The rise in environmental awareness has increased organizations’ focus on the adoption of sustainable and ethical practices. It occurs through the Corporate Social Responsibility process in which organizations integrate environmental and social concerns into their business operations voluntarily (Crowther & Aras, 2008). The paper explores the ethical standards of four major companies. Some companies comply with CSR policies by acting ethically, whereas others do not.
Some companies exhibit comprehensive compliance with the existing CSR policies. BMW is a company that has made significant contributions towards a reduction of global warming. In its CSR policies, BMW outlines strategies to adopt ecologically sustainable practices. Since 1973, it has engaged in a reduction of resources used in its production practices (Stamoulakis & Bridwell, 2009). Its environmental guidelines focus on the Charter for Sustainable Development of the International Chamber of Commerce. According to BMW Group (2014), the company upholds its legal compliance code to ensure ethical practices. It also ensures its employees comply with environmental laws during the: selection of resources for production, adoption of resource-efficient production processes, and environmentally-responsible disposal of end-of-life vehicles. In all its practices, the company exhibits social responsibility and sustainable practices.
Walt Disney Company is celebrated due to its ethical policies and practices. Its CSR has comprehensive provisions for the people, profits, and planet aspects of the Triple Bottom Line approach. It ensures fair and safe treatment of its human resources. It guarantees the provision of high-quality, safe, and sustainable products and services for its customers (The Walt Disney Company, 2015). The company believes a good corporate citizen must adopt ethical actions. It commits to governance practices and policies and promoting the independent and thoughtful representation of all its shareholders’ interests. It also encourages its employees to act in a manner displaying integrity and consistency with Disney's Standards of Business Conduct (The Walt Disney Company, 2013).
Although many companies spend millions in implementing CSR policies and practices, others engage in unethical practices harmful to people and the environment. Nestlé’s actions in developing countries since 1970 depicts its lack of consideration for the well-being of people. The problem arose when WHO discovered that children, in developing countries, that consumed Nestlé’s infant formula had high mortality rates. The mortality rate was five to ten times higher than that of breastfeeding children. Through its deceptive campaigns, the company encouraged mothers to use the free baby formula instead of breastfeeding; this made the children dependent on the formula. When breast milk dried up, the mothers were forced to purchase the formula. Mothers that could not afford the milk were forced to give the children insufficient quantities. The situation worsened due to the lack of clean water for preparing the formula. The company acted unethically by taking advantage of the poor mothers. Several companies campaigned against Nestlé’s unethical policies that resulted in the deaths of thousands of children.
Exxon Mobil is another company that violates the principles of CSR. Over the years, it has run advertising campaigns that portray a false image of its involvement in environmental and sustainable practices. The company claims to commit to high ethical standards, integrity, and legal compliance through its safety and environmental practices worldwide. It claimed to reduce emissions from its operations to reduce global warming and its carbon footprint. The lies were revealed as evidence proved that the company paid lobbyists and scientists to lie about their impact on global warming. The unethical behavior of Exxon Mobil was also evident when it funded the false claim that the glaciers in Greenland were growing and not melting. The false advertisement caused a negative impact on the people and the environment. It worsened the existing global warming and environmental pollution situation (Grabowsky & Sorenson, 2011).
CSR is a vital aspect of organizations’ operations in today’s society. An analysis of the ethical standards of Walt Disney, BMW, Exxon Mobil, and Nestle reveals the impact they have had on the environment, social responsibility, and sustainability practices. Sustainable practices and environmental protection can occur through the adoption of ethical practices and compliance by all companies.
BMW Group (2014). BMW Group Legal Compliance Code. Munich: BMW Group Compliance Committee Office. Retrieved from http://www.bmwgroup.com/e/0_0_www_bmwgroup_com/unternehmen/unternehmenspr ofil/compliance/_pdf/BMW_Group_LCC_EN.pdf
Crowther, D. & Aras, G. (2008). Corporate Social Responsibility. Ventus Publishing APS. ISBN: 978-87-7681-415-1. Retrieved from http://mdos.si/Files/defining-corporate-social- responsibility.pdf
Grabowsky, A. & Sorenson, E. (2011). Exxon Mobil: False Advertising on Environmentally Friendly (5/14/07). Business Ethics Case Analyses. Retrieved from http://businessethicscases.blogspot.com/2013/02/exxon-mobil-false-advertising-on.html
Nayab, N. (2014). Real-World Examples of Bad Business Ethics. Bright Hub. Retrieved from http://www.brighthub.com/office/entrepreneurs/articles/115557.aspx
Stamoulakis, D. & Bridwell, L. (2009). BMW’s Approach to Global Warming and Environmental Management: Corporate Social Responsibility or Greenwashing? Competition Forum, 7(1). Retrieved from http://larrybridwell.com/BMW.pdf
The Walt Disney Company. (2015). Ethical Standards. Standards of Business Conduct. Retrieved from http://thewaltdisneycompany.com/about-disney/business-ethics/business- conduct/ethical-standards
The Walt Disney Company. (2013). Ethical Conduct: Act Responsibly. Disney Citizenship 2013 Performance Summary. Retrieved from http://thewaltdisneycompany.com/sites/default/files/field_report_file_group_file/Ethical %20Conduct.pdf