Corporate social responsibility is known as “a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model.” (Corporate Social Resoponsibility, 2017) CSR is an often used abbreviation that reflects a company or organization responsibility for the environment, society’s wellbeing and stakeholders. In many cases, companies and organizations are required to adopt CSR due to being pressured by the local communities, pressure groups, activists, advocates or other non-profit and governmental organizations. In order to avoid bad publicity and huge financial losses, many companies and organizations seek to embrace the idea of “corporate citizenship” in order to gain a better and positive reputation.
Hermes and CSR
Despite of the issues that Hermes might be dealing with in association to the issues being discussed in this report, Hermes has its own claims regarding CSR. Fondation d’entreprise Hermes, invented in April 2008, signifies Hermes determination to strengthen its policies and extension of philanthropic support. Fondation d’entreprise was invented by Hermes International, Hermes Sellier and 18 board members presented by Pierre-Alexis Dumas with Pascale Mussard and Nicolas Puech as the vice- presidents. The headquarter of Fondation d’entreprise Hermes is located in Paris that represent the birthplace of Hermes in 1837. Fondation d’entreprise Hermes reflects Hermes core values by committing generous acts of citizenship that supports humanist and cultural values as well as “philantrophy” (Fondation d’entreprise Hermes, 2017) . Fondation d’entreprise focuses on four key elements such as the promotion of traditional craft skills and expertise, creative arts, accessibility to education, trainings and external organizations as well as the preservation of environment and biodiversity.
Hermes response to PETA’s dead ostrich protest in London
A disclosure made by PETA which revealed animal cruelty practice made by Hermes at ostrich abattoirs located in South Africa which followed by a protest was one of the downfalls that occurred to Hermes. The protest which was conducted in London outside of the Hermes boutique on New Bond Street was represented by three models whom wore a sinister swan dress that was altered to portray a dead ostrich’s limp neck while carrying a handbag that stated with “Bin ostrich skin” to call upon Hermes. In response, Hermes deny any affiliation with Peta’s justification by claiming that that the farms shown in the videos released by PETA that depicted the slaughter of ostriches, do not belong to Hermes. Hermes also followed claiming that the small quantities of ostrich leather used by Hermes did not come from the farms shown in the videos rather, it came from Hermes suppliers, tanneries and farms in South Africa that are closely monitored and subjected to strict and permanent controls by institutions such as : NSPCA (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), SAVA (South African Veterinarian Association), DAFF (South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries). In addition, Hermes operates at a secondary level within the industry and is always active and vigilant when it comes to CSR. Hermes regularly conduct a systematic checks on its suppliers to make sure they strictly comply with local and international regulations and guarantees it is always at its best practices in order to improve the policies. (Gush, 2016)Furthermore, Hermes call upon PETA’s intention into attention in a way to harm Hermes reputation by releasing the videos and through a fraudulent representation of facts and deep ignorance on the commitment made by Hermes to fight against animal cruelty and other welfare concern.
Hermes response to PETA’s expose on its suppliers ‘horror’ alligator farms
The following after Hermes’ allegation of animal cruelty against ostriches, PETA exposed a series of incident inside alligator farms located in Texas and Zimbabwe which demonstrate a gruesome massacre of alligators as well as the extent to which alligators have to suffer in a horrible living environment. These farms are allegedly Hermes’ suppliers that supplies alligator skin for Hermes. In response towards PETA, Hermes released a statement that specified that the skins used by Hermes are sourced from farms that follows a tight policy to preserve the optimal farming conditions that conform to international and local regulations. In addition, Hermes has established a strong network of farm partners to withhold its supply in the highest skin quality. These farms adheres to the rules created by the Washington Convention in 1972 which emphasis on the preservation and protection of specific species. (Hendriksz, 2015) In this case, the rules applies to the alligators and thereby, farms have to participate in a breeding program that contributes back to the wild. Hermes made it clear that nonconforming parties will face detrimental consequences. Despite Hermes clarification, PETA was not satisfied due to Hermes lack of action. PETA went on with the fact that regardless of the regulations Hermes have set on the protection of reptiles from gruesome slaughter, the video released by PETA showing farmers cruely hacked into the alligators exhibited contradictory significance. (Hendriksz, 2015)
Hermes response on Jane Birkin’s demand on her name being removed from iconic bag
Upon hearing the news that some of Hermes’ handbags were made through barbaric farming and slaughter methods towards alligators, Jane Birkin requested for her name to be removed from Hermes’ iconic handbags. In response to Jane Birkin request, Hermes denied any relationship being tied with the farms shown in the videos released by PETA as well as pointing out that Jane Birkin’s comment did not affect the relationship and confidence Hermes have on Jane Birkin. (Capon, 2015)Furthermore, Hermes was “shocked” by the pictures released by PETA and further emphasis on the company’s high standard in the assurance of ethical treatment towards alligators. Hermes respected and shared Jane Birkin’s emotions and decided the company will have to abide to her plea despite of their contract terms. (Sowray, 2015)