As stated in the ISO 26000 guidelines, when enterprises act in an ethical and fair way, they contribute to the development of social welfare. Ethical conduct implies fair recruitment and HR activities, implementation of green technologies, charity, consideration of needs and interests of diverse stakeholders. By following the principles of corporate social responsibility (CSR), not only organizations can improve their performance, but also generate multiple benefits for consumers and the society as a whole. When speaking of Host Europe, one of the largest German web hosting enterprises, throughout the time of its existence, it demonstrated the understanding of ethics and CSR and continually tried to enhance its performance in the given areas. However, there is still room to grow. The major CSR issues identified by the management of Host Europe include underrepresentation of female employees, insufficient staff awareness of green practices, inefficient energy consumption, and inadequate supply chain management.
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The statistical data indicates that along with the expansion of business operations and profitability growth, there was a significant increase in the level of energy consumption in Host Europe. Throughout the period from 2005 to 2009, the consumption of electric power increased sevenfold. The numbers emphasize the importance of energy efficiency endeavors in the company. Until the current moment, the measures to improve energy efficiency undertaken by Host Europe included the construction of energy-efficient facilities, implementation of certified technologies, and virtualization which fostered a more efficient use of hardware. Overall, these strategies allowed the management to attain greater ecological sustainability, e.g., save over 9.000 tons of carbon dioxide per year. However, to achieve even better results, the company should also address the issues of employees’ awareness of energy efficiency practices. For this reason, the management should improve knowledge management practices; design training and education programs; create databases where all staff members will be able to locate information on ecological sustainability; enforce policies, and emphasize the significance of energy efficiency through the integration of new values into the corporate culture.
Host Europe’s orientation towards fair recruiting and HR practices points that the management acknowledges the importance of the company’s employees and tries to encourage their commitment. The fact that women are currently underrepresented in the organization may indicate that the enterprise applies some discriminatory HR management practices or it may reveal the overall social discriminatory and stereotyping tendencies. Host Europe may improve the situation through the implementation of advocacy programs aimed to promote the employment and payment equality and motivate women to engage in the field of information technology. In this way, the company could also resolve the issue of limited social commitment. As it is mentioned in the case study, the participation in different awareness-raising events is one of the ways for Europe Host to embrace its CSR.
The core principles of CSR are accountability, transparency, ethical conduct, respect for law, human rights, and ecological regulations. It is possible to say that Host Europe largely succeeded in implementing those principles. If the organization continues to integrate CSR values throughout the organizational units and processes, e.g., enforce voluntary initiatives, increase supply chain sustainability, build awareness in all employees, etc., it will become able to generate extra benefits such as positive reputation, competitive advantages, employee retention, increased productivity and employee morale. It this way, the company’s financial performance will be improved and, additionally, Host Europe will make a significant contribution to the promotion of social well-being.