Avon Company Ethics, Social Responsibility and Environmental Practices

Introduction

Multinational companies have many reasons as to adopting good ethics, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and good environmental practices. Good business ethics, CSR and environmental practices are associated with good reputation, increased profitability and shared value creation (Cetindamar, 2007). Avon is a U.S based Multinational Corporation that deals in a variety of consumer products, preferably, lady skincare products. The company has adopted CSR, business ethics and environmental practices in its corporate and business strategies.

Business Ethics

Ethics are the moral principles that guide companies and the employees in the daily practices. They encompass proper policies and practices that regard potential issues such as governance, discrimination, fiduciary responsibilities and bribery (Craft, 2016). According to the author, ethics have a huge influence on company reputation and overall bottom line. Avon, whilst cognizant of the importance of good ethics has developed a detailed ethics in their organizational framework.

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Avon has its own statement of its business principles that define the company standards and core values (AVON, 2016a).  The company core values are trust, integrity, humility, belief and respect. Avon strives to promote and environment of respect for one another, company representatives, customers, stakeholders and the country’s public servants who enforce the federal and state laws. The company’s strong belief, humility, integrity and trust have been integral in its growth over the ears.

For over a decade, Avon has consistently observed its five core values. The company has a code of conduct that sets out the relevant principles for good business practices, professionalism and ethical behavior (AVON, 2016a). The company through its website provides a number of actions that it executes under its code of conduct. The code of conduct helps the company in setting forth the appropriate individual standards and provision of direction when the company needs help on proper course of action. Moreover, the company has a comprehensive global ethics and compliance program, which helps the company, in the development and application of higher standards.

Social Responsibility

The increased concerns on the impact of activities of companies on the environment have created an increased need for corporations to be responsible for their actions (Ditlev‐Simonsen, 2010). The concept of corporate social responsibility has gained huge attention over the past century and many companies have adopted the concept within their strategic frameworks. Many companies are now participating in activities that are directed towards the welfare of the communities they serve, where they get their resources and their customers. Avon Inc. is one such company that has adopted CSR (AVON, 2016b). The company in its sustainability report points that it adopted the social responsibility paradigm long before the concept became the management lexicon (Avon Products Inc., 2013). Avon Incl. is committed to the well-being of the society and the environment it operates.

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According to (Ditlev‐Simonsen, 2010), corporate social responsibility takes many forms, including but not limited to building of schools, hospitals, provision of financial help to the needy and making donations towards community initiatives such as cancer awareness. Avon Inc. has three major elements in its corporate social responsibility initiatives. The major areas of focus in the company CSR are women empowerment, sustainability and philanthropy.

Avon’s first pillar of corporate citizenship is intended in helping women gain financial independence. The company has over 6 million sales representatives and over 40,000 associates (Avon Products Inc., 2013). Avon beliefs all its representatives and associates are in business to make profit and for their individual benefit. The company strives to help the women that do business with the company to achieve financial independence by offering them support.

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The second pillar that underpins Avon’s corporate citizenship is the environmental sustainability. Organizations exist to serve the customers through the conversion of resources to create products that serve the consumer needs. However, there is need to ensure the use of sustainable practices for the longevity of the organization business engagements with the consumers. At Avon, the concept of sustainability is articulated in the company environmental internal and external stewardship. The company through its Hello Green Tomorrow has mobilized over 50 countries in the world to help end deforestation (Avon Products Inc., 2013). Internal company sustainability initiatives include the Palm Oil Promise, the Avon Paper Promise and Green Building Promise, which address the important areas of impact to the company and the global environment.

The final element of Avon’s corporate responsibility is philanthropy. The company has often targeted to women in its philanthropic activities, with the company spending upwards in the region of $1 billion USD in 2013 (Avon Products Inc., 2013). Avon intends to increase its philanthropic to help achieve the company target of 20% reduction in green gas emissions by 2020. The company also participates in community critical issues such as cancer awareness campaigns, disaster relief and violence against women. Through its Avon Foundation for Women, U.S, the company has committed over $860 millions USD world-wide, making it one of the largest corporate supported philanthropic activity in the world.

Environmental Practices

The actions of multinational corporations have both direct and indirect impact on the environment. The operations in Avon Inc. involve the use of water resources, palm oil and paper in its production lines (AVON, 2016c). The company has developed a number of practices to mitigate the impact of its operations towards the environment.

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Avon Inc. is a great advocate of reforestation since the company is a huge consumer of the paper products. The company has a number of initiatives that include the Health Forests and Beautiful World, whose efforts are the preservation of forests. Moreover, the company has other initiatives such as the support for sustainable buildings in accordance with the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. In order to conserve and reduce water consumption, the company continues to implement projects that have zero water wastage through recycling, especially in countries that have water shortages such as India, Brazil and China (AVON, 2016c).

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