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Social initiative is a form of corporate self-regulation incorporated into the business which functions as a instrument by which a corporation examines and ensures its active conformity with the provisions of the law, ethical norms, and global practices.
The main role of social initiatives is to uphold responsibility and promote a positive impact through its conduct towards the environment, customers, staff, the immediate community, and all members of the public domain (Pearce & Robinson, 2011). In addition, social initiatives actively promote the community’s development by eradicating norms that harm the public, irrespective of legality.
Bayer’s Social Initiatives
Bayer AG is a chemical and pharmaceutical company based in Leverkusen, Germany. The company has existed since 1863, and currently operates in about 150 countries. On its website, the company writes that it sees itself as a “good corporate citizen in every country in which it is present, and as such aims to help solve social problems and overcome global challenges” (Bayer, 2011).
True to this declaration, Bayer involves in approximately 300 projects in which it aims to improve the lives of persons in its areas of operation. The company provides funding and avails its economic and technological know-how and its staff displays great commitment to such activities.
In all of these programs, Bayer aims to improve people’s well being. It supports schoolchildren and talented artists, assist young environmentalists around the world and aims to alleviate social hardships and improve the health of people in less endowed nations. Bayer also promotes sports and culture in recognition that significant leisure activities help in uniting people (Bayer. 2011).
Bayer’s website further informs us that it is the first private-sector firm to the UNEP, actively bringing together young people around the world for the sake of environmental protection. And in conjunction with the National Geographic, Bayer funds activities aimed at availing the world’s population with safe sources water. The company also participates in research activities with a goal of manufacturing a new, low-priced tuberculosis drug in developing nations. These are just a few of the initiatives that Bayer continues to involve in (Bayer. 2011).
Tangible evidences of Bayer’s participation in social initiatives are numerous. For instance, Bayer claim of sports promotion was quite evident in the Beijing Olympics in 2008, when the company sponsored 21 athletes. Perhaps the most visible evidence is a soccer club known as Bayer 04 Leverkusen, which Bayer has supported since 1904. Bayer 04 Leverkusen’s soccer jerseys are donned with Bayer’s logo.
Bayer has also participated in other sporting projects. For instance, it sponsors disabled sports through its subsidiary, the Herbert Grünewald Foundation. During the Beijing Paralympics, Katrin Green, who was sponsored by Bayer, won a gold medal in the 200m run. There are several tangible evidences of Bayer’s social initiative.
It is a known fact that a number of corporations use social initiatives to hide their unsavory business activities, such as insincerity and hypocrisy, or as a marketing ploy. Indeed, one of the criticisms of social initiatives is the difficulty of indicating tangible benefits to the society.
Companies can leverage their social initiative without exploiting it by using a structure that aligns community efforts and donations with core business strategy, company skills and market needs. Such a framework would create a value proposition, build sustainability by integrating the community in its programs, and assess the efforts and results social perspectives.
Bayer. (2011). Social Initiatives: Working on behalf of a better life. Web.
Pearce, J. A., & Robinson, R. B. (2011). Strategic management: Formulation, implementation, and control. (12th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.