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Corporate Social Responsibility: Environmental Impact

Introduction

Modern industries are built on the corporations’ success as the large-scale businesses generate jobs, develop infrastructures and push the technologies forward. Companies, their culture, and values integrate into societies, and it is crucial for the executives to establish values that would help people thrive. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a concept of addressing the issues and needs of society through firms’ activities and voluntary initiatives (Chen et al., 2019). Businesses enhance their CSR programs not only to improve customer experience and employees’ well-being but also to make regions of their origin a better place. Furthermore, environmental issues emerge today, therefore corporations that influence the situation worldwide must address the sustainability challenge (Camilleri, 2017). Companies that encourage employees to impact the ecological conditions actively and display the responsibility to their customers can considerably decrease the damage industries make on nature.

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CSR becomes a foundation to establish and promote initiatives to protect the planet and resources for future generations. Indeed, companies such as PwC, Microsoft, and Lego have already implemented programs to decrease the environmental damage and support sustainability approaches for their industries (Hanson et al., 2019). Having CSR as a part of business culture has benefits and disadvantages: although programs might profoundly impact ecology, they also can lead to internal financial or structural problems. Consequently, the question of sustainability-based CSR initiatives’ efficiency requires evaluation and development of optimal strategies. Moreover, such programs must suit businesses’ marketing and branding, therefore the way customers perceive such responsibilities is also considerable (Hanson et al., 2019). This paper aims to discuss the efficiency of CSR from the perspective of companies’ environmental impact.

Literature Review

CSR and environmental initiatives are being continuously explored by the economy, ecology, psychology, and marketing scientists. The relationship between sustainability, damage and impact of the industries, and the approaches to improve the conditions frequently appear in recent scholarly articles. Although the ultimate strategy to address the environmental problems such as water pollution or carbon emission through CSR does not exist, researchers suggest that corporate culture can decrease the range of these issues severity (Kim, Kim, and Oh, 2018). Leading industries vary between countries, therefore business leaders form sustainability practices based on particular challenges. Research reveals that both developing and developed countries expect large companies to exercise environmental protection, and CSR is a suitable strategy to adjust employees’ behaviors and inform consumers about the initiatives (Ali, Frynas, and Mahmood, 2017). Consequently, CSR-based activities’ efficiency can be evaluated through society’s awareness of and opinion about them.

Management and economics studies provide insight and evidence to the impact of integrating environmental protection programs as CSR for large companies. The peer-reviewed articles suggest that while the sustainability support initiatives might become an additional part of a corporation’s expenses, they enhance branding and increase the customers’ trust (Taylor, Vihayathil, and Yim, 2018). Furthermore, Taylor, Vihayathil, and Yim (2018, p. 975) claim that “engagement in social responsibility, rather than merely sponsoring environmental initiatives, contributes to increasing firm value through CSR.” The studies support the implementation of environmental protection programs to the corporate responsibilities for the businesses of manufacturing and goods production industries (Chen et al., 2019). Sustainability-related initiatives generate the additional platform to promote a company, make its mission considerable for employees and clients, and help address current ecological challenges.

Recent studies include analyzing the corporate operations during times of uncertainty, exploring the approaches companies had to their CSRs’ as the COVID-19 outbreak led to the worldwide pandemic. Economic damage and difficulties caused by lockdowns and difficult healthcare situations in most countries encouraged businesses to revise and change their mission and culture. Consequently, corporations shifted their focus to more ethical decision-making, began promoting well-being and social responsibility programs for the consumers, and established various marketing campaigns to address environmental and healthcare issues (He and Harris, 2020). In 2020, the number of social and sustainability initiatives launched by large companies doubled, and funding for CSR-based activities increased by more than 10% (He and Harris, 2020). The way industries perceive CSR also changed because the uncertain times forced the leaders to unite their employees under the shared values and responsibilities.

Researches conducted from the inside of the leading companies discovered that the profound impact of the environmental CSR initiatives is related to the employees’ perception of such programs. Scientists studied 374 survey responses to indicate that workers’ citizenship behaviors and dedication to a job increase if their corporate culture encourages them to take responsibility for sustainable and ecology-friendly practices (Cheema, Afsar, and Javed, 2019). Literature review reveals that measuring the efficiency of CRS’s environmental impact must address financial, social, sustainability, and people’s perception sides.

Methodology

Investigation of CSR efficiency from the perspective of companies’ environmental impact requires identifying the most common practices of industries’ leaders and assessing how exercising them influences economic, social, and ecological conditions. Furthermore, the benefits and drawbacks of CSR programs must be mentioned to understand the challenges and limitations of integrating them into corporate culture (Lu et al., 2021). The appropriate methodology for the investigation is to randomly select at least three large businesses, explore their CSR sustainability-based programs, assess their relation to the brand, gather feedback from the employees, and evaluate the costs.

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The selected companies are PwC, Lego, and Microsoft, as their sustainability-related programs are impactful and international. Indeed, PwC’s CSR includes volunteer opportunities for employees to participate in biological research has the Net Zero commitment that addresses the main environmental challenges (PwC, 2021). Microsoft initiates energy-saving initiatives by developing advanced technologies and promoting mindful electricity consumption (Microsoft, 2021). Lego reduces waste by decreasing plastic in their packages and offering the CSR opportunity for the customers to give their old lego bricks to charity (Lego, 2021). All companies prioritize developing practices to decrease greenhouse gas emissions as the global warming challenge rises in the modern world, and their operations such as mining and logistics influence the severity of the situation. The employees find such initiatives profound and submit that being a part of a sustainability supporting program motivates them to keep working (Nave and Ferreira, 2019). The CSR practices’ financial side does not lead to internal problems because sustainability initiatives are based on processes’ optimization and attract new customers who share the ecology protection values.

Results

Literature review and companies’ CSR analysis revealed that the environmental initiatives are efficient for the world’s sustainability improvement and businesses’ operations. Indeed, production optimization, programs for employees to impact sustainability, and activities that help decrease human damage on ecology are highly valued in societies worldwide. Nave and Ferreira (2019, p. 888) state that “major companies around the world are ensured the implementation of their CSR strategies throughout their organizational structures with specialized resources.” Three examples of businesses with CSR practices submitted that environmental initiatives are efficient.

Conclusion

CSR is necessary for the companies to support and practice their values for encouraging employees to share them, profoundly influence customers’ loyalty, and increase brand awareness. The activities are tied to corporate culture from the inside and can address different challenges from the outside, and the most urgent of those are the sustainability-related ones. Literature review and analysis of the businesses’ initiatives proved the hypothesis that CSR is efficient from the perspective of firms’ environmental impact.

Reference List

Ali, W., Frynas, J.G. and Mahmood, Z. (2017) ‘Determinants of corporate social responsibility (CSR) disclosure in developed and developing countries: A literature review’, Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 24(4), pp. 273-294.

Camilleri, M.A. (2017) ‘Corporate sustainability and responsibility: creating value for business, society and the environment’, Asian Journal of Sustainability and Social Responsibility, 2(1), pp. 59-74.

Chen, Y.H., Nie, P.Y., Wang, C. and Meng, Y. (2019) ‘Effects of corporate social responsibility considering emission restrictions’, Energy Strategy Reviews, 24, pp. 121-131.

Cheema, S., Afsar, B. and Javed, F. (2020) ‘Employees’ corporate social responsibility perceptions and organizational citizenship behaviors for the environment: The mediating roles of organizational identification and environmental orientation fit’, Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 27(1), pp. 9-21.

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Hanson, S., Jiang, L., Ye, J. and Murthy, N. (2019) ‘Society or the environment? Understanding how consumers evaluate brand messages about corporate social responsibility activities’, Journal of Brand Management, 26(1), pp. 21-34.

He, H. and Harris, L. (2020) ‘The impact of Covid-19 pandemic on corporate social responsibility and marketing philosophy’, Journal of Business Research, 116, pp. 176-182.

Kim, M., Kim, B. and Oh, S. (2018) ‘Relational benefit on satisfaction and durability in strategic corporate social responsibility’, Sustainability, 10(4), p. 1104.

Lego (2021) Environment. Web.

Lu, J., Liang, M., Zhang, C., Rong, D., Guan, H., Mazeikaite, K. and Streimikis, J. (2021) ‘Assessment of corporate social responsibility by addressing sustainable development goals’, Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 28(2), pp. 686-703.

Microsoft (2021) Corporate social responsibility. Web.

Nave, A. and Ferreira, J. (2019) ‘Corporate social responsibility strategies: Past research and future challenges’, Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 26(4), pp. 885-901.

PwC (2021) Environmental stewardship. Web.

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Taylor, J., Vithayathil, J. and Yim, D., 2018. ‘Are corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives such as sustainable development and environmental policies value-enhancing or window dressing?’, Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 25(5), pp. 971-980.

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