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Ethics and Social Responsibility Essay

As a business grows and expands, eventually the goal of a business is to transform from company into a corporate powerhouse. Once the goal of a company turned corporate is met a corporation is to operate eventually internationally within other countries. With the ability to operate a business internationally this will enable a corporation access to several features. These features are more revenue income, acquire and disperse domestic and international stocks, capital expenditures in the forms of resources and manpower in foreign countries. These features also spell the recipe for creating more jobs within those foreign countries a corporation plans to operate within.

Culture Issues Affecting Corporations Actions Outside the United States

The well known jean clothing company known in the retail business as Levi’s operates under the business name of Levi Strauss and Company. Levi Strauss and Company is located in the heart of Northern California’s Bay Area city of San Francisco. Levi Strauss and Company operates and own its factories of clothing internationally in 110 countries (Levi Strauss & Company, 2012).

With the business growth and years in operation Levi Strauss and Company also have been put under extreme scrutiny because of business practices and business ethics. Most of the examinations and criticizing of the company business practices have been from various groups and individuals ranging from employee unions, stock market companies and individual, even from external companies associated with Levi and Strauss. One of the reasons for criticism was the attention brought onto Levi and Strauss operating two of the corporation’s factories in Bangladesh, India. What the assessment of Levi and Strauss Company found was that its resources also included the employment of children working within the factories.

Many of these children working within the two factories working under the minimum age limit. This had put Levi and Strauss into a bad business situation. With the United States the minimum age limit to work legally in non-hazardous areas is 14 years of age (U.S. Department of Labor, 2010). In India the children working at two of Levi Strauss and Company were under the age of 14 years of age. With many of these children working there most of the wages were used to help support their families who depended on their child’s wages. Levi’s implemented into its Terms of Engagement that any child working under the minimum age limit would have his or her salaries covered while paying for his or her full education (Levi Strauss & Company, 2012).

Ethical Perspectives Of Levi and Strauss Company Global Organization

Levi Strauss and Company have ethical perspectives are in agreement with the majority view of operating as an ethical global business entity. Levi Strauss and Company operates under a Worldwide Code of Business Conduct, and a Global Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption Policy (Levi Strauss & Company, 2010). Under the Worldwide Code of Conduct Levi’s operates its business affairs with good responsibility and integrity. The Code of Conduct also encourages the corporation’s employees base business decisions under the corporation’s ethical values. Operating under anti-bribery and anti-corruption policy, Levi’s operates under each country’s specific laws and regulations, in addition, these policies are put into effect to help the company’s employees be able to identify any potential business scenarios and avoid situations, which can put the company’s ethical policies at risk (Levi Strauss & Company, 2010).

While operating in 2008 Levi Strauss had received pertinent information regarding its factories in the country of Uzbekistan. Levi Strauss and Company had gone under pressure to investigate about the working conditions of forced child labor to harvest cotton in Uzbekistan. With inquiries from the company’s external stakeholders, environmental nongovernmental organizations, socially based firms, and internationally based retailers, the company addressed the issue of forced child labor to harvest the cotton in that country. What Levi’s did was ban the cotton harvested in Uzbekistan (Levi Strauss and Company, 2010). From the part of 2008 through the middle of 2009 the company brought the issue to the United States Government and engaged the country of Uzbekistan government to resolve the situation of the country forcing children to harvest the cotton within that country (Levi Strauss and Company, 2010).

Levi’s Ethical Perspectives Across Cultures

Levi Strauss and Company faces different challenges operating in different countries and abiding by various cultural ethical differences. While operating in different Asian countries Levi and Strauss took part in The Asia Foundation to help support the end of corruption that is common in many Asian countries (SUPPORTING VULNERABLE POPULATIONS IN ASIA, 2012). the Asia Foundation helps with funding from Levi Strauss and Company develop programs which are to enable a better life for many people in Asian countries. With helping to end corruption Levi and Strauss has taken a pro-active approach to end this dilemma that is still in many of the Asian countries.

In working internationally Levi and Strauss has addressed the issue of women’s rights in countries such as Egypt. In other countries the humane rights of women are equivalent to almost nothing putting women down at the bottom of the social pyramid. Levi and Strauss has partnered with Business for Social Responsibility to run a program also known as the HERProject-for Health Enable Returns that is meant to help women in educating women about health reproduction and access to get health services (Jill Nash , Vice President, Levi Strauss & Co. Corporate Affairs, 2010).

With regards to operating in international countries Levi and Strauss must be able to handle each challenge differently and adapt policies for each specific region. One solution may work in one country but may not work effectively in an another country. Levi and Strauss operate under a high standard of ethics and code of conduct within the United States, which is far higher when compared to other foreign countries. Operating business in a high ethical standard is something Levi and Strauss have been innovating as the corporation ventures to operate in foreign countries. With each country come challenges, which may be similar and different from other countries, which are unique to each region.

In conclusion businesses are either currently or entering into the global market as the realization of more income revenue is abundant. When companies look to grow with expansion into other countries sometimes the earnings of revenue will tend to take a company’s focus of concentration away from dealing with cultural aspects and challenges unique to those specific country regions. When the distraction on not learning about the different cultures and ethnicity conducts business do companies create mistakes that can have a major ethical issue in the public view. The best result would be to conduct business research on how business conduct operates in each country to avoid any potential ethical dilemmas.


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