Pressure from stakeholders occurs in diverse ways and on critical issues of governance, sustainable development protocols of environmental concerns, and in the reporting and management concerns. For instance, governance oversight agencies often seek responsive management and corporate leadership to eliminate sweatshop practices. The sourcing of materials and components for the production of diverse garments and dyes ought to respect established environmental protection rules. The UN Global Compact and sustainability indices are a vital international benchmark mechanism for rating and ranking organizations on their impact on society through their strategic initiatives on CSR. The need to comply with stakeholder demands is paramount to the success of the businesses because the industry is highly profitable, and varied stakeholders have diverse conflicts that require effective deliberation and apportionment of responsibilities on ethical concerns. Pressure from stakeholders thus implies the corporations have to constantly invest in suitable promotion, effective public relations, and suitable brand management through direct initiatives of CSR.
The main stakeholders among the sportswear clothing and apparel brands are the suppliers, sports agencies like FIFA, sports stadia, and institutions, suppliers, consumers, and traders in diverse segments of the supply chain. However, governance institutions and oversight agencies demand greater transparency and accountability in the CSR initiatives because of the diverse legal and ethical connotations involved. Environmental, social, and economic concerns of sustainable business practices call for greater demand among corporates to directly impact the community in a positive and sustainable manner because they attain high profits from the ventures out of the highly sophisticated consumerist society. Both Adidas and Nike invest heavily in Research and Development (R&D) and the use of green energy to diminish the carbon footprints and uphold the relevant standards on environmental impact. Material science research has been a critical focus among corporations, particularly in light of the concerns about plastics and environmental pollution. Moreover, through corporate social responsibility in developing sporting facilities in schools and other avenues, the companies have a direct impact on the public. Such initiatives often involve engagement with local communities. The critical influence of activist groups and the media has a critical effect on the sales and profitability of the companies, and hence these organizations use media outlets to enact a great deal of marketing and promotion to improve corporate image and brand appeal in terms of sustainability which is a major interest among consumers.
The Case of Adidas: Responses to CSR Initiative Pressures
Adidas is one of the leading European brands in the footwear, sportswear, and apparel industry. Their involvement in Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives is expansive and massive because the company is devoted to the development of youth talent and sports activities across the globe with massive sponsorship initiatives, the facilitation of community sports events and facilities, and the research in the fields of sporting pursuits. The reporting for the varied concerns is done with the critical bias of highlighting the serious involvement in the CSR. Adidas is highly evolved with the marketing of the brand in manners that has an overall positive effect on the corporate image of the company. The company also deploys its legal resources to ward off unfounded claims of ethical violations in the media (Sicoli, Bronzetti & Baldini, 2019). Ethical challenges are often misrepresented in the media because the legitimacy of such claims for a perceived global populace and consumer community is lacking. The ensuing complexities in interpretation of such claims often exonerate the organizations in the absence of actionable legal violations.
The Case of Nike: Response to CSR Initiative Pressures
The Nike Corporation has a long history of corporate social responsibility not only in North America, where the company is domiciled but also globally. Nike uses the company’s website as a sales and communication platform. On the website, the company documents and explores areas in which there is public concern and misunderstanding and makes announcements about their accomplishments in CSR initiatives. Nike indulges in co-creation in direct collaboration with consumers through direct communication and engagement in a bid to improve the company’s image among the consumer clusters as a way of improving the brand appeal and corporate image (Iglesias et al., 2020). The use of the website thus helps the organization keep a lot of public relations while enabling consumers to exchange feedback about their particular concerns and interests with the company directly. Nike has an expanded approach to the management of corporate image through corporate social responsibility and, in this respect, engages with private organizations, government, and individuals in advancing the campaign to defend the corporate image.
Societal Impact Third Party Analysis of CSR Last Three Years
Corporate social responsibility involving the facilitation of research in materials and the establishment of sporting stadia and special training equipment for communities have a direct impact on the community by improving access and affordability of such facilities to the needy. In the sportswear and apparel industry, the entire supply chain faces stunts of criticisms concerning the design, development, production, marketing, distribution, and consumption because of the abnormally high profits generated in the process. Moreover, due to the sophisticated global supply chains, issues of labor regulations, working conditions, sweatshop practices, employment of underage workers, and abuse of the established laws often elicit diverse forms of criticism and conflicts (Dominguez, 2020). The companies thus device mechanism of reaching out to the affected sections of society through directed corporate social responsibility initiatives and other forms of engagement to attain redress.
Many corporations invest in the overall improvement of the governance process to entail inclusion and diversity programs to enhance compliance to diverse requirements. Both Nike and Adidas have an elaborate process of global affiliations to address the critical concerns of sustainability and governance (Kozak, 2018). The critical influence of activist groups and the media is often managed through company websites in which they give detailed accounts of their resolution of contentious issues and conflicts with local communities. The apparel and sportswear companies have an acreage of media space to spread the message about their positive impacts on society because they are a critical segment of the stakeholders in all major sporting events and activities in which they confer impressive sponsorships and partnership deals. Moreover, the organizations use their massive economic power to overcome some critical legal challenges they face.
Both Adidas and Nike Corporations have massive economic power that has protected their executives from diverse ethical and legal challenges encountered in the course of business. The companies also direct their corporate social responsibility in manners that redress their challenges among communities. For instance, they engage in the facilitation of training facilities and the development of sporting activities. Whereas the media and certain activist organizations have been used by stakeholders to expose the malpractices, missteps, and unethical activities among the sportswear companies, a great deal of investment in public relations and image management tend to exonerate the organizations from their missteps. Nike particularly uses the website to engage the consumers by exposing their impact on society through corporate social responsibility initiatives. Moreover, in the absence of a legally actionable claim, the ethical challenges can be voidable because the activist organizations often lack the relevant machinery to capture extensive evidence.
Dominguez, L. (2020). Nike vs. Adidas. International Relations Journal 2020, (39), 37.
Iglesias, O., Markovic, S., Bagherzadeh, M., & Singh, J. J. (2020). Co-creation: A key link between corporate social responsibility, customer trust, and customer loyalty. Journal of Business Ethics, 163(1), 151-166.
Kozak, D. (2018). The development of a sustainability strategy with a focus on environmental issues in the context of MNCs: the business case of Adidas (Doctoral dissertation).
Sicoli, G., Bronzetti, G., & Baldini, M. (2019). The importance of sustainability in the fashion sector: Adidas case study. International Business Research, 12(6), 41-51.
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