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Corporate Social Responsibility in Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca

Introduction

With the increasing profits of companies in the 20th century, the question about their potential contribution to society was raised. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) implies procedures and practices that are considered by companies to make a positive impact and achieve pro-social objectives. In terms of Carroll’s pyramid of CSR, four dimensions can be intertwined, such as economic, legal, ethical, and philanthropic responsibilities (Carroll, 2016). This paper aims to compare Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca regarding their approaches to CSR and sustainability reporting.

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Economic, Legal, Ethical, and Philanthropic Responsibilities

The economic responsibilities form the foundation of social responsibility since companies are the basic economic units of any society. Both Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca significantly contribute to the economic well-being of the global community. The 2019 report of Johnson & Johnson shows that the company allocated $ 11,4 billion in research and development to analyze and combat people’s health challenges. For example, 106,000 patients were given access to Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) treatment, and another 105,000 patients received help with HIV treatment (2019 Health for Humanity Report, 2019). In turn, AstraZeneca also follows proper financial reporting to clarify its investments in such sectors as public health, environment, and governance. In 2019, the above company helped 9,7 million people to reach health care services, while sustainability is considered to be among the strategic priorities (2019 Health for Humanity Report, 2019). Accordingly, the commitment of both companies to economic CSR can be evaluated as high.

In terms of Carroll’s model, legal responsibilities can be understood as the compliance of companies with policies, laws, and regulations to fulfill their legal obligations as responsible social stakeholders (Carroll, 2016). This dimension can be discussed based on the development of vaccines against the COVID-19 as both companies are engaged in this process. Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca publicly declared that their products meet the requirements of international health organizations and vaccination laws. In addition, rigorous testing was conducted to verify the effectiveness of their vaccines to approve them for public use. On a broader scale, Johnson & Johnson pays attention to the legal guidelines of countries to ensure that help can be provided to their citizens (2019 Health for Humanity Report, 2019). As for AstraZeneca, this information is not clarified in their official reports.

The ethical dimension of Carroll’s model involves the behaviors that are not identified in legal documents but are expected from businesses. For example, being good corporate citizens, following widely-accepted and new ethical norms, and going beyond compliance with norms are the basic components. During the current pandemic, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson decided not to make profits from vaccine sales, setting affordable prices (Dyer, 2021). The review of the related literature and reports shows that ethics involves wider opportunities for creating a positive social impact. For example, AstraZeneca reports that 45,4% of its senior and middle managers are women, which reflects the company’s diversity promotion (Sustainability Report 2019, 2019). Also, 86% of its employees completing the survey think that AstraZeneca provides a great workplace environment (Sustainability Report 2019, 2019). It should also be stressed that AstraZeneca is engaged in following ethical expectations while working with partners, which is conducted through continuous sustainability performance evaluation and shared value creation by empowering local cluster growth.

Likewise, AstraZeneca which focuses on shared value creation, Johnson & Johnson also follows this principle. Namely, the company strives to guide its partners, employees, customers, and other stakeholders toward corporate citizenship. Johnson & Johnson’s leadership is committed to making a positive difference in the world, and there are many ways they implement them. For example, their road to sustainability can be characterized by protecting the planet and decreasing the environmental impact. Since 2019, 90% of Johnson & Johnson’s raw materials are recyclable due to packaging optimization (Corporate social responsibility, 2020). Another effort is the introduction of a national contact lens recycling program in the UK. These interventions are also useful to change the global trajectory of global eye health.

In turn, AstraZeneca supports environmental initiatives by managing its products and activities. Among the company’s recent achievements, there is an 11% waste decrease since 2015, and 62% of the electricity is generated from renewable resources (Sustainability Report 2019, 2019). The company also sets a goal of achieving zero carbon emissions by 2025, which indicates that it identifies both long-term and short-term agendas. It should also be stressed that the pollution reduction programs of AstraZeneca go in line with the United Nation’s sustainable development goals. The material focus areas also include product environmental stewardship, waste management, and pharmaceuticals in the environment. Compared to the objectives of Johnson & Johnson, those of AstraZeneca seem to be more detailed and elaborated.

The philanthropic dimension means voluntary activities that are taken by businesses, such as donations, public education, volunteerism, and so on (Carroll, 2016). Johnson & Johnson supports non-profit organizations and provides charitable contributions through medical mission trips and cash. The three strategic directions are health in communities, STEM education, and healthcare access (Corporate social responsibility, 2020). In comparison, AstraZeneca is more concerned with protecting human rights to data privacy, health, non-discrimination, and humane treatment (Sustainability Report 2019, 2019). It is accomplished by promoting diverse and welcoming business culture, a responsible supply chain, and increasing awareness of human rights across communities.

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The above comparison of the two companies allows stating that their extent of involvement in CSR is great. Both Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca have properly-designed visions of contributing to a better world, which can be traced in all four dimensions of Carroll’s pyramid of CSR. The companies create shared value and continue developing in such areas as environmental protection, ethical business practices, and public health promotion. Also, they accept the importance of being corporate citizens, which is evident from their approaches to responsible sustainability reporting. Both businesses report their achievements and goals with transparency and a great number of statistical details, which helps to conclude that their social missions contribute to the global well-being of various populations.

Conclusion

To conclude, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca are pharmaceutical companies that are extensively engaged in CSR, contributing to public health, environmental imprint reduction, and responsible business activity. These companies follow economic, legal, ethical, and philanthropic responsibilities, while Johnson & Johnson is more concerned with providing access to health care services and waste decrease. In turn, the main priorities of AstraZeneca are human rights promotion and environmental pollution decrease. The official CSR reports of both companies are well-organized and detailed to understand their goals and efforts that were taken recently. Their goals are clear and socially important, while their contemporary accomplishments are impressive. Both AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson demonstrate a high degree of sustainability and accountability.

Reference List

Carroll, A. B. (2016) ‘Carroll’s pyramid of CSR: taking another look’, International Journal of Corporate Social Responsibility, 1(1), pp. 1-8.

Corporate social responsibility (2020) Web.

Dyer, O. (2021) ‘Covid-19: countries are learning what others paid for vaccines’, British Medical Journal (Online), 372(281). Web.

2019 Health for Humanity Report. Web.

Sustainability Report 2019. Web.

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StudyCorgi. "Corporate Social Responsibility in Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca." June 10, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/corporate-social-responsibility-in-johnson-and-amp-johnson-and-astrazeneca/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Corporate Social Responsibility in Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca." June 10, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/corporate-social-responsibility-in-johnson-and-amp-johnson-and-astrazeneca/.

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