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苹果公司的企业责任分析

时间:2016-01-27 23:59:38 来源:www.ukthesis.org 作者:英国论文网 点击联系客服: 客服:Damien
苹果公司的企业责任分析
背景概念
企业责任的概念
弗里德曼(1970,13页)说,“企业有一个且只有一个社会责任, 只要呆在游戏规则之内就该利用其资源参与旨在提高其利润的活动中,也就是说, 不以来欺骗和欺诈地从事开放和自由竞争” 此外,企业社会责任也定义为组织的承诺,不仅仅公司的财务表现,还将员工的福祉和当地社区的生活质量和社会作为一个整体来考虑。一家有社会责任的公司会支持公益事业,保护环境,有道德行为和透明度的业务事务。因为公司良好的员工福利,他才是一家可以吸引员工的公司
 
The concept of corporate responsibility企业责任的概念
 
As Friedman (1970, p. 13) suggested, “there is one and only one social responsibility of business – to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception and fraud”. Moreover, corporate social responsibility is also defined as organisations’ commitment to take into consideration both their financial performance, the well-being of their employees, the life quality of the local community and the society as a whole (Manpower Australia 2009, ‘Introduction’, para. 2). A socially responsible company is supportive of good causes and protects the environment. It has ethical behaviour and transparency can be seen in its business transactions. It is an attractive place for people to work because of its good employee benefits (Smith 2013). 
Corporate social responsibility can be demonstrated in several ways: a variety of activities including donations to charities, branding in related causes and corporate strategies concerning local and environmental problems (Manpower Australia 2009, ‘Introduction’, para. 2).

The idea of the materials economy and the sustainable consumption 物质经济与可持续消费观念

The materials consumed by us in our everyday life move through a five-stage system. The five stages, which are components of the materials economy, are: extraction, production, distribution, consumption and disposal (Leonard 2009). In the extraction phase, natural resources are extracted to become raw materials for production, through which energy is utilised to make raw materials into products ready for distribution. After being distributed, products are consumed by people. People then dump the goods that they have purchased either because the goods are obsolete or they have bought something new (Leonard 2010). 
Sustainable consumption is defined as the consumption of goods and services which have minimised impact on the environment (The Global Development Research Centre 2010, ‘Definition’, para. 1). The current pattern of people’s consumption is unsustainable. Although the large amount of consumption has led to the growth in economy, it damages the environment, wastes natural resources and inequitably distributes resources (The Global Development Research Centre 2010, ‘Definition’, para. 1).#p#分页标题#e#
The concept of sustainability reporting 
Nowadays, companies prepare sustainability reports about what economic, environmental and social impacts that their daily activities lead to (Global Reporting Initiative 2015, ‘What is sustainability reporting’, para. 1). Sustainability reporting assists organisations with the measurement, understanding and communication of their non-financial performance and impacts (Global Reporting Initiative 2015, ‘What is sustainability reporting’, para. 2). In addition, sustainability reporting helps corporations and organisations to reflect their corporate responsibility.
Investors, different stakeholders and the government can use information from the sustainability report to evaluate the performance of the company and help with their decision-making.   

The GRI frameworkGRI框架
 
When it comes to the standards for preparing sustainability reports, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is one of the most involved organisations at the international level (Adams 2004). Framework published by the GRI enables report users to evaluate the environmental impact of the company and its suppliers. Recently, G4 has been developed for the use of all organisations across all kinds of industries and types (GRI 2015, ‘The G4 guidelines’, para. 1 ).  
According to GRI sustainability reporting guidelines, topics that are relevant to a sustainability report are those that may be significant for revealing the corporation’s economic, environmental and social effects and that may be influential on stakeholders’ decision-making (GRI 2015).
Comments on sustainability reports 
However, there have been on-going critics about the practice of sustainability reporting. 
According to Adam’s empirical research (2004), the guidelines function more like a legitimating tool, the whole performance and impact of a company is not presented and the companies report only on the major indicators listed as per the GRI guidelines.
As per Barkemeyer, Preuss and Lee (2015), there is lack of consideration about the materiality of information included in the reports, causing the limited effectiveness of GRI reporting. Following the GRI patterns, the report content is identical no matter what sectors the reporting entity is in.
Without regulatory force in place, the external environmental forces are not adequate to guarantee high quality reporting (Amran, Lee and Devi 2014). Presently, there is much room for improvement for the quality of sustainability reports.
According to Banker (2015), some companies prepare sustainability reports just because of the public relations value that the reports can bring about. Their practices and activities do not necessarily represent a strategy of sustainability. Moreover, many reports are criticised for merely meeting the interests of the organisations themselves rather than serving the benefits of the community (Deegan, Rankin and Tobin, 2002; Dumay et al., 2010). 
Detailed information about Apple’s performance
The consumer electronics industry
Apple is one of the leading companies of the consumer electronics (CE) industry. CEs are electronic equipment which is intended for daily use, mostly seen in entertainment, communications and offices. According to the survey on life cycles of CE products including personal computers, laptops, smart phones by CEA (Consumer Electronics Association 2014, ‘The life expectancy of electronics’, para. 2), the life expectancy of CE products expected by consumers on average is roughly five years. Moreover, smartphones have the shortest life expectancy among all types of CE products, at 4.7 years.  
Thus, CE products contribute a lot to the final stage of the materials economy – disposal. The e-waste goes to a landfill or is shipped overseas to the garage workshops (Leonard 2009). Workers in Guiyu, including a significant amount of children, wear “no protective gear, [and] reportedly swirl a mixture of hydrochloric and nitric acid—caustic, highly poisonous chemicals – in open vats, trying to extract gold from components” (Royte 2005).    

Apple’s behaviour of corporate responsibility 苹果企业责任行为
 
In Job’s time, Apple was not interested in showing their social responsibilities as Jobs insisted that granting the general public good technology is way better than donating to charities (International Institute for Management Development 2011, ‘Corporate social responsibility at Apple’, para. 3).
Things have changed a little bit with Tim Cook came into power.  
There have been issues in terms of human rights in Apple’s case. As reported by New York Times in 2012, there was unfair treatment with the workers working for Apple’s supplier Foxconn (Haynes 2015). After that, there has been strict scrutiny in relation to the suppliers’ practices and the strengthening of Apple’s policies and management through joining the Fair Labor Association (Haynes 2015). 
In Apple’s recent Supplier Responsibility Progress Report, it demonstrates many measures that it has taken to solve some of the problems in relation to workers’ education and workload. However, the systematic problems in developing countries require an effort at the international level to enforce human rights laws to be established in those developing countries especially China (Jefferies 2014).     
In addition, the power usage has been another issue. Apple has taken measures to deal with this problem. For example, Apple is the first company in its industry to develop an environmental campaign. One of its recent strategies is that the newly released OS X model can minimize the usage of energy as the hard disk will be put to sleep and the processors will be run at a lowest power mode when the operating system is not at hard work (Green Light for Business 2014, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility: Apple is one step ahead’, para. 1).
Topics Apple covered in the sustainability report
Apple’s sustainability report focuses on three priorities: climate change, greener materials and finite resources (Apple Inc. 2014, ‘Environmental responsibility at Apple’, para. 2). In terms of climate change, it is explained in the report that Apple adopts a life-long analysis to measure its products’ carbon footprint throughout their whole life and that Apple aims to minimise the impact on climate change in the process of production usage, transportation and recycling (Apple Inc. 2014, ‘Climate change’, para. 2). In terms of greener materials and finite resources, information about how Apple tries to eliminate toxins and test products and how Apple attempts to preserve finite materials through recycling has been demonstrated (Apple Inc. 2014, ‘Finite resources’, para. 2).    
However, the report is far less than complete. Some important topics are missing. 
Firstly, the finite resource section of the sustainability report focuses only on how Apple uses recyclable materials during the stage of design and the strategies Apple take to recycle its products in the life end of its products. Given that Apple is in the consumer electronics industry, the amount of waste that it brings about is considerable. What should be added in the sustainability report instead of recycling strategies is the amount of e-waste it produces and the impact that it has on the consumer culture. Recycling is never enough in order to minimise the pollution in the disposal stage of the materials economy, according to Leonard (2009). The amount of waste people dispose is just the tip of the iceberg. What really needs to be focused on is to minimise the amount of e-waste produced by people.
Secondly, more detailed working condition in the suppliers needs to be identified in the report. A large extent of Apple’s manufacturing takes place overseas especially in Asia. According to Conner, through assembling iPhones in China, Apple is enabled to reduce the cost of every iPhone by 53% of what it would cost in the United States (Georgetown University 2011, ‘Globalization of Apple Inc.’, para. 7). Meanwhile, given the fact that Apple has been criticised in the media because of the unfair treatment of workers in its supplier, Foxconn, more detailed statement about the working conditions will enable Apple to demonstrate its social impact on the global community, which is in line with the definition of relevance of information presented in a sustainability report.  

Conclusion结论
 
In conclusion, Apple’s performance in corporate responsibility is not competitive.
Apple’s strategies and actions in terms of corporate responsibility are not convincing. For example, the systematic inefficiency in the developing countries where Apple’s suppliers operate makes it difficult to change the current situation. 
Apple does not embrace sustainable consumption in a holistic way. Considering the fact that Apple is in the consumer electronics industry and that Apple releases its new products yearly, it contributes significantly to the unsustainable consumption through making much pressure on the disposal phase. Basing on the way in which e-wastes are disposed in the developing countries, the result of the unsustainable consumption brings about even much more pollution on the earth. 
The topics covered in the sustainability report is relevant yet not complete, thus making me  believe that Apple’s sustainability reporting is to serve its own interests through the public relations values that it can achieve. In order to assess the relevance of the information shown in the sustainability report, we need to consider what economic, environmental and social impacts that Apple produces. As a product maker, Apple brings about greenhouse gas emissions in both the production and transportation processes, contributing to climate change. In addition, toxins may be produced because of the substances and materials used in the consumer electronics industry, leading to harm to both people and the earth. The topics addressed in the sustainability report are relevant, they cover most of the environmental and social impacts that Apple has throughout different phases in relation to the products.
However, Apple is avoiding the key issues that it should discuss in the sustainability report. When it comes to the disposal of its products, the key issue here is to discuss the amount of waste it produces rather than the recycling activities that it engages in. In terms of employee issues, the on-going concern in relation to the human rights in its suppliers is not even one of the prior topics in the sustainability report. 
 
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