Verizon Communications Inc. focuses its corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy on customers, with the goal of reaching and maintaining high customer satisfaction. In Archie B. Carroll’s theory on corporate social responsibility, businesses must work to satisfy the interests of stakeholders. Stakeholders are individuals or groups that affect and are affected by business. In this case of Verizon, the stakeholders are relevant to the various markets where the company operates. For example, the interests of stakeholders in the wireless telecommunications market are significant to Verizon’s corporate citizenship programs. The company’s continued expansion also translates to the corresponding expansion of its corporate social responsibilities. For instance, increasing content distribution operations corresponds to the increasing significance of CSR initiatives for the mass media market’s stakeholders, like content safety and censorship groups. The resulting corporate social responsibility strategy must cover all areas of Verizon’s business, including sustainability and green business ethics for stakeholders.
Corporate social responsibility programs contribute to the strengths of the business, such as the strong brand image determined in the SWOT analysis of Verizon Communications Inc. For example, CSR initiatives that satisfy the interests of customers as stakeholders can enhance the company’s brand image and, consequently, customer loyalty. Also, high sustainability in the operations of Verizon can improve the company’s corporate citizenship status. Thus, the company’s corporate social responsibility strategy comprehensively considers the issues significant to stakeholders in the telecommunications industry.
Verizon’s Stakeholders & CSR Initiatives
Verizon has a customer-centric corporate social responsibility strategy. Customers are considered as the primary and most significant stakeholder group of the telecommunications business. Customers’ interests define much of the company’s corporate social responsibility programs. These programs influence the CSR initiatives in all areas of Verizon’s organization. The company’s corporate citizenship and sustainability approach considers the interests of customers and other stakeholders, including suppliers and employees. However, these CSR initiatives remain focused on customers. Verizon’s corporate social responsibility strategy has the following prioritization of stakeholder groups:
- Customers (highest priority)
Customers. Customers have the highest priority and significance in Verizon’s corporate social responsibility strategy. This stakeholder group is interested in high-quality services and reasonable prices. They are also concerned with sustainability and the contribution of the company’s CSR programs to the improvement of their lives. Verizon’s corporate vision statement and corporate mission statement emphasize the importance of technology as a core resource to address such interests. For example, Verizon’s corporate citizenship initiatives include using advanced network technologies to optimize customer experience in using wireless services. For this stakeholder group, the company also has specific corporate social responsibility initiatives. For instance, the Verizon Innovative Learning (VIL) program provides technology, Internet access, and curricula to enable educators and students in underserved areas in the United States. Moreover, the company’s Employee Giving program facilitates employee involvement in community activities through their time, money, and skills, to address customers’ interests in how the business contributes to the improvement of their lives. The resulting satisfaction of customers’ interests aligns with Verizon’s generic competitive strategy and intensive growth strategies, especially in terms of providing high-quality services. High quality of service is a differentiating factor that empowers the company to attract and retain customers in the telecommunications market. Such corporate social responsibility satisfaction also influences Verizon’s strengths, such as its strong brand image relative to competitors, like AT&T, Alphabet’s Google Fiber, and T-Mobile.
Environment. Ecological issues are significant to the company’s corporate social responsibility strategy. These issues affect the business, as shown in the PESTLE/PESTEL analysis of Verizon Communications Inc. For example, natural disasters and the availability of renewable energy influence the infrastructure and service desirability of Verizon. In this case, the natural environment is viewed as a stakeholder because of the significance of its impact on the business. Environmental protection and conservation are major ecological interests. The company’s CSR programs to address this stakeholder group include a green energy initiative, a sustainable sourcing program, and a water conservation initiative. These corporate citizenship efforts are aimed at increasing the company’s sustainability level. For instance, Verizon continues to reduce its carbon intensity to decrease carbon emissions for every terabyte of data transmitted through the company’s telecommunications infrastructure. Further integration of solar technology into the infrastructure also improves the satisfaction of corporate responsibilities to the environment, leading to a stronger brand image for Verizon and its subsidiaries. The company continuously works on its corporate social responsibilities to ensure the satisfaction of ecological interests.
Employees. Human resources are among the main stakeholder groups included in the corporate social responsibility strategy of Verizon Communications Inc. These stakeholders are a foundation of the business, in terms of organizational capabilities and performance quality, among other considerations. For example, employees affect the quality of the services and telecommunications infrastructure of Verizon’s wireless services. In the context of corporate citizenship, the interests of workers include business efforts that go beyond salaries and wages. For instance, these stakeholders are interested in human resource programs that support wellness and a healthy work-life balance. Verizon’s sustainability initiatives are also of interest to employees who prefer to work for companies that have a positive environmental impact. Moreover, career and leadership development initiatives and programs for employee morale are notable in this corporate social responsibility aspect. Some of Verizon’s most important efforts for these corporate social responsibilities are policies for equal employment opportunity and pay equity, as well as family benefits that include alternative workweek programs and a parental leave policy for mothers and fathers. Furthermore, policies for diversity and inclusion, and cooperative approaches in addressing labor unions contribute to high employee morale throughout Verizon’s organization and its divisions or subsidiaries. These CSR initiatives significantly influence policies and strategies that shape Verizon’s organizational culture (work culture).
Suppliers. The main objective in dealing with this stakeholder group is to align their activities with the values of Verizon Communications Inc. In this way, the company’s corporate social responsibility strategy extends beyond the organization, influencing other organizations and their respective CSR strategies. Suppliers significantly influence the company’s capabilities in terms of the availability of materials to support operations. For example, suppliers of wireless network technologies affect Verizon’s telecommunications infrastructure. The interest of these stakeholders is to grow their businesses by supplying their products to the company. Verizon’s corporate social responsibility strategy satisfies these interests by encouraging suppliers to enhance their CSR performance and business stability. For instance, the company’s Supplier Diversity Program encourages suppliers to optimize their human resource diversity. Also, the company’s Conflict Minerals Statement ensures the corporate citizenship of Verizon and helps align this stakeholder group with efforts to address the problem of conflict in Congo and surrounding areas. Moreover, through a Supplier Code of Conduct, the company facilitates suppliers’ sustainability. This initiative promotes corporate citizenship among suppliers. The corporate social responsibility programs used to address this stakeholder group’s interest are among the determinants of Verizon’s operations management strategy, particularly in supply chain management.
Investors. This stakeholder group significantly affects Verizon’s capitalization. Such influence leads to a corporate social responsibility strategy that aims to optimize the stability and integrity of business operations. The CSR strategy considers investors’ interests, which focus on high revenues and profits, and high business stability. To address these interests, Verizon has initiatives that build brand image and business performance. For example, corporate citizenship programs that reduce the environmental impact of the business improve Verizon’s brand image, attractiveness, and competitiveness in the wireless telecommunications market. These programs make the company more sustainable and stable in the long term. However, governance is the main corporate social responsibility emphasis for this stakeholder group. For instance, Verizon employees undergo Code of Conduct training and anti-corruption training to ensure the integrity of the business. The company also has a zero-tolerance policy for unethical business practices, such as bribery and corruption. These efforts influence Verizon’s organization, including the policies and corporate social responsibility programs in divisions and subsidiaries.
Verizon’s CSR Performance in Addressing Stakeholders’ Interests
With a customer-centric corporate social responsibility strategy, Verizon addresses the interests of its main stakeholders. The focus on customers’ interests facilitates high customer satisfaction and a strong brand image that attracts and retains customers, especially in Verizon’s wireless operations. In addition, the company’s CSR programs for sustainability satisfy not just environmentally conscious customers, but also other stakeholders. For example, Verizon’s corporate citizenship efforts address significant concerns regarding the environmental impact of the business. The same efforts satisfy customers’ interests pertaining to development linked to environmental conservation. These corporate social responsibility initiatives contribute to business resilience against competition, which is a strong external force identified in the Five Forces analysis of Verizon Communications Inc. Despite these positive points in the company’s CSR strategy, the company can implement improvements to further increase its performance. To enhance its corporate social responsibility programs, it is recommended that Verizon:
- Continuously increase service quality, such as through wireless services, to maximize customer satisfaction and to maintain Verizon’s competitive advantages over other telecommunications firms, considering competitive rivalry in the industry.
- Increase suppliers’ involvement in the CSR strategy. Currently, encouragement is the main thrust for this stakeholder group. Additional push may prove beneficial for all parties involved.
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- Park, J. G., Park, K., Noh, H., & Kim, Y. G. (2023). Characterization of CSR, ESG, and corporate citizenship through a text mining-based review of literature. Sustainability, 15(5), 3892.
- Verizon Communications Inc. – Form 10-K.
- Verizon Communications Inc. – Giving and Grants.
- Verizon Communications Inc. – Making Good Come True.
- Verizon Communications Inc. – Supplier Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.
- Verizon Communications Inc. – Sustainability.
- Verizon Innovative Learning.