Social Responsibility Initiatives of the Volkswagen Group
In the wake of globalization and increasing technological revolution of the twenty-first century, corporate social responsibility (CSR) forms an integral part of every business. In fact, research indicates that a company that takes CSR less serious has no chance of surviving in the highly competitive contemporary business environment (Holzinger, Klaus and Dirko 332). Social responsibility is a key growth factor for globalizing enterprises. The Volkswagen Group acknowledged this growth factor a long time ago. The company is renowned for its proactive global social responsibility initiatives. It believes that social responsibility is a vital ingredient of value creation. The company’s social responsibility adopts a group-wide control that is structured under three guiding headings: economy, people, and the environment. The Volkswagen Group integrates these three vital factors in a way that best leverages the attainment of sustainability and social responsibility objectives.
The Volkswagen Group’s stakeholders in its social responsibility include its customers, suppliers, and employees, the board of directors, owners, and shareholders (Morariu and Zenovia 181). These are the prime stakeholders who have a major interest on how the company competes on the market, and the activities it undertakes. Some of the secondary stakeholders include government agencies, political groups, unions, and the media (Morariu and Zenovia 181). The primary stakeholders benefit from the operations of the Volkswagen Group. However, they bear the harm arising from the company’s mistakes.The secondary stakeholders influence action in the organization (Holzinger, Klaus and Dirko 332). This influence can either be positive or negative.The stakeholders’ positive support enhances the organization’s growth and success (Morariu and Zenovia 181). On the other hand, negative influence makes it difficult for the organization to achieve success. Stakeholder responsibility obliges the organization to meet the expectations of its stakeholders.The company should strive to satisfy the primary stakeholders as it responds to the needs of the secondary ones. For instance, the customers expect to obtain value from the numerous brands of cars sold by the company’s subsidiaries. They expect products that contribute positively toward environment sustainability. The company seeks to achieve employee compliance and supplier management as part of stakeholder responsibility (Holzinger, Klaus and Dirko 338).
Besides meeting its economic goals, organizations must contribute towards making the environment a better place for the present and future generations. The Volkswagen Group acknowledges CSR as a business philosophy. As such, corporate social responsibility for the company is a business-case rather a social one (Holzinger, Klaus and Dirko336). CSR for the global multinational company receives the management commitment just like the other core business activity. The Volkswagen Group takes CSR as a booster for a competitive edge. In countries like Brazil, South Africa, and Mexico, the organization helps in the fight against HIV/AIDs, helping street children, and supports the campaign against illiteracy (Morariu and Zenovia 184).
There are many CSR projects around the globe taken by the Volkswagen Group. For instance, the Sustainable Life Program in Brazil trains Volkswagen employees on ways of reducing the environmental impact while serving as multipliers of sustainable practices. Additionally, projects such as the construction of the Anhanguerahydroelectric power plant helped in creating an alternative renewable energy generation (Holzinger, Klaus and Dirko 339). The project created more than five hundred direct jobs and over five thousand indirect employment opportunities for the local communities (Morariu and Zenovia 182). Other CSR initiatives include sewing classes for the disadvantaged women in Brazil, and the Volkswagen Road Safety TV in China that sensitizes on the essence of safe driving aimed at reducing road fatalities in the country. The company also engage its employees in research projects on accidents in conjunction with the Tongji University in China (Morariuand Zenovia 183). The research focused on road safety and drivers’ behavior. The Neighborhood dialogue, Nature and Species Conservation, the Audi 24-hour race are other CSR projects that Volkswagen has established.
Recently, the Volkswagen Group has been accused of selling cars whose emissions exceed the set limits in the United States. As the world undertakes climate change mitigation seriously, this company has ignored the social responsibility of conserving the environment. This accusation has adversely impacted on the company’s customers. The supply chain for the involved brands is likely to crash since the buyers are unwilling to associate with them. In fact, winning back the trust of the customers is a tough challenge for the new Volkswagen’s Chief Executive Officer.
Holzinger, Markus, Klaus Richter, and Dirko Thomsen.”A Company’s Social Side.” The ICCA Handbook on Corporate Social Responsibility.Chichester: Wiley. (2006): 309-330.
Morariu, Titiana-Maria, and Zenovia Cristiana Pop. “Ways in Fostering CSR.” Managerial Challenges of the Contemporary Society. 2.1 (2011): 181-185.