Corporate Responsibility In Creating Environmental Value Dissertation Proposal Samples
Corporate Responsibility in Creating Environmental Values
Corporations have a responsibility only to the government in adherence to law and to the stockholders for acquisition of profit. With increasing awareness of the potential for corporations to contaminate the environment during the process of production, the public is demanding accountability outside the usual focus of a business. The concept of environment pollution is defined by adding any form of energy such as radioactivity, heat, or sound or substance to the environment faster than it will be rendered harmless (dictionary.com, 2015). Environmental pollution can be eliminated by storage in an appropriate container, dispersal, recycling, or breaking the contaminant down into harmless components. Dictionary.com (2015) offers one definition of the environment as ”ecology”; i.e. all external factors effecting a given organism, including mineral, water, air, and other organisms.
The idea of corporate environmental responsibility is relatively young and there has been a rush for companies to portray themselves as involved in protecting the planet from pollution. Unfortunately, these efforts can result in dissemination of misinformation concerning their activities. In fact, the amount of money spent in “greenwashing” is more than in actual environmental protection. Greenwashing is the term applied to the presentation of information by a person or entity in an attempt to promote a policy, product, or perception of environmental responsibility (Sourcewatch.org, 2015).
Depending on a company to voluntarily adopt practices to protect the ecology doesn’t always work well in a market based system due to the emphasis on generating profit. Decreasing consumerism is against the mindset of companies that place profits before the effects of their production on the planet. In truth, major corporations spend billions of dollars in political lobbying to ease restrictions against their processes. For instance, the Western States Petroleum Association spent $8.9 million in 2014 lobbying against a moratorium bill focusing on stopping the practice of fracking (hydraulic fracturing in oil drilling) in California (Bacher, 2015).When regulations in the United States become too stringent concerning noise, toxic waste, air, and water pollution, the corporation simply moves production to a third-world country.
Ever since the public first became aware of the impact of the environment by corporate business practices, the question has been asked whether a company has a responsibility to protect the environment beyond what is mandated by law. Environmental law can be either concerned with pollution control or with conservation (Hg.org, 2015). Authority for environmental law come from numerous sources and international treaties are influential. Individual countries have laws determining guidelines and legal consequences for corporate violations. The corporations must determine if their responsibilities to the environment supersede their responsibilities to their stakeholders. Is it necessary to sacrifice profitability in response to standards for corporate social responsibilities (CSRs)?
Hay, Stavins and Vieto (2005) discussed three views of CSR in their book, Environmental protection and the social responsibility of firms. One viewpoint is that companies can go past the requirements of legal mandates and the result is in accordance with their fiduciary responsibilities. Another idea is whether being environmentally responsible is detrimental in terms of being competitive in the marketplace. The third concept addresses whether companies actually do actively engage in CSR promotion. Their findings are that while firms can demonstrate CSR actively without risking competitive advantage or decreasing the profitability of their company, this seldom occurs. When it does, it is usually in response to specific circumstances.
When creating a literature review, it is apparent that environmental value can increase profitability when performed in a voluntary fashion, but not in all cases. For instance, DuPont stopped making chlorofluorocarbons without pressure by legal organizations. An evaluation of the results leans toward a determination that the result did not have significant impact for the company strategically. This seems to hold true in other instances, also.
A topic to be considered is: How much CSR should a company demonstrate when it is not required to do so? When goals are not requested by stakeholders because it doesn’t serve their interest, where does the ethical consideration of the corporation begin and profitability consideration leave off? Perhaps the question should be if there is a way where a corporation can meet both responsibilities without detriment to one or the other.
The primary aim of the study is to investigate and evaluate the general concept of corporate environmental responsibility toward promoting business development and environmental protection cooperatively.
Determine the actions of the various corporations in relation to CSR.
Investigate how theories of organizational structure work with implementation of CSR standards.
Evaluate the effectiveness of the various CER activities in terms of commitment and measureable results.
Develop recommendations for corporate methods to increase effectiveness of CER activities.
EXISTING LITERATURE AND DATA SOURCES:
The concept of corporate environmental responsibility covers a range of initiatives and a history of achievements that address ethical concerns. The purpose of corporate environmental responsibility is to strive to have a positive influence on the environment through creation of and adherence to responsible policies. Also, companies should voluntarily incorporate environmental concerns in their corporate activities to improve their relationships with stakeholders. The definition of Corporate Social Responsibility varies from organization to organization, but the Business for Social Responsibility states CSR as “ operating a business in a manner that meets or exceeds the ethical, legal, commercial and public expectations that society has of business “ (Bsr.org, 2015).
The ability to contribute to environmental integrity while maintaining corporate development requires a strategy that addresses the impact the company exerts past operations currently in motion and obligations imposed by the legal system. Issues of health to humans and wildlife come into play and until recently, federal regulations have played the part of enforcer. But many companies and governments are beginning to realize that economic growth and protection of the environment doesn’t have to conflict. Benjamin (2015) approaches the reasons by corporations continue to operate in an environmentally irresponsible manner. Although companies recognize their role in maintaining and improving the environment in which they conduct business, their primary concern is the profit made for the shareholders. When making decisions, environmentally responsible corporations must develop a standard of behavior rooted in both ethics and strong business acumen.
An example is the company KPMG (Mazurkiewicz, 2013). The corporation began an aggressive environmentally correct program for operations to provide sustainability. The impact they addressed was concerning transportation, water, energy, paper, and waste. The management program for the environment saved £250,000 annually beginning in 1996. The use of greener sources of energy targeted 30% reductions for maintenance contracts and projections are an additional savings of £600,000. This is a documented example of the ability of a company to maintain profitability while being environmentally responsible.
Corporate Social Responsibility is based on the concerns companies incorporate into their processes on a voluntary basis. The emphasis on the actions not being a mandate by outside agencies adds value to customer satisfaction, earning loyalty and support. This CSR must be in tandem with the superior products and services offered to the consumers. Toward that goal, Environmental Management & Sustainable Development News (2009) proposes five steps to corporations toward becoming more environmentally responsible. These include working with other companies to set industry standards for compliance with regulations, work to discovers sustainable sources of energy and raw materials, designing sustainable products such as in biomimicry, create new business models for to address the eco-minded consumer, and develop next-platform models for possible expansion into more environmentally appropriate industries. Aggarwal (2013) discussed environmental sustainability in terms of “planets”. He referenced Gray (2006) as stating that the world population is exploiting the planet’s resources past the ability to replenish itself.
The proposed method for this study uses the qualitative method by gathering data through interviews. The 20 participants will be chosen from project supervisors or managers responsible for the CSR/CER aspects of their company’s operations. By inviting employees from a number of different corporations, a comparison will be available for evaluating effectiveness.
1. Does your company engage in as active program for being socially and environmentally responsible? In other words, is there a department or individual responsible for addressing the impact of your company on the environment?
2. If an individual or group were to complain of pollution of some sort generated by your company, what would be the procedure for addressing the complaint?
3. In the event the complaint should prove to be valid, is there a process in place to address it? If so, what is it?
4. Does your company have a benchmarking process for addressing environmental concerns?
5. The Savar building collapse in 2013 placed responsibility not only on the contractor, but on the company that hired him. Does your company have any method of guaranteeing the work of its contractors?
6. Does your company have a clearly defined approach to CSR? If so, what is it?
7. A defined budget for CSR demonstrates commitment to the company’s responsibilities. Does your company have such a budget in place? Is there a department or team for management of CSR in your corporation?
8. It can be difficult for employees to adhere to CSR policies if they are unaware of them. Does your company engage in a program for employee education concerning this topic?
9. In what types of activities does your company engage concerning environmental sustainability (recycling, reusable materials, reduced paper use, etc)?
10. In what types of community involvement does your company participate (raising money for charities, supporting local economic growth, providing volunteers for events, and so on)?
11. Studies have shown a correlation between financial success and social and environmental responsibility. Has your company gathered any statistics to support or refute this claim?
12. Graduating students frequently investigate the environmentally responsible activities of a company. When this company is recruiting top employees, does the topic of activities such as community volunteering, fundraising events, or payroll giving enter into the conversation?
13. Does your company have any department or individual responsible for addressing claims against the company regarding risk management? If so, how would it handle allegations of pollution or corporate negligence?
14. Does your company use CSR methodologies to build customer loyalty? In other words, does your company’s advertising include information about actions it takes toward environmental responsibility?
15. Does your company have a formal statement regarding responsibility toward CSR? What department addresses concerns or offers suggestions for changes or actions?
16. If legislation was to be introduced regarding corporate responsibility socially and environmentally, what concerns would your company have on the effect on corporate activity?
17. Do you feel the government should set standards for corporate responsibility regarding the environment? If so, with an issue as complex as this one, should a separate governmental department be set up for actions?
18. Europe presently has 15 countries actively engage in the development of public policy and regulation of CSR regulation. The reviews of the results are mixed. What would you suggest to increase the results of these actions without inhibiting corporate profitability?
19. Would you consider entering into a partnership for CSR with other companies?
20. Would you consider the partnership if it included competitors?
Aggarwal, P. (2013). Relationship between Environmental Responsibility and Financial
Performance of Firm: A Literature Review. IOSR Journal of Business and Management,
Al-Tuwaijri, S., Christensen, T. and Hughes, K. (2004). The Relations Among Environmental
Disclosure, Environmental Performance, and Economic Performance: A Simultaneous
Equations Approach. SSRN Journal.
Bacher, D. (2015). Western States Petroleum Association Spent $8.9M Lobbying Against
Climate and Fracking Efforts in California Last Year. [online] DeSmogBlog. Available
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Benjamin, R. (2015). Corporate Responsibility and the Environment by Rowland Benjamin.
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[Accessed 3 Feb. 2015].
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Eco-Efficiency. European Financial Management, 17(4), pp.679-704.
Hg.org, (2015). Environment Law - Guide to Environmental and Natural Resources Law –
HG.org. [online] Available at: http://www.hg.org/environ.html [Accessed 11 Feb. 2015].
Hay, B., Stavins, R. and Vietor, R. (2005). Environmental protection and the social
responsibility of firms. Washington, DC: Resources for the Future.
Mazyrjuewucz, P. (2013). CORPORATE ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY: Is a common
CSR framework possible?. World Bank.
Nakao, Y., Amano, A., Matsumura, K., Genba, K. and Nakano, M. (2007). Relationship between
environmental performance and financial performance: an empirical analysis of japanese
corporations. Bus. Strat. Env., 16(2), pp.106-118.
Salls, M. (2005). Corporate Responsibility and the Environment: What is the Right Thing To
Do? — HBS Working Knowledge. [online] Hbswk.hbs.edu. Available at:
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