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III. Theories and Frameworks

The Core Characteristics of CSR


CSR has been defined as a representation of various corporate initiatives which are non-mandatory and which go out of pre defined boundaries dictated by the law. The perspective of both the government as well as the other stakeholders in many developing nations place a strong emphasis on this particular core characteristic  (Crane et al, 2008). Organisations have familiarised themselves and are more enthusiastic in taking responsibilities which lie beyond the required minimum legal framework (Hamidu, Md Haron and Amran, 2015). Organisations are incorporating more self-regulated CSR initiatives, Vodafone being one such organisation.

As identified by the International Labour Organisation(ILO), it estimates that around 200 million young people are unemployed or are employed but yet live in poverty. Vodafone being present in over 25 countries, in many of the countries in which Vodafone operates the rate of unemployment among the youth is quite high, as a result of this they have launched a programme called ‘What will you be?' (Vodafone, 2018).

They aim to provide 100,000 young people with a digital workplace experience at Vodafone by supporting them with access to digital skill as well as learning and employment opportunities, all of this is said to be achieved by 2022 (Vodafone, 2018).

Managing Externalities

All the various factors which are primarily not a part of the decision making process of an organisation but factors which have a significant impact on the various rights of the the stakeholders is referred to as externalities in the context of CSR. The public consider harmful effects to the environment to regarded as an externality. There are regulations in place which prevent organisations from causing irreversible damage to the environment, such as pollution fines (Hamidu, Md Haron and Amran, 2015).

It is important for organisations to to internalise or manage such externalities. Though a lot of such externalities are part and parcel of the daily activities of many organisations, Vodafone being one such organisation.

In the year 2015, Vodafone has made Energy Innovations as one of their three core areas for global transformations. Wherein they focus on increasing their energy efficiency as well as to enable other organisations in decreasing their costs in terms of energy usage (Vodafone, 2018).

In the year 2018, Vodafone has achieved their target which was aimed at helping their customers reduce their Carbon Dioxide emissions by two tonnes for every one tonnes of Carbon Dioxide emissions emitted from their own operations (Vodafone, 2018).

Multiple Stakeholder Orientation

A more modern CSR outlook observes a variety of  interests as well as the impacts on the various stakeholders but not dis-including the shareholders. Organisations rely on constituents such as the consumers, regional communities, suppliers as well as employees among others in order for the business to grow organically as well as survive and prosper (Crane, Matten and Spence, 2014).

The Stakeholder Orientation focuses on identifying the various stakeholders bassoon on attributes  which define their power, legitimacy of claim as well as urgency. These mentioned attributes help in identifying and in prioritising of the various stakeholders. (Hamidu, Md Haron and Amran, 2015).

Social and Economic Alignment

After the various stakeholders have been identified and balanced out, a new aspect of CSR is introduced. It is assumed that there is a conflict between a stakeholder approach and profitability, however it is not the case always. It is at the art where in social and economic responsibilities are aligned within the self interest of the business (Crane, Matten and Spence, 2014).

Practices and Values

CSR to many people is considered as an ideology, a philosophy or even a set a integral values, Values which are more then just a set of business practices or strategies that deal with social issues (Crane, Matten, Spence, 2014).

Beyond Philanthropy

CSR in many parts of the world is primarily about organisations being philanthropic, Corporate Philanthropy, in other words charity towards those in needCrane, Matten and Spence, 2014). CSR currently being a mandated practice as governed by many regulations, is shifting from an altruistic for to a more instrumental one(Hamidu, Md Haron and Amran, 2015). Various business functions such as production, marketing, procurement, human resource management, finance, logistics to name a few are considered to be key business functions, it can be debated that CSR practices need to be integrated into these key business functions rather than being an added value to the business organisation (Grayson & Hodges, 2004).

B. Carrolls Pyramid

Theories and Frameworks helps in gaining a deeper insight into the crucial importance of CSR, one such frame work is notably Carrolls Pyramid.

“The social responsibility of business encompassed the economic, legal, ethical and discretionary expectations that society has of organisations at a given point in time” (Carroll, 1979).

A statement that hold true even in present times, it encompasses four key business related aspects and gives it a new perspective. Carrolls Pyramid can be called as a Business variation of Maslow's Hierarchy of needs. As depicted in the figure, the first and base layer of the pyramid has Economic Responsibility followed by Legal Responsibility at the second level followed by Ethical Responsibility at the third stage and Philanthropic Responsibility at the top being at the fourth and last stage. The titles for all the four stages stated define themselves as titled.

Economic Responsibility

Vodafone as an organisation believes in being economically responsible as can be determined from their Annual Report 2018.

Vodafone has an organic revenue service in place whose growth is modest at just under 2%. Their focus is on sustaining cost efficiencies via their ‘Fit For Growth' programme which has contributed to an organic EBITDA adjustment with a growth of 12%, which in turn resulted in a 47% rise in organically adjusted EBIT and a 44% growth in adjusted earnings per share(EPS) (Vodafone, 2018).

Vodafone places emphasis on revenue growth as well as on cost efficiencies with an end goal of improved cash generation.

Legal Responsibility

Vodafone is an organisation which values the importance of transparency, they believe transparency helps them in maintaining the trust and loyalties of their stakeholders as well as shareholders. There has been a committee which is responsible for their external auditing process which oversees the relationship with the performance of external auditors. PwC (PriceWaterhouse Cooper) have been appointed by the shareholders as the Groups external auditors (Vodafone, 2018)

Vodafone claims to operate within a well defined governance framework in terms of taxation which os designed to provide the stakeholders who bear an interest in their tax affairs, Vodafone is fairly transparent with divulging such information. They are subjected to scrutiny if they fail to do so under their own code of conduct (Vodafone, 2017)

Ethical Responsibility

Vodafone places an emphasis on developing the skills of employees via continuous development programmes. In the year 2018 Vodafone has invented over 60 million in training and development. Over 9,000 of Vodafone employees have been provided with training on agile working techniques (Vodafone, 2018) They believe in fostering the development of future leaders, as a result of this more than 400 newly appointed managers attend their Leadership Essential programme in the year 2018.

Vodafone also conducts development programmes for young people with an interest in the Technology and Communications Industry, Vodafone have set in place a global target which aims to increase the number of the young population who spend time in Vodafone, specifically in their workplace experience, internship and apprenticeships programmes as well as their graduate scheme to 100,000 by 2022 (Vodafone, 2018).

Philanthropic Responsibility

‘Connecting for Good - Connectivity Drive Change' The slogan behind the Vodafone Foundation, a charitable organisation set up by Vodafone. There have been 27 of such foundations set up around the world by Vodafone, with over 40 million being invested every year.

The Vodafone Foudation invests in communities wherein Vodafone carries out its operations and is at the middle of a network of global and regionally social investment programmes. The Vodafone Foundation is a UK registered charitable organisation(1089625).

IV. CSR Strategies Currently Employed by Vodafone


Vodafone treats the health and safety of their customers as well as the wider public as an absolute priority as well as everyone who works for Vodafone. Mobile devices and masts used by Vodafone are well within the guidelines which have been established by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection(ICNIRP), they have identified many countries wherein electromagnetic frequency(EMF) is still a concern of the public, emissions which are emitted from base stations as well as mobile phones and try to minimise this effect wherever possible (Vodafone, 2018).

Vodafone has understood the there is a rapid increase in the global temperatures which is caused by man-made greenhouse gases(GHGs), they understand that this issues needs to be addressed with utmost urgency. It is estimated that the Telecommunications an Information and Communications Technology(ICT) Industry faces a growth in the GHG emissions challenge, as it is estimated that this industry will be accountable for 2% of the total global GHG emissions.

In the year 2010 Vodafone has been using a since based approach from which they have tracked a 40-year reduction trajectory to 2050, but Vodafone has managed to be ahead of this goal and are on track to achieve this feat by the year 2025 as between 2010 and 2017 they have managed to increase their GHG emissions by 66% which results in a steeper 40% reduction from a baseline of 2017 (Vodafone, 2018).

In line with their modified 2025 goal, Vodafone has moved towards using 100% renewable electricity sources, Vodafone has also become a part of the collaborative initiative called ‘RE100” which has been set up by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP which focuses on brining major organisations together to switch to 100% renewable energy (Vodafone Plc, 2018).


It has been identified that the number of people in the sub-Sharan region of Africa with access to electricity has been increasing over time, yet around 57% of the population, which translated to around 590 million individuals, are still without access to any reliable source of power. Vodafone understands that with access to reliable source of energy, people will be able to have more access to better information, health services, educational resources as well as employment opportunities.

Vodafone has enabled Mobisol in their aim in improving the lives of people by providing them access to energy from mobile enabled solar powered devices in households of low income. These devices are powered by a solar panel which collects the solar energy and batteries which help in storing this energy, devices such as LED lighting, Televisions and mobile charging devices. Over 100,000 household in Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda use these systems provide by Mobisol (Mobisol; Vodafone, 2018).

Vodafone aims to connect an additional 50 million women from emerging markets with access to mobile phone and technology by the year 2025.


Vodafone in the year 2018 has expanded their workplace experience programmes quite significantly. Vodafone provides over 14,000 young people with various opportunities via their Digital Workplace Experience programme, which is twice as what Vodafone has offered in the prior year of 2017. This included a diverse array of programs such as one-week placements, bring your child to work events, Job Shadowing as well as pioneering events such as #CodeLikeAGirl, a programme which provided girls aged between 14-18 to gain experience and knowledge thought immersive digital training during the vacation days (Vodafone, 2018).

Vodafone values their supply chain integrity and safety, Vodafone provides their suppliers with direct support. In the year 2018, as part of their JAC initiative Vodafone alone with three other operations have sup up an a ‘Supplier Academy'. The aim of this academy is to help in developing and training the suppliers to help them in assessing and improving their performance in three key areas, namely social, ethical and environmental, among others (Vodafone, 2018).

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