Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility in the corporate world are very important. What follows will help you in your understanding of this very important topic – please summarize this in 2-3 pages and explain the importance that ethics and corporate social responsibility play in the accounting profession:Ethics: Ethical issues as they relate to organizations and their social responsibilityWhat is Corporate Social Responsibility?Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the responsibility of an organization for the impacts of its decisions and activities on society, the environment and its own prosperity, known as the “triple bottom line” of people, planet, and profit. Not only do responsible, sustainable and transparent approaches help build brand and reputation, they help strengthen the community and therefore the marketplace. A solid business plan, embedded into the business culture, reflecting organizational values and objectives through strategic CSR application, will help to build a sustainable and profitable future for all.Theobligation of an organization’s management towards the welfare and interests of the society in which it operates.What is business ethics?Business ethics examines ethical principles and moral or ethical problems that arise in a business environment. It applies to all aspects of business conduct and is relevant to the conduct of individuals and entire organizations.Business ethics reflects the philosophy of business, one of whose aims is to determine the fundamental purposes of a company. If a company’s purpose is to maximize shareholder returns, then sacrificing profits to other concerns is a violation of its fiduciary responsibility. Corporate entities are legally considered as persons in USA and in most nations. The ‘corporate persons’ are legally entitled to the rights and liabilities due to citizens as persons.Generally business ethics involves coming to know what it right or wrong in the workplace and doing what’s right — this is in regard to effects of products/services and in relationships with stakeholders. Attention to ethics in the workplace sensitizes leaders and staff to how they should act. Perhaps most important, attention to ethics in the workplaces helps ensure that when leaders and managers are struggling in times of crises and confusion, they retain a strong moral compass. Business ethics can be strong preventative medicine. Ethics is also about assessing and cultivating the corporate culture. Culture is comprised of the values, norms, folkways and behaviors of an organization. Ethics is about moral values, or values regarding right and wrong. Therefore, cultural assessments can be extremely valuable when assessing the moral values in an organization. Businesses have recently become aware of the severe implications of the unethical behavior of employees. In response, many businesses have begun training their employees to make ethical decisions and establishing company codes of conduct. The message from businesses today is clear—employees must be capable of making ethical decisions to protect the business from legal liability and to maximize long-term profits.Most students’ principles of right and wrong are well established prior to their attending high school. Thus, the presentation of business ethics does not involve the teaching of right and wrong. Instead, students need to learn how to apply their principles of right and wrong to business situations.The principles of right and wrong that guide an individual in making decisions are called ethics. The use of personal ethics in making business decisions is called business ethics. In these Business Ethics Activities, you will have the opportunity to analyze the ethics of common business situations by using the following three-step checklist as a guide in collecting relevant information regarding an action.1. Is the action illegal? Does the action violate any laws? Obeying the law is in your best interest and the best interest of your business.2. Does the action violate company or professional standards? Public laws often set only minimum standards of behavior. Many businesses and professions set even higher standards of behavior. Thus, an action may be legal, yet still violate standards of the business or profession. Violating these standards may affect your job security or any professional certification you may hold.3. Who is affected, and how, by the action? If an action is legal and complies with business and professional standards, you must rely on your principles of right and wrong to determine if the action is ethical. Determining how the action affects individuals and groups—including business employees and owners, customers, the local community, and society—will help you decide if an action is ethical.In the activity presented below, you will read about a person who overstated information on a résumé. Note how the three step checklist, described above, was used to determine whether the individual demonstrated ethical behavior in preparing the résumé. A solution to the activity is included. The solution illustrates the use of the three-step checklist. (Note that the answers for future Business Ethics Activities will not be provided to you.)Social responsibility a part of business ethics???Social responsibility and business ethics are often regarding as the same concepts. However, the social responsibility movement is but one aspect of the overall discipline of business ethics. The social responsibility movement arose particularly during the 1960s with increased public consciousness about the role of business in helping to cultivate and maintain highly ethical practices in society and particularly in the natural environment. Many companies believe they have a responsibility to “give back” to society. This focus includes contributions of time and money, a duty to provide environmentally friendly products and services, and a desire to improve the lives of individuals here and around the globe. Such socially responsible companies see to it that this “consciousness” permeates everything they do.The following 10 companies stand out as prime examples of how social responsibility can be productively coupled with sound strategies to advance goodwill, while building sustainable and impressive businesses. They provide the leadership to demonstrate how marketers can pursue both objectives simultaneously. As such, socially conscious companies have stepped up their efforts with increasing effectiveness and productivity. It is an impressive movement and one that invites society at large to do even more. Let’s use these as examples for “how to get it done” so that we can effectively expand our efforts to give back.Burt’s Bees – The focus for Burt’s Bees has always been on well-being and “the greater good.” As part of the Natural Products Association, the company helped develop The Natural Standard for Personal Care Products, which created guidelines for what can be deemed natural. Burt’s Bees follows the highest possible standards for packaging sustainability, furthering its dedication to the cause as a member of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition. Since the brand’s start at a crafts fair selling $200 worth of honey, the company has since expanded to candles, lip balm and now more than 150 products. In 2009, revenue topped $250 million.GE – To stay true to GE’s mission, Ecomagination offerings include products that significantly and measurably improve customers’ operating performance or value proposition and environmental performance. Ecomagination helped GE build its business by increasing awareness of how the company is using renewable energy and reducing carbon emissions. As proof of the effectiveness of GE’s program, the Ecomagination portfolio has grown from 17 products to more than 80 today, with revenues reaching $17 billion in 2008, an increase of 21% over 2007.Method – As a cleaning product, Method hit the jackpot. While cleaning products historically contained hazardous chemicals, Method was able to make safe and effective home and personal cleaning products derived from natural ingredients such as soy, coconut and palm oils. The products also come in environmentally responsible, biodegradable packaging. As one of the fastest-growing companies in the world, and with $100 million in annual revenue, Method proves that socially responsible products can be wildly successful.The Body Shop – The Body Shop is regarded as a pioneer of modern corporate social responsibility as one of the first companies to publish a full report on its efforts and initiatives. Founder Anita Roddick led her company to stand up for its beliefs and champion causes such as self-esteem, environmental protection, animal rights, community trade and human rights. From sponsoring posters in 1985 for Greenpeace to presenting a petition against animal testing to the European Union with 4,000,000 signatures, The Body Shop has contributed significantly to the causes it supports, and exemplifies how other companies can do the same.Starbuck’s Coffee – Since Starbucks Coffee started in 1971, the company has focused on acting responsibly and ethically. One of Starbucks’ main focuses is the sustainable production of green coffee. With this in mind, it created C.A.F.E. Practices, a set of guidelines to achieve product quality, economic accountability, social responsibility and environmental leadership. The company supports products such as Ethos Water, which brings clean water to the more than 1 billion people who do not have access. To date, Ethos Water has committed to grants totaling more than $6.2 million.Ben
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