Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Apple

Keywords: Health and safety, Environmental impact, Labor and human rights, Employee empowerment, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Assignment Writing Services

Introduction

Apple Inc was incorporated in 1977 and its head office is based in Cupertino, California. The company is engaged in the design, manufacturers as well as the market of consumers electronic such as mobiles, personal computers, music players and software. The company sells its product worldwide through subsidiary namely as ‘Apple operations international’. The range of distribution channels used by the company includes the retail stores, online store, third party wholesalers as well as direct sales force (Apple.com, 2017).

According to supplier responsibility report 2015, in which apple state that company believe social responsibility is fundamental to the operations and it want to treat each person with dignity and respect. Company believes in employee empowerment; provide safe working conditions, environment friendly manufacturing practices and labor and human rights. (Apple.com, 2017)

This report examines the four issues which are health and safety, environmental impact, Labor and human rights and employee empowerment at Apple.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Apple

Kotler and Lee (2011) discussed that CSR is a management concept in which company integrates environmental, social and ethical concerns into operations of the business along with interaction with stakeholders. According to Simpson and Taylor (2013), CSR is an important tool to achieve the balance between social, economic and environmental imperatives (Triple Bottom line Approach) as well as addressing the expectations and needs of stakeholders and shareholders. Moreover, ethics is concerned with what is right and wrong with moral obligations.

Company believe setting standards is not enough and to ensure the compliance and accountability, company performed 633 audits for 1.6 million workers, audited suppliers in 19 countries as well as made calls to 30,000 employees to ensure equal opportunities among employees. Company has clearly stated supplier code of conduct as well as supplier responsibility standards. The question is despite the policies and procedure which social and ethical practices are working and which has failed to deliver the results for the company (Trevino and Nelson, 2010).

Critical evaluation of Apple Initiatives

Areas Apple is doing well

Environmental impact

According to Werther and Chandler (2010), environmental implication involves elimination of waste and emission, efficiency of resources, energy and water efficiency as well as preservation of natural resources. Apple believes natural resources should be protected for the future generation and in attempt company ensures that supplier at home and globally deploys environment friendly manufacturing processes.

Moreover, to ensure the compliance company started clean water program among 200 suppliers globally which has helped to save half a billion gallons of waters. Furthermore, company conducts the audit to ensure the removal of hazardous production materials, use of recycle materials as well as using renewable energy. To achieve its objectives company biogas powered energy sources as well as received award from ‘US green building council’ (Rajashekharaiah, 2012).

According to Sparkes (2014), Apple is only company which eliminated the harmful substance from its production line when compare with Samsung and Dell. Globally, apple has launched ‘Energy and recycle award’ for its suppliers. To ensure the compliance company audits 633 suppliers facilities which shows a reduction of the hazardous material/toxic substance by 40%.   The regulatory compliance and code of conducts is enforced by the company to ensure environment safety.

For example, company powering 100% of its retail stores with renewable energy, removed the beryllium, extends the clean water program to preserve 59 billion gallon of fresh waters, aluminum based material along with converted data centre to renewable energy. The Socio-environment benefits include minimization of pollution, removal of conflict materials and less carbon foot print of the company (Heras-Saizarbitoria and Boiral, 2014).

Employee empowerment

Mirvis (2012) stated that effective employee engagement and development helps the company to gain competitive advantage and CSR is an important tool to bridge the employee engagement gap. The engagement could be achieved through program portfolio and training of the employees. Apple believes education and employee empowerment is first step towards brining change. Apple offers range of educational program to worker to develop skills for the employees.

To achieve the objective of employee empowerment, Apple trained 2.3 million workers skills training, launched new mobile app for employee educational program. In addition, company expanded its Supplier Employee Education and Development (SEED) program by 379,000 in 2014 to bring a total of 861,000 (Werther and Chandler, 2016).

According to Voudouris et al (2007) training and educational program help to increase effectiveness and efficiency of the resources. Company offers ranges of program to develop the communication skills of its management, implement and deploy the human resource polices as well as maintain safe and healthy workplace of its employees.

Training and education offers the socio-economic benefits to the employees in terms of better income, promotional opportunities, career advancement as well as job security. Company offers program for employee skills development, education advancement and range of skills in collaboration with supplier as well as through its 870 Environment, health and safety (EHS) projects (Apple.com, 2017)

Issues Company — NOT doing well

Labor and human rights

Outsourcing is a process of arrangement with another company to provide particular services. One of the key features of the outsourcing is contact manufacturing in which company use external manufacturing facilities. Apple design in California but assembled its China and along cost advantages there has number of labor and human rights violations (Mohan and Morel, 2014).

Despite the range of initiatives such as 60 hour working compliance, ethical hiring practices, limiting the underage labor in the foreign factories as well as preventing human rights abuse in sourcing, company has experienced number of labor and human right violations (Han, Porterfield and Li, 2012).

According to Bilton (2014) employees at Chinese factories are receiving unfair treatment such as working long hours (16 hours shifts), working continuous without having day off as well as depriving employees from their rights in terms of work conditions, underage labor and contract breaches. For example, the biggest and renowned supplier of Apple ‘Foxconn’ has been involved in violating the human rights with employees working longer hours with employees working an average of 66-70 hours per week (BBC, 2014).

According to Backer (2013) Apple has failed to identify the problems with supplier labor and human rights policies and despite the regulation and polices, it supplier has faced threats of strikes after poor working conditions.

Recommendations for Improvement

It is recommended that Apple should conduct audit wages and working conditions on regular basis. The audit should be more frequent and without notifying the suppliers. This will address the working hours and pay issues. Moreover, company should ensure the communication and working practices are fair as well as supplier comply labor law. Company should introduce employee compliant procedure against the supplier and audit the record with notifying the supplier.

Health and Safety

According to Burke, Clarke and Cooper (2011) Occupational Health and Safety (OSH) is basic requirement and is not a option. The safety of the employees should never be compromised. OSH is process of anticipation, evaluation and control of the hazard practices. Apple has engaged with supplier to ensure code is followed and production facilities remained up-to-date. Company annual supplier responsibility report shows that company enrolled a total of 392 suppliers in EHS academy, launched more than 870 OHS projects as well as collaboration with range of universities to provide health and safety courses (Sparkes, 2014).

However, despite all the initiatives company is lagging behind and range of problems has surrounded the company suppliers and products. According to Miller (2014) Apple supplier in china neglect the health and safety standard and therefore, minimum attention is paid to the safety of the employee. Furthermore, a report published by the NGO ‘China Labor Watch and Green America alleged that laborers were exposed to toxic chemicals, given inadequate training, and made to pay for drinking water in their living quarters’ (Heras-Saizarbitoria and Boiral, 2013)

Recommendations for Improvement

Apple has focused on the EHS academy and certifications for health and safety rather anticipation, evaluating and implementing the health and safety practices at supplier facilities. Company should audit for health and safety practices as well as ensure supplier meet the regulations. One of the initiatives is conducting on training program and training for safety of the employee. Apple should ensure that supplier achieve ‘ISO 14001’ status will help the implement OHS at supplier premises.

Conclusion

Apple has implemented policies and procedures to ensure the social responsible practices of the company as well as its associated suppliers. Company published annual supplier responsibility report which addresses four key issues such as health and safety, labor and human practices, employee empowerment and environment concerns.

Company initiatives for employee empower and environment concerns have delivered positive results. This includes reduction in water usage, employee skills development, and renewable energy for retail as well as reduction of toxic waste. On the hand, health and safety and labor and human practices have failed to deliver the positive results.

Company suppliers have failed and negative publicity has surrounding the company. Apple needs more practice approach to improve safety of the employees and fundamental driver would be supplier achievement of ISO 14001 certifications.

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