Introduction

The corporate social responsibility is a central issue in the prevailing business management setting. The corporate social responsibility refers to the organizational approach that contributes to the sustainable development of the business by delivering social, environmental and economic benefits for all the involved stakeholders of the concern (Hofman, Moon & Wu, 2017). The robust CSR model of organizations helps them to be potential employers for the employees (Lexicon.ft.com, 2018).

This report basically focuses on CSR models of three highly reputed business entities namely Microsoft, Apple and American Express so that the approach that they adopt to conduct their business operations can be assessed in the process. Since the CSR model of a concern has a direct relationship with the organizational attractiveness, the same has been evaluated using facts, reports and other readings (Morozova, 2011).

The objective of the report is to understand the manner in which these businesses conduct their operations and at the same time committing themselves to the needs and requirements of other stakeholders. The intention is to identify the overriding approach to their CSR model of that the CSR aspects that are not covered by these business entities can be identified. Thus the overall CSR approach of these reputed undertakings has been highlighted in the report.

Analysis and Comparison

Focus on environment

Microsoft –

All the business undertakings irrespective of their size and nature must use sustainable operation practices so that it can have a minimum adverse impact on the environment and the community. According to the “Microsoft 2015 Citizenship Report”, the business entity adopts responsible practices and processes so that environmental and community sustainability can be ensured in the process (Microsoft.com, 2018). The Information Technology-based firm believes that the sustainable business operations can help it to solve the urgent energy and environmental challenges.  

It tries to bring about sustainability through its offerings and platform capabilities. Its strong commitment has been highlighted in its “Environmental Principles and Climate Change Policy Statement” (Microsoft.com, 2018). The business has a global corporate environmen­tal strategic team that helps it to strengthen its supply chain model, procurement system, research process, real estate and facilities system and legal and corporate affairs. Microsoft is committed to reducing its carbon footprint of its business operation (Shogren & Toman, 2000).

Apple Inc. –

In 2015 Apple was named as the top manufacturer among all brands by the “Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs” (IPE) (Apple.com, 2018). The technology-based business is known for its robust CSR model. It collaborates with its suppliers so that it can enforce the strict environmental practices and policies to protect the environment and the communities. In order to minimize its carbon footprint, Apple keeps a tab on its greenhouse gas emissions and pollution (Tai & Chuang, 2014).

In the same year, it had even introduced a waste diversion program at its 22 plants so that it could assist its suppliers to reduce, recycle and reuse while conducting the operations. In the July month, “Foxconn Guanlan” became its very first supplier that adopts this strategic model to responsibly dispose of its production waste materials (Apple.com, 2018). The Apple Inc. has even adopted water-intensive processes so that it can adopt a more conscious water management model.

American Express Company –

The service model of American Express revolves around various stakeholders including the external environment in which it functions. In 2015, 91 percent of the papers that were produced in the firm’s U.S. direct marketing efforts were certified as being produced from the sustainably managed jungles. In the same year, the business entity reduced its carbon emission by 10 percent as compared to the year 2011. Its energy efficiency has increased by 38 percent as compared to that of 2011 (About.americanexpress.com, 2018).

For the purpose of strengthening its positive impact on the environmental setting, the American Express business adopts sustainable and ethical approach while performing its business operations. The business tries to introduce innovative business models so that the communities and the environment can benefit from its very existence (About.americanexpress.com, 2018).

All the three business entities give high significance to the environment in which they function so that they can have a positive impact on it. In the current business environment, this approach is a necessity because it motivates the customers to prefer the offerings of an ethical business concern.

CSR Approach

Microsoft –

The CSR model of Microsoft focuses on a number of areas such as the ethical business conduct and governance, empowering the community in which it functions, human rights of the workers, responsible sourcing and manufacturing process, and environmental sustainability. The fundamental objective of this brand scope of the CSR model is to make a positive change in the business setting.

Microsoft uses its innovative system to make sure that its stakeholders including the customers, local agencies, government, partners and suppliers benefit from its existence. Its CSR policies and programs have been carefully designed so that it can act as a solid guiding framework for the organization. Its CSR approach has been highlighted in the diagrammatic representation below. It basically revolves around the principles, people and the entire planet (Kanji & Agrawal, 2016).

Apple Inc. –

The “Supplier Responsibility 2016 Progress Report” of Apple Inc. highlights the core CSR model that guides the concern to perform its business operations (Apple.com, 2018). The main areas that have been encompassed buy its CSR model include the accountability, labor and human rights, empowering of the Apple workers, and the environment, health and safety aspects. The scope is carefully modelled so that all the stakeholders can be integrated into the process. The ultimate objective of the business entity is to strengthen the position of the stakeholders in the process (Apple.com, 2018).

The CSR model makes sure that all the stakeholders feel empowered in the environment and do not feel neglected by Apple Inc. concern. The regular “Supplier Responsibility Report Audit” is conducted by the business so that its high standards of environmental and social responsibility can be ensured throughout the process (Kanji & Agrawal, 2016). The business makes sure to involve its suppliers in the process so that their issues and challenges can be solved in the best way possible.

American Express Company –

The business primarily focuses on its service ethos, people, customers and partners, communities and the environment. According to American Express Company 2015 Corporate Social Responsibility Report, the concern has integrated its CSR model in its very organizational vision (About.americanexpress.com, 2018). The service ethos of the concern inspires its culture of high-performance and sustainability. The diagrammatic representation highlights the main areas of its CSR model.

Focus on the human rights

Microsoft-

The business entity makes sure that the best possible business environment is created for its workers. Microsoft makes surer that it focuses on the human rights component while performing its operations. It focuses on the collaborative effort so that the freedom of expression of the employees and their privacy can be ensured in the business setting. While working on its cloud services, it has ensured to use the most effective privacy model so that the confidential information of the users and the employees can be protected by the business undertaking.

One of the primary objectives of the CSR model of Microsoft is to provide protection to the rights of the vulnerable population. It tries to strengthen its technological environment so that the basic rights of its employees, staff members and workers can be strengthened throughout the process. It has designed its CSR model in a unique manner so that it can recognize and eliminate the child sexual abuse from the environment.

Apple Inc. –

One of the key components of Apple Inc.’s corporate social responsibility is its focus on the labor and human rights. The main components that have been included in this model include the anti-discrimination, anti-harassment and abuse, prevention of involuntary labor, prevention of underage labor in the business setting, control over the working hours, wages, benefits and contracts, and grievance mechanism. Its determined approach has helped the business undertaking to experience significant progress in this area. In the year 2015, the business concern strengthened its dispatch labor audit criteria and went ahead of China’s new 2016 law.

The business gives high relevance to the basic human rights of its employees. Any kind of violation in the process can have serious consequences for the violating party (Apple.com, 2018).  The strict model has been introduced by Apple so that it can have a solid control over the underage labor, involuntary labor and human trafficking. The business also makes sure that a proper and healthy work environment is created for its employees all around its business branches (Kanji & Agrawal, 2016).

American Express Company –

American Express Company gives high priority to all of its stakeholders while carrying out its business operations. It believes that its most valuable resource is its people or the human resource because they serve as the voice of the brand in the competitive business environment. The CSR model is designed in such a way so that the employees can be well-informed about the business principles, practices priorities and strategic models in the organizational environment (Kanji & Agrawal, 2016).

The CSR model motivates its business leaders to take regular feedback from its employees and staff members through its annual employee survey – “The Pulse”. In order to strengthen the gender equality in its business setting, over 50 percent of its global employees and 30 percent of its senior executives are females. Such an approach helps in fostering a diverse culture. It provides necessary training and development to its employees so that it can boost the high potential employees and thus strengthen their productivity.

The two highly popular programs include Accelerated Leadership Development (ALD) and Accelerate Your Growth (AYG). The former program focuses on strengthening its global pipeline of senior management. The latter model focuses on filling the pipeline relating to the future Vice Presidents (VPs) by developing its managers and directors (About.americanexpress.com, 2018). Thus in order to strengthen its labor force, the business undertaking focuses on the performance advantage, talent development and diversification and inclusion.

For the purpose of empowering its employees, the business concern has introduced flexible working hours so that they can have a work-life balance. The ultimate objective is to help the employees achieve financial wellness. Similarly, the CSR model of the business focuses on the “Employee recognition and engagement” so that the contributions of the employees can be encouraged in the best way possible (About.americanexpress.com, 2018).

Conclusion

The CSR model of the most reputed business entities has been highlighted in this report. The fundamental objective is to understand how their approach towards their social responsibility helps these firms to strengthen their brand image and ultimate brand performance. The various sources such as the official reports, readings and news that have been used indicate that these business entities focus on their internal stakeholders as well as their external stakeholders. The key aspects that are included in their CSR model include their respective employees, the end customers, the environment, the government, etc. The objective of the businesses is to make a positive change in the society so that all the involved parties can benefit from its existence and operations. The “stakeholders” is the central point in the CSR models of the business so that their needs and requirements can be met by the business undertaking in the best way possible.

Recommendations

In order to strengthen the positive impact of these business firms on the business setting, they must try to integrate technology with their current corporate social responsibility model. Such an approach can help them to strengthen their technological environment and it can also strengthen their professional approach while conducting the operational activities.

In order to be more socially responsible, these firms must first try to bring about a positive change in their administrative process. Then gradually they can try to positively change their business approach as per the external business setting.

The business firms must identify the current gaps in their respective CSR model so that the most effective resources and strategies can be adopted by the concerns.  Thus the best recommendation for Microsoft, Apple Inc and American Express Company would be to effectively unite and share the suitable practices and innovative initiatives in their CSR approach. The guidelines must be followed in the best possible way so that there is no discrepancy while conducting the business operations.

References

About.americanexpress.com. 2018. American Express Company 2015 Corporate Social Responsibility Report. [online] Available at: http://about.americanexpress.com/csr/docs/Amex-CSR-Report-Full-2015.pdf [Accessed 3 Feb. 2018].

Apple.com. 2018. Supplier Responsibility 2016 Progress Report. [online] Available at: https://www.apple.com/au/supplier-responsibility/pdf/Apple_SR_2016_Progress_Report.pdf [Accessed 3 Feb. 2018].

Hofman, P.S., Moon, J. and Wu, B., 2017. Corporate social responsibility under authoritarian capitalism: Dynamics and prospects of state-led and society-driven CSR. Business & Society, 56(5), pp.651-671.

Kanji, R. and Agrawal, R., 2016. Models of corporate social responsibility: Comparison, evolution and convergence. IIM Kozhikode Society & Management Review, 5(2), pp.141-155.

Lexicon.ft.com. 2018. Corporate Social Responsibility (Csr) Definition from Financial Times Lexicon. [online] Available at: http://lexicon.ft.com/Term?term=corporate-social-responsibility–(CSR) [Accessed 3 Feb. 2018].

Morozova, I.S., 2011. Corporate social responsibility in an information society. Knowledge. Insight. Skill, (6).

Microsoft.com. 2018. Corporate Social Responsibility | Microsoft. [online] Available at: https://www.microsoft.com/about/csr/transparencyhub/citizenship-reporting/ [Accessed 3 Feb. 2018].

Shogren, J.F. and Toman, M.A., 2000. Climate change policy. Public Policies for Environmental Protection, 2, pp.125-68.

Tai, F.M. and Chuang, S.H., 2014. Corporate social responsibility. Ibusiness, 6(03), p.117.