Corporate Social Responsibility Practices (Recycling in Saudi Arabia)
City and State:
Corporate Social Responsibility Practices (Recycling in Saudi Arabia)
Currently, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has gained strategic importance within the global business setting, specifically for governments and organizations alike. States that focus on the establishment of imperative economies perceive CSR as a means towards value creation based on the positive implications it poses. Gradually, scholars and institutions have asserted a connection between this particular practice and national development. For them, both aspects are critically intertwined. Undeniably, it is also apparent that developing states will be incapable of progressing if they fail to integrate corporations in the area of capacity building. Without the objective participation of organizations in various social affairs, it will be impossible for such countries to recognize the dynamic contribution that such firms will provide in relation t capacity building. Moreover, the competitive stance, national position of a country and the welfare of its people are connected inextricably to challenges within the environment, technology and competence. As such, these gradual challenges can only undergo management via corporate initiatives within partnerships formed with the government. In relation to this reality, Arab states such as Saudi Arabia are also no exception to this westernized practice.
Background of CSR
Prior to the start of CSR, businesses based in the 19th century raised concerns regarding the wellbeing of their workers and their effect on the general community. With the ascent of labor movements and slums due to the Industrial Revolution, organizations became keen on the provision of social welfare, though on a limited level (Aras & Crowther 2009, p. 90). These activities also included the establishment of bath houses, hospitals and food coupons (Carroll 2008, p. 116). Within this particular period, business philanthropists such as Cornelius Vanderbilt and John D. Rockefeller became involved in such activities within the American setting. Even though the justification of philanthropy was unknown, the privileges provided by these individuals became recognized by communities and a myriad of social factions. According to Carroll (2008, p. 117), the tenet which underlined these actions was mainly depicted by religious organizations, with the key example being the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA). Furthermore, the occurrence of the Great Depression in the early 1930s underpinned this trend based on the management of public trusteeship. As such, considerable engagement in organizational philanthropy was responsible for spearheading the progression of the CSR perspective.
The 1950s officially inaugurated the conception of the ideology of CSR. Howard R. Bowen, as one of the scholars of this concept, delineated CSR as the duties that businessmen perform in order to follow their policies, engage in decision-making or even, follow actions that are desirable in relation to social values and objectives (Rahman 2011, p. 167). In this respect, Bowen claimed that businesspersons were accountable for the outcomes of their activities within a circle much larger than organizational financial performance. Simply, Bowen indicated the significance and existence of corporate social responsibility. Additionally, Keith Davis referred to social responsibility as the actions and choices performed by businesspersons for reasons exceeding the organization’s technical or economic interests (Rahman 2011, p. 168). As such, Davis presumed that socially responsible business choices could undergo justification based on the firm’s economic gains, hence reimbursing its socially responsible activities. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, CSR underwent further definition due to the increased activities of public movements that advocated for labor rights, customer protection and the preservation of the environment. As such, various approaches based on the conjectures of Woodward Clyde, Rich Strand and Carroll such as stakeholder theory and corporate citizenship became established from that point henceforth (Aras & Crowther 2009, p. 90).
Different Types of CSR Practices
CSR comprises an expansive array of activities that are employed by organizations based on the numerous responsibilities they need to sustain. Relating to this, the main types of CSR practices constitute environmental protection and sustainability, ethical work practices and philanthropy.
Environmental Protection and Sustainability
One established focus of CSR constitutes the life of the environment. Regardless of their size, every business possesses a significant carbon footprint (Zoltáni 2013, p. 56). The activities that the organizations can carry out in order to decrease the footprints are deemed as positive for the organization and the general community. In addition to this, organizations also possess a genuine obligation towards the conservation of the environment. This is because such settings are responsible for providing them with raw resources. Hence, companies can engage in various practices in order to safeguard the environment and augment its sustainability. These comprise recycling, water management, utilization of renewable energy, waste management, utilization of recyclable resources, development of eco-friendly supply chains, the use of digital technology and the establishment of buildings based on the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) guidelines (Zoltáni 2013, p. 77).
Ethical Work Practices
Apart from the protection of the environment, organizations also possess an obligation to their employees. Indeed, employees as stakeholders are the most important assets of any firm (Carroll 2004, p. 116). Because of this, they pose a considerable impact on the success or failure of any organization. Moreover, the ethical treatment of employees correlates with the direction of the organization (Mason & Simmons 2013, p. 60). Usually, firms establish goals and objectives that employees are guided by in order to realize profit maximization. Hence, by managing employees ethically and justly, organizations can demonstrate CSR and benefit financially from such practices. Moreover, the demonstration of CSR by organizations is important especially in foreign locations that possess disparate labor laws. In this respect, organizations need to ensure that their employees are managed fairly in order to avoid the implications that may arise from unethical treatment.
Aside from environmental sustainability and ethical responsibilities, organizations are also capable of achieving philanthropic responsibilities. Based on the gains that companies receive from selling their products and services to the society, it is also responsible for them to engage in acts that support the community. Philanthropic practices are several and differentiate depending on how the organization seeks to pose an effect on the society (Uyan-Atay 2014, p. 35). One of the activities may be the raising for finances for community-based choices. Other practices comprise the facilitation of social volunteerism, sponsorship of local events, employment of individuals from a particular society, facilitating the economic growth of a community, and engagement within fair trade operations (Fallon, 2014).
Recycling as Part of CSR Practices
Recycling is among the common practices that organizations engage in for the purpose of protecting the environment and amplifying its sustainability. Normally, majority of the waste that is generated arises from the industry rather than the domestic setting. As a practice involved in environmental conservation, recycling enables organizations to modify waste into novel products. As such, the waste materials that companies emit after production can be utilized as a means of preventing pollution of the overall environment. Additionally, as a social responsibility practice, recycling also enables organizations to not only curb pollution, but to also safeguard the safety and wellness of the occupants of the society. Through the reuse of products, companies can avoid engaging in practices that are harmful to individuals and other creatures. For instance, the practice of recycling can prevent air pollution by curbing incineration. In addition, the practice can also restrict the pollution of water by decreasing the demand for disposal via acts of landfilling (Gonzalez-Perez & Leonard 2013, p. 89).
Apart from the positive implications that recycling imposes on the society and environment, the respective practice also allows organizations to cut down on the costs involved in activities such as the purchase of raw materials. Based on the definition of CSR according to Bowen, socially responsible activities should contribute to the financial performance of the organization. In this respect, the practice of recycling allows companies to cut down the expenses generated in non-compliance of eco-friendly standards. Even though the amount of benefits realized depends on the effectiveness of an organization’s recycling program, it is impossible to not perceive the general positive implications that the practice contributes. In addition to this, organizations that take part in this practice are capable of avoiding legal damages that arise from the impact of factory processes and by-products on the health of individuals (Bagley 2013, p. 103).
CSR in Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has implemented efforts geared towards the development of CSR practices throughout its region. Accordingly, the state has espoused certain aspects of CSR. Currently, the government of Saudi Arabia has shifted towards increasing its emphasis on activities involving environmental sustainability, the conservation of water and healthy lifestyles for its inhabitants. Based on the information provided by environment forums in the Arab countries, it became imperative for Saudi Arabia to focus considerably on the protection of the environment due to mounting challenges arising from less conservatory practices and policies. The country has applied plans that focus on the expansion of basic services usually provided to civilians, protection of the environment, wildlife as well as natural resources (Emtairah, Al-Ashaikh & Al-Badr 2009, p. 330). These current plans do not solely prioritize capacity building; they also ensure that they fortify the competitive stance of the country by enabling it to deal with a dynamic global environment.
The inclination towards recycling as a CSR practice by Saudi Arabia has been motivated by the defects imposed on the country’s economy by lack of environmental conservation. Accordingly, the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED) underscored environmental issues as one of the main problems that Arab nations encounter on a daily basis. In addition to this, the only way that countries such as Saudi Arabia can avoid these implications is via transition towards a comprehensive Green Economy (Ali & Al-Aali 2012, p. 44). Over the years, Saudi Arabia has experienced considerable losses due to poor conservation practices. By 2012, the kingdom was losing nearly SR 40 billion each year due to insufficient recycling practices (Arab News, 2012). Therefore, in order to avert these issues, the country began investing considerably in garbage sorting projects. The objective of these projects was to enable significant discovery and recycling of recyclable products in order to reduce the costs involved.
Indeed, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become an imperative aspect to consider especially within the global business setting. Apart from the implications it poses on the financial performance of organizations, CSR practices function as factors that are significant towards the attainment of competitive advantage against other states and organizations. In relation to Saudi Arabia, there is still much room to be covered regarding the conservation of the environment. Since CSR involves activities other than those geared towards environmental sustainability, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia can integrate practices geared towards capacity building in order to ensure that the social and environmental welfare of the Saudi society is strong.
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