Analytical Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development Policies on Facebook Inc

Corporate sustainability is a modern trend in the sphere of business management, and most major companies in the world today are involved in sustainable projects or engage in corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. Corporate sustainability enables businesses to continue making profits while conserving the environment and protecting social interests and giving back to society. Facebook Inc, a modern company that connects millions of people around the world, employs several sustainability policies and CSR programs that are built around its stakeholders’ interests and environmental conservancy to ensure that the company remains profitable and viable in the digital corporate world and protects the environment and society, and while these measures have strengths, they have weaknesses too.

Identification of Company

Facebook Inc. is the leading social network company in the world with more than two billion members and it was founded by Mark Zuckerberg on 1st February 2012. The enterprise provides digital communication and networking services through its wide array of social media applications such as Facebook and WhatsApp (Facebook Sustainability, n.d.). The company which is valued in excess of 70 billion dollars is among the wealthiest in the world (Rose, 2011, p. 50). According to Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s CEO, Facebook Inc.’s main aim is to make the world more open and connected while building sustainable social infrastructures and systems for a global community (Facebook Sustainability, n.d.). Global interconnectedness and communication are the main objectives the firm works to achieve.

Identification of CSR and Sustainability Practices

Corporate sustainability is a key pillar in the management of Facebook Inc. and it ensures that the company’s various activities are done sustainably. Facebook Inc. has several sustainability policies and CSR programs that are built around the company’s shareholders,’ such as government and customers, interests and environmental conservancy. On the other hand, the sustainability programs of the corporation are based on environmental conservancy issues, such as climate change. Facebook Inc.’s sustainability strategy ensures that the company remains profitable while conserving the environment and securing the interests of individuals in society.

Sustainability policies and CSR programs of Facebook Inc. are divided into groups to expand the scope of the company’s corporate sustainable practices. The sustainability programs, which are built on environmental issues, are divided into three groups: climate change, renewable energy and water stewardship, and sustainable supply chain and workplaces. In the domain of climate change, Facebook Inc. aims at reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, which are termed by environmental experts as the leading cause of global warming (Post & Berman, 2017, p. 68). The firm also actively supports and funds international organizations and institutions that support climate change and tackle the effects of global warming. For example, in 2016 Facebook Inc. joined the ‘We Are Still In’ coalition that supports the global enactment and implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change (Cho, Furey, & Mohr, 2017, p. 55). Thus, the company is an avid advocate against global warming.

In the sphere of renewable energy and water stewardship, Facebook Inc. has committed billions to the development of renewable energy sources. In 2011, the company established an objective of relying 100 percent on renewable energy to power all its functions by the year 2020 (Cho et al., 2017, p. 58). The company is well on track to achieve the mentioned goal since it currently relies on green energy to power 75 percent of its functions (Facebook Sustainability, n.d.). The company has also prioritized water stewardship in all of its facilities by enacting a water recycling and reuse policy. Facebook Inc. ensures that its supply chains and workplaces remain sustainable by only working with supply chain partners who minimize emissions and operations are sustainable. The company’s supply chains and workplaces are regulated by a stringent sustainable policy that minimizes the collective environmental impact of Facebook Inc.’s activities.

CSR programs of Facebook Inc. are built around its shareholders. According to the company’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, the CSR programs of Facebook Inc. are aimed at giving back to the people and institutions who have supported and continue to help the company achieve its goals (Cho et al., 2017, p. 60). The corporation’s CSR programs are divided into five groups that are arranged in order of importance to the company: Facebook users and members, advertisers, employees, governments, and communities. The company’s CSR program for its members is centered on the provision of global communication and networking services. Advertisers form the main source of Facebook Inc.’s income and directly influence the company’s financial position in the digital business domain, and the company’s CSR programs to its advertisers include the provision of efficient and effective advertising services as well as accurate data to promote sales of the advertised products.

Facebook Inc. also has unique CSR programs that target its employees and the community. The CSR program for its employees is based on high compensation packages, career development opportunities, and work freedom (Krombholz, Merkl, & Weippl, 2012, p. 178). Facebook Inc.’s CSR program for governments is huge as it is a multinational organization. As part of its CSR programs, the company involves itself in education and housing programs to build good working relationships with various governments in the world. For communities, Facebook Inc. has wide-ranging CSR programs that touch all most every sector of society, such as the provision of internet access to scholarships and promotion of social justice. These endeavors are aimed at ensuring that it rewards various communities in the world for supporting its operations.

Strengths and Weaknesses of the CSR Programs and Sustainability Policies

The success of Facebook Inc. can be traced back to the strength of the company’s sustainability policies. The corporation’s impressive sustainability policies have enabled it to operate in harmony with the environment to promote a positive social image that has enabled it to attract several investors and users (Krombholz et al., 2012, p. 177). According to the company’s 2017 reports, Facebook Inc. had reduced its overall greenhouse gas emission by 44 percent (Facebook Sustainability, n.d.).  The firm currently targets to hit the 75 percent mark before 2022 as it is keen on reducing the amount of carbon emitted by its data centers and processing units (Facebook Sustainability, n.d.). The company’s climate change record enabled it to join the ‘We Are Still In’ coalition that rallied for the global enactment of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Facebook Inc.’s financial contribution to the ‘We Are Still In’ coalition earned it numerous users who viewed the company as committed in the fight against global warming.

Facebook Inc.’s policy on renewable energy and water stewardship has brought about several advantages for the enterprise. For example, the company’s commitment to and reliance on renewable forms of energy led to the corporation’s data centers being voted the most energy-efficient in the world in 2019 (Facebook Sustainability, n.d). The company is currently building a renewable energy grid that will enable the transition of 75 percent of its activities from non-renewable sources of energy (Facebook Sustainability, n.d.). The company has also established a water stewardship policy to ensure that its Facebook operations are water effective. Facebook Inc.’s data centers are also 80 percent water efficient compared to other data centers of competing companies (Krombholz et al., 2012, p. 192; Facebook Sustainability, n.d.). Also, the company has enacted a circular water system initiative that ensures that water is reused and recycled in the company. The company’s sustainable policies on renewable energy and stewardship has resulted in a massive reduction in its operating costs with regard to energy use and water consumption. According to the company’s 2019 report its sustainability practices saved Facebook Inc. more than $25 million dollars in energy and water bills alone. The reduction in the company’s expenditures has resulted in an increase in its profits.

Facebook Inc.’s corporate sustainability program ensures that the company’s supply chain and workplaces are maintainable. The company’s supply chain partners are highly vetted to ensure that their operations are in line with Facebook Inc.’s sustainability models and interests (Fuchs, 2012, p. 140). Facebook has an extensive list of supply chain partners that help it to manage several of its operations, such as human resource, accounting, and auditing among many others (Fuchs, 2012, p. 143; Waddock, 2018, p. 59). Furthermore, the corporation’s workplace is subjected to rigorous design, safety, and productivity standards that ensure that the company’s workers stay safe and motivated.  In 2018 Facebook revealed that all of its data centers had achieved LEED Platinum certification to prove that they are designed to enhance sustainability, safety, and productivity (Facebook sustainability, n.d.). Most of Facebook Inc.’s buildings are designed to accommodate live plants that promote workers’ productivity while maintaining sustainability.

The CSR programs of Facebook Inc. has resulted in the firm forging strong and dependable relationships with its shareholders. These relationships have in turn resulted in Facebook’s massive success and riches in the digital era of business transactions (Waddock, 2018, p. 56). The enterprise’s CSR program that targets its users and members are quite effective: revolutionized global networking and communication and made its users closer than ever before (Krombholz et al., 2012, p. 201). For example, in 2019, Facebook Inc. made a free Facebook version that enables its users hailing from areas with poor internet connections to still use the application (Facebook sustainability, n.d.). The provision of data free Facebook increased the company’s membership, more so in the developing world.

Facebook Inc.’s CSR program for its members, however, has recently come under criticism due the company’s poor data privacy record. The Cambridge Analytica exposé of 2018 revealed that the company allowed third party firms to access its users’ data to manipulate American campaigns (Porter & Kramer, 2019, p. 325). This resulted in a huge uproar among the company’s members who need their personal communication and private data protected. The Cambridge Analytica exposé affected the company’s image resulting in the share value of Facebook dropping massively (Porter & Kramer, 2019, p. 325).  Facebook Inc., therefore, has to work on improving its data protection policies and to convince its users that their data are better protected.

Facebook Inc. through special CSR packages ensures that its employees are content as they form the backbone of the company operations. The company provides high compensation packages to its employees making them some of the highest-paid employees in the world (Rose, 2011, p. 53). Moreover, through competitive human resource policies, Facebook Inc. provides elaborate career development opportunities to its employees. The company also provides its employees with an unprecedented form of freedom to improve their productivity and comfort. For example, according to Facebook Inc.’s annual reports, its staff is free to report to work in casual clothes as long as they are presentable in order to create a free environment (Facebook sustainability, n.d.). Thus, Facebook Inc. has strong CSR programs that take into account the interests of its workers.

The company has effective CSR programs that deal with the various governments in the areas it operates. Facebook Inc., being multinational, operates in several countries and regions making its CSR program for governments expansive. These programs are based on negotiations and partnerships for development projects and efforts (Cho et al., 2017, p. 63). For instance, in China, Facebook Inc. is involved in education programs in collaboration with the Chinese government. Such an endeavor can be beneficial to the corporation as it projects a good image of the frm.

Facebook Inc. also has wholesome CSR programs that target entire communities. From the provision of green technology, internet access, and scholarship opportunities, the firm supports various individuals in the community. Critics, however, argue that Facebook Inc.’s community CSR programs are weak and only based on improving its membership and users rather than on genuine humanitarian concerns (Cho et al., 2017, p.68; Post & Berman, 2017, p. 72). Facebook should aim at making its CSR programs more humanitarian in order to properly provide for the community.

Shared-value Approach

Facebook Inc. utilizes a shared value approach to its CSR programs and sustainability policies to solve contemporary social challenges. The shared value approach involves private companies leveraging their various resources and innovations to create solutions to pressing contemporary social issues such as social justice and global warming (Porter & Kramer, 2019, p. 323). Facebook. Inc could utilize shared-value approach to achieve maximum solutions to social issues affecting people on the international platform. For example, the corporation has a membership of more than two billion people, therefore, it can be utilized to create awareness and civic sensitization on social issues, such social justice, corruption, or climate change (Peloza & Shang, 2011, p. 120). Properly organized millions of individuals can ply pressure on their divergent governments and international institutions to implement the Paris Accord, 2016. Indeed, through the concept of shared value, corporate success can be used to improve social and environmental conditions.

Triple Bottom Line Assessment

The triple bottom line framework is what forms the basis of corporate sustainability at Facebook Inc. The triple bottom line framework holds that contemporary companies have three bottom lines: profit, people, and environment instead of the traditional line of profit alone (Elkington, 2013, p. 24). Enterprises have to ensure that their operations meet the minimum requirement of people, profit, and environment. Adoption of the triple bottom line framework enables corporations to exploit natural resources in an economic manner that preserves the environment and safeguards the interests of people living in the environment (Elkington, 2013, p. 26; Pies, Beckmann, & Hielscher, 2010, p. 267). Facebook Inc., for example, has incorporated the triple bottom line framework in its operations and this ensures that its activities are in line with its corporate sustainability policies (Facebook sustainability, n.d.). The triple bottom line framework of Facebook Inc. has resulted in the company making huge profits while at the same time conserving the environment and protecting people’s interests.

The operations of Facebook Inc. are regulated by several CSR programs and sustainability policies that ensure that the company remains sustainable in its search for profits. Facebook can make more sustainable progress through its adoption of a shared value approach that will ensure it involves itself massively in the formulation of solutions for global societal challenges such as global warming. Modern businesses can emulate Facebook Inc.’s triple bottom line policy that ensures that it make profits, protect people, and conserve the environment.

 

 

References

Cho, M., Furey, L.D., & Mohr, T., 2017. Communicating corporate social responsibility on social media: Strategies, stakeholders, and public engagement on corporate Facebook. Business and professional communication quarterly80(1), pp.52-69.

Elkington, J., 2013. Enter the triple bottom line. In The triple bottom line (pp. 23-38). Routledge.

Facebook Sustainability. n.d. [Online] Available at: <https://sustainability.fb.com/> [Accessed 18 May 2020].

Fuchs, C., 2012. The political economy of privacy on Facebook. Television & New Media13(2), pp.139-159.

Krombholz, K., Merkl, D. & Weippl, E., 2012. Fake identities in social media: A case study on the sustainability of the Facebook business model. Journal of Service Science Research4(2), pp.175-212.

Peloza, J., & Shang, J., 2011. How can corporate social responsibility activities create value for stakeholders? A systematic review. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science39(1), pp.117-135.

Pies, I., Beckmann, M. & Hielscher, S., 2010. Value creation, management competencies, and global corporate citizenship: An ordonomic approach to business ethics in the age of globalization. Journal of Business Ethics94(2), pp.265-278.

Porter, M.E., & Kramer, M.R., 2019. Creating shared value. In Managing sustainable business (pp. 323-346). Springer, Dordrecht.

Post, J.E., & Berman, S.L., 2017. Global corporate citizenship in a Dot. com world: The role of organizational identity. In Perspectives on corporate citizenship (pp. 66-82). Routledge.

Rose, C., 2011. Internet valuations and economic sustainability. Journal of Business & Economics Research (JBER)9(5), pp.49-54.

Waddock, S., 2018. Beyond CSR to System Change: Creating a New Socio-economic Narrative’, Corporate Social Responsibility (Business and Society 360, Volume 2).