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Sustainable Enterprise and Social Responsibility

GSM Distictive Higher Education London

Code: SESR5041

Learning outcomes assessed:

1.Explain the principles and practices within Sustainability and Social Responsibility.

2.Apply the principles and practices to real life business scenarios

3.Analyse sustainable practices and levels of social responsibility.

4.Critique sustainable practices and levels of social responsibility within an existing business or entrepreneurial venture.


Answer

Executive Summary

This report has been focused on determining the current issues faced by the Unilever Company, which are based on sustainability and the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). In addition to it, assessment based on practices for maintaining the CSR has also been done in this report, which needs to be implemented within the working environment of the chosen organization. 


Introduction

This report is based on evaluating the sustainability along with corporate social responsibility (CSR) of the Unilever Company, where a number of issues faced by the chosen company. This assessment is based on the case study, where the objectives and goals of the Unilever Company have been mentioned that needs to be achieved by the marketing department of the same company. Therefore, for achieving the key objectives, firstly, they need to understand some key terms regarding the CSR and sustainability along with the respective policies, and then only objectives can be met. In addition, after analysis based on sustainability along with the CSR of the chosen company, recommendations for bringing improvements based on Sustainability and the corporate social responsibility will also be going to discuss in this assignment. Furthermore, there are various stakeholders involved with the chosen company including the customers, they are somewhere not satisfied with the Unilever products and services, therefore, in this assignment, it is required to illustrate the reasons and need to identify the appropriate solution to get rid of these issues.


Reviewing the key principles of sustainability including the CSR

According to Baumgartner (2014), maintaining a sustainable environment needs to be an important aspect of all the corporate societies because it helps to have a healthy working environment, where no issues based on working culture can be faced either by the employee or by a customer. On the other hand, Capaldi (2013) has stated that maintaining a healthy environment, which also helps to grab the attention of the customer along with the interest of the stakeholders can be achieved not only by adopting the key principles of sustainability however, this can be achieved by maintaining the corporate social responsibility at the same time. The chosen company has mainly two objectives, one is evaluating the opportunities along with the threats which already are present in the marketplace and which can be present in future as well that can affect the production and market reputation of the Unilever Company. In addition to the objectives, the second objectives are to find the number of customers, who used to buy the products within the first three years of trading, done by the chosen company.


Vitezić et al. (2012) has stated that for a corporate or enterprise society, it is important to follow the principles of the CSR and the sustainability as well; there are around more than six principles of sustainability which can help the company to achieve their objectives. According to an International Consultant, Dr. Michael Ben-Eli, there are five core principles of the sustainability environment, which have been developed for serving as a new framework for advancing the understanding of guidelines. In addition, those guidelines are based on the actions that are required for implementing the breakthrough the practices of sustainability. There are five important domains based on sustainability, through which the chosen company can meet their objectives and can lead as a market leader by entertaining their opportunities and by removing their threats. 


Therefore, the domains are a material domain, social domain, spiritual domain, the domain of life and an economic domain. Alejandra Gonzalez-perez and Leonard (2013) has stated that before implementing the principles of the Sustainability, it is required to understand that the actual definition of the sustainability, thus, sustainability can be the dynamic equilibrium within the process based on interaction, which is in between the population and the carrying capacity of any environment. In addition to it, the population can be developed for expressing their full potential without being inverted and reversed that affecting a carrying capacity based on the environment on which it can depend.


Here are the description of the key principles of the sustainability, which need to be implemented within the working environment and culture of the chosen organization, policy along with the implications of operation, adopting an appropriate accounting system, ensuring that an essential diversity based on all the forms of lives within the environment needs to be maintained. In addition to the key principles of the sustainability, maximizing the degrees of freedom along with potential and self-realization of all the employees working in this company are there. Moreover, recognizing the seamless and dynamic continuum of love, wisdom, energy and the matter, which can make a link between the outer reach of the employees and the higher management of the chosen company, are the other two principles of sustainability of an enterprise. According to Songini and Pistoni (2012), there are in total ten elements based on the key principles of sustainability, which further are based on strategy along with planning, executing along with alignment and performance including reporting. 


Now, the basic description of each of the tenth elements is, taking a broad view of the sustainability, defining the term sustainability within the working environment of the chosen company, engaging all the stakeholders, remembering the company that there is huge competition in the market. In addition, establishing the responsibility and communicating in widest form is necessary, implementing the strategy gradually, communicating and having chat with the employees and management, linking sustainability to the profit, measuring, monitoring and reviewing the strategy and at last, investing in the future implications can be considered as the important elements of the sustainability.


Bebbington et al. (2014) has elaborated that before implementing or maintaining the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), it is required to understand the key principles of this term, which further help the chosen company for achieving their objectives. In addition, the company needs to achieve the sustainability and at the same time, establishing an acceptable balance with the CSR along with balancing between the corporation and the economic requirements including the valid expectations of all those, who can share in their success. Thus, the principles are based on Human Rights, Child labor, social responsibility, harassment or equal opportunity, forced labor, labor relations, suppliers, environmental protection and the health and human safety. The marketing department needs to implement the systematic strategy for fulfilling their CSR. This strategy can support the corporate citizenship ideals of the company, especially in respect based on satisfying the interest and expectations of the consumers as stakeholders.


Discussing the chosen business and relate it to the practices of CSR and sustainability

The CSR of the Unilever Company has contributed to the strengths based on brands of the business based on consumer goods. According to the theory known as Archie Carroll, companies can have the social responsibilities to their stakeholders. Lienhard and Preuss (2014) has stated that stakeholders of any company can hugely affect the performance of the business. In the Unilever’s business case, their stakeholders include communities, consumers, suppliers, investors and the employees. Moreover, the citizenship based on the corporation of the chosen company along with the social responsibility strategy advance prioritizes their stakeholders in accordance with the importance to the chosen business. As the major firm within the global consumer based on goods market, this company has utilized their corporate responsibility strategy as their supporting approach for maintaining the position of the chosen industry and sustainability of a business. In accordance with Ioana and Adriana (2013), an effective strategy of CSR can add the effort of the chosen company for having sustainable business within the field of industry, which are consumer goods based. The interest of the stakeholders can only be satisfied via the appropriate approach, which can ensure the holistic corporate citizenship along with the fulfillment of the responsibility.


On the other hand, Hahn and Kühnen (2013) has stated the groups of the stakeholders along with the initiatives taken on the basis of CSR, which helps to beat the competitive companies, moreover, this can also be done by implementing the practices based on CSR and Sustainability. The strategy for Unilever Company is useful for fulfilling the social responsibilities based on their corporation, which further fulfills the expectations of the stakeholders of Unilever Company. Ardichvili (2013) has given an example by stating that the prioritization of the CSR for Unilever can put the consumers at the top, which needs to be done as compared to their competitors. In addition, the rivalry company of Unilever makes the customer as their first priority by fulfilling the needs and requirements of the customers. On the other hand, Metcalf and Benn (2013) has stated for beating the rivalry company, it is required to think much faster and be ahead of their competitors in terms of building the strategy. The business sustainability needs to be maintained via the inbuilt strategy and make their first priority based on the requirements and needs of the customers. Moreover, the objective of this company is to retain their customers for at least the first three years of trading, thus for achieving this objective, the Unilever’s marketing department needs to be more effective as compared to their competitors.


In addition, the strategy based on corporate responsibility can address the interest of the stakeholder's groups, which has been arranged according to the significance in the consumer good business of the Unilever Company. This group consists of consumers, employees, investors, suppliers, and communities; they all have been arranged because of their needs and requirements. Consumers hold the highest priority for the given company, where the strategy of CSR of Unilever has assigned their highest priority to their consumers. The interest of the stakeholders has been focused on the quality of the product along with the price of the product including the environmental impact of the customer good business. Consumers can be significant; it is because they can directly identify the profits for the chosen company. Schalteggeret al. (2012) has identified an example, where he has stated that the satisfied consumers can increase the revenues of the company from the repeated sales. The strategy based on the social responsibility of the chosen company can already satisfy their stakeholder's interests via the processes of an extensive innovation along with the assurance policies of quality for having a diversified product mix. For an instance, the CSR of the chosen company strategy also extends for addressing the demands of the stakeholder-based groups for the sustainability of their business. For example, the company has continued for enhancing the process of products along with the footprints of the working environment. Thus, the result obtained by the analysis of the interest of the stakeholder, the effective image of the corporate citizenship can be created for influencing the perception of the consumer. The efforts given by the CSR can suggest that the company can maintain their position in the goods market of the consumer partially by satisfying the various expectations of the consumer.


Roca and Searcy (2012) have included the second priority for all the companies, every company may differ from the perception of arranging their priorities, however, it has mostly been found that most of the companies make their employees as their second priority. In addition to the prioritization made by this company as well, the Unilever Company has made their second priority as their employees too. Moreover, this company focuses on the needs and requirements of the employees as well because maintain a corporate and social responsibility includes fulfilling the needs and requirements of the employee, and then the only company can maintain their CSR. Furthermore, the involvement of the employees enhances the CSR of any company in this way that they feel interested in the competitive compensation along with the holistic development of career. For competing with the competitors, engagement of the employees plays an important role in either making a healthy relationship with the competitive companies or maintaining the corporate social responsibilities. According to Sheehanet al. (2014), the importance of the stakeholders can directly influence the performance of the organization in the consumer goods industry, where, the stakeholders can be either the suppliers or the consumers even also. 


Eweje (2014) has stated that maintenance of the Corporate Social Responsibility along with the sustainability of an organization needs to be effective, this can only be effective if the organization implements the practices of CSR within their working environment along with the other practices and policies. The same concept goes with the chosen company that is Unilever Company; these practices can also help the company for giving a competition to their rivalry company. The practices of the CSR includes various steps for maintaining the respective responsibility along with the relationship with other companies available in the market, the steps are such as setting the a measurable goals, engagement of the stakeholders. In addition, mapping the important and urgent issues of sustainability, SMS (Sustainability Management System), reporting the CSR or sustainability and at last branding the sustainability are there. For competing with the market leaders, return on the investment needs to be measured, which is a difficult task for any company? Thus, for accomplishing the CSR policy, Goldschein has suggested that while improving the policies of the employees, which can decrease the turnover and at the same time can improve the recruitment process. 


Bansal and DesJardine (2015) have stated that there are simple steps such as minimizing the waste along with the use of resource are the changes, which can be developed into the memorable story based on the sustainability efforts that are supported by the overall corporate strategy of the chosen business. Leaving the stakeholders out for the loop can be one of the top error company often make while trying for jumping on the socially/green bandwagon responsibilities. For the chosen company, in order to articulate their mission, values, strategy along with the implementation while creating the plan of the CSR (Unilever global company website, 2017). This is an important aspect for all the companies, where the stakeholders may help by partaking in the process of regulatory approvals, improving the relationships proactively along with solving the road backs of the CSR along with potential crises.  


Recommending the solutions that can improve the implementation based on CSR and sustainability

There are various ways for improving the implementation of sustainability and the corporate social responsibility, where the supply chain management plays an important role. It is due to the solutions based on sustainability management are the sets for changing the process, which is undertaken. Based on the experience with the professionals get one of the most important aspects of the chosen process, making sure for understanding the key objectives of the business for undertaking the assessment, this can help in determining the best approach for the assessment of improvement (Visser, 2014). Communicating with the suppliers about the objectives of the changes or improvement program including the nature and the frequency of the assessment is an important task for improving the sustainability and CSR. 


Moreover, if the management department of the chosen company involves technology within the assessment of the improvement, then the suppliers are benefitted and an overall profit is achieved by the business. Those technologies include online access, it can be easy for using the interface, helping in in-built management, the ability for updating if the situation gets changed, and it is one-click for submitting the improvement plan. In addition, the plan needs to be as such that there must not be any issues based on formatting or compatibility. There is a simple assessment, which has specific benefits; it is due to that this assessment can reduce the burden of the administration of the Unilever Company on the suppliers; therefore, it focuses more on the priority of the business issues. Furthermore, it can allow for having more frequent cycle based on the assessment, thus the burden gets low down. Many businesses can pursue the activities of the CSR, which can best be termed the projects of the pet, as they can reflect the personal interests of senior executives individually. On the other hand, the activities can be represented with many noises along with fanfare; the management usually can offer benefits to either the business or the society. Ashbyet al. (2012) has stated that improvements or changes with the CSR of the Unilever Company are the important aspects of maintaining the relationship with the other companies. 


In addition to it, the relation with the other companies can be enhanced if the Unilever management or team offers either partnership to the other companies or often give the invitation for various occasions. Moreover, on the other hand, sustainability is important and can be managed if the team or the management of the chosen company can further be trained for developing a sustainable environment within the working culture of the chosen company. In addition to the improvements, more concentration needs to be put as an effort because the management time along with the resources is limited therefore the great and huge opportunities can come from the areas, where the business can significantly interact with and thus it can have the most amazing impact on the society. There are other measurements for gaining the goal of the company based on CSR and the sustainable development of the working culture and these are building a deep understanding of all the benefits, which are associated with CSR, finding the right partners for building the CSR and maintaining the CSR including the sustainability. Dohet al. (2015) has stated that while applying the principles based on the opportunities of the chosen CSR, which can prompt the some of the important questions. The benefits are based on three dimensions are nature of the benefits, benefit split and the time frame and the time frame needs to be clear on both the short-term including the immediate objectives along with the benefits based on long-term resources. 


On the other hand, Ioannou and Serafeim (2016) has commented that there is another way for having improvements within the CSR along with sustainability, providing an online feedback to the supplier on the performance along with the ranking against the competition. There are various financial benefits by using the technology for helping the chosen company for managing the climate change and sustainability such as assessment based on the supply chain, programmed management based on sustainability and carbon management.

Conclusion

After analyzing the given scenario of the Unilever Company, it can be concluded that the practices based on CSR can help this company for bringing improvements based on the sustainability along with the corporate social responsibility. In addition to it, there are various practices other than the CSR can also be implemented within the framework and working policy of the Unilever Company. Moreover, the chosen company can improve the sustainability by providing training to their staffs and the employees, which further helps the company for maintaining the corporate social responsibility.  

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