The whole point of being in business is to make a profit. But this is not the only point. In today’s world where everyone is under thorough scrutiny of political correctness, corporations are under pressure to show that there is more to their business than just making big bucks.
This is where corporate social responsibility comes in. a business corporation is expected to have a social conscience and give back to the society within which it operates. The social conscience is guided by the company’s code of ethics.
Unlike the west, companies operating in the Middle East have only lately begun to embrace the idea of corporate social responsibility. By analyzing two company websites in two Middle Eastern countries, it shall be determined to what level they are involved in CSR and which of the two companies has a better CSR strategy.
What is Corporate Social Responsibility?
Corporate Social responsibility (CSR) is a measure of the level of commitment that an organization shows towards the society in which it is based, and its level of reaction and involvement in the society’s challenges. A company’s CSR is meant to be tailor-made to meet the shortcoming of the society as an attempt to improve the quality of life of the people among whom it is based (Kotler & Lee, 2005).
As has been mentioned, a company’s CSR is determined by what code of ethics the company chooses to work by. The code of ethics is used as a guideline for employee behavior and discipline at the workplace.
What is the importance of corporate social responsibility?
A business is a network that interconnects people and events beyond the workplace. The actions of employees and employers at the workplace have far-reaching repercussions on their immediate community as well as the environment in which they live (Kotler & LEE, 2005).
This is the reason why there is a need for companies to practice corporate social responsibility. It is how the corporation can best streamline its actions to benefit not only itself but by acting responsibly give back to the community and ensure that there is minimal damage done to the environment. Other than the altruistic satisfaction of knowing that one has given back to the community, corporate social responsibility also helps build a company’s image and credibility (Kotler & LEE, 2005).
CSR in the Middle East; DLA Piper and TAQA
The DLA Piper (a global legal firm) branch in Abu Dhabi has been touted as being gravely concerned with fulfilling its corporate social responsibility obligations with its focus being on environmental conservation. The firm even holds its green week where it focuses on four specific areas: energy, water, travel and procurement. The company’s strategy has started from the employees themselves, who are instilled firm workplace ethics that requires them to diligently carry out mundane tasks such as turning out computers and lights at the end of the workday, as well as collecting recyclable material.
Some of the activities that the company has taken part in to cut carbon emissions are funding a wind farm in the Chinese province of Jilin and supporting a brick kilns project in Nicaragua that aims to produce kilns that will consume less wood hence be more environmentally friendly.
The other company to be reviewed is the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company better known as TAQA. It has also been lauded as developing a sound CSR program. TAQA is working hand in hand with other stakeholders such as non-governmental organizations, customers, academics and other partners to ensure that their CSR program will be wholly beneficial to society. The company has a stringent code of ethics that calls upon employees to act professionally at the workplace and also while in the field. TAQA’s code of ethics is grounded in employees observing local laws, acting transparently and showing due respect to cultures other than their own.
TAQA, like DLA Piper, focuses its CSR energies on the environment. it was the first company belonging to the Gulf cooperation council (GCC) to be accorded the honor of an invitation to join the 3C initiative which is made up of business leaders from all over the world who have dedicated themselves to reducing emissions and minimizing the rise in global temperatures the company.
TAQA vs. DHL Piper: comparing and contrasting
While DLA Piper and TAQA are business companies in very diverse fields, they have both taken up their share in corporate social responsibility. both companies involve their employees right from the office in these efforts; DLA piper expects employees to act in a manner that is considered environmentally friendly while TAQA challenges its employees to be professional in the office and the field, being transparent at all times.
Of the two company websites, however, DLA Piper’s has a more comprehensive and content-filled CSR page. the latter states its approach ‘local responsibility…global reach’ and then goes ahead to outline how this can be achieved. The DLA Piper CSR page details the particular projects in which the company has been involved; from education, healthcare, housing to hunger economic development and law reforms. This kind of information is lacking on the TAQA CSR page who only mentions that they are involved in CSR.
DHL Piper, though noting that they are involved in all kinds of social responsibility, highlight that their focus is on their commitment to environmental conversation. They mark the achievements that have been made in this regard, namely being among the first legal firms to initiate a global sustainability initiative to reduce the negative impact they as a company may have on the environment.
Corporate bodies should fulfill not only the societies within which they are based but also beyond that to the world at large. This is because it is these societies that sustain them; hence they have to give back as a show of appreciation.
A company must involve its employees in activating its CSR program by instilling in them a code of ethics aligned to the one the company has. This will ensure that the employees understand what the company is striving towards and actively share in making the company’s CSR goals possible to achieve.
DLA Piper, Abu Dhabi and TAQA are companies that have active CSR Programs centered on an environmental conversation. The two companies have adopted different approaches towards achieving this end. Judged solely based on the company website CSR content, then it can be said that DLA Piper has a more constructive and comprehensive CSR program.
DLA Piper pushes green practices for a sustainable environment. (2008). Web.
Taqa CSR – a work in progress. (2008). Web.
Social responsibility. Web.
Kotler, P & Lee, N (2005). Corporate social responsibility: doing the most good for your company and your cause. John Wisely and Sons.
CSR at TAQA. Web.