Team communication assignment: An Annotated Bibliography
Task: Sustainability Management Assignment Instructions: You are required to choose a company’s sustainability report to access. You will assess the company’s sustainability by applying theory, concepts, frameworks and real-world sustainability guidelines presented in class.
You will extraxt relevant information from the company’s sustainability report assess the firms’s sustainability and strategic management. You are also encouraged to use other supporting materials that might be useful to complete the assignment (e.g., financial, reports, websited, academic literature, etc.).
1 FIRM OVERVIEW
The present sustainability management assignment is focused on the case analysis of EBay Inc. which is one of the global leaders in commerce that connects millions of sellers and buyers around the world. The main objective of the company is to provide the opportunity for entrepreneurs, individuals, organizations, and businesses of all sizes. The company was founded in September 1995, and since its inception, this company was meant to be a marketplace for the sale of services and goods for individuals(Ebay, 2019). The company has successfully globalized and streamlined the traditional trading process of person-to-person by conducting this process through forms such as collectible shows, garage sales, flea markets, etc., based on their web interface. As the biggest online marketplace, the mission of eBay is to create a marketplace online that is globally recognized. The company is based in San Jose, California, and it was launched by an American entrepreneur Pierre Omidyar(Ebay, 2019). As of 2021, eBay is one of the top e-commerce marketplaces that provide a platform for selling items through online auction and listings. Overall, eBay has various categories of core products that the company deals with, and they are books, collectibles, crafts, industrial, business, consumer electronics, home and garden, toys, motors, antiques, etc.
eBay’s organizational structure is related to its business operations in e-commerce(Chaffey, 2019). The corporate structure of the company has been built as a result of its strategic management that is reflected on its marketplace website and related operations. However, over the passage of time, Amazon has turned out to be a major competitor of eBay despite Amazon's initial foray into auctions being a spectacular failure. Overall, eBay has expanded its business in the online marketplace, ticket exchange markets, and classified listings that have been effectively used based on the company’s strategic strengths. Therefore, SWOT analysis of the company will be extremely useful in terms of determining its global influence.
2.Assessment Of Firm Sustainability
According to the 2020 sustainability report of eBay, the purpose of the company is to create economic opportunity for all the drives that the company does along with all the technologies that the company provides with the motive of fuelling power to everyone for participating in the digital economy. The impact goals of eBay are to achieve a series of goals that have been established and are measured every year (Keyvan and Kashkooli, 2016).
The company works to integrate best environmental practices across its global business operation that can support a healthier planet for the upcoming generations and communities. eBay uses its marketplace to supportcionscious consumption through product resale along with assisting to safeguard the resources of the world that are finite by keeping the materials that are in circulation even longer. The company, across its data centers and offices, invests in clean energy along with the implementation of resource-efficient strategies that help in reducing the overall footprint of the environment. In addition to that, the company assesses the potential impact of its business operation on biodiversity close to their locations that are operated as well as owned to inform the planning of future mitigation based on the relevant needs. As a part of the company's overall sustainable commitment, eBay has partnered with non-profits to advocate for bolder climate solutions and actions. In 2020, sustainability report of eBay, it has been mentioned that the company has pledged to set Science-Based Targets along with the publication of its first TCFD (Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures) report, and this will in reinforcing an increased momentum towards climate actions and transparency along with its latest recognitions (Fruncillo, 2021). Hence, sustainability is the core to the company's founding purpose along with the business foundation.
The environmental policy of eBay strives to operate the business in the most environmentally sustainable way across its value chain by creating safe, dynamic, and trusted organizations in which the employees, sellers, buyers, partners, and suppliers can thrive (EBay Impact, 2020). The company is committed to proactively quantifying, tracking, and publicly communicating its environmental footprint that includes its downstream and upstream impacts. The company also manages its energy consumption and sources electricity from various renewable sources, along with continuously working to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gas despite the immense growth of its infrastructure. The company also implemented various water-saving technologies and processes at the eBay-controlled and eBay-owned sites that have been a major step to reduce consumption along with diverting waste from entering landfills.
In terms of social practices, the company emphasizes diversity, equity, and inclusion in its work as the purpose of the company is to drive the creation of opportunities in an open marketplace for everyone (EBay Impact, 2020). Overall, the company remains dedicated to being a splendidlyvaried, reallyreasonable, and bravely inclusive workplace based on its business strategies of growing, buying, and selling. eBay understands that actual progress requires consistency, time, and flexibility, along with participation from everyone and everywhere. eBay has some key sustainable commerce partners such as REBA (Renewable Energy Business Alliance), Circle Economy, Utah Clean Energy Coalition, Future of Internet Power, etc. Lastly, in terms of circular commerce, the company contributes to a strongspherical economy that is vital for the overall planet's sustainability.
3.Assessment Of Sustainable Development Goal Alignment
eBay follows strict internal policies and practices that reflect the company's alignment with a strong commitment to the stakeholders, employees, and community (SHRM, 2020). The company resolves to exercise the highest level of ethical standards in its business operation. The policies of the company are based on the Code of Ethics and Business Conduct that demonstrates the anticipationof operating in such a way that it benefits and protects the wider community of eBay. The company continuously seeks to better understand, quantify and track its environmental footprint, and thus, the company reports its emissions of carbon by using classifications within the World Resource Institute's Greenhouse Gas Protocol. By the year 2025, the company aims to achieve a 50 percent absolute reduction in Scopes 1 and Scope 2. As per eBay's sustainability report, the company has reduced its emissions from Scope 1 and Scope 2 by 44% that reflects significant progress toward the company's goal (SBT, 2020).
Figure 1: eBay’s GHG Emissions
Source: (eBay Impact, 2020)
Energy use in eBay is characteristically the principalecological impact in the industry that is related to other e-commerce and tech companies. The company continues to strive in terms of implementing strategies of saving energy in the businesses of all-out facilities. In 2020, the data center in Salt Lake City, Utah, of eBay earned the Energy Star for Data Centres Label. The business of eBay's marketplace grew in 2020, and the electricity consumption of its data center increased by around 5%.
Figure 2: Energy use of eBay
Source: (eBay Impact, 2020)
The company has invested in renewable energy, and this is considered asthe central focus of the company. The company as anassociate of RE100, has placed an determined 2025 goal to achieve 100 percent renewable energy in the supply of electricity at eBay-controlled offices and centers of data(EBay Impact, 2020). From the year 2019 to 2020, the company has increased its MWhs of renewable energy supply by 9 percent, and this has led to 74 percent renewable energy for all of the company's offices and data centers. The company has thus expanded its efforts of energy that are obrained from renewavlesources for a total of 16 offices throughout Europe and the US.
Figure 3: Renewable Energy percentage
Source: (eBay Impact, 2020)
Overall, the company has always been at the front of circular commerce that initiated with the start of laser pointer usage on its market around 25 years ago by the purchase of an important person who wants to give it a new life. In the year 2020, the company exceeded the goal of its circular commerce during the sales of products by consumers to consumers of pre-owned apparel and electronics. Therefore, circular commerce is the foundation of its business, and the company is continuing significant investment along with measuring its encouraging impact from pre-owned goods’ sale and contain a subsequent goals set of 2025 that emphasizes on the commitment. Lastly, the aspect of water consumption has continued to be a valuable resource cross the world, and this strategy is assumed to get intensified with the climatic changes. The company works to save water daily across the international offices, and several sites of the company have taken actions to include 18 percentadditionalservices for water cionsumption reporting(EBay Impact, 2020).
Figure 4: Water consumption of eBay
Source: (eBay Impact, 2020)
4. SWOT Analysis
eBay expands its business in the online marketplace based on effectively using the strengths of the company that suits the industry of e-commerce (Mitchell, 2017). The strength of the company affects the ability of the company to react to threats in the retail industry and environment of online auction. The consequences of the SWOT analysis for eBay Inc. put the platform of the business of online trading in context. Since eBay is a reputed player in the e-commerce industry, so effective SWOT analysis can highlight the challenges that the firms face in terms of reaching consumers and sellers through the related technologies and the internet.
Strengths: One of the major strengths of eBay is its strong brand image, and this also provides with competitive advantage (Webster, 2015). The popularity of the company has made the company easily recognizable among the sellers and consumers, which is providing the company a competitive edge against various other e-commerce firms. In addition to that, the cost-effectiveness of the company based on its economy of scale also acts as a major strength that supports the company's desire to achieve its vision and mission statements. Both these internal factors contribute immensely to the prominence of the company as a major market player that offer the marketplace for online purchase and sellingThe aspect of cost-effectiveness also increases the company's operational management that tends to shape the various subsidies of the company. Lastly, the websites of trading that the company possesses play a significant role in terms of attracting customers as well as sellers based on its high effectiveness. Overall, the internal factor of the company also plays a decisive role in terms of ensuring the company's sustainability based on the culture of eBay that encourages excellence in result orientation.
Weaknesses: In the modern business environment, company's can improve performance and competitiveness by overcoming the identified weakness. There are several weaknesses of eBay, which the company needs to overcome to ensure future sustainability. Despite the excellence in its result orientation, the company does not prioritize innovation. Therefore, this internal factor of lacking innovation can be considered as a major weakness for the company that is limiting its competitiveness and growth in the global e-commerce industry. The organizational structure of eBay tends to maintain strong and centralized functional units, which provides several benefits to the company, but there are also certain disadvantages of this organizational structure to the business (Hierarchy Structure, 2016). For example, eBay's strong centralized units support the company's cohesiveness and consistency, but at the same time, this also limits the flexibility of the management to business-type and geographic variations in the global market. In addition to that, the nature of eBay's business is also imitable, and this is a major weakness for the company as well. The easily imitable nature of the company's business contributes to competition especially related to new entrants.
Opportunities: This aspect of the business analysis highlights the exterior factors that can support or facilitate the development of business growth. In the case of eBay, there are several growth opportunities that the company's management can develop to suit the business needs. The company has a tremendous opportunity to expand its online operations to various other markets as, under the present scenario, the company has markets in the United States and certain European countries (Analysis eBay, 2021). The opportunity to expand its operation in other countries can also generate significant revenues along with spreading risk among the varied e-commerce companies. In addition to that, the company can also improve its innovation regarding competitiveness through the development of its products. There is also an opportunity to improve the quality of its customer service by enhancing customer satisfaction and managing the expectations of the customers.
Threats: It is important for business enterprises to protect their business from certain threats so that the factor of sustainability does not get compromised. In the case of eBay, intense competition is a major threat as the company is facing rivalry from industry giants such as Amazon along with the smaller companies as well (Inci, 2020). In addition to that, imitation is a major threat to the company because it is easier for its competitors to replicate the business model of eBay. Lastly, eBay also faces the threat of disruptions in an industry that is related to the latest trends in technologies. Overall, all of these external factors have been drastically changing the company's business performance, and the managers of the company must thrive to make sure there is ongoing enhancement in its aggressive advantages that can tackle the factors of external strategy
Table 1. SWOT Analysis of eBay
Excellent effectiveness of its services
Lack of innovation
Imitable model of business
Expansion in several markets
5. Further Sustainability Recommendations
After analyzing the business performance and sustainability report of eBay, it can be recommended that the company must align its efforts to sustainable goals, which will help the company to responsibly grow its business. The most important step towards sustainability for eBay can potentially be supported by the support of the United Nations SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) through its business operations, initiatives, and platforms. In addition to that, eBay should emphasize bolstering the current strategic alliances along with developing new strategic alliances. The company is facing a major threat of imitation from its competitors as well as new entrants, so the business structure must keep on evolving based upon the latest developments and trends as this will help the company to achieve sustainable growth. It will be important to continue with the environmental best practices, but at the same time, it can also be recommended to the company to emphasize innovation as based on innovation, it will be easier to gain significant attention of the consumers, and the already established brand reputation of the company can work as an icing on the cake. The recent Covid-19 pandemic outbreak has made it difficult for people to indulge in physical interaction, so the emphasis on online selling and buying is at its peak.
Therefore, for eBay, this pandemic situation can do wonders if the company can strategically plan its business operation.
The aspect of expanding its business beyond the United States and certain countries of Europe can be utilized to the full extent under the present pandemic situation as the majority of the countries across the world have imposed restrictions and social distancing, which has led to the tremendous rise of online business. The company can potentially target certain Asian countries like China and India as based on the high population of both these countries; fruitful results can be achieved along with ensuring sustainable business. The company can increase its sales by understanding the customer desires along with the resources that can support the business in a sustainable way.
Overall, the main factor towards sustainability will be economic empowerment along with high security and safety standards. Therefore, to avoid the factor of intense competition, particularly under the modern context of rapid digitalization and globalization, eBay must emphasize improving environmental and social impact as the consumers in today's world are extremely conscious regarding the impacts that a business can cause to the society and the environment.
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