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Manifestation of Ethics Through Corporate Social Responsibility

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Manifestation of Ethics through Corporate Social Responsibility

In the early morning when we pass our eyes through newspaper, we may find three to four news describing donations to a charity organization by a company or some companies have sponsored to an event like Bangladesh Premier League or some companies have partnered with other organization to serve a purpose like fighting ADIS, eradicating illiteracy etc. these are news on corporate social responsibility of companies more specifically Multinational Companies (MNCs). This is said that ethics is manifesting through corporate social responsibility. There is an attempt to link up these two issues 'ethics' and 'Corporate Social Responsibility' below though a descriptive analysis.

First comes Ethics which is the basic concepts and fundamental principles of right human conduct. It includes study of universal values such as the essential equality of all men and women, human or natural rights, obedience to the law of land, concern for health and safety and, increasingly, also for the natural environment.

Business Ethics can be defined as the critical, structured examination of how people & institutions should behave in the world of commerce. In particular, it involves examining appropriate constraints on the pursuit of self-interest, or (for firms) profits, when the actions of individuals or firms affects. Ethical standards are the set of established principles governing virtuous behavior. In order to help assure that the company maintains a good business reputation, many business managers concerned about public relations will develop and promote a set of suitable ethical values for staff within the company to keep in mind when doing business with the customers. There is not one consistent set of standards that all companies follow, but each company has the right to develop the standards that are meaningful for their organization. Ethical standards are not always easily enforceable, as they are frequently vaguely defined and somewhat open to interpretation ("Men and women should be treated equally, " or "Treat the customer with respect and kindness."). Others can be more specific, such as "Do not share the customer's private information with anyone outside of the company."

Now comes Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) which is a company's sense of responsibility towards the community and environment (both ecological and social) in which it operates. Companies express this citizenship (1) through their waste and pollution reduction processes, (2) by contributing educational and social programs, and (3) by earning adequate returns on the employed resources. See also corporate citizenship.

Source: SHRM 2007 Corporate Social Responsibility Pilot Study.

The objective of CSR is t encourage a positive impact through its activities on the environment, consumers, shareholders, employees as well as all sorts of stakeholders. Though there is an argument stating that, CSR is merely window dressing or an attempt to minimize the role of Government as a watchman over powerful MNCs we can find CSR in development of our society as well as welfare of our community. CSR are done in different ways like-

Donation

Sponsorship

Cause Marketing/ Branding etc

The core thing is, in very simple words our ethics asks us to stand beside people suffering from disaster, hunger, poverty, illiteracy. Our ethics leads us to work for underprivileged, to work for the development of the nation, the whole country. Our ethical issues are found performed through the practice of CSR by different MNCs.

According to Fortune 500 magazine, top 500 companies are ranked based on their performance and profit maximizing activities. After visiting few of their websites I have found it CSR is very important to them. All of them have designed their websites with a detailed description on their corporate social responsibility, what have they done or planning to do for the society. Wal-Mart the top sited company has a foundation named Wal-Mart foundation focuses on four major criteria which are education, Workforce Development / Economic Opportunity, Environmental Sustainability and Health & Wellness. Ford establishes green house gas reduction plan, Conoco Phillips makes charitable donations, Coca-Cola is partnered with (RED) to create awareness against Aids and with WWF to run a movement to save polar bears which is in way to extinct. Beside these if we have a look in our own country British American Tobacco has some social welfare plans like afforestation, safe drinking water named Probaho, sustainable agriculture etc. Sponsoring some events which cherish and promote ethics and ethical standards to new generation as well as to the society are also to manifest ethics through CSR. 'Shada Moner Manush' sponsored by Unilever, Bangladesh or 'Sheltech I Campus Hero' sponsored by Sheltech are such programs which promote good works or social works. All these activities are to practice ethics or to promote ethics or ethical standards among the society.

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