Ethics in decision making has been actively tied to the success and failure of businesses. In a world where social causes are becoming more relevant, the private sector has been forced to adopt corporate social responsibilities as a way of giving back to their communities, and their customers.
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Kumar (2017a) argues that the private sector is one of the most significant contributors to the sustainable development goals set up by the United Nations. Indeed, according to Kumar (2017b), companies that are involved in actions and activities of social responsibility perform better than those that are not.
Corporate social responsibility can be defined as actions by a business that prove accountability of their activities, and that ensures the company’s responsibility for their impact on environmental and social wellbeing.
It is important to note that whereas many people believe that corporate social responsibility should be communal activities that give back to the community, the term also includes activities that give profit to the company, but still improve the wellbeing of target communities.
The essay looks into the ethics and social responsibility structure of Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola has divided its corporate social responsibility into seven sections. The sections are the environment, education, community, active and healthy living, in-kind, humanitarian disaster relief, and other health initiatives. The essay looks into the active and healthy living social responsibility angle.
Coca-Cola uses 1% of its total annual sales to its corporate social responsibilities activities. The chosen business decision is the start of the production of low sugar products, such as Coke Zero, by the identified company. The business decision was reached after complaints were registered on the company’s use of sugar in their beverages. The fact that the company’s most prominent beverage, Coca-Cola, contained caffeine, also made it addictive.
Health concerns over the drinks produced by the company arose. The company shifted sales focus to Africa and other third world countries to mitigate the concerns. The said countries had not been involved in the awareness campaigns surrounding the company’s beverages and their impact on health.
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The move was seen as unethical as the same health concerns the US and the UK had, would affect people in the third world. It is upon this premise that the company developed several low-sugar and no-sugar beverages, such as Coke Zero.
Potential Ethical Implications
It is important to mention that the corporate social responsibility chosen is the promotion of active, healthy living in all communities (Dudovskiy, 2015). It can be argued that the decision was ethical and had ethical implications. One such ethical implication was the provision of healthy options the company gave its clients.
Indeed, the healthier beverage option helped clients manage their weight and health better. Obesity is at its highest in the US, with many of the affected blaming fast foods and soft drinks. There were no adverse ethical repercussions for the decision made.
Effect on the Decision Making Process
To the general public, the decision to produce low-sugar and no-sugar products meant two things. The first thing is that the company cared for its clients and was willing to make products that suit the clients. Secondly, the decision also proved that the customer is always right.
To the company, the decision led to an even broader approach to ethical and social responsibility. Songmi, Han-Suk, and Minjung (2017) observe that the company was able to make more profits after the introduction of Coke Zero. The ideology was founded on the fact that the beverage ‘Coke’ is the most common beverage in the company.
Coca Cola’s Corporate Social Responsibility
It is important to note that Coca Cola’s corporate social responsibility focuses on various angles. The company applies its corporate social responsibility in multiple ways. First, as is in this case, corporate social responsibility is applied to make crucial business decisions.
The decision to start producing low-sugar and no-sugar products is as much an ethical decision as it is a business decision. It is also important to point out that the company uses its corporate social responsibility to better the environment and wellbeing of communities around the world. For instance, their environment program under corporate social responsibility supports the use of clean energy (Dudovskiy, 2015).
Influence of the Corporate Social Responsibility
As stated, the corporate social responsibility chosen is the active promotion of healthy living through the production of healthier beverages. Coca-Cola spends 16% of its social responsibility budget on promoting healthier lifestyle choices through the production of healthier beverage options (Dudovskiy, 2015).
The decision had a lot of influence in the company. First, it improved the public image of the company. The public believed that the company had their best interest at heart. Secondly, the decision, albeit the company redefined corporate social responsibility by introducing deliberate business actions that affect the livelihoods and wellbeing of their clientele.
Application of Critical Thinking to Corporate Social Responsibility
Critical thinking is very important in corporate social responsibility. Young-Ju, Suk-Chul, and Jae-Woong (2017) confirm that companies have to deliberate over every decision they make in regards to corporate social responsibility as such decisions also affect business and profitability.
The chosen ethical decision, which also has a corporate social responsibility angle, takes on both a company and a social approach. Through critical thinking, the decision made has increased sales, in turn, has also increased profits. On the other hand, the same decision has allowed the company’s clientele to get healthier beverages. Through the company’s corporate social responsibility program, the healthier options are availed in all countries in the world.
It can be argued that critical thinking was also applied with regard to the other corporate social responsibility activities associated with the company. For instance, the company uses 25% of its social responsibility budget on environment-related activities, including water consumption (Dudovskiy, 2015).
Indeed, one can rightfully argue that the company consumes a lot of water, seeing all their products are water-based. Thus, by ensuring water consumption is not only regulated but also made more accessible, the business also provides that its raw materials are readily available.
In conclusion, critical thinking is very important when companies are developing their corporate social responsibility policies and strategies. In the case of Coca-Cola, social responsibility is seen both as an excellent opportunity to give back to the community while still making profits at the same time.
Whereas the company has seven elements in their corporate social responsibility policy, the essay analyzed one – healthy living. Through critical thinking, the company was able to produce healthier beverage options for its clientele. The deliberate decision also had an impact on the company’s image.
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Through the corporate social responsibility policy, the company was able to prove to the public that it cares for each client’s needs. One can argue that social responsibility goes hand in hand with the ethics of the organization. In the case of Coca-Cola, the premise is correct.
Dudovskiy, J. (2015). Coca Cola Corporate Social Responsibility. Research Methodology.
Kumar, S. (2017a). Corporate Social Responsibility (Triple Bottam line); A Technology serves the company and Society. International Journal of Recent Research Aspects, 4(3), 118-125.
Kumar, S. (2017b). Position and technology of corporate social responsibility in company management. International Journal of Recent Research Aspects, 4(3), 126-131.
Songmi, K., Han-Suk, L., & Minjung, R. (2017). How multinational corporations can utilize corporate social responsibility. Social Behavior & Personality: An International Journal, 45(3), 413-426.
Young-Ju, J., Suk-Chul, P., & Jae-Woong, Y. (2017). Effects of corporate social responsibility on consumer credibility perception and attitude toward luxury brands. Social Behavior & Personality: An International Journal, 45(5), 795-808.