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Social Responsibility: Starbucks, New Belgium Brewing and CVS

The impact of ethical issues on CSR strategies is illustrated in the cases of Starbucks, New Belguim Brewing, and CVS. The case of Starbucks presented in the book by Ferrell, Fraedrich, and Ferrell (2017) refers to the homogenization of the market and the role of employee happiness. According to the chapter, the work of the company is associated with a wide range of positive innovations for its employees and key stakeholders. As is clear from the decisions taken by the upper management of the company, it regards social responsibility and the necessity to contribute to social health as one of the key areas of attention. The case illustrates the company’s willingness to address ethical dilemmas and, therefore, improve employee satisfaction.

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Among the ethical scenarios mentioned in the case is the need to improve the company’s social image and build a competitive advantage over its business rivals. The particular actions taken to fulfill this goal include increasing access to health benefits and collaborating with philanthropy organizations to give money to medical research. Apart from that, a significant decision refers to the creation of a “Shared planet” project that helps Starbucks to demonstrate its commitment to environmental principles and farmer support (Ferrell et al., 2017, p. 397). The impact of these working practices on social responsibility cannot be overstated since they help the company to prove that their coffee products are ethical and contribute to HIV prevention and control.

The case of New Belgium Brewing, one of the largest breweries in the United States also illustrates the importance of employee satisfaction and ethical decision-making (Ferrell et al., 2017). Working in two locations, the company does its best to strike the right balance between pecuniary benefits and commitment to ethical standards. Ethical dilemmas mentioned in the case include the choice of employee benefits. Thus, unlike many companies in the industry, New Belgium Brewing provides its employees with free lunch and spa-like services to improve employee well-being.

When it comes to the environmental-based ethical issues of New Belgium Brewing, the company decided to switch to the use of wind power and focus on utilizing recyclable materials in an attempt to make the business more eco-friendly. These cases had a major impact on the company’s social responsibility. Introducing these innovations, the company has managed to strengthen its social responsibility strategy. Nowadays, eco-friendliness is among the key concepts related to social responsibility (Flammer, 2013). Consequently, the decision to rely on renewable sources of energy makes the company stand out as many breweries fail to reduce air pollution.

The third case refers to the ethical challenges of the Consumer Value Store founded fifty-five years ago. CVS was one of the fastest-growing companies in the pharmaceutical sector, but its financial success was blighted because the company was accused of the misuse of patient information. Another ethical scenario mentioned in the case involves the use of unlawful practices to fatten the company’s profit – many healthcare specialists were urged to prescribe only medications distributed by CVS. On the one hand, these challenges riddled the company’s reputation, but on the other hand, they motivated CVS to improve its strategy and become more socially responsible.

In an attempt to restore its reputation, the company initiated “Pharmacy Advisor and Maintenance Choice” programs that help patients to follow medical recommendations (Ferrell et al., 2017, p. 635). In addition, CVS expresses its commitment to social responsibility in its mobile apps that are helpful to consumers with disabilities who cannot visit their stores physically. Along with the refusal to distribute tobacco products, the above-mentioned measures help CVS to stand out and redefine its social image.

In the end, all three companies have managed to consider their negative experience to make their business processes more socially responsible. The commitment to social responsibility, as is clear from the cases, manifests itself in the attitude to employees, partners, and natural resources. The outcomes of changes indicate that becoming socially responsible is a key step on the road to success.

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Ferrell, O. C., Fraedrich, J., & Ferrell, L. (2017). Business ethics: Ethical decision making & cases (11th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Flammer, C. (2013). Corporate social responsibility and shareholder reaction: The environmental awareness of investors. Academy of Management Journal, 56(3), 758-781.

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