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Main purpose of existence business organizations is to make profits. Profits motivate business organizations to improve their activities. However, business organizations do not exist in complete isolation from the real world. Stakeholders of business organizations face various problems. These problems affect the relationship that stakeholders have with the organizations. Organizations should invest heavily in human capital as they determine the productivity and ultimately the company's profitability. In addition, business organizations should ensure that, in generating profits they engage in ethically right activities. Therefore, it is critical for business organizations to have ethical and corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies.
Ethics in business dictates that businesses should ensure that their activities are ethically right. Business organizations should not use unscrupulous activities with the sole aim of getting profits. Therefore, it is wrong for businesses to mistreat their employees or use child labor in their activities. There are regulations that ensure that companies engage in ethical activities. However, regulations do not cover all ethical aspects of business organizations. Companies may comply with the regulation but engage in unethical activities. In addition, it is ethically wrong for businesses to use deception to obtain their activities. Companies have policies that outline how various stakeholders of the business should undertake their activities to ensure that they are ethically right. In addition, companies should ensure that they invest a proportion of their profits to the community. Companies should support various initiatives that help improve the welfare of members of the community. Corporate social responsibility encompasses these activities. Companies are under no obligation to engage in CSR activities. However, failure to engage in various CSR activities may have serious repercussions on the business. It may harm the reputation of the company making customers shy away from buying products of the company. This is especially if the company is highly profitable as Apple Computers. Apple has ethical and CSR policies that help ensure its suppliers and distributors engage in acceptable activities. Apple’s supplier code of conduct ensures that suppliers’ activities meet Apple’s expectations.
Apple Computers Inc.
Apple is one of the largest companies in the world. The company manufactures computers, phones digital music devices, and various software applications. Some of the major products of the company include the iPhone, iPad, iMac, and iPod. The major software applications of the company are the iCloud, iOS, and iTunes (Morrissey, 2010). Apple has revolutionized virtually every industry where it has it activities. The company helped revolutionize the computer industry with the Mac. It made ownership of computers fashionable. Previously, people viewed computers as technological devices for programmers and people who did not have a social life. However, Apple helped change all this. Apple's Macs had unique design making them attractive to the youth. The iPod helped revolutionize the music industry. People could store hundreds of songs in a small device. In addition, iPods had high quality sounds. Apple's iPhone helped revolutionize the phone industry. The iPhone incorporated a phone, a music player, and a camera.
The iPad is the last device that the company unveiled. The iPad is a tablet computer that has revolutionized personal computing. Steve Jobs, the former chief executive of the company helped in launching all the above products. At a glance, Apple is a highly successful company. Apple is the most valuable company in the world (Wilson, 2012). The success of the company necessitates it to take measures to guard its reputation. The company has ethical and CSR policies that help maintain the image of the company and ensure it continues to have a competitive advantage over its main rivals.
Virtually, all multinationals outsource to Asia. Companies do not just outsource production of various product, companies also source various services from Asia. The main factor that makes companies prefer sourcing from these locations is the low cost of labour. In addition, manufacturing plants have the capacity to produce high quality goods (Lu, 2007). High quality goods and low cost of production make outsourcing to Asia one of the main strategies that companies use to increase their competitive edge over their rivals.
Apple also sources from various Asian countries – mainly China. Manufacturing plants in China produce a variety of products that range from screens, microchips, covers of various electronic gadgets to batteries of Apple's electronic products (Wylie & Nicol, 2012). However, Apple develops software application through which their electronic products run. This helps in maintaining the secrecy of their products.
The major benefit of souring to Asia is a source of certain problems. As Asian manufacturing plants strive to reduce their costs of production, they sometimes engage in unethical business practices. Asian manufacturing plants are notorious for exploiting their employees. Employees usually work for long hours for very little pay. In addition, Asian manufacturing plants occasionally use child labour in their production plants (Hewison & Young, 2006). Asian manufacturing plants undertake these measures to reduce their costs of production.
Business malpractices in Asian manufacturing plants necessitate organizations to use various strategies to ensure that their suppliers do not engage in unethical business practices. Apple has a supplier code of conduct that stipulate how suppliers, in various locations – not just Asian countries – should undertake their activities with regard to labor and human rights, ethics, health and safety, environment, and management systems (Collier & Evans, 2011). The supplier code of conduct helps keep Apple's suppliers in check and ensure that they do not engage unethical activities. Apple's supplier code of conduct draws from internationally recognized standards.
Apple audits its suppliers regularly to ensure that they conform to the measures outlined in the supplier code of conduct. Apple may make impromptu visits to the suppliers' premises to audit whether they conform to the supplier code of conduct. The supplier code of conduct stipulates that Apple may terminate the suppliers' conducts if they violate its conditions. However, this is not mere rhetoric; Apple has terminated the contracts of various companies that have violated the code of conduct. These measures ensure that suppliers adhere to the code of conduct at all time or else risk termination of their contracts. However, Apple does not terminate the supplier contracts immediately after the realization that the suppliers have unethical activities. Apple gives suppliers certain durations of time to enable them comply with the conditions (Ben & Bolton, 2011). It may put pressure on the company to undertake changes or else risk terminations of its supply contract. The supplier code of conduct has enabled various companies improve their activities to conform to Apple's standards.
Apple's also provides an annual supplier responsibility progress. This report outlines measures that various suppliers have taken to conform to its standards (Respicio, Adam & IOS press, 2010). The supplier responsibility report bases its findings from Apple's regular auditing of the suppliers. The supplier responsibility report is available to members of the public. Therefore, it helps in boosting the image and reputation of the company as it shows that the company has a genuine commitment to ensuring businesses engage in responsible practices.
However, measures taken by Apple to ensure that suppliers engage in responsible activities, do not deter all suppliers from engaging in unethical activities. Apple regularly discovers that its suppliers engage in unethical business activities. Some of Apple suppliers, such as Foxconn – the largest Apple Chinese supplier – have been faced with various allegations of engaging in unethical business activities (Bredeson, 2011). This necessitates Apple to take measures to ensure that the suppliers engage in ethical activities. Discovery of suppliers who engage in unethical business activities greatly damages Apple's reputation.
Apple also helps in enlightening employees of suppliers to reduce the probability of the suppliers mistreating them. Apple enlightens the employees on Apple's code of conduct with regard for how suppliers should treat their employees and on the local labour regulations. In addition, Apple subjects suppliers to extensive training on how they avoid certain unethical activities, through improvement of their management practices (Mirchindani, 2012). This ensures that suppliers do not engage in unethical activities due to management incompetence.
Business organizations exist within the realm of the society. Therefore, they should not isolate their activities from the welfare of the society. Society demands that business organizations should give equal attention to financial performance, society, and environment. Business organizations engage in CSR for various reasons. CSR helps improve the image of the company. Consumers use CSR to evaluate the responsibility of various organizations. In addition, CSR helps organizations hire and retail highly qualified employees. This is because employees find pleasure working in their communities. This helps improve their morale and productivity. Contrary to the notion that CSR is a substitute for profitability, CSR is actually a means of attaining profitability. This is because CSR helps improve the company's image, and productivity of the employees (Parker, 2005). Benefits of CSR spur Apple to be extensively involved in CSR activities.
Sustainability is the main CSR activity that Apple engages in. Apple ensures that all company and supplier activities are sustainable. Apple sustainability efforts ensure that the company leads to very limited environmental pollution. Some of the measures that Apple takes to ensure sustainability include increasing energy efficiency of the company and its products, reducing the amount of toxic chemicals in its products and recycling.
Apple's products are some of the most energy efficient products in the market. The company uses LCD screens in all its computers. This makes Apple's computers to be energy efficient since LCD use less power than CRT screens. In fact, the company eliminated CRT screens from its screens, to ensure that its computers are energy efficient. In addition, Apple's products incorporate systems that ensure that they use minimal energy whether in operation or in standby mode. Some of Apple's products such as the second generation Apple TV are the most energy efficient products in the market (Kranzlmüller & Tjoa, 2011). Energy efficiency of Apple's products makes them to be more popular among consumers than products from other companies. Apple ensures that company operations are energy efficient. This is by using energy efficient systems within the company premises. Apple is one of the few companies that encourage their employees to carpool. The company gives employees monthly rebates due to carpooling. In addition, Apple offers its employees free bus service to reduce energy consumption of employees due to commuting to and from work.
Electronic devices contain various toxic chemicals that may harm people or the environment. This necessitates companies that manufacture electronic products to ensure that levels of toxic chemicals in their products are minimal – if it is impossible to eliminate them. Apple ensures that its products have low levels of toxic chemicals. Apple was the first electronics company to eliminate PVC, a toxic chemical – from its computers. In addition, Apple uses only LCD screens in its computers. Therefore, the company's computers do not contain lead and mercury, which are present in CRT screens. Packaging material also contributes to environmental degradation as it may contain toxic chemicals (Stern & Ander, 2008). Apple ensures that its products have minimal packaging. In so doing, Apple ensures that the products have very little carbon footprint.
Electronic waste products constitute greatly to environmental degradation. This necessitates companies to take measures that would reduce accumulation of electronic waste in the environment. Recycling helps reduce the amount of electronic waste in the environment. Apple undertakes recycling efforts to reduce environmental impact of its activities. The company has recycling initiatives in most of the countries where it sells its products. Apple manufactures it products in a way that makes them easily recyclable. However, Apple does not just recycle its products; it also recycles electronic products from other companies (Provost, 2010). In so doing, Apple helps reduce electronic waste in the environment.
Apple also ensures that its suppliers engage in sustainable activities. The supplier code of conduct dictates that suppliers should ensure their activities; do not lead to environmental degradation. The main factor that necessitates Apple to ensure the sustainability of the suppliers’ operations is that external manufacturing plants produce a large proportion of Apple’s products. Therefore, Apple’s sustainability efforts would be in vain if the suppliers continue having unsustainable operations. Apple provides sustainability reports annually. Sustainability reports show Apple’s and its suppliers’ sustainability efforts with regard to recycling and facilities management (Kramer, 2012). Annual sustainability reports help in improving the image of the company.
Apple has highly efficient ethical and CSR policies. The policies help in boosting the image and reputation of the company. Apple’s ethical and CSR policies help the company maintain a competitive edge over its rivals. Sustainability of its products is the major CSR activities that help boost the image of the company. Supplier code of conduct helps in streamlining the activities of suppliers to ensure that they are ethical and sustainable. Ethical and CSR policies have tremendously helped improve Apple’s image and reputation.