Corporate Social Responsibility: A Case Study Sample Of The Body Shop

QUESTION:

Using the example of an organisation. – THE BODY SHOP

Evaluate the strategic CSR (CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY ASSIGNMENT) policies implemented and critically assess their effectiveness. Does the company’s CSR (CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY ASSIGNMENT) practice help the organization to achieve its goals and objectives?

Report length: 2000 words with each student contributing equivalent effort.

ANSWER:

1.0 Introduction:-
The unit builds upon specific discussions on corporate social responsibility (CSR), the practice by which the organizations acknowledge the effect of their activities in the economic, the social and the environmental terms. The study examines the CSR theories and the discussions regarding why organizations around the world are increasingly moving to reduce the conflicting effects of business operations. It focuses on some of the most common practices that are associated with CSR and examines the link between social responsibility and the corporate governance (Aras and Crowther, 2009).

Corporate Social Responsibility A Case Study Sample Of The Body Shop
The unit introduces the concept of triple bottom line reporting, before exploring the ideas of the corporate philanthropies, communicating the organisational CSR messages and the way in which CSR can help them in developing the brand of an organization. The unit makes an extensive use of the case study, thus encouraging the students in successfully researching and assessing the ways in which the organizations conduct themselves as corporate and global citizens. The unit aims to conduct an evaluation of the strategic CSR policies implementation in the organization named The BODY SHOP, and critically examine the impact of these policies and also how it helps this organization, The BODY SHOP, in achieving its goals and objectives.

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2.0 Background of the company- The BODY SHOP (BS):
The Body Shop International PLC, known as The Body Shop, consists of a range of 1,200 products, including the cosmetics and make-up in the 2,500 franchised stores situated in about 61 countries. The company has its international headquarters in Littlehampton, West Sussex, England. The BODY SHOP founded in the year, 1976, 26th of March, by Anita Roddick, partly owned by the parent company L’Oreal corporate group recently (Thebodyshop.co.uk, 2014).
The BS is a company that is socially responsible in making profits also contributes to some of the aspects of social development. The BS deals with the issue of corporate social responsibility, which helps them to become socially responsible towards the society thus behaving in a socially responsible manner accordingly. Along with the development of the public awareness and the demand for the socially responsible entrepreneurships, it is quite evident that BS had taken up the corporate social responsibility into a strong consideration, while planning for its socially responsible business operations in the future. The community trade programs conducted by the BS supports viable development by sourcing the ingredients and the accessories from disadvantaged communities in and around the world, while following the use of strict principles of trade like the decent wages and the good working conditions. The BS is also involved in running a wide number of community centric projects in a number of countries around the world, especially in the African continent. The BS focuses on assessing the ecological life cycles that projects the impact of the sourcing of the raw materials on the biological changes, the human and the animal rights and also the endangered species of the world (Smith, 2008). The BS has also put with its lead innovations regarding the corporate auditing, which basically deals with the assessment of the environmental and the social impacts of a firm, in order to improve its socially responsible corporate practices. The BS carries out a social responsibility of demonstrating that there is no necessity of a multinational company to behave antagonistically towards the environment or implement the production and the development of its products by using controversial methods, like testing on the animals. The corporate social responsibility of the BS encompasses the economic, the legal, the ethical as well as the philanthropic expectations, placed on them by the society. The BS adapts the corporate social responsibility in order to- strengthen the community economically as well as socially, defend the rights of the human beings, inject the passion of self esteem within the common people and especially the neglected section of the society, protect the planet, stop the practice of animal testing and finally to support the community trade.

3.0 The CSR strategies or practices- the BODY SHOP:
The CSR strategies implemented by the Body Shop appear into two sections- the first is the Defensive strategy and the other is the offensive strategy.
The Defensive strategy includes the following factors- First is the minimization of the risk of the attacks. Second is maintaining an effective balance between the stakeholders and the public expectations (Kakabadse and Kakabadse, 2007). Third is the license to operate its various functional activities as a socially responsible company and carry out different welfare and awareness programs in order to aware the society about the different environmental conditions and look after their social growth and profitability.
The Offensive strategy deals with the following factors- First are the implementation of effective and aggressive communication. Second is the implementation of innovative CSR plans and integrating it according to the societal needs and conditions. The final one is the implementation of CSR in the form of the USP (Unique Selling Property) of the company- The Body Shop (Smith and Lenssen, 2009).

4.0 The CSR strategies benefits- BODY SHOP:
The Body Shop as a successful and responsible organization puts most stress on their reputations, brand value, ‘goodwill’, and ‘intellectual capital’. These are termed ‘intangibles’ and have an actual numerical value on the company balance sheet. This is an essential strategy for ensuring the company’s reputation.
The Body Shop stays aware of the issues which can cause the campaigners to target them. This doesn’t necessarily mean cleaning up their act. It can equally mean trying to occupy the ideological space around an issue or getting decision makers to agree with their point of view with a few strategic donations (Spence, 2007).

The 3 out of 5 people reporting that they want to work for the Body Shop, whose values are consistent with their own existing employees, are seen by employees as a responsible company as well as a fair employer helps to attract and retain the best staff. This only applies, however, when a company cares about the quality of its staff. The Body Shop reaches to great lengths to appear socially responsible to white collar or skilled workers in their offices. Investors invest in the Body shop, a socially responsible company, as they think it to be a more secure investment. The Body Shop influences investors to invest in their company by carefully carrying out their corporate social responsibilities, thus creating a socially responsible reputation for itself.

CSR is still breaking into the mainstream. The Body shop buys out the ethical alternative businesses, for example Cadbury’s recent purchase of Green & Blacks, supermarket sales of organics or Nestlé’s move into fairtrade coffee, as a result successfully cement their market position, and also control profits from niche markets (Simpson et al. 2013).
By adopting the CSR, the Body shop cuts costs in their operations. The environmental measures such as minimizing waste or saving energy undertaken by the Body Shop reduces the operational costs. The Body Shop prioritizes these measures.
Mistrust of corporations is widespread, if for no other reason than that, few people even in the rich world actually gain from the level of power corporations granted in society. More and more people report increased stress, harder work and greater insecurity as they chase elusive gains. The Body shop looks after the tacit license to operate society grants them is under threat. The Body Shops response to attempt to convince society, that they have a positive impact.

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5.0 The Challenges of the CSR- The Body Shop:-
Lack of Community Participation in CSR Activities:
Lack of interest of the local community, in participation and contribution to the CSR activities of the Body shop largely attributable to the fact that there exists little or no knowledge about CSR within the local communities as no serious efforts have been made to spread awareness about CSR and instill confidence in the local communities about such initiatives. The situation is further aggravated by a lack of communication between the company and the community at the grassroots (www.lencd.org, 2014).

Need to Build Local Capacities:
There is a need for capacity building of the Body Shop, as there is serious dearth of trained and efficient organizations that can effectively contribute to the ongoing CSR activities. This seriously compromises scaling up of CSR initiatives and subsequently limits the scope of such activities.

Issues of Transparency:
Lack of transparency is one of the key issues brought forth by the survey. There is an expression by the Body Shop, that there exists lack of transparency on the part of the local implementing agencies as they do not make adequate efforts to disclose information on their programs, audit issues, impact assessment and utilization of funds. This reported lack of transparency negatively International Conference on Technology and Business Management impacts the process of trust building between the Body Shop and the local communities, which is a key to the success of any CSR initiative at the local level (Wanderley et al. 2008).

Non-availability of Well Organized Non-governmental Organizations:
It states that there is non-availability of well organized nongovernmental organizations, other than the Body Shop in remote and rural areas that can assess and identify real needs of the community and work along with companies like the Body Shop to ensure successful implementation of CSR activities. This also builds the case for investing in local communities by way of building their capacities to undertake development projects at local levels (Waddock and Bodwell, 2004).

Visibility Factor:
The role of media in highlighting good cases of successful CSR initiatives of the Body Shop is welcomed, as it spreads good stories and sensitizes the local population about various ongoing CSR initiatives of itself. This apparent influence of gaining visibility and branding exercise often influences the Body Shop to involve themselves in event-based programs; in the process, they often miss out on meaningful grassroots interventions.

Narrow Perception towards CSR Initiatives:
Non-governmental organizations like the Body Shop and various Government agencies usually possess narrow perception of the CSR, often defining CSR initiatives more donor-driven than local in approach. As a result, they find it hard to decide whether they should participate in such activities at all in medium and long run.

Non-availability of Clear CSR Guidelines:
There are no clear cut statutory guidelines or policy directives to give a definitive direction to CSR initiatives of the Body Shop. The scale of CSR initiatives of the Body Shop depends upon its business size and profile. In other words, the Body Shop, being a big company, possesses a bigger CSR program (Smith and Halina, 2009).

Lack of Consensus on Implementing CSR Issues:
There is a lack of consensus amongst local agencies regarding CSR projects. This lack of consensus often results in duplication of activities by corporate houses like the Body Shop, in areas of their intervention. This results in a competitive spirit between local implementing agencies rather than building collaborative approaches on issues. This factor limits the abilities of the Body Shop to undertake impact assessment of their initiatives from time to time (Solomon, 2007).

6.0 Recommendations:-
• The Body Shop can create awareness among the general public regarding CSR, in order to make the CSR activities more effective in nature and approach.
• The Body Shop can undertake necessary steps for the purpose of building effective bridges among the stakeholders for the effective implementation of the CSR activities.
• The Body shop can conduct the launch of a campaign to spread CSR issues among the common public as well as involve the Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to participate more actively in the CSR activities.
• The Body Shop should safeguard the projectisation, scaling up and the sustainability of the CSR projects at all costs for the successful implementation of efficiency and efficacy in their works and initiatives.
• The Body Shop should take up interventions in educating children, girls and others in the rural areas.
• The Body shop should encourage the participation of youth in ensuring civic issues.
• The Body Shop should take up the initiative of building up a national alliance for its CSR activities (Pohl and Tolhurst, 2010).

7.0 Conclusion:-
The concept of corporate social responsibility is now firmly rooted on the global business agenda. But in order to move from theory to concrete action, the Body Shop has to overcome several types of obstacles. A key challenge faced by the Body Shop is the need for more reliable indicators of progress in the field of CSR, along with the dissemination of CSR strategies. Transparency and dialogue can help to make a business appear more trustworthy, and push up the standards of other organizations at the same time.

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