CSR is concerned with the ways in which an organisation exceeds its minimum obligations to stakeholders specified through regulation. However, the legal and regulatory frameworks under which businesses operate pay uneven attention to the rights of different stakeholders. For example, contractual stakeholders – such as customers, suppliers or employees such as (Johnson, 2006) local communities, consumers and pressure groups do not have the protection of the law. CSR policies of companies will be particularly important to these communities’ stakeholders. Different organisations take very different stances on social responsibility. These different stances will also be reflected in how they manage such responsibilities. The power of stakeholders has forced many businesses to take into account the effect of their activities on others. A business that accepts corporate responsibility will be prepared to be responsible for and to justify its actions. It will also consider the impact of its actions on a variety of individuals and groups of people, internally and externally outside the organisation. For example, a mobile phone business will aim to provide as wide coverage as possible for its customers. However, in order to do so it is likely to have to erect masts in the places that gives the best reception. Masts tend to be quite ugly and can disrupt the environment in which they are placed. If the business accepts this and is prepared to pay for innovative (Jobber, 2001) designs that blend in with the environment then it could be said to be accepting corporate responsibility. Orange, the mobile phone company, for example introduced tree shaped transmitters which blended in with the surrounding area and were also comfortable enough for animals like squirrels to breathe and live in. The researcher has selected Marks and Spencer as a case study.

Marks & Spencer (M&S) is one of the UK's well renowned leading retailers of garments, foodstuff, general merchandise and financial services. It has over 21 million customers and 600 Stores. It has its market in UK, Europe, Middle East, Dubai and Asia( Marks and Spencer have a strong, committed and loyal workforce of over 75,000 in UK and abroad and a dedicated 2,000 suppliers all around the globe. Their recent addition to the already strong portfolio is petrol stations. Units like grocery, clothing and others all contribute towards M&S to be the best in what they do. All the units have their own CSR strategy based on significant research. This research goes through a rigorous process by interacting with their key elements like stakeholders, governments and their loyal customers.

There is a number of ways in which M&S can be encouraged to accept corporate responsibility. Government Intervention: Government can always get involved directly to ensure that M&S accepts the consequences of its behaviour and working ethics. One of the most common methods of achieving this is through the creation of legislation which businesses must stick on to. For example, in Germany all retailers and manufacturers are required to recycle 80 percent of their packaging. Although legislation can control the behaviour of businesses and (Njavro & Kristijian, 2006) creation of negative externalities, there are some problems with this method of control. First, businesses can obey the ‘letter of the law’ rather than the ‘spirit of the law’. This might mean, for example, a business adopting practices which are legal, but which do not greatly reduce negative externalities. Second, legislation which only applies within national boundaries may not effect business in other countries.

Self-Regulation: Government can work with particular industries such as retail for M&S to encourage the creation of regulatory bodies which help to control the activities of business. These tend to be voluntary organisations which aim to monitor the behaviour of relevant firms. The Press Complaints Authority is one that comes to mind. Pressure Groups: Pressure groups can sometimes affect businesses. There are number of ways that pressure groups are able to exert influence over firms. In recent years, certain groups have had notable success. For example, animal welfare pressure groups have encouraged cosmetics businesses not to test their products on animals. The campaign of some pressure groups for a complete ban on animal testing continues, however some pressure groups, frustrated in their attempts to change corporate behaviour, have called for greater democracy in the corporate decision making process. This would involve stakeholders being involved as a matter of routine in decisions that have a direct effect upon them.

There are certain advantages for businesses in behaving in an ethical or socially responsible way. Consumers’ views: Increasing numbers of consumers are taking into account a firms behaviour when buying products. As a result, ethical behaviour can be good for sales. Marks and Spencer is very good example of that. The company has lent support to groups helping world’s poorest countries. This stance has perhaps helped Marks and Spencer to develop in a better organization. There is a number of other firms that have followed the same path. The Co-operative bank for example has conducted a wide ranging campaign. It refuses to invest money in or finance a variety of concerns. These range from countries with poor human rights records to companies using exploitative factory farming methods. This policy was introduced as a result of a survey carried amongst the bank’s customers, which found that they regarded a

clear ethical policy as important for the bank. M&S help customers make a difference to the social and environmental causes that matter to them. (Lancaster et al. 2002) Together with our employees and customers, M&S always made a significant contribution to the community and to help disadvantaged groups. We’ll maintain this high level of commitment, focusing particularly on: • Health and wellbeing – fighting cancer is an issue that’s very important to M&S customers and employees and they continue to work with Prostate Cancer and Breakthrough Breast Cancer in the UK and the Marie Keating Foundation in the Republic of Ireland. ( • Poverty and exclusion – poverty remains a challenge in the UK and overseas. Marks and Spencer build on their work with Shelter on homelessness in the UK and Oxfam overseas and continue to offer at least 700 Marks & Start placements every year. • Environmental protection – environmental protection and regeneration underpin healthy and sustainable communities. M&S also maintain the support for WWF’s work to conserve and restore some of the most vulnerable ecosystems in the world.

M&S also wants to engage with their customers in different ways like: • Launch a brand new website with full of information and live interaction • Inviting customers to come along a specific day and share their ideas, views and vision on how to make M&S and a world a better, greener place. . Improvements in the recruitment and retention of staff: Firms with an ethical approach like M&S believe that they will be more able to recruit well qualified, motivated, passionate and committed staff. In addition, M&S are able to retain their staff better than Asda and Tesco because they adapt a more caring

approach towards their staff. Marks and Spencer provide their staff with a range of benefits, over and above those usually provided in the retail sector. They have benefitted by achieving one of the lowest rates of staff turnover in the UK. This has cut their recruitment and training cost. M&S toils hard to find volunteers from their own working force and ensures that they give some time to community. M&S believe that one of the reasons why their employees are so committed to them is the fair and equal treatment they receive round the clock. They may be prepared to work harder to allow the business to achieve its aims. EFFECTS OF ETHICAL BEHAVIOUR: What effect will acting in an ethical way have on M&S? Increasing Costs: Ethical behaviour can result in an increase in costs for a company like M&S. An ethical firm may, for example, be forced to turn down cheaper supplies from a firm which tests its products on animals. Loss of profits: M&S may be forced to turn down profitable business due to their ethical stance. They, for example, may reject a profitable investment opportunity in a company which produces animal fur, as this is against its ethical policy. However , the ethical firm would hope that the gains it makes from its policy, by attracting increased numbers of customers, would outweigh these costs. Conflict: When a firm’s overall profitability comes into conflict with its ethical policy, problems may result. In such cases the shareholders of a firm may object to the ethical policy as the return to their investment is severely harmed Business practice: A firm like M&S seeking to act more ethically may need to alter the way in which it approaches a huge range of business matters. Such a firm might, for example, need

to consider the impact of its activities on the environment whether or not its recruitment policy was providing equal opportunities for all applicants regardless of age, sex, ethnic background or disability, the extent to which its advertisements are offensive or in poor taste, and the consumers buying their products.( Ferris et al. 2002) Relations with Suppliers: Some suppliers will only supply products to businesses that meet ethical criteria. This might include agreeing not to trade with certain countries or businesses that deal in arms that exploit workers or strip them off their rights. In 1997 Marks and Spencer announced that it had negotiated supplies of free range eggs for all its British Stores. Does this show that the customer is King. Perhaps, but only if power is focussed and widespread. Few shoppers are concerned enough about issues to go put of their way or are prepared to pay more, for ethical products. Furthermore, supermarkets have only slowly responded to concerns about animal welfare, food purity and healthy eating because they see the prospect of selling profitable products often at premium prices. It has been discussed in the past that M&S in the past has resisted external pressure from campaigners. However, it aimed to introduce a scheme to end the use of tethering of pigs and caging of animals. A spokesperson said that the changes were nothing to do with pressure group influence but: “Our goal is to supply the safest quality goods on the high street. We aim to ensure that all animals and animal products operate on the highest standards of welfare.’ However, the company suggested that pressure groups have some role to play, by making businesses aware of situations that need to be addressed. M&S UNRIVALLED DEDICATION TOWARDS SUSTAINABILITY: According to Award Supplement (2010), Marks & Spencer has been taking a lead role on sustainability since 2006, when it unveiled its Look behind the label' campaign. This drew attention to a range of initiatives that the retailer was pursuing, from sourcing Fair trade products to using environmentally friendly textile dyes. Awareness and approval of people who were concerned about ethics and the environment, hut did not necessarily translate into tangible change beyond M&S'

business practices. This was followed in 2007 by Plan A. This was divided into five 'pillars': climate change; waste reduction; sustainable raw materials; being a fair partner; and healthy lifestyles. Under Plan A, M&S has already achieved I0,000tonne reduction in packaging and a10,000 tonne reduction in CO. It has also generated £ 15m for charities. It achieved high levels of awareness among staff and 'green crusaders', but less in terms of getting mainstream customers to make significant changes to their attitudes and behaviour. So, in 2009, M&S unveiled the third part of its sustainability strategy, called 'Doing the right thing'. As the name suggests, this was aimed at people who wanted to act more ethically, but perhaps found it difficult to do so. One of the strategy's most highprofile aspects was the Oxfam Clothes Exchange. This offered consumers a £5 M&S voucher in return for donating their old M&S clothes to Oxfam. Since January 2008, more than 1 m people have taken part, £raising 2mfor Oxfam. Participants felt virtuous for having acted sustainably and were pleased with their £5 voucher. They were also reassured about the quality of M&S clothes because Oxfam placed a high value even on second-hand items. Under another pillar of the activity, carrier-bag use been cut significantly, and £1.2m has been raised with partner Ground works. M&S has successfully created initiatives for consumers who wanted to 'be green' but were uncertain about how to do it and the value of their efforts. In doing so, the retailer has closed the gap between intention and action.

A BIRD’S EYE VIEW OF M&S PLAN A: Becoming the World’s most Sustainable major retailer by 2015: The theme of plan A is How to involve customer in plan A, How we do business and 5 pillars of Plan A which are Climate Change, Waste, Natural Resources, Fair Partnerships and Health and Wellbeing.( How to involve customer in Plan A: Objective 1: Aim is to have at least 1 Plan A quality in every M&S product and making sure that the consumer gets to know it. Objective 2: Help customers in making a difference in social and environmental issues like health and wellbeing, poverty and exclusion and environmental protection. Objective 3: Educate all customers on how to live a better sustainable life by inviting them to pre arranged events. How we do Business: Objective 4: Initially selecting and recruiting the right personnel for M&S and then providing them with world class training and excellent benefits and perks. Engaging the colleagues to carry out volunteer community work. Objective 5: A number of key changes will enable M&S to fully integrate Plan A into business processes like giving perks and bonuses to board of directors and management team. Objective 6: Constructing and developing new eco friendly sites and warehouses. Built extremely efficient stores with optimum technology. This process is intended to to create a store that: Objective 7: Work closely with the dedicated and highly efficient suppliers, merchandise suppliers and farmers. Built eco friendly factories and ensuring an error free supply chain that will help in cutting the cost and maximising profit and keeping the customer happy all the times. Objective 8: Create a culture of Innovation and Sustainability.

5 ‘Plan A’ Pillars: Climate Objective 9: Help customers cut their carbon footprint. To stop this M&S is closely monitoring its waste and damage and making a real effort to make electrical goods more efficient and CO2 friendly. M&S is putting a lot of emphasis on Going Green. Objective 10: Elimination of Carbon to as low as possible. This can only be done by effectively using energy in the stores, keeping a track of fuel usage during logistics and refrigeration. Objective 11: Help suppliers cut their carbon footprints. M&S has joined Prince’s May Day to tackle climate change issues. M&S encourages its suppliers from farms, food and clothing factories to join hands in the fight against the climate change Waste Objective 12: Bonding with customers to crack down on wastage. The amount of food that is wasted everyday in all the supermarkets is scary. It’s not just the waste but also the amount of damages that is hurting businesses across the globe and M&S. Everybody would have to play their role in saving the waste from member of staff to suppliers and from managers to manufacturers. Customers are encouraged to use bags for life which are made out of jute rather than using plastic bags. In clothing sections M&S ensures that they recover hangers from garments. The role of suppliers in limiting the waste is extremely important. Objective 13: Send no operational and construction waste Objective 14: Help suppliers with the waste and send no waste to landfill. Suppliers are now helped to recycle their leftovers. M&S also works hand in hand with their suppliers to minimise food packaging write offs.

Natural Resources Objective 15: Ensure efficient and timely use of natural resources in all the operations. Continue to address water usage is an increasingly important issue and always tops the list in board of directors meetings. Objective 16: M&S is working hard to use the resources like fish and water in a much better way. Fair Partnership Objective 17: Ensuring that all the communities in the supply chain benefit from M&S worldwide success. M&S gets plenty of its clothing made from poor countries like Bangladesh, Srilanka and India. They are trying to help out the workers in the factories by educating and training them and helping them learn new skills. M&S keeps a close watch on child labour. M&S is fully committed to their role as a fair trade company. Health and Wellbeing Objective 18: M&S will use innovation to improve nutrition wherever we can. Our most recent sector-leading innovation is Simply Fuller Longer – a new range of foods based on the principle that protein keeps you fuller for longer and therefore makes you less likely to snack between meals. M&S are committed to developing more innovative food in others ways too. Objective 19: Letting customers know what they eat by clearly and properly labelling the ingredients in that particular product so a person knows what he or she is eating. Objective 20: Making customers and employees aware of the changing lifestyle and the importance of daily workout and important of healthy diet.

There is a considerable debate about how businesses should actually behave. People might argue that businesses have a responsibility to act ethically. Those who hold this view stress the fact that firms do not operate in isolation. They are a part of society and have an impact upon the lives of those communities in which they operate. As such they should act in a responsible manner and consider the possible and consider the possible effects of any decisions they make. This means that profit making should not be only criterion used when making decisions. Other factors which firms might consider include the effect of their decisions upon the environment, jobs, the local community, consumers, competitors, suppliers and employees. Lately a shift of attitude has been seen in many organizations. An inclination towards a caring and more socially responsible behaviour. The growth of companies producing health and care products which are not animal tested the use of recyclable carrier bags and the sale of organically grown vegetables by many retailers could all be an indication of this. Some pension funds and a number of investment schemes are now termed ‘green’. They will only invest savers money in companies which promote the environment. Another school of though is that business culture continues to be driven by short term profit. This suggests that the stakeholders, such as shareholders and directors, hold most influence in setting the objectives of the business. These groups tend to be most interested in the profit of the business.

Jobber D., (2001), “Principles and Practices of Marketing”, 3 rd Edition, McGraw Hill Publishing Company Johnson. G, Scholes K.,(2006), “Exploring Corporate Strategy”, Prentice Hall Njavro D., Krkac K. (2006), “Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility” Lancaster G., Massingham L., Ashford R. (2002), “Essentials of Marketing”, 4 th Edition, McGraw Hill Publishing Company Ferris R.G., Buckley M.R., Fedor B.D., “Human Resource Management”, 4 th Edition, Prentice Hall Awards Supplement (2010), “Sustainable Consumption”, pg . 27


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