Corporate social responsibility A case study of Maple Leaf Foods


Corporatesocial responsibility: A case study of Maple Leaf Foods


Companieshave accepted that corporate social responsibility and profitabilityare inseparable. Consequently, the society expects an uprightcorporate citizenship (Carroll and Shabana, 2010). Firms that havesignificantly suffered because of poor corporate citizenry stretchacross all sector of the business. According to Carroll and Shabana(2010), incorporating corporate social responsibility in a company’sstrategic plan enhances corporate image and allows the companyanother platform to increase relative market share. Besides,companies with good corporate social responsibility may attractbetter worker and increase motivation and commitment among workers aswell as self-esteem and devotion to the company (Greening and Turban2000). As a company increases competitive advantage through corporatesocial responsibility, the brand awareness also increases. This paperwill assess Maple leafs food Inc.’s position of corporate socialresponsibility as the company has taken various phases to sponsorchange and cognizance, sustain the existing communities, anddeveloping an ethical environment. Maple leafs food Inc. is anactivist company committed to economic responsibility, environmentalresponsibility, consumer responsibility, social responsibility andthe community. This paper outline the description of theorganization, CSR strategies, strategic analysis and concludes with adiscussion of the potential of long-term success of the organization.


The concept corporate social responsibility refers to theresponsibility of an organization to incorporate stakeholdersconcerns in its daily business activities (Senguptaand Sinha 2005). Stakeholders in his context include theemployees, government and non-government organizations, internationalorganization, investors, global customers, creditors, activist groupsas well as local and global communities. The International StandardsOrganization (ISO) have come up with an international standard forthe CSR for private and companies in the public segment. Seven coresubject are established in ISO 2600 which significantly define CSR:corporation governance involvent and development of the communityindividual rights the environment customer concerns and rationalfunctioning practices. The environmental dimensions refer coderelated to the natural environment. Maple Leaf Foods Inc. issignificantly concern with a clean environment as well asenvironmental concerns in its business operation. The socialdimension defines Maple Leaf Foods Inc.’s relationship betweenbusiness and society. The company has significantly contributed toan improved society by incorporating social anxieties into itsorganization functions (Sengupta and Sinha 2005). The economicmeasurement of ISO 2600 defines Maple Leaf Foods Inc. in terms offinancial aspects in contention to its business operation. Thecompany has contributed to this dimension by contributing to economicdevelopment in its business operation. The stakeholder dimension hasclearly defined Maple Leaf Foods Inc. interactions with itsstakeholders comprising workers, suppliers, consumers and thecommunity. Finally, Maple Leaf Foods Inc. has been defined by thevoluntariness dimension based on ethical values, voluntary and beyondlegal obligations.

The operation ofMaple Leaf Foods Inc.’s plant depends on the national nature inwhich these plants are located. However, Maple Leaf Foods Inc. hasexposed itself to a demanding environment which are resulted ininnovation through a continuous process allowing for better productsand value of product available to its consumers. The Diamond modelplays a significant role in explaining relationship between theperformance Maple Leaf Foods Inc. and the nation competitiveadvantage. Maple Leaf Foods Inc. is focused on technologicalinnovation and research so as to keep away its competition and toattain a sustainable competitive advantage. Maple Leaf Foods Inc.also has a consistent international strategy as it manufacturingplants over the globe so as to achieve its worldwide competitiveadvantage as a corporation. Besides, Maple Leaf Foods Inc. provides avariety of products around the globe which allows it to market eachculture within its market.

Assessment ofEthical and CSR strategy

In order to be amongthe global leaders in food production Maple leaf has undertakencertain strategies to accomplish this. First, its food safety qualitymanagement system in all food manufacturing plants are standard inaccordance with the Global Food Safety Initiative and certified bythe British Retail Consortium. Besides launching an audit program tomonitor these standards, the company is working with itsco-manufacturers to ensure accomplish of the same standards. Second,Maple leaf provides training programs to its employees with the helpof the Canadian Research Institute for Food safety and the Universityof Guelph. Finally, the company has equipped itself with trendingrisk linked to food safety, technology advancement, and internationalbest practices. Maple leaf accomplishes this by working in hand withFood Safety Advisory Council, the government, scientist and otherindustries so as to be informed of current issues and ways ofavoiding foodborne diseases. This strategic approach has been ofsignificant improvement to the company’s objective. For instance,in 2011, there was an improvement of cases linked to occupationhealth and safety compared to 2010.

As one of leadingcorporations in Canada, Maple Leaf Foods Inc. has in the front ofgiving back to the community. In one of its initiative in 2011, thecompany raised nearly $ 1.5 million to supported disadvantagedcitizens as donating food products to food banks and majornongovernmental organizations in Canada, United Kingdom, and theUnited States. Maple Leaf Foods Inc has recognized the significanceof volunteerism by providing its workers with paid day offs andopportunity to lent talent and time in making a different place inboth local and international communities. The company has investednearly $85 million in the environmental control system and $ 10million yearly in managing environmental initiatives. Besides MapleLeaf Foods Inc. has sold over 45 million liters of bio-dieselproduced from the waste fats and recycled cooking gas and grease.Nearly 90 percent of the company’s manufactured waste is used aslandfills or recycled. Most of Maple Leaf Foods Inc. modern buildingincluding a bakery in Hamilton, Ontario, and offices in Mississaugaare built in an Energy and Environmental design (LEED) silverstandards.

Strategic analysis

In the context ofinternational strategy, the key role of Canada is the home base ofMaple Leaf Foods Inc. Canada has available a set of variables thathave enabled Maple Leaf Foods Inc gain a competitive advantage. SinceMaple Leaf Foods Initially developed within the domestic context ofCanada before spreading its branches, Canada has played a noteworthyrole in shaping the company’s identity, defining the character ofits management, and its strategy as a corporation. Besides, Canadahas a significant influence in determining the availability ofquality resource material for Maple Leaf Foods Inc. Despite theexistence of best worldwide competition, Canada has equipped and madea suitable setting for Maple Leaf Foods Inc to attain a competitiveadvantage. As Porter’s theory suggest (Porter, 1990), Canada hascreated and developed a substantial and sustainable import and exportto and from a wide array of countries and foreign investment in termsof assets and skills. Besides, Maple Leaf Foods Inc’s topmanagement have focused on achieving a competitive advantage throughresearch and technological advancement. This involves investment inskills, knowledge, brand reputation and physical assets (Weick,1985). The existence of business premises for Maple Leaf FoodsInc. is the first proof of the vast physical resources owned by thecompany. In every nation of operation, the company owns variousbusiness premises including administrative offices, companyoperations’ floor, and warehouses for storing raw materials andfinished products pending transportation. Primarily, MLF isresponsible for the transportation of all its products to theirrespective destinations. In this spirit, the company owns trucks forthe purpose transporting products or raw materials, busses forpicking and dropping employees, and other vehicles for transportingsalespeople, as well as researchers. Currently, Maple Leaf Foods Inc.has opened more than 20% of its manufacturing plants overseas so asto increase penetration in other nations. However, Maple Leaf FoodsInc. has to adjust its business model. In Canada, the tightrelationship and support provided by suppliers and standardizationhave driven down the cost of processing food. Maple Leaf Foods Inc.,biggest problem has been to replicate its Canadian supply chain inforeign nations. Although the company maintains the rigorousspecification for raw materials, the local suppliers are less willingto make the investment needed to meet them. Nevertheless, Maple LeafFoods Inc. is utilizing the distinctive competence developed inCanada, like cost cutting and input standardization to gain anadvantage in a foreign market where competing food processingcompanies lack these skills.

MapleLeaf Foods Inc. devotes lots of focus on research and development(Lamb, 2012).The company turns almost its entire attention on controlling themarket by creating new products every time. There are over 100products that re-launched by the company every year including BonMatin Healthy Way with ProCardio. This is an exceptional recipe thatwas developed to maintain healthy blood pressure levels andcholesterol, as well. Further, customers who like low-calorie meathave had their needs addressed through Maple Leaf natural Selectionand deli meats. Other products as sliced meat are specificallydeveloped in the Natural Selection to capture the entire customerneeds and demands. In the same spirit, the establishment of culinaryinnovation facility in Ontario (ThinkFood) was a milestone inachieving new brands, new tastes and unique innovations in producingthe best foods. Also, Maple Leaf Foods Inc. has well-organized brandnames, which can be recognized by customers easily with little or noconfusion. Maple Leaf Foods Inc. commands an influential brand equityin the entire Canadian market (Fleisher&amp Bensoussan, 2007). Some of the brand namesinclude Top Dogs, Schneiders County Naturals, and Maple Leaf SimplySavour among others. The same unique brand names are also extended tothe bakery products with remarkable ease of identification. Customerswill simply get it right.

Culture isconsidered as a shared belief and values of a group (Stone, 2006).Organization culture, therefore, is featured by the shared assumptionand value that enable to shape and the corporation ethicalenvironment. These are a set of beliefs and values that are guided byleaders and shared by the organization’s employees (Falkenbergand Brussel 2011). An organization culture is defined when anorganization is faced with external and internal challenges andadopts mechanism to handle the situation. When the ways in which theorganization handles its operation is successful through thesechallenges, the values are attained and retained. Therefore, the newstrategy of doing business is taught to new employees.

Maple Leaf FoodsInc. is a very friendly place where employees and stakeholders sharea lot of themselves. The company’s working environment provides afeeling of family. The leaders in the company are considered asmentors and sometimes as parent figures. Maple Leaf Foods Inc. isconnected by strong devotion and obligation. The company insists onlong-term reimbursements of human resource improvement and ascribesit to consistency and self-esteem. Success in Maple Leaf Foods understood in sensitivity context to customers and anxieties ofthe community. A demonstration of a strong organization culture inMaple Leaf Foods Inc. was the crisis of 2008. In 2008, following anoutbreak of listeria in Canada, more than 20 people died while mostwere injured (Crossan, et al 2013).Maple Leaf Foods Inc. was significantly impacted by conflictingopinion of the stakeholder as well short-term profits againstsustainability. In the context of wealth protection of thestakeholder, the best approach was to deny the situation was linkedto Maple Leaf Food and blame it elsewhere (Crossan, et al 2013).Another approach was to delay the response and blame all theintermediaries involved in handling of the contaminated meat. Incontrast, the company’s strong organizational culture providedinsight on the response as well as defined the person the crisissituation. During this period, Maple Leaf Food promptly recalled allthe contaminated products so as to protect its consumer and closedmost of its plants. This event had cost the company nearly $10million. Michael McCain, the CEO of Maple Leaf Food held a pressconference in which he apologized to all the Canadians affected.McCain took the responsibility of the situation and showed compassion(Crossan, et al 2013). As the crisisunfolded, the company utilized Television and advertisement toprovided information to the public how the situation was beenresolved. The virtue character of McCain in dealing with thestakeholders was transparent, decisive just, with greater qualitiesof leadership and fairness.


The ISO 2600 availsBusiness Corporation with an excellent construct to assist theirobligation to the shareholder and the company. How a company resolveto accomplish its duty to the community will vary depending on theinternational strategy and organizational culture of the company. Theseven elements shaping the pillar for corporate social responsibilityare the foundation of presenting a building for the environmental,social, economic, stakeholder and, voluntariness responsibilities ofthe company (Baron 2011). Each dimension is closely related to theother. An excellent corporate strategy maximizes its profits while atthe same time accomplish its obligation to the public. In otherwords, the corporation is called upon by the community to upholdproductivity, obeying the law, being ethical and being a good citizencorporate. The case of Maple Leaf Foods Inc. provides an instance onhow corporate social responsibility can influence the discernment andfinally the effectiveness of a business company.


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