Corporate Social Responsibility

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Corporations have social responsibilities to the communities they serve but they do not take on these responsibilities. Corporations have obligations to use their economic power and influence to protect worker welfare and address environmental issues which are often violated as a cause of their business ethics. A corporation is argued to be a profit devouring machine mainly because its core objective is to gain profit for its shareholders. What if this profit originated at the expense of a worker’s human rights? What if this profit came at the expense of chemical waste being dumped in the environment? I am sure these are questions that many CEOs and shareholders have chosen to disregard as a means to make profit. Structural injustice as pointed out by Iris Young in Responsibility and Global Justice: A Social Connection Model occurs when social processes place some people under a structure of domination or deprivation while these same processes allow for others to benefit and expand their capacities. The business model of corporations allow for high earnings while abusing workers’ rights. On the global scale, sweatshop workers in Indonesia make on average forty cents an hour working fourteen hours a day with no breaks because Wal-Mart or Nike’s business measures are putting a strain on their productivity. These working conditions violate workers’ rights. The wages these workers are paid are minimal thus insufficient to live on. When corporations value the welfare of their employees, their productivity improves resulting in long-term profit. Not only do socially responsible corporations perform better in the long run, they last longer. Critics of Corporate social responsibility believe that socially responsible corporations are n... ... middle of paper ... ... in the world.” (Humes 2011, 117) Wal-Mart developed its own Personal Sustainability Projects which was based around supporting its employees to live a sustainable life. Wal-Mart was clearly demonstrating a social responsibility to both its workers and the environment. Several influential businesses including Wal-Mart are taking their social responsibility to their workers and the environment seriously and could be considered a bold move by shareholders since it is profitable, thus contradicting Milton Friedman’s arguments. Corporate social responsibility is and must be applied because it is a strategy essential to a business that wants to succeed in this economy. Corporations have obligations to use their economic power and influence to protect worker welfare and address environmental issues because in the long run, it will be beneficial to the company’s growth.
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