clean-up days in the UK, which was run until 2015 (Wilson and Beard 2014, pp. 99).

Six Main Features of CSR

Externalities are all activities that are carried out by an organization that has a negative or positive consequence that is experienced by unrelated third party (Blowfield and Murray 2014, pp.32). An externality can also be defined as the negative impact to the public that may result from the activities of an organization. Externalities affect the rights of a shareholder which the organization does not put into consideration during decision making. Regulation is put which force the organisation to internalise the cost of the externality.  Since the organisation will spend a lot in setting measures and reduction of pollution to create a safe environment for the public, it will incur a cost (Campbell and Tawadey 2016, pp. 16). Mostly CSR activity deals with externalities to bring satisfaction to the public. M&S can manage externalities. The corporation is maintaining carbon for M$S operated activities worldwide.  M&S also ran cleaning programs in the region (Wilson and Beard 2014, pp. 99).

During the process of delivering CSR activities, an organisation should consider a multiple of stakeholder management. In an organisation, stakeholders include customers, employees, suppliers, and shareholders (Blowfield 2013, pp. 18). There are three attributes which are found during stakeholders’ orientation. It is based on their power, legitimacy of claim and urgency.  All these individuals have their roles to play in an organisation. Organizations identify and prioritise their stakeholders through a gradual approach to set internal preparations (Hopkins 2012, pp. 40).

It involves balancing of unlike shareholders’ interests, while CSR may be about moving past narrow focus shareholders and effectiveness (Brejning 2016, pp. 52). Some also believe it should not, though, clash with responsibility. The organisation should not focus on profitability, but it should focus more on activities that need to be done with or without making a profit. The firms should benefit economically and remain socially responsible.

CSR can be defined as a set of corporate practices, and policies that deal with social problems. What corporations do in the social ground does not cause so much disagreement as the debate about why they do it (Certo 2018, pp. 43). M&S emphases to offer CSR differently to the individuals around the environment as CSR activity differ from one individual to another (Marks and Spencer Group 2016).

Philanthropy can be defined as the intention of increasing the well-being of humanity, primarily by charitable giving (Epstein and Buhovac 2014, pp. 9). The recent debate claims that real CSR is just more philanthropy and public giving, but about how the whole working of the firm. The corporate donated over $130 million to community programs (Harvey 2017). Over a period of the past ten years, the corporation assisted over 17,000 people with different disabilities (Wilson and Beard 2014, pp. 101)..

Externalities Management

Table 1 Differences in CSR among large and small firms (Wilson and Beard 2014, pp. 103) 

Large firms

Small firms

Formalization CSR

Formal, bureaucratized

Informal

Main actors in CSR

Shareholders, external stakeholder

Owner-manager, employee

Aims of CSR

Build cooperate brand and manage public legitimacy

Build trust, networks and personal relations

There are three different models trying to explain the idea of CSR. In these theories each shows how stakeholders view and define CSR activities differently. The first theory is the classical theory:  the traditional model implies that society is best served by a variety of institutions, where each institution has its function to help (Salcines et al. 2013, pp. 74). This model argues that the primary goal of the organisation should be economic rather than social. The second is legitimacy model which claims that company disclosure are made as responses to environmental aspects and to legitimize company action. The other stakeholders’ theory which argues that’s stakeholders should be given rights with CSR activities which believe if done a core duty it will result in the fulfilment of corporates objectives. The instrumental theory argues that using CSR obligations as an approach will create a strong bond between the corporate and customers (Salcines et al. 2013, pp. 76).

Table 2: CSR theories and concepts

Theories

Explanation

Classical theory

Argues that community is best served by a diversity of institutions where each system has its distinct functions. In this theory, the primary goal of an organisation is to maximise profit. The corporate will concentrate on the obligations required by stockholders whose aim is to maximise revenue to make a gainful profit on the money invested (Hopkins 2016, pp. 60).

Legitimacy theory

Argues that company disclosures are made as a response to environmental aspects and to legitimise company actions. in this theory, business is permitted to open in the society as  long as it attends society norms (Heding et al. 2015, pp.83).

Stakeholder theory

Argues that stakeholders should be given rights with CSR activities which believe if done a core duty it will result to fulfilment of corporate objective. It provides all stakeholders right to benefit from the business either directly or indirectly (Jones et al. 2014, pp. 131).

Instrumental theory

This theory argues that using CSR obligation as an approach will create a strong bond between the corporate and customers (Schwartz 2017, pp. 28).

In the pyramid, we state from economic and legal through ethical and then philanthropic responsibility.We start with financial trust which means that business is a fundamental commercial unit in society. It means that the market will produce those goods and services and make a profit as a reward for the company. The law covers the second part of the pyramid. It means that all corporates attempting to be socially responsible must obey the law.  A corporate should abide by ethical responsibilities (Williams 2013, pp.13). M&s as part of their cross corporate activity on social rights they efficient their strategies to reveal their new M&S international sourcing values which involved goods supplies in session and survey about social rights and modern slavery. Philanthropic have the smallest layer of the pyramid (Salcines et al. 2013, pp. 73). It consists of the willingness of the corporate to improve the quality of living of the stakeholders. M&S organised many community helping programs (Marks and Spencer Group 2016).  It also ran plans to support the people from disadvantaged part of the city 

This model argues that not any of economic, moral or lawful is of more importance than the other. It only depends on the nature of company practising it.

M&S Company has created a perfect relationship with outside work. M&s helped 5000 unemployed young people get into action 2016 through a program it launched called make your mark. The company also participated in charity works. They joined their neighborly public system to help their stores build better connections with local charities.  M&s also was involved in global community program which started determined variety of projects to address public and environmental problems in nations where they source products. The company is trying to improve the quality of the produce for the sake of their customer to remain safe, for example, an introduction of healthier foods. The company has participated in various community programs. They have contributed more than $130m to the community program, and on top of that, they facilitated to raise some more $70million (Marks and Spencer Group 2016). It comprised a seven-year partnership with Macmillan cancer supports world’s most prominent coffee morning. M&s has helped more than 17000 people from disadvantaged parts of the community (Marks and Spencer Group 2016). They have organised many cleaning programs. 

Stakeholder Management

Operations

Celebrating 25th anniversary

M&S spark card

Plan A marketing

Products

No artificial colours or flavourings

Restyled clothing

Healthier foods

Products  with the plan a quality

Environment

Zero net carbon emissions

Carrier bags

Reduction in UK and ROI waste

Organizing cleaning program

Launched global community program

Cotton, wood and  leather come from more sustainable sources

Employees

5000 young people got employed

M&S employability scheme helped 17000 people over ten years.

Helping people from the disadvantaged community back to work

Training employees

Society

Donating to Community program

Help the disadvantaged part of the community

Support 12 cities with their spark something good community program

M&s has put a lot of effort and concern to make a better CSR strategy, but still, it has not reached a level of a more sustainable CSR strategy. Ecological responsibility, the welfare of the consumer and recruitment and retention of employees have been not entirely enhanced in this CSR strategy

M&S Company has launched global community program to address social and environmental issues in the countries where they source products (Marks and Spencer Group 2016). They also practice carbon neutral operations. They have tried hard to eliminate waste and reduce pollution.  Since there is a lot of wastage in the environment, the corporation should take more measures to eliminate this waste. Recycling also should be increased to remove waste

M&S Company has given their customers priority (Marks and Spencer Group 2016).  Customers should be treated specially. They should be offered products of high quality at fair prices. The company should also consider people with low income and try to manufacture products of their level which they can afford

The company is involved in various programs to support the community. The same should happen to employees; those willing should be given a chance to participate in community support programs.

Conclusion

From the report, it shows that M&S Company is a CSR practising corporation. It has followed almost all step required to create an environment that favours nearly all stakeholders. The corporation has formed a strong bond with the customers and has maintained its relationship with its stakeholders. The recommendations given can help the corporation create a profound CSR for the public good.  

References

Belal, A.R., 2016. Corporate social responsibility reporting in developing countries: The case of Bangladesh. Routledge, pp. 13-23.

Blowfield, M. and Murray, A., 2014. Corporate responsibility. Oxford University Press, pp. 31-38.

Blowfield, M., 2013. Business and sustainability. Oxford University Press, pp.18-21.

Brejning, J., 2016. Corporate social responsibility and the welfare state: the historical and contemporary role of CSR in the mixed economy of welfare. Routledge, pp. 51-62.

Campbell, A. and Tawadey, K., 2016. Mission and business philosophy. Elsevier, pp. 15-25.

Certo, S.C., 2018. Supervision: Concepts and skill-building. McGraw-Hill Education, 42-46.

Epstein, M.J. and Buhovac, A.R., 2014. Making sustainability work: Best practices in managing and measuring corporate social, environmental, and economic impacts. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, pp. 8-13.

Farrell, Nov 2016. M&S’s chequered history of global expansion- timeline. The Guardian. [Online]. Retrieved from:  https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/nov/08/marks-spencer-chequered-history-global-expansion-overseas-stores-timeline ,[ accessed on 19 April 2018].

Hannington, T., 2016. How to measure and manage your corporate reputation. Routledge, pp. 14-24.

Harvey .F, Dec 2017. Marks  and spencer is first  supermarket to publish  data on antiobiotics in supply chain. The  Guardian. [Online]. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/dec/20/marks-spencer-is-first-supermarket-to-publish-data-on-antibiotics-in-supply-chain, [ accessed on 19 April 2018].

Heding, T., Knudtzen, C.F. and Bjerre, M., 2015. Brand management: Research, theory and practice. Routledge, pp. 82-84.

Hopkins, M., 2012. The planetary bargain: Corporate social responsibility matters. Routledge, pp. 39-49.

Hopkins, M., 2016. The planetary bargain: corporate social responsibility comes of age. Springer, pp. 58-68.

Jones, P., Hillier, D. and Comfort, D., 2014. Assurance of the leading UK food retailers' corporate social responsibility/sustainability reports. Corporate Governance, 14(1), pp.130-138.

Khan, O., 2013. Managing risk by internalising product design in fashion retail: An exploratory case of Marks & Spencer. Manchester School of Management, Manchester, pp. 10-25.

M&S, 2015. Delivering plan A. [online]. Retrieved  from : https://corporate.marksandspencer.com/plan-a/delivering-plan-a, [ accessed on 19 April 2018].

Marks and Spencer Group, 2016. ANNUAL REPORT& FINACIAL STATEMENTS 2016. [Online]. Retrieved  from: www.annualreports.com/Company/marks-and-spencer-group-plc, [ accessed on 19 April 2018].

Salcines, J.L.P., Babiak, K. and Walters, G. eds., 2013. Routledge handbook of sport and corporate social responsibility. Routledge, pp.  72-77.

Schwartz, M.S., 2017. Corporate social responsibility. Routledge, pp. 27-34.

Williams, O.F., 2013. Corporate social responsibility: The role of business in sustainable development (Vol. 79). Routledge, pp. 11-21.

Wilson, J. and Beard, C., 2014. Constructing a sustainable learning organization: Marks and Spencer's first Plan A learning store. The Learning Organization, 21(2), pp. 98-112.

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