As corporations continue to evolve and compete in a global marketplace where consumers are afforded the opportunity to give and receive feedback from immediate social media avenues, the image of the corporation becomes an ever increasing concern for executives and shareholders. Because of this instantaneous feedback, the actions of a corporation are under constant scrutiny and evaluation. In an effort to capitalize on this opportunity, company executives have embraced the idea of Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR.
Corporate Social Responsibility is a self-imposed set of policies that a company commits to that involves the protection of the company, its internal and external shareholders and the community and environments. There are four main components to a CSR that most companies strive to uphold. These are listed as financial or economic, legal, and ethical responsibilities, and philanthropic. As a worldwide company of over 2 million employees, Wal-Mart continually strives to uphold the image and small town ideals that its founder Sam Walton instilled during its creation in 1962.
It is imperative that the first focus of any company both internally and externally needs to be that of an economic benefit for the individual stakeholders of that company. Wal-Mart is not different in that in order to offer any benefit to any person, it must make a profit. Therefore the first focus of Wal-Mart’s CSR is that of an economic benefit. With 2013 projected revenue of almost $470 Billion, Wal-Mart has the means to benefit shareholders in the form of dividends for stock, wages and benefits to its 2 million employees and an economic benefit for communities in the form of tax revenue and good will.
The second area of CSR is one of a legal standpoint. That is to say that Wal-Mart must operate under current legal requirements in each location and community it serves. This includes local legal requirements for corporate law as well as environmental and employment laws. From an Ethical standpoint, Wal-Mart must meet all social expectations for how it treats its employees and the community. Good ethical companies cannot merely limit their ethical responsibilities to those limitations of the law but must also be good stewards of the community and strive to make employees feel happy and whole. Ethical responsibilities include items such as fair wages and work conditions above and beyond the minimum required by local or federal regulations.
Lastly, companies that achieve the number one requirement of economic responsibility have the obligation to continue the betterment of society through philanthropic giving. Many companies donate money to charitable organizations, offer endowments and scholarships to schools and students, volunteer at charitable events and encourage employees to do likewise and use technological advancements to better the environment and society. These...