Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a concept with numerous definitions and practices. According to Horrigan (2010), there is no widespread definition of CSR due to the high levels of ambiguity and controversy associated with the topic. It has to be noted that, however, “virtually all definitions of CSR include the notion that business firms have obligations toward society beyond their economic obligations to shareholders” (Schwartz, 2011, p.19). Nevertheless, as stated in Investopedia (2013), CSR definition that captures the main aspects of the term can be proposed as “corporate initiative to assess and take responsibility for the company’s effects on the environment and impact on social welfare.”
CSR stands an important role to a business as it demonstrates to both consumers and the media that the company takes an interest in wider social issues that have no direct impact on profit margins. For an example, the engagement of a company in ethical practice would strongly impact customer’s buying decisions. A healthy CSR would build a greater image in the market. This, in turn, can lead to greater profits for a business. Therefore, it can be seen that many companies would want to engage in CSR for collective goods. Thus, Colgate-Palmolive Company being in the list of top ten companies with the best CSR reputation (Forbes, 2017) will be an appropriate case study example. The purpose of this essay is to explain about the concept of CSR thoroughly. Also, to evaluate CSR activities of Colgate-Palmolive Company. Finally, determining why Colgate-Palmolive is a “good” CSR company and worthy to be in the top ten list.
The Colgate-Palmolive Company is an American worldwide consumer products company tightly focused on the production, distribution and provision of oral care, personal care, home care products. It is founded by William Colgate in 1806. Under its “Hill’s Pet Nutrition” brand, it is also a manufacturer of veterinary products. Colgate-Palmolive sells its products in over 200 countries and territories around the world under such internationally recognized brand names as Colgate, Palmolive, Murphy Oil Soap, Softsoap, AJAX, Irish Spring, Otagon Christal White, Ultra Palmolive, and Fabuloso. CSR is nothing new to the company. Throughout the years, Colgate-Palmolive Company have done various of CSR activities. The company long-term sustainability strategy is to focus on three main areas which are People, Performance as well as the Planet.
C-P referred to their workers as Colgate people. One of C-P’s business objectives is “Helping Colgate People and Their Families Live Better” (Colgate, 2002). Essentially, C-P is very concerned about their workers’ health. For that reason, C-P uses a voluntary, private and confidential reporting toolset called Health Risk Assessment (HRA) to keep track of their worker’s health status. Basically, HRA provides information such as biometric data uploaded by the workers for C-P to evaluate their health condition and with the help of it, C-P managed to reduce health risk of their workers by fifteen percent. To date, C-P is still working on providing the HRA to more employees in different countries. C-P also ensure that the workers’ work environment is safe and healthy. They did it by providing safety programs designed to prevent accidents for their workers. In addition, C-P prepare a series of programs for their workers “nutrition guidance, onsite fitness classes, bike to work programs, informational health and wellness sessions, financial seminars and employee networking groups”
As reported by C-P in their annual sustainability report, they are able to reach an average of sixty million people annually with their hand washing education. C-P is not just about hygiene and health as they collaborated with The Hill’s to create a program named The Hill’s Food, Shelter and Love Program and it serves the purpose of supporting homeless pets. With this program, C-P and The Hill’s successfully provided two hundred eighty million U.S. dollar worth of pets food to nearly one thousand shelters in the United States. As a result of it, the collaboration helped a total number of eight million cats and dogs find a home. Apart from that, a successful campaign, “Bright Smiles, Bright Future”t has been conducted to raise awareness to the community. This campaign is long standing partnership with the government, community and schools. It is mainly targeting children that are unaware of the oral health education. It is conducted globally and providing free dental screenings and oral health education to children in need. From there, children will be able to build healthy lifestyles and be more confident in themselves. This campaign has formed a strong connection with the government which is beneficial in their CSR.
“Today approximately thirty seven percent of the materials in our packages are from recycled sources” (Colgate, 2016). As shown in their sustainability report, C-P constantly working to reduce the amount of non-recyclable materials used in their packaging. They are also working to change the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) used in their toothbrush into materials more eco-friendly. In most underserved communities, many people would not be able to afford basic health and wellness products. C-P overcome this issue by making their products to a more affordable price point without changing the quality of the products. C-P is also using the power of their brand to create global awareness.
C-P had done well in “Making Every Drop of Water Count” (Colgate, 2016). First of all, C-P managed to reduce their water usage for manufacturing by forty eight percent compared to year 2002. Second of all, they partnered with organizations all over the world so that they could bring clean water to undeveloped countries. An example of it was when Colgate contributed to a program called Everyone Forever by Water For People. This program helped Water For People with bringing clean water, health and hygiene education and sanitation systems to approximately one hundred thousand people in India, Guatemala and Peru. Third of all, they have always convey the message of water conservation to all of their global consumers.