Corporate social responsibility is an essential tool for any business as it plays critical roles. Apple Inc. is a global company that operates in the technology industry for decades now. As an American Technology global company, a strategy that is geared towards creating good relationships both within and outside the business premises is necessary. Further, there are features that a typical corporate social responsibility plan must have. For this particular assignment, consideration was given to Apple Inc. and its social responsibility (Ross 6). Much emphasis is given to finding out strategic plans that they have in place for all stakeholders.
A typical CSR aims at improving the society that it operates in through various policies or strategic activities. It is for the good of any organization in business to have a CSR in a bid to ensure that good relationships are kept. A CSR can incorporate various programs, which are essential in building its reputation. Additionally, a CSR can help promote the brand name of the product that an organization is selling in the market. On the other hand, Apple Inc. looks forward to improving their market share and brand name through a strategic plan.
An evaluation of the corporate social responsibility is essential in helping determine its viability. When a CSR fails to work, the company should consider changing the strategies in a bid to ensure that the objective has been met. Assessment can be done through the application of specific approaches, which might suit the situation. Apple Inc. has developed policies that are proving helpful in their operations. However, it is notable to say that a CSR should help the society and the organization should not look at it as a revenue making program. The surrounding community of the company is the one that benefits most from such programs.
Apple Inc. CSR Overview
The company has various policies, which provide guidelines in the execution of a working CSR. For instance, its plan entails funding of various programs in the community and promoting the condition of the environment. The surrounding of a business is a crucial part of the organization in many ways. The society in return pays back by providing labor required and forms part of the consumers of the products that Apple specializes in selling. It has various strengths and weaknesses, which are addressed later in the paper (Giannarakis 569). Additionally, Apple as a global company is doing its best to ensure that they maintain a popular brand image.
The Apple Inc. CSR has various programs and initiatives that may include support for local communities, training and developing their employees, labor, and human rights, health and safety standards, gender equality and minorities, and energy consumption. Further, their CSR takes into account the damage that their business operations could be having on the environment. Wastes, water conservation, and sustainability are what the company looks to address as part of their programs. For instance, training and development of employees have a direct impact on the community given that the company operates in the technological industry.
Components of Apple Inc. CSR
Supporting Local Communities
The company has various outlets in the world, which handle their products globally. In every country, the company has an obligation of offering support to specific communities in the world. In 2011, the company adopted the Global Volunteer Program, which has seen over 78 billion dollars donated since its launch. The program is geared towards ensuring that a charitable society. The policy was revised in 2015 and allows employees to choose projects in the local community that they want to support. Local communities where the employees come from have benefited from the program in many ways. The policy to ensure that local communities get supported has seen the company creating a reputable brand image within the technological industry. The programs have proved helpful in the maintaining employee happiness at the same time giving back to the society.
Training and Developing of Workers
Apple Inc. puts more emphasis on training and developing competencies of their employees. This is because the company operates in a relatively competitive technological industry, which requires expertise and professionalism in the handling of customers. In a year, more than 280,000 workers are trained by the company in over fifteen factories across the world. Employees in the company need to be well equipped with the necessary skills that are helpful in delivering services. Efficiency is an essential aspect of the service delivery hence the need for training and development. Additionally, Apple empowers their workers in a bid to improve their satisfaction. The employees in return ensure that customers are well handled, which promotes brand reputation.
Gender Equality and Minorities
The company CSR takes into account existence of both majority and minority groups in the areas that they are employing. Their human resource department is ordinarily keen to balance gender and minority groups. This has made local groups feel included, a move, which has seen the company do better in the market. The company employs both men and women regardless of their race or the ethnic group that they belong. In the United States, the company employed 27% of the minority groups that are underrepresented (Tilt 10). The hiring culture has led to a harmonious team of employees who have embraced diversity. The CSR of the company is inclusive and has far much better strategies. All employees are accorded pay equitably across the world regardless of where one is operating.
Waste Reduction and Recycling
In the company’s corporate social responsibility plan, the company has included waste recycling. In almost every country that the company operates in, there are various projects, which run to ensure that electronic waste has been recycled. Additionally, the company adopted a robot that can use the minimal time to remove useful components of a phone for recycling. This has been taken for a good move as it ensures that the company wastes do not end up polluting the environment. Moreover, the company has teamed up with many other companies, which are global, to ensure that electronic wastes are recycled. During the year 2015, most of the packaging material that the company used was recycled. This indicates that the company has adopted a CSR geared towards ensuring a reduction in pollution.
Employee Health and Safety
The organization adopted an academy meant to sensitize the employees on their health and safety within the work premises. The move has proved helpful as many suppliers across the world and employees have benefited from the program. Further, notifying employees of the risks that are likely to occur makes one prepare and look for a contingency plan. This ensures that all employees are kept safe and healthy as required. A healthy and safe workforce enhance performance to the extent of promoting the brand name.
Essential Features of an Appropriate CSR
A performance analysis that shows how the company has performed both internally and externally. For instance, the success of the company should guide whether the customers are satisfied or not. Satisfied customers should be the priority. Employees and other stakeholders should also be involved whenever the CSR is being drafted. Use of digital platforms has been a significant boost to Apple Inc. global business. An effective CSR has to take into consideration what are the customer needs. In reality, all Apple. Company customers are satisfied, and they are always involved whenever it is necessary.
Create a Scorecard Use Social Media
Strategies and measures in the CSR should be attainable in a way that can be tracked. The importance of monitoring the level of performance and shows an honest picture including setbacks that have been experienced. Further, social media use by clients has been on the rise due to increased exposure to the internet. Moreover, the internet should be used as a tool to research and improve on various strategies for the organization. An appropriate CSR incorporates the use of multiple online platforms to capture a large client base.
Form Partnerships and Seek Publicity
The success of the program largely depends on its publicity to the customers. This can increase customer loyalty to the brand, which can increase sales that the company makes. On the other hand, when the company decides to others with a view of carrying out a common objective, there is a likelihood that the project will succeed. The financial support that can be raised is enough to sustain the program. For instance, Apple Inc. has partnered with over 150 global companies to execute a campaign against the reducing and recycling of electronic waste.
The Strengths of the Typical CSR Initiatives
Apple Inc. has an improved brand image by engaging in corporate social responsibility initiatives. For instance, by supporting the local communities and reducing waste emission, Apple creates a good image. As such, Apple enjoys increased sales, as people willing to buy their products due to its clean and good image. Further, the good rapport makes other enterprises willing to be associated with the company. With such engagements, the company has increased its prestige to the extent that its name can be termed as goodness and reliability. Most people will always desire to trade with the most popular and best firm, a fact that has made Apple rise in stature to become a significant player in the industry.
The firm also enjoys increased attraction and retention of employees. With its solid CSR initiatives, the firm finds it easier to recruit as well as retain employees. Further, its initiative to educate and empower its workers has made it the destination of the best professionals. People are always ready to work for organizations that mind about their well-being alongside providing a favorable working environment. Moreover, Apple portrays a compassionate attitude towards its employees, making it more desirable. This offers the company a huge advantage, especially when the industry is experiencing tight labor market situations, as this will significantly slash the expenses for training new workers while at the same time increasing incentives for already existing workers. Through incentives, the firm will boost employees’ efficiency, thereby increasing its productivity.
As a strength, Apple faces minimal hostility from regulatory authorities. Considering the fact that the organization has put in place strong CSR programs, it never receives strict scrutiny as compared to those without CSR programs. For instance, the company’s commitment to reduce waste emission to the environment, which is a key concern of the authorities is an appropriate initiative (Gutsche 12). This implies that the authorities tend to act in a lenient manner because they believe that the firm is complying with the set regulations. Moreover, the authorities offer first-track preference to the organization, making its operations to flow effectively.
Finally, Apple Inc. attracts more capital inflow. An organization’s public image plays a significant role in the attraction of investors. As the company is engaged in various CSR programs, its image is enhanced, and individuals develop the urge of investing in its operations. It attracts investments from both individuals and other firms. As such, the company is growing and expanding its operations to new markets due to the readily available capital inflow.
The Weaknesses of the Typical CSR Initiatives
Apple has shifted from the profit-making objective. As far as the company is committed to CSR initiatives, it is affecting its returns. Too many CSR programs have seen the company reduce its focus towards its main objects, which is to make profits. The firm has forgotten its obligation to shareholders. Instead of concentrating on making profits, they use funds in CSR programs, a move that has highly impacted the returns of the shareholders. Generally, instead of focusing on income, Apple is affecting an outflow of cash, thereby failing to fulfill its profit-maximization obligation.
The company is also incurring increased costs of production. It is indisputable that the CSR programs increase the company’s expenditure. The rise in the expenditure is in turn reflected in the prices of its products, which will eventually be felt by the customers. As such, sometimes customers feel the burden of the increased prices and goes for alternative products that may seem to be cheaper. Persistency of such a trend is likely to bring down the organization, as its sales will drop significantly.
Evaluation of Apple’s CSR
In its website, Apple has indicated that it is committed to attaining the highest possible standards of social responsibility throughout its global supply chain. The company hopes that its suppliers and various departments to offer favorable working conditions, better treatment for workers, and embracing environmental friendly production measures. It also emphasizes the need for training for its employees. A clear study of the current CSR programs at Apple Inc. indicates that the organization is truly committed to achieving its goals in terms of social responsibility despite having some drawbacks.
An in-depth study of the firm’s commitment to conserving the environment reveals that it is responsible. This involves the minimization of the use of hazardous materials in packaging and the carbon footprint. Moreover, the company is also committed to designing its products through energy efficient means and recyclable materials. The company is further observed putting in place strict rules to govern its suppliers in regard to keeping the environment safe (“Supplier Responsibility”). This will ensure that its products never imposes harm to the environment and the community at large. Such efforts benefit the environment, community, and the company, and Apple Inc. should be acknowledged.
The same effort is replicated under the company’s commitment towards providing a better working environment for its employees. The firm shows commitment to respecting and improving its employees’ wellbeing. For instance, Apple has embraced a training and development program to boost its employees’ skills. This is evidenced by ‘Apple University’ program that enlightens it employees to keep up with the current technology. Further, the company is at the forefront of ensuring its employees are healthy. This is affirmed by the company’s launch of Apple Supplier EHS Academy, which is a program aimed at improving the health standards of its employees
However, as much as the company is committed towards CSR, it still poor than most of its competitors. This may be due to the policies of the former CEO Steve Jobs, who seemed to lay much focus on best technological products for its customers more than on CSR activities. CSR never involves how much a company offers to the community, but rather its efforts towards ensuring all stakeholders are satisfied (Fryzel and Seppala 13259). Therefore, Apple’s current situation is a good opportunity for the company’s CEO Tim Cook to improve the firm’s CSR strategy.
Recommendations for Future Improvement
Despite the efforts the company has deployed towards CSR, it needs to make some improvements in its strategies. To begin with, the company requires being innovative alongside having an inspiring vision. It should leverage the current technology such as social media to offer encouragement to the users to be involved in the brand initiatives. Further, the company should also implement a crowdsourcing initiative as a way of promoting its CSR efforts. Such a platform will enable the users and the company to work together in improving the society.
Moreover, Apple needs to improve its transparency. The organization should be honest by offering information in a manner that the involved stakeholders can attain an appropriate insight of the aspects they think are relevant. Further, transparency will also enable the involved stakeholders to cooperate with the company, thereby enhancing Apple’s efforts towards CSR activities. Transparency will also enhance communication, which is a key aspect of the success of the CSR initiatives. Therefore, it is appropriate for the company to utilize the available communication means to involve all the stakeholders.
Finally, Apple should always listen and learn from the current occurrences. For the brand to achieve effectiveness in CSR initiatives, it should regularly listen and monitor the wants of the communities surrounding its business. As such, it will be able to determine the most appropriate strategy for addressing their social requirements. Further, the firm should do thorough research on the best ways of implementing a given CSR strategy at a given place. This is because regions have varying social demands
The success of Apple is partly as a result of its ability to offer satisfaction to stakeholders alongside corporate social responsibilities (CSR). The company is committed to making its working environment and its surrounding friendly. This is evidenced by its various CSR initiatives including supporting local communities, training, and development of employees, embracing gender equality, waste reduction, and enhancing employee health. The CSR initiatives have promoted the organization through improving its brand image, attracting capital inflow, and minimizing the hostility of the authorities in regions where it has set up its operations. However, the CSR initiatives have also negatively impacted the firm’s operations by making it shift from its main objective and increasing its costs of production. However, an in-depth study of the organization indicates that it committed towards CSR despite the fact that it has a few drawbacks. As such, the company should embrace new strategies such as integration of innovativeness and transparency to boost its performance in CSR.