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Social responsibility of any organization today becomes a part of the standards of business conduct and ethics. Any business integrated into society uses natural and human resources, infrastructure, and achievements in the field of science and culture. Correspondingly, the society expects entrepreneurs to take part in solving social problems.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) aims at the achievement of commercial success based on ethical standards and respect for communities and environment. The CSR policy implies a responsible attitude of the company to environment and society as well as participation in solving the acutest social problems (Council for Corporate Responsibility, n.d.).
One of the main thrusts of CSR development was a series of protests related to violation of environmental standards and human rights that involved the largest companies. Thus, the CSR practices should be focused on various social groups, covering a range of "stakeholders": workers, consumers, and public organizations. To prevent a possible blow to their reputation and to resist the pressure of the society that is more or less related to business, corporations declared their responsibility before the community. The Corporate Social Responsibility has become a common practice for almost all major companies in the world. The brilliant example of responsible and sustainable business is the world's largest trading network The Home Depot, which is included in the ratings of companies with the best reputation.
Home Depot is a company that sells tools for construction and repair and it is the world’s biggest trader of DIY products. They have more than 355,000 employees and about 2,300 stores in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and China (“The Home Depot,” 2017). In America, Home Depot is the leader in selling household goods. The company's motto is "You can do it. We can help ". The Home Depot was founded in Atlanta in 1978 (“The Home Is Where Our Story Begins,” 2016). The company was not so prosperous initially. Although at the first glance, it seemed successful: for the last twenty years, it has grown even faster than Wal-Mart. Nevertheless, at the same time, Home Depot constantly experienced financial and running difficulties that jeopardized its further growth and cloudless future and, therefore, demanded an urgent decision.
To turn the company into a strong and steadily growing player, the director had to change existing corporate culture (“The Home Depot,” 2017). It was necessary to measure the benefits of complying with the principles of corporate responsibility to both business and society. There was a need to focus on enriching market space and the environment, creating jobs, caring for staff and clients. Customers’ satisfaction support provided more than merely organizing complaints handling, staff training for sincere smiles and polite maneuvers. According to the Home Depot CSR policy, they started to act exclusively in the interests of the consumer and meet all their needs. Considering the Responsibility Report of The Home Depot (2016), it is possible to analyze all aspects of their CSR policy, how it has evolved and where they are now.
The Home Depot is profoundly concerned about customers, establishes high standards of service, and provides free customer consultations. Thus, the highest quality of service is considered to be not a mechanically charged set of receptions, but a general policy throughout the company, an important part of the culture of customer service. Attracting new customers remains the most important task of the marketing department. However, today the emphasis is done on preserving old customers and creating profitable long-term relationships with them. The key to customer retention is the higher consumer value and full customers’ satisfaction.
The company takes part in solving socially significant problems, making proper payments or transferring certain percentages of sales. The essence of such policy is that the company contributes directly to the support of charitable organizations or programs. The meaning of the volunteer work boils down to the fact that the company encourages the efforts of employees and partners to help local social organizations or residents of the regions where it operates. For example, The Home Depot successfully entered the Canadian market after participating in a regional charity program to give housing for poor families.
Company traders are constantly developing more sustainable product innovations such as lithium-ion technology as well as energy-efficient, economical, and environmentally friendly goods to help clients create smarter buildings that reduce their impact on the environment (“Why Environmental Sustainability,” n.d.). The Home Depot helps customers to save water and cut greenhouse gas emissions (Home Depot, Inc., 2015).
The Home Depot implements the program of economical use of water. The result of the initiative "100 Ways to Reduce Water Consumption in 30 Days", which included recommendations for saving water and offering related products of this company, was a reduction in water consumption by consumers and an increase in sales in Home Depot.
The company saves forests by using and purchasing only wood harvested from responsibly managed forests where environmental, societal and economic interests and benefits are safeguarded. Such approach helps the globally protected forestland to grow (Grgurich, 2012).
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Moreover, company’s innovations have helped shift the field of incandescence to LED lighting technologies, reducing homeowners' energy consumption by 80 percent for a bulb (Home Depot, Inc., 2015)..
In addition to its direct activities, Home Depot is also engaged in charity, having created its own fund – the Home Depot Foundation. Volunteers from the Foundation team have been building homes for veterans since 2011. The Foundation will have increased its commitment to a quarter of a billion dollars by 2020 to help change lives of more veterans. The Home Depot Foundation works with partners to improve the lives of the US war veterans and their families as well as to help communities affected by natural disasters. Their successes in 2015 and 2016 allowed them to continue their rapid pace to enhance the company's social and environmental impact (Ziobro, 2016).
The company values its employees and tries to make their work safe and comfortable. People with different beliefs, cultures and work experience feel convenient in Home Depot. The company not only hires people, its management teaches leaders and supports their passion and growth. The employees and partners are provided with regular training designed to help them succeed in their work, which ultimately gives them the confidence and competence to care for their clients and develop their own careers. For workers, there are also various financially oriented benefits, including discounts for shares, a savings plan with the firm and an associated discount program. There is also a financial wellness program. All Home Depot employees can take part in a particular form of compensation incentives. The company has different programs to support its employees and their families. Services range from helping with expenditures for higher education, long-term care, and retirement. The Home Depot and partners seek to help their comrades facing certain unforeseen difficulties to make a positive impact on the lives of people in need. The company also cares about safety at workplaces. Because caring for people is one of their core values, the management constantly monitors and improves their operations to drop risk and cut the number of injuries.
The Home Depot also focuses on the social implications of its industry. They often carry out factory audits to check the working conditions and compliance with environmental standards in their industries as well as partners. The Standard of Social Environmental Responsibility obliges suppliers and factories to comply with all relevant international and local laws, rules, and regulations of the production and distribution of goods or services provided by them (“6 benefits,” 2016). The Home Depot has established supporting programs for factories that take positive action in creating a long-term program of social and environmental protection. If the factories do not meet the standards and do not improve the production technology, the Home Depot stops the partnership with them.
In cooperation with their suppliers, The Home Depot tries to find ways for reducing, reuse, and recycle dangerous waste. In 2015, more than 40% of dangerous wastes were recycled for energy or recycling (The Home Depot articles, 2017). Today, the Home Depot and their suppliers consider carefully such aspects as saving water, air and forests, changing green packaging, and other details that have the environmental impact. The company's report describes how they increase their efforts with more sustainable sources of energy such as solar, fuel cells, and wind technology (“2016 The Home Depot responsibility report,” 2016). They review industry improvements and environmental innovations in order to implement them in their practice.
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The CSR of a large business consists not only in keeping with its financial and legal obligations but also in customers’ loyalty and brand value. The CSR is an initiative of corporations that realized their benefits from the opportunity to place themselves in a winning light before investors, authorities, and customers. The economic feasibility of the CSR is that it contributes to the growth of the competitiveness and can bring benefits in terms of risk management, cost savings, access to financial resources, human resources management, and the growth of companies' innovation potential. The CSR is a duty and at the same time the need of any company that cares about business development. The Home Depot is working on developing a good environment for their partners and customers. They actively support the perseverance and corporate responsibility with insights on continuous improvement. The Home Depot concentrates their efforts to be environmentally friendly in partnership with their suppliers to build a better world.