Apple Inc.’s Business Ethics and Sustainability

Subject: Company Analysis
Pages: 7
Words: 2025
Reading time:
8 min
Study level: College

Introduction

Choosing the right company to work for can elevate a person’s career. Thus, it is essential to evaluate a company before making a decision. Successful firms allow people to learn from exceptional coworkers, gaining invaluable experience from their jobs. An example of a great company to work for is Apple, as it continues to grow each year. Apple allows new employees to thrive, work with outstanding persons, and enjoy employment. Furthermore, the company encourages a work ethic that allows it and its employees to succeed. To evaluate whether Apple is a great fit for a job seeker, some factors to consider are corporate social responsibility (CSR), business ethics, sustainability, and values (Spinello, 2019). It is critical to review Apple in terms of CSR, sustainability, values, and business ethics to show why it is a great firm to work for.

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Overall Business Ethics, Sustainability, and CSR

The chosen company is Apple Inc., which is headquartered in California and has experienced multiple challenges since its inception. The share price of Apple Inc. was about $3 in 1997, but today the company’s stock is one of the premium items in the financial markets. Millions of consumers consider the Apple brand as one that embodies innovation, prestige, and quality. Many competitors have tried to copy Apple’s business strategy and model; however, none has succeeded because the company depends on many factors to stay competitive (Kashmanian, 2018). The company boasts remarkable leadership, innovative and enthusiastic corporate culture, and high-quality products that have enabled Apple to revolutionize the technology industry.

Apple Inc. has tried to maintain exceptional business ethics, as evidenced by its commitment to fair and transparent operations applying the principles of Kantian ethics and virtue theory. The virtue theory refers to an ethical framework that urges a corporation to focus on what they should be, not on the specific rules to follow. In contrast, Kantian ethics refers to a company’s obligation to respect all stakeholders. Apple emphasizes the pursuit of virtuous actions, strategies, and principles. However, like any other company, Apple faces several challenges while trying to uphold its values (McManus et al., 2018). The company has strived to ensure its collaborators, such as suppliers and employees, display proper business conduct in all situations.

Apple derives its success from creating high-quality, innovative services and products as well as showing integrity in its business interactions. Apple’s primary principles include compliance, confidentiality, respect, and honesty, indicating its commitment to integrity. To detail what it cares about the most, Apple provides a business conduct code that governs its operations, with the inclusion of those located overseas (Chen et al., 2020). Furthermore, the corporation promotes transparency by ensuring its website has information on corporate governance, guidelines on how to report questionable business conduct, and conflict of interest.

Most Apple products are manufactured in nations that offer low costs of labor. As a result, the probability of misconduct is increased because of reduced direct oversight and distinct labor standards. Thus, Apple ensures its suppliers comply with and sign the supplier code of conduct as well as perform periodic factory audits. Furthermore, Apple refuses to work with suppliers who cannot meet its standards. Apple further maintains its transparency by publishing supplier responsibility reports annually (Kashmanian, 2018). Apple has to ensure that the rights of employees in the suppliers’ country are protected. The company faces several issues that may harm its reputation, such as privacy, product quality, and CSR efforts.

Privacy is a significant ethical issue for Apple as the company was found to have been collecting consumer location information. Government officials and consumers saw such a move as a user privacy infringement. The company announced that users could disable the option of collecting user information. However, some customers still consider the problem a considerable challenge and may shun Apple’s products. As a result, the corporation ought to be careful of how it handles user privacy (McManus et al., 2018). Recently, every technology consumer has been worried about privacy; thus, such information shows that privacy can destroy a company’s reputation.

Apple places a great emphasis on its CSR efforts and sustainability as it strives to use resources efficiently. CSR and sustainability enable companies to conserve the environment, respect customers and employees while making profits. The company uses raw materials effectively and takes care of its employees as well as maximizes revenues. Apple has been criticized for planned obsolescence which prompts its users to update technologies after newer ones are created. Since the company constantly updates its products and addresses the problem of raw materials waste by recycling. Apple products are created from recyclable products, and customers are incentivized to recycle their products by exchanging older products with new ones for a reduced price. Despite various recycling programs, multiple users conveniently dispose of their products, especially if they are valueless (Liu et al., 2018). Besides recycling, Apple has eliminated some toxic chemicals from its products, including lead, mercury, and polyvinyl chloride (Azim & Nahar, 2020). Finally, Apple has created a corporate culture where employees feel valued through fair compensation, extensive training, creative and promotion opportunities.

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Role of Ethical Leadership in Apple

Apple is characterized by several elements of ethical leadership, including fair and equal treatment, respect, honesty, transparency, responsibility, and integrity. Ethical leadership offers many benefits to Apple in several ways. Firstly, ethical leadership fosters an increased sense of belonging in Apple. The top management coordinates with middle and lower management effectively, allowing individual and company values to be aligned with ethical principles. As a result, the general well-being of everyone is improved, leading to a positive atmosphere and reinforcing ethical behaviors. Since everyone knows what is expected of them, conflicting issues can be dealt with timely (Robinson et al., 2017). As a result, stakeholders such as employees, suppliers, and shareholders feel at home in Apple, resulting in the right conditions for everyone to work efficiently and effectively.

Secondly, ethical leadership in Apple contributes to improved customer relationships. Ethical leadership drives the need for high product quality as new products undergo a series of comprehensive tests on quality and reliability before they are introduced into the market. Thus, Apple customers know that the company products are of high quality, which increases the number of returning customers. Furthermore, when customers need technical support, the company helps by repairing its devices and offering general advice on product problems. Support agents treat customers fairly and respectfully, enabling Apple to build strong relationships with its consumers (Kim, 2020). Ultimately, customers feel proud of their decisions after buying Apple products due to the company’s robust commitment to ethical practices. As a result, Apple acquires the reputation of being a fair market player.

Thirdly, Apple’s ethical leadership allows it to obtain respect from communities and society and support in critical times. Apple leads and operates ethically, setting an example for other people or businesses, and as a result, is valued and respected. A company like Apple attracts top talent because many job applicants value its business ethics and CSR efforts. Talented employees have a high chance of generating novel ideas that can be highly profitable. Although Apple is a large multinational corporation, sometimes it is impacted by business crises. For instance, privacy issues may cause its share prices to drop. However, the trust of investors and customers enables a company to get through tough times. Furthermore, Apple’s ethical leadership increases employee loyalty as management inspires, develops, and establishes a culture of respect and trust (Kim, 2020). As a result, the company experiences low turnover and high worker productivity.

Critical Aspects of Apple’s Ethical Program

The key aspects of Apple’s ethical program consist of the sustainability strategy and code of conduct. Apple’s environmental strategy is driven by scientific data, including the pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. The sustainability strategy is comprised of three parts: smarter chemistry, climate change, and resources. In terms of climate change, Apple aims to utilize low-carbon design, energy efficiency, carbon removal, direct emissions abatement, and renewable energy strategies in its operations. The company’s corporate operations have been carbon neutral since last year. Furthermore, millions of emissions in metric tons have been reduced due to carbon reduction strategies. The company has implemented techniques to reduce the use of energy in its facilities and supply chain through retrofitting (Bonsu, 2019). In addition, Apple will maintain the utilization of absolute renewable electricity.

To achieve sustainable production and supply chain, the company aims to reduce all resources utilized in its production processes significantly. Apple is committed to using only renewable and recycled materials in its packaging and products. Additionally, the corporation has committed to protecting water resources and minimizing the use of freshwater in production (Bonsu, 2019). Finally, waste from Apple products generated from retail stores, data centers, and corporate offices causes landfill degradation; therefore, Apple aims to achieve zero waste. On the other hand, Smarter chemistry ensures products are designed to be safe for the environment. Apple maintains sound business practices that minimize adverse effects on the environment. Ultimately, Apple has assumed environmental responsibility for its operations.

Regarding Apple’s code of conduct, the company focuses on respecting and maintaining high standards of human rights, labor, ethical, and environmental conduct in its operations and suppliers (Kashmanian, 2018). Apple commits to providing safe working conditions, treating employees with respect and dignity, acting ethically and fairly, and adopting environmentally sound practices. Apple believes that all its workers in the supply chain deserve an ethical and fair workplace. Suppliers and Apple itself should not discriminate against workers on any basis. The company ensures its employees receive fair compensation and are protected from abuse and harassment (Clarke & Boersma, 2017). In addition, Apple suppliers are banned from using underage labor and should provide a salary equal to or higher than the minimum wage in all countries. Finally, employees have freedom of collective bargaining and association (Bonsu, 2019). Ultimately, Apple takes its employees’ well-being, safety, and health seriously, and they can refuse to work under unhealthy and unsafe conditions.

Why Do I believe Apple Matches My Values?

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Apple boasts of talented employees, and getting a job offer from the technology giant is a real challenge. However, I believe Apple matches my values because of its consistency and innovative corporate structure. I chose Apple because great companies have an attractive workplace that can foster collaboration among cross-functional teams. Furthermore, I can choose a job that matches my preference, whether retail or corporate (McManus et al., 2018). Firstly, I believe that Apple is an excellent match for my values because I like helping others solve problems efficiently. While helping others entails multiple things, working at Apple would provide the platform to help other people. For instance, if I am working in a retail store, I can help consumers solve problems related to Apple products. The idea of seeing happy customers resonates with my values.

Secondly, I believe that my determination to be better each day is consistent with Apple’s values. Apple does not make excuses when it fails, but it accepts the mistakes and learns from them. The company only settles for the best ideas and near-perfect products. As a result, I find myself enamored by the company’s corporate values since it encourages employees to improve themselves each day and accept mistakes by learning from them. Thirdly, Apple is good for me because it is responsible to suppliers, customers, and employees and reveres them (Clarke & Boersma, 2017). The company embraces the protection of human rights, which indicates it respects people.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is essential to review Apple’s CSR efforts, sustainability, and business ethics to demonstrate why it is popular among job seekers. Apple is a multinational corporation headquartered in California, and it produces innovative products that have revolutionized the technology sector. Apple has tried to adopt green business practices and uphold the highest human and labor rights standards and supplier code of conduct. Every partner of the company is required to remain ethical and fair in their corporate operations. I believe Apple matches my values because of its innovation, ownership of past mistakes, and respect for people. Ethics is a significant issue in the contemporary business world; thus, companies should attach more importance to it.

References

Azim, M. I., & Nahar, S. (2020). How green is the Apple? Understanding apple’s CSR disclosure practices, 19, 309-329. Web.

Bonsu, S. (2019). Corporate social responsibility: Assessing the alignment of theory and practice utilizing case studies. Journal of Marketing & Management, 10(1), 1-18. Web.

Chen, Q., Mladenova, M. L., Liao, C. Y., & Gong, K. J. (2020). Why and how should MNEs adapt their CSR in a specific host country. Academic Journal of Business & Management, 2(7), 45-56. Web.

Ciesielska, M., & Iskoujina, Z. (2018). Sustainability: Insights from a business model perspective. Tamara Journal for Critical Organization Inquiry, 15(3-4), 249-257. Web.

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Clarke, T., & Boersma, M. (2017). The governance of global value chains: Unresolved human rights, environmental and ethical dilemmas in the apple supply chain. Journal of business ethics, 143(1), 111-131. Web.

Kashmanian, R. M. (2018). Supplier codes of conduct: Company authorization of subcontractors. Environmental Quality Management, 27(4), 9-27. Web.

Kim, H. (2020). Comparison of strategic leadership: Steve Jobs and Tim Cook. Business and Management Studies, 6(3), 17-25. Web.

Liu, Y., Cheng, Y., Chen, H., Guo, S., & Lu, Y. (2018). Selling remanufactured products under One roof or two? A sustainability analysis on channel structures for New and remanufactured products. Sustainability, 10(7), 2427. Web.

McManus, R. M., Ward, S. J., & Perry, A. K. (Eds.). (2018). Ethical leadership: A primer. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Robinson, D. A., VanderPal, G., & Nhat Hoang, D. (2017). Entrepreneurs’ leadership experiences with specific regard to mentorship. Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics, 14(3), 91-100. Web.

Spinello, R. A. (2019). Business ethics: Contemporary issues and cases. SAGE Publications.