Why would companies fall short in terms of public opinion of their overall CSR efforts

In the second half of the article, several major corporations are lauded for their CSR efforts. In your opinion, are these companies deserving of this acclaim? Do you think public perception of these brands matches the opinion of the article? Evaluate the following companies based on a] your knowledge/opinion b] your assessment of public opinion

  • TD Bank

From my experience and knowledge, TD Bank plays an important role in the local community. Like it is mentioned in the textbook article that speaks for the public opinion, TD Bank is an active and responsible community member that makes a positive impact wherever its employees live and work. The thing I love about TD Bank is that TD Bank hires people from many different cultures. Unlike RBC or Scotia Bank, their employees are diverse in culture. The reason why I like this is because it represents the Mosaic culture of Canada. Also I personally like this because when my mother who is not fluent in English needs to go to the bank, she does not have to always rely on me for help because almost any TD Bank branch they have a Korean speaking teller who can help her with the service. Therefore, subjectively I think TD Bank is promoting their socially responsible action well to demonstrate in themselves in the community.

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  • Telus

Telus have been creating their brand image associated with future friendliness. Much recently, social responsibility has gone mainstream Telus started to follow the trend and tries to build up to create socially responsible image of the company. However, like all other telecommunication service company Telus have been criticised for poor customer services and their tricky voice and data plans. I think, without doing their core business right, socially responsible action would not help their business do better.

 

  • Walmart

Walmart has been accused of using predatory pricing in selected market areas to drive smaller retailers out of business. Walmart has become a lightning rod for protests by people who worry that the mega-retailer’s practices will destroy the local businesses. Also, Walmart has been squeezing their employees and pay lowest wages possible so that they can provide customers with the lowest price possible. In 2011, Walmart Canada, whose network of 300 stores has been committed to implementing sustainable practices including its goal of having 100 percent of its energy come from renewable sources, to generating zero waste, and to supplying products that sustain both people and the environment. Walmart has emerged in recent years as the world’s super “eco-nanny” However, people does not like the fact that Walmart is not treating their employees in suitable manner. I think workers should be recognised not as ‘human resources’ who must be efficiently put to use by the company, but as the people who create the worth of the company and as such should determine their conditions of labour.

 

  • Starbucks

Starbucks’s comprehensive approach to ethical sourcing, using responsible purchasing practices; economic accountability demonstrated social responsibility and environmental leadership. Their C.A.F.E (Coffee and Farmer Equity) practices is guiding their way to the socially responsible company. From my Starbucks fanatic friends, I heard many good stories about how wonderful Starbucks is doing with their fair trade program. So I have done some research if they are actually doing well with the fair trade. Soon I found out that Starbucks’ C.A.F.E standards are focused on the farm level, not on Starbucks’ own commitment to farmers in terms or long-term stability. Unlike genuine faire trade standards, the C.A.F.E program standards do not specify either a minimum price or a standard for negotiating price that would guarantee a fair price for small farmers. It seems like Starbucks’ own in-house program is not as promising as it seems.

 

  • PepsiCo

Pepsi is a well-known company worldwide and we are aware of their infamously unhealthy Pepsi cola. Like all other soft drink it is unhealthy to drink too much of it. However, PepsiCo has hired a team of scientists to help it develop a larger portfolio of healthy product options, such as the new Trop50 brand. This attractive idea of “making the bad stuff less bad” has changed people’s view of the unhealthy PepsiCo to “less unhealthy and bit more healthy” company. Pepsi’s change in their business does not stop there and they made an efforts to act on socially responsible way.

Their Pepsi ReFresh Project redefines its flagship brand as not just a soft drink but as an agent for world changer.

 

In my opinion, all of these company are well worthy to be lauded for their CSR efforts because they are acting on socially responsible and environmentally responsible movements in different part and different areas of the industry and field. Companies cannot always focus on the social and environmental perspective, but it is a great effort for them to make some changes in how they run the business. Furthermore, it is a great leap for them to adopting broad based “change the world” idea.

 

 

 

 

 

If any of these companies falls short in terms of public opinion of their overall CSR efforts what is the reason? Is it a communications issue (they aren’t promoting CSR as part of their brand)? Or is it that their CSR activities do not make enough impact to mitigate other negative impressions caused by the effects of their business activities? What should these companies do to improve a) their reputation as Socially Responsible Companies and b] their actual CSR

 

Some of these companies already have fall short in terms of public opinion of their overall CSR efforts. Consider Walmart as an example, Walmart Canada, whose network of 300 stores has been committed to implementing sustainable practices including its goal of having 100 percent of its energy come from renewable sources. Their CSR is promotion of “eco-nanny” image is not solving any problems with their notorious image of treating their employees with lowest possible lifestyle will look great by the public.

Pepsi’s “healthy products brand” like Tropicana and Quaker Oats is a great attempt to make the society healthy. However, Pepsi’s investors were skeptical about Pepsi’s socially responsible vision. So Pepsi stepped out from the “performance with a purpose” business strategy. The Pepsi case shows that doing good does not always lead to doing well financially. If the company is not doing financially well, investor will intervene the works of C.E.O to divert back on the track where beyond the occasional symbolic act, their sole objective is to maximize profit, and by any means. The ruthless investors focus on the financial result and their pressure on C.E.O.s to keep those results in line gives companies little incentive to continue their focus on social impact when their profits are at risk.The company cannot blame their investor for their failure of CRS activities. However, it is difficult to just say that CSR department should have communicated better with the public to make enough profit or they should have convinced the investors.

If I were a head of CSR I would ask myself whether I have any idea what is going on in my company, or whether I am complicit in activities that go directly against my supposed remit. Am I helping my company make more profits? Which is more important to me: the sustainability of the company, or that of the planet and people? Which is of greater value.In short, CSR has failed. CRS department should spark companies to rethink their priorities and just what the job of their CSR department is.

 

 

 

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