It is essential to state that the paper 'Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibilities as Strategic Issues in Business" is a good example of business coursework. Some people will argue that the business of a business is purely business; the rest is less irrelevant or excess bargain in some cases. But I am of a different view because according to this assumption that a business should only be concerned with making a profit and giving little or no attention to other beneficial issues in society. I believe Business is part and parcel of society; it does not operate in isolation.
So anything that is affecting the society affects the business as well. For instance, we are all threatened by global warming and therefore each one of us has a responsibility and a role to play in fighting global warming. I have learned that it is very possible and easy for a CEO of a big corporate to ignore such an issue as the CEO of timberland put it (Swartz, 2010) but then it is not only an issue of engaging in a problem that is not yours but it is a societal problem of which you are a part and parcel.
It is therefore irresponsible I think that you can ignore problems in the community from which you are getting your revenue. Putting in mind that this same society is made up of people who have supported your brand to the heights it is, then it is worth considering corporate social and environmental responsibility issues as a strategic issue because it is a fact, your brand is threatened. I believe corporate social and environmental responsibility at the corporate level should not be regarded as a nuisance in the general flow of business.
There are whole lots of activists out there to ensure that profit enterprises are indeed playing within the rules to ensure sustainability. In light of this understanding, I, therefore, believe that CEOs just like in the case of Timberland CEO Vs Greenpeace have a very instrumental role to play in as far as social and environmental responsibility is concerned (Swartz, 2010). What I have learned is that businesses and their management at large should understand that environmental activists are to some extent right when they accuse you of being irresponsible in fostering sustainability in society.
Instead of fighting them, the most prudent thing to do which is a strategic tool, in fact, is to find a way of balancing between you making a profit and at the same time conserving the environment. Timberland as a company decided they had to work with Greenpeace in identifying ways to minimize the effects of deforestation in the Brazilian forests. It worked for the company and in fact, Greenpeace announced that timberland has taken a leadership role in fighting deforestation in the Amazon forest, I believe worked wonders in the market for Timberland (Swartz, 2010). What I have learned from my research and also from this case is that corporate social responsibility is a matter that cannot be ignored especially in this 21st century.
Nowadays the internet has brought the world into a single global village platform. It is in this information age that we have witnessed Facebook and twitter-based revolutions in the Arab world.
Dictatorial governments cannot be the only targets in these internet revolutions. Businesses too are threatened by the power the masses have when they are directed to a common goal. I noticed that in the case of Greenpeace Vs Timberland Greenpeace primary strategy was to mobilize thousands of supporters to express their anger by sending emails of protest to the CEO. Jeff Swartz the CEO received not less than 65000 emails within 3 weeks (Swartz, 2010). Now more than ever I believe the people have more power at their disposal facilitated by activists and environmental conservation campaigners.
I think that as a competitive strategy a corporate should have as one of its core values a determination and resolve to be actively involved in community issues including environmental conservation. Consumers are driven by far many advanced factors than the traditional price attraction. They want to know your stand in regards to health issues, environmental issues, and community development. In short, do you care about us or you just want to make millions from us and give nothing to society?
Cowton. C, (2009), Accounting and the ethics challenge: re-membering the professional body, accounting and business research, vol.39, no.3, pp.177-189
Platts .J, (2003) Developing competence and trust: Maintaining the heart of a profession, Professional ethics, vol.11, no.1, pp 3-18
Swartz .J, (2010), Timberland CEO on Standing up to 65000 activists, Harvard Business Review, Vol 88, no. 9, pp 39-43
University of Oxford, (2012), Careers workbook [PDF] available online from http://www.careers.ox.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/careers_workbook_2012.pdf