Apple Company Sustainability Report: Issues, Practices, And Stakeholder Implications

Apple Company Sustainability Report

Apple Company is a distributor and manufacturer of personal computers, mobile phones and tablet computers as well a applications and software’s that was established in 1977 and is based in Cupertino in California.

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The sustainable development and social responsibility of the company are currently among the most innovative topics of research and business management.

Today, differentiation in a saturated or especially competitive market can come from the perception of the client and other stakeholders (employees, investors, suppliers, local communities, etc.) regarding the social and environmental merits of the company. In this way, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) comes into play as a competitive advantage (Robinson et al., 2015).

Corporate social responsibility represents a commitment to basic values ??and behavior consistent with these approaches. The perspective of CSR is oriented towards three objectives – economic, social and environmental – grouped under the neologism ‘sustainability’, understood as the capacity to generate sustainable development or of an integral and multipurpose character. Transparency and verifiability are recognized qualities among the principles of corporate social responsibility. They are fundamental rules that govern the socially responsible behavior of organizations.

The company’s CSR is 62% compared to other companies in America. This is a good rating as it is highly satisfactory in terms of service delivery in social responsibility. CSR has four pillars, the community pillar, employees pillar, environment pillar and governance pillar. Its score in environmental management is the highest at 70%, it is then followed by employee management at 61%, the governance pillar is rated at 58% and lastly the community pillar which is placed at 56% (Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Restructuring and Firm’s Performance, 2010).

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They take form in the information on CSR offered by the companies, which is presented in the form of the so-called “sustainability reports” or “corporate social responsibility reports”. Although it is necessary to distinguish that in the first case the memory is structured by emphasizing the triple dimension (economic, social or environmental) and in the second, information is organized by distinguishing one by one the interest groups. 

Exposing the relationship between market mechanisms, the achievement of sustainability and the effectiveness of the company’s policies for this purpose is the main work of sustainability information.

This information must be able to be constituted from the most elementary levels, considering the action of individuals and organizations, to the most complex, taking sustainability into account from a planetary point of view. The difficulty of measuring the situation and the progress of sustainable development can be mitigated by assessing and reporting on social, environmental and economic impacts(Haerens and Zott, 2014).

The measurement of sustainability must consider the process of internalizing external costs (and benefits). Among the main drivers of disclosure are market forces such as reputation and risk, competitive advantage, the possibility of attracting socially responsible investments, and the restriction on operations that may be derived from government action, as well as their social legitimacy.

For Apple Company, the elaboration of a sustainability report implies making a company’s efforts regarding social and environmental issues much more visible.

Issues and Practices

Communicating the company’s social responsibility policy entails advantages such as enhancing relations with financial suppliers through greater transparency – thus improving access to capital -, offering a clearer understanding of the company to customers, opening up innovation in products and services by observing the needs of the consumer from a new angle, motivate employees through an ethical commitment, discover opportunities to save energy costs, raw materials or environmental responsibility, and prevent breaches or future adjustments to labor or environmental regulations(Manos and Derori, 2016) .

There is a stable debate among those in favor of standardizing information on sustainability and those who advocate total flexibility for the company. The standardization of reports on corporate social responsibility is justified mainly by two reasons. The first is that stakeholders in corporate activity and society as a whole demand that documents published by different companies be comparable to each other. The second is that the possibility of comparing the activity of the companies in the social and environmental fields is a demonstration of value for the shareholders, as well as an improvement in the information processes within the market(Allouche, 2006).

Improve the transparency of sustainability reports and harmonize its criteria will generally imply a better appreciation of corporate social responsibility policies. The main organization involved in the process of standardizing the reports is the aforementioned Apple Company. The company is an independent institution whose mission is to develop and disseminate guidelines for the elaboration of sustainability reports. Currently, its guidelines serve as a basis for all those companies that seek to make their socially responsible policies known in a global and generally accepted way. Innovation in the development of sustainability reports, the creation of digital solutions and the implementation of education and accreditation programs. The above components have been designed to follow five objectives: . Integrate information processes under the standards with the internal management and management processes of the company. Simplify ‘guides’ so reports can be compared efficiently. Advance the harmonization of the guidelines with other elements of the general corporate responsibility system, thus enhancing the compatibility of resources and tools (Perrini, Pogutz and Tencati, 2006). Facilitate the implementation and use of the guides, as well as supply the appropriate support material and tools for the process.

To this we must add the free choice of a large number of companies, from large multinationals to small non-profit organizations and associations, to Apple Company guidelines as a basis for structuring their sustainability reports. the bet of so many and so many companies can only mean that either there is no clear alternative or between the different possibilities the guidelines of the Apple Company are the ones that best suit your needs. A choice free of value by those directly interested. Some critics also maintain that the Apple company guidelines for the development of sustainability reports are not very rigorous. It is important to point out, in defense of the, that sustainability information systems are – as the whole movement implies corporate social responsibility – still subject to continuous development and experimentation. The rigor and reliability will go reaching the maturity of the subject and after pooling the experience of all stakeholders (issuers and recipients of information).

Stakeholders in Sustainability Reporting

It is interesting to highlight, among the numerous awards that reward CSR information policies and processes, the Award for the Best Sustainability Report for American companies promoted by the 

The most positive aspects of these reports are a well-defined strategy and a good description of the sustainability profile of the organization, the introduction of some negative aspects, the establishment of objectives in the field of CSR for the following year and principles of information clearly set and integrated throughout the report(Perrini, Pogutz and Tencati, 2006). In addition, some of the reports were verified according to high standards of assurance.

Despite not being exempt of some weak point – much extension, some data little relevant and small problems in the definition of the scope, fruit of the scope of activity – can be considered that the award-winning sustainability reports are kept in line with the latest trends in sustainability information.

After evaluating the indicators, a new business perspective for management can be drawn from them. Based on the information obtained, the long-term objectives and the action plan to influence sustainability performance can be traced(Perrini, Pogutz and Tencati, 2006).

After knowing the social and environmental past of the company, and once the socially responsible strategy for the future has been planned, the forms of information and the media that best adapt to the nature of the organization must be chosen. The report will be written and disseminated according to the strategy and method chosen. To be truly effective a sustainability report should allow stakeholders to comment, recommend and critique both their presentation and its content. Comments should be compiled with a view to establishing a process of continuous improvement in sustainability: (O’Grady, 2009). The valuations of memory should affect the company’s social responsibility policy, influencing the preparation of future reports. It should not be forgotten that a sustainability report is, in addition to a tool for communication with stakeholders, a way of distinguishing the organization against its competitors.

Since its launch in 2006, the company has been guided by its core values and has consistently aligned its commercial and financial performance with the responsible form in which it operates. By integrating corporate social responsibility (CSR) in a holistic manner into the business, the company grew as a responsible corporate citizen delivering consistent results as one of the world’s best performing hotel companies.

In the company’s annual sustainability report, the 2016-2017 Sustainability Responsibility Report details its strong manufacturing-leading commitment to responsible business practices vis-à-vis society and the environment. Throughout the report, the successes achieved by the teams in each CSR area are highlighted: sustainability, diversity and inclusion, philanthropy, human rights and responsible business practices.


The Sustainability Reports are the perfect tool to demonstrate to third party the efforts made by an organization in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). To do this, they focus on communicating and managing the positive and negative impacts of the organization on society, and adopt necessary measures to empower the former and minimize the latter (O’Grady, 2009). Therefore the Sustainability Report is a tool to communicate the economic, social, and environmental and governance performance of the same. 


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Manos, R. and Derori, I. (2016). Corporate responsibility. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

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