This study examines business ethics and corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the context of Avalon Group, a fictitious company. The former is a worldwide corporation that acts as a retailer and carries a vast assortment of products. It competes with dominant brands such as SkyBlue Stores, Greenfield Buy, and NextWave Food in its business. The CSR program of Avalon has revealed a number of issues, particularly in regard to environmental duties. The syndicate's operations have caused an increase in water pollution, habitat destruction, and carbon emissions. In addition, it is difficult to harness renewable energy sources and industrialize food production. The CSR initiative of the retailer recognizes a variety of stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, consumers, suppliers, and local communities. Several techniques, including an antitrust principle, consumer protection, food safety, labor and employment program, and health and safety efforts, are used to manage its ethical challenges. The majority of Avalon's CSR efforts involve collaborations with government organizations, environmental conservation, advocacy for human rights, and the education of low-income children.
Ethics in Business and Corporate Social Responsibility
Avalon Group is an international retail firm that provides clients with a vast selection of goods and services. It operates and administers a number of supermarkets and hypermarkets in various geographic locations. In addition to NextWave Food, Greenfield Buy, and SkyBlue Stores, its competitors include Greenfield Buy and SkyBlue Stores. Its product portfolio encompasses a variety of sectors, including consumer products, home & furniture, groceries, fashion, and footwear. Its non-tangible class offers users a vast array of services, including cloud computing and financial services. These include wire transfers, bill payments, and cashing a check. In addition, Avalon largely competes in the retail market, but has some operations in the technological area. Its operational activities encompass location, layout design and strategy, quality, supply chain management, and inventory control. This article investigates the dimensions of business ethics and corporate social responsibility in relation to the operations of the fictional Avalon Group.
Ethical/CSR Problems and Obstacles Facing the Organization
In the business world, firms face a number of ethical dilemmas that may come from their engagement in corporate social responsibility. It is a business model that facilitates a corporation's participation in sustainable goals that are advantageous to key stakeholders (Bhardwaj et al., 2018). As organizations continue to develop expansion strategies for greater growth and development in the modern world, they are vulnerable to a number of ethical challenges that may threaten their long-term existence (Liang & Renneboog, 2017). One of the issues faced by Avalon Group, for instance, is environmental responsibility. The company's development techniques have a substantial impact on the environment, resulting in water contamination, habitat loss, and an increase in automobile use, which results in carbon emissions. The store has endeavored to establish itself as an industry leader in sustainability, but has encountered substantial obstacles along the way. While its ecological campaign had a significant impact on company image, it failed to promote environmental awareness. Its business operations continue to be highly polluting, and its expansion and development have been at the price of sustainability standards.
The retailer's inability to utilize renewable sources of energy is a significant obstacle. For example, a smaller proportion of its electricity comes from renewable energy and solar installations. Avalon's renewable energy sources continue to lag behind those of its major industry competitors, who are growing. NextWave and Greenfield Buy, along with a number of other independent retailers, have fully converted to renewable energy sources. In addition to being a challenge, the corporation's operations have significantly boosted greenhouse gas emissions. It is due to the enormous size of its stores and distribution center, which demand a considerable amount of electricity.
The syndicate also views consolidation and industrialisation of food production as a challenge. As a grocer, the shop has a substantial market share advantage over its primary competitors, such as NextWave and Greenfield Buy. As a result, there has been a proliferation of mergers among dairy, meatpacking, and other food industries. Despite the fact that Avalon purports to be an advocate for sustainable agriculture, it has exploited its industry to create a vast and increasingly industrialized food chain. As a result, the currency has depreciated, as fewer shops compete for their output, ultimately impacting the farmers. Employees of Avalon have also claimed being subjected to substandard working conditions. Within its corporate structure, the company has faced protests and numerous lawsuits. Frequent difficulties include rigid work schedules and poor compensation, which impede the employees' private lives and result in employee turnover due to unpaid overtime.
Avalon's corporate ethics include following international labor standards, engaging in ethical trade, lowering production costs, and more. These moral values have become crucial issues from the standpoint of the corporation's stakeholders. The suppliers have lodged many complaints about getting paid less for their materials, despite Avalon garnering substantial profits from their items. To reduce labor and manufacturing expenses, the retailer also employs temporary workers in its production process rather than hiring them permanently. As a result, these personnel receive lower salaries and bonuses, and their performance is not adequately evaluated.
Diverse Stakeholders and Their Diverse Interests
Avalon's stakeholders play a crucial role in propelling the company towards its strategic goals. They are the business's stakeholders, and enterprise operations touch them either directly or indirectly (Lehtinen et al., 2019). As a result, they compel the firm to design goals-achieving tactics that take their interests into account. Avalon has numerous groups of interested parties due to its large corporate structure and global breadth of operations. It is possible to categorize its stakeholder groups according to their shared interests. According to the organization's conventions and policies, they have varying levels of importance. According to Avalon's corporate social responsibility, the company's stakeholders consist of shareholders, customers, employees, and suppliers.
The investors are the highest priority in its CSR program for various reasons. They are also considered in the retailer's decision-making process. Typically, investors are primarily concerned with a company's sales and earnings (Lehtinen et al., 2019). They anticipate that Avalon will be the industry leader, which will result in larger dividends and earnings per share. Additionally, the owners are interested in minimizing the operational expenses of the company. When these expenses are eliminated, it helps to the maximization of profits, which is an advantage for investors. Avalon involves its stockholders in the formulation of its strategy, which is one of the reasons it attempts to reduce its operational expenses. Theoretically, the primary purpose of a business is to generate profits.
Customers are the second category of stakeholders deemed significant in its CSR goal. This demographic is typically interested in high-quality, low-priced goods offered by retailers. According to research, people are typically drawn to trustworthy businesses that have a reputation for offering superior products and services (Bhardwaj et al., 2018). Avalon interacts its clients in multiple methods, including the use of surveys and focus groups to collect input. Additionally, the company promises to enhance the client experience even further. Employees are the third segment within the stakeholder group. They are crucial to the decision-making process at Avalon because they assist the syndicate accomplish its goals and objectives. In this situation, individuals are primarily concerned about job security and income increases. Moreover, employees anticipate that the merchant will include them in matters of significance to the company. Having excellent health and safety standards as well as equity and fairness within the organization are also important to this group. Lastly, the workforce is interested in the main retailer's learning and development programs.
Suppliers are the final category of stakeholders and are considered the least important. They are primarily concerned with ensuring that people purchase their items and that the company makes a profit (Lehtinen et al., 2019). Regardless of revenue, suppliers are interested in transparent and fair contracting and payment according to the terms and conditions. In addition, they anticipate having clear and pertinent information regarding Avalon's criteria and standards. As businesses, suppliers are typically interested parties who want Avalon to sell their products at greater rates. Therefore, a minor increase in pricing could provide them with considerable benefits. Even though they are at the bottom of the hierarchy of priorities, they are nevertheless considered essential since they ensure the company has appropriate inventory.
Dealing with Ethical Matters
In order to fulfill their long-term objectives, businesses must effectively manage ethical challenges. Avalon has adopted a number of measures to guarantee that such issues do not significantly impact its corporate structure. Avalon's code of ethics addresses the areas most likely to have a detrimental impact on the firm. For instance, it has an anti-corruption strategy that aims to assist the company in achieving the highest levels of operational integrity. The company's training and communications department offers IT-based education to its employees and anti-corruption training to individuals most inclined to collaborate with government authorities. This guiding concept also prohibits offering or receiving anything of value in exchange for a dishonest corporate benefit.
Avalon adheres to an antitrust guideline intended to promote healthy competition on the worldwide market. Among the many facets of this policy is the maintenance of well-defined antitrust and competition law compliance. It also requires delivering updated and applicable antimonopoly guidance to relevant partners, including market-based and international standards. In addition, it provides partners with a transparent, dependable, and anonymous way to raise queries or concerns regarding competition law compliance (Bhardwaj et al., 2018). Lastly, it involves monitoring worldwide antimonopoly and competition regulations in order to update and enhance its compliance methods.
Consumer protection is yet another means via which Avalon manages ethical issues. The company is committed to adhering to consumer protection regulations to ensure a fair environment. Consequently, this guiding concept entails engaging with clients and analyzing statements and offers made to consumers for transparency and correctness. The program also incorporates client complaint management, which enables the company to properly handle their problems. Lastly, the merchant provides purchasers with warranties to resolve a variety of product defects.
Managing ethical issues is contingent upon ensuring food safety for retailers such as Avalon. The former is committed to complying with food safety rules and regulations applicable to its international business operations and offering access to high-quality goods. Therefore, this curriculum includes food safety education and training. In addition, it ensures that personnel are familiar with food handling protocols to prevent foodborne illness. In addition, it collaborates with an independent organization to undertake food safety audits in its retail locations. Therefore, the aforementioned procedures are crucial for resolving any ethical difficulties that may develop due to consumer collaboration.
The retailer's labor and employment program stipulates multiple methods for assuring an ethical procedure. For instance, it complies with employment rules to ensure that employees are compensated appropriately for their job and to maintain accurate payroll records. This strategy also permits Avalon to maintain opportunity equality across its organization. The company prioritizes the equitable and inclusive treatment of its employees, suppliers, business partners, and customers. This approach entails offering equitable work opportunities and preventing discriminatory actions.
A health and safety program is essential for the management of ethical issues in any business. Avalon is committed to adhering to such norms and standards in the markets in which it operates. This procedure attempts to safeguard the health of consumers, employees, and business partners by providing them with secure facilities. A team of safety experts is contracted by the firm to develop and implement safety measures for the organization's varied operational layouts. This program covers hazardous communications, emergency action plans, fire extinguishers, and numerous other procedures.
Several parts of Avalon's CSR program are beneficial to its main stakeholders. For instance, the corporation interacts with government agencies and philanthropic organizations to aid local communities impacted by natural disasters. Its emergency management systems are largely tasked with identifying, assessing, and responding to natural catastrophes and other types of crises, such as disease epidemics. This department plays an essential role in identifying developing hazards, preparing resources and personnel for disasters, and monitoring the progression of catastrophes.
Environmental protection efforts are a further important part of its CSR. Under energy consumption, for instance, the shop takes two essential measures to prevent carbon emissions. It reduces energy demand through optimization and efficiency and transitions to carbon-free renewable energy sources. Avalon has developed several waste management policies to address food and material wastes generated by its industrial plants, warehouses, and distribution centers in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, it contributes in reducing and diverting garbage from landfills in order to enhance its operational efficiency. Avalon also minimizes unnecessary packing and embraces the use of superior wrapping materials to boost recycling.
The firm has taken the effort to implement effective animal agricultural procedures in order to improve crop yield. A further environmental protection strategy undertaken by the corporation is to minimize deforestation using a number of impact-maximizing methods. Monitoring, cooperative action and advocacy, certification, and sustainable sourcing regions are included. Finally, it acquires energy-efficient items from its vendors. Moreover, product producers can contribute to the distribution of innovative goods by incorporating sustainable materials into the design of their products, such as recycled content that reduces the overall carbon footprint of the merchandise.
Human rights advocacy is another important part of Avalon's corporate social responsibility. As a result, the company places a premium on respecting its employees, which includes providing them with incentives, freedom of association, and many opportunity to be heard. It also contributes to the promotion of a safe and healthy workplace, which comprises the physical safety and security of the premises. Avalon adopts an anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policy to promote diversity, inclusion, and gender equity through the provision of a fair and inclusive work environment. Lastly, eliminating forced and child labor requires the eradication of human trafficking, the vulnerability of migrant workers, and child labor.
Avalon is also involved in the education of children, particularly those from low-income communities. As a result, the company takes a range of measures to ensure that disadvantaged children have a successful education. For instance, the shop provides great training possibilities for these families, with an emphasis on primary education. In addition, it addresses environmental concerns in the communities where these schools are located. Moreover, it ensures the improvement of curricula and teaching methods by donating learning materials and foodstuffs to ensures the entire process is a success. Finally, Avalon contributes funding to catastrophe relief operations.