Corporate compliance benchmarking
Corporate compliance benchmarking involves the analysis of a firm’s compliance programs in obedience with laws or their corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative. Corporate compliance seeks to assess a company’s diligence in enforcing plans and programs to eliminate its practices that violates some policies or regulations in order for it maximize the potential profits it can get.
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Wal-Mart is one of those companies who had been hit hard for its non-compliance. The issues and scandals it has been involved in are legal disputes, health and safety, discrimination at the workplace, unionization, toxic emission and discharge, unfair employment, cultural impacts, corporate influence and most notably sweatshop and child labor (www.coopamerica.org). Some of the violations are ignoring the policies on wage, leave, work breaks and work hours as employees are forced to work off hours and not given breaks (www.walmartwatch.com). They are also involved in hiring undocumented immigrants to tidy up the stores after working hours and employing underage laborers in their operations (www.walmartwatch.com). The list goes on for Wal-Mart. With all these, the company is currently receiving a lot of criticisms and lawsuits for its policies where in the goal of maintaining a low priced product, ethics and values with regards to its workers, environment and the society at large are neglected. Before, more damage is done, Wal-Mart has decided to carry out preventive measures to clean up the mess and create a better public image. To do this, they have hired consultants from Edelman which is the world’s biggest public relations firm and lobbyist in Washington in high hopes to remedy the bad image that the issues and scandals made (www.sourcewatch.org). Along side this campaign, a website named www.paidcritics.com was initiated to address the issues of health care, wages and work hours, outsourcing ethically, and the consequences on the environment of its operational flow (www.sourcewatch.org).
A number of CSR initiatives were also done to show their sincerity to turning over its bad reputation. These includes initiatives for energy efficiency and electrical conservation, for its suppliers to develop environmentally friendly packaging scheme, plans of opening around 50 heath clinics inside the stores and redesign the insurance policy for its employees (www.coopamerica.org). It has also involved itself in environmental awareness campaigns encouraging the local community to unite and mobilize towards an eco-friendly society (www.walmartfoundation.org). Despite the numerous activities Wal-Mart has done, many are still doubtful that these are just temporary projects. After it has served its purpose of erasing the firm’s bad reputation, these initiatives will also disappear. Although, there are also others who are convinced that Wal-Mart has truly changed to obey corporate compliance policies.
Coca-cola is one of the leading manufacturer and distributor of soft drinks and bottled water but it also has issues and complaints which are in contrast with a corporate compliance policy. The company is involved in non-compliance activities which contravene the code of conduct that each company must upheld. These involvements are those that violate human and civil rights, health and welfare of their customers and the environmental impacts of their operations (www.coopamerica.org). Their continued ignorance of the calls of advocacy groups have them earned for themselves a number of criticism and negative public reputation.
Despite this, Coca-cola has not shown a rigorous advocacy towards turning over a new leaf. One of its more famous issues is the said corporate abuse of the company on the resources of India. The firm’s practices have been said to cause groundwater system and soil pollution, exposure to harmful chemical wastes which can lead to crop damage or health problems among the villagers, and shortage in the supply of water, all of which has a huge impact on the local communities as 70 percent of India’s inhabitants are relying on agriculture as their way of living (www.indiaresource.org). Although evidences have been recovered, the company is still reluctant to comment on the events. The company has also ignored two regulations ordered by the Pollution Control Board which seeks for the firm to establish a proper facility to treat the waste products and to build a piping system which would deliver drinkable water supply to the communities which are at risk for water scarcity (www.indiaresource.org). In 2004, the sanction for the company’s non-compliance is the suspension of its products to be sold. Not long after, the company finally made a step to address the issue of resource use in India. It had signed a contract to establish programs which will help to address the development of water accessibility and cleanliness drives in the regions of Nepal and India in cooperation with United Nations Human Settlements Program (www.un.org). Among the plans are advocating conservation practices for water storage, introduction of a program which will augment the supply of water from rainwater and provision of 150 schools with clean, potable water (www.un.org). The awareness has for the company an improved image and reputation. Although, there are still other issues it must address to fully show that they are really abiding corporate compliance policies.
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