a) The main facts about the activities of the company
Schneider Electric is a French global company. It was founded in 1836 by two brothers, Eug?ne and Adolphe Schneider with the head office in Rueil Malmaison.
In the first part of the 20th century, Schneider et Cie associated itself with Westinghouse Systems, a major international electrical group at the time. The group began manufacturing electric motors and locomotives. After the Second World War, the armaments businesses were abandoned in favor of electrical engineering, and iron and steel works. The company remained in this sector until the early 1980s.
In 1981, Group Schneider was broken up, focusing on the electrical and controls industry. This was followed by strategic acquisitions of Telemecanique (1988), Square D (1991) and Merlin Gerin (1992) and it is these brands that are the core products of the company’s offering.
In 1999, Group Schneider was renamed Schneider Electric. The Schneider Company also acquired The Lexel Group that year.
Today, the company has grown into a world leader in active energy management solutions through further acquisitions: Veris Industries, an electronic sensor manufacturer, in 1999; Power Measurement and ELAU in 2005; MGE UPS Systems, Clipsal, TAC, Nulec, Andover Controls, GET plc and in Citect in 2006; American Power Conversion and Pelco, a video and security system manufacturer, in 2007; Gutor Electronic LLC in 2008; and the distribution branch of AREVA T&D in 2010.
From 1836 to today, Schneider Electric has transformed itself into the global specialist in energy management. Starting from its roots in the iron and steel industry, heavy machinery, and ship building, it moved into electricity and automation management. After more than 170 years of history, Schneider Electric has become today the solution provider that will help you make the most of your energy. Discover its transformation below.
b) The ethical challenges this company is addressing.
Specializing in energy management, Schneider Electric plays an important role in the world economy and how we manage energy. Schneider provides solutions that reduce energy consumption and we reduce customer costs while making the planet greener.
Because Schneider Electric is a large multinational company, with such impressive achievements, what are the ethical challenges Schneider faces?
Schneider Electric has a high market share. Its revenue is about 200 billion dollars.
However, because of its sheer size and market position; Schneider may be too competitive against other companies, leading to other company bankruptcies. Yes, Schneider provides a lot of products and services to people, but if Schneider?s competitors go bankrupt, many people will lose their job because of Schneider.
While Schneider donated 600 thousand dollars to the Sichuan earthquake, they only donated about 40 thousand dollars to Chinese teenagers. It?s only a small proportion compared to their overall revenue.
Schneider is a huge company and they provide all kinds of products, like: automation and control, power distribution, etc. They provide machines, their customer plants must use a lot of energy, like electric and water etc. Thus, their customers make a large amount of CO2 emission and pollution.
Whatever Schneider?s products do to save the energy or reduce the environment pollution, their customers still use a lot of energy and make a lot of environment pollution by themselves.
c) What makes you believe this company is really ethical and why you trust it.
As a global specialist in energy management with operations in more than 100 countries, Schneider Electric is focused on making energy safe, reliable, efficient, productive and green. The Group?s 110,000 plus employees achieved sales of 19.6 billion euros in 2010, through an active commitment to help individuals and organizations. Helping customers make the most of their energy needs, energetic and environmental responsibility lies at the core of Schneider Electric culture and strategy.
"Leading the way in energy efficiency"
Schneider Electric offers a comprehensive response for residential, building, energy and infrastructure and data and network markets with energy efficiency solutions to save energies.
Environmental issues: First published in 1992 and updated in 2004, Schneider Electric?s environmental policy was confirmed in 2007. It is designed to improve the manufacturing processes, promote eco-design and integrate customer concerns in the area of environmental protection by fostering effective product and service solutions.
Social issues: Across the Group, human resource policies are deployed governing diversity, hiring, international mobility, training, leadership competencies, total compensation and health.
Complying with international law and other commitments, Schneider Electric confirms its commitment to promote sustainable development and participation in society-wide efforts to promote sustainable development.
In China, Schneider Electric is committed to being a socially responsible corporation whose responsibility starts at making energy safe and reliable, committing to helping the communities they work in, assisting where tragedy strikes, and lending a hand to those in need.
1. University programs and Schneider Electric youth development foundation which are designed to help the talented youth reach their dreams.
2. Natural disaster relief after Sichuan earthquake and snowstorm in Hunan province.
"Investment at the base of the pyramid"
Schneider manages a sustainable investment fund to support local economic initiatives around energy. Supporting local entrepreneurs with a sustainable fund created in July 2009, the Schneider Electric Energy Access (SEEA) Fund aims to support the development of entrepreneurial initiatives around access to energy and has an impact on people?s lives at the Base of the Pyramid (BoP).
With the slogan ?Make the most of your energy?, Schneider Electric is striving to make energy safe, reliable, efficient, productive and green. The company keeps investing in projects that do not generate revenue for them. However, the households where the projects are launched can find their standard of living improve substantially in a short time. We believe that such a company with a sense of social responsibility is definitely ethical and trustworthy.
d) The possible challenges facing the company in the future and how you think this company may improve.
There is a worldwide trend towards using green technology and using renewable resources. Schneider Electric?s product line is well positioned to take advantage of the green movement but it still faces many challenges. For instance, even though Schneider Electric has a good product mix to service the green technology movement, the technology for green products may shift in the future. Should the market shift, Schneider Electric needs to be flexible and adapt to a changing market.
A possible way for Schneider Electric to address this challenge is adding other green technology control systems to its portfolio. While Schneider already has some products to service the solar panel industry, it does not have any products to service the wind turbine or hydrogen fuel cell industries. In particular, the hydrogen fuel cell industry is a fast growing industry in North America and there are various government subsidies for hydrogen fuel cells. Thus, Schneider Electric may consider starting a product line to service the hydrogen fuel cell industry through a possible merger or establishing a new division.
Furthermore, another way for Schneider to improve and address this challenge is by restructuring its research. Schneider currently devotes 5% of its sales every year to general research. However, perhaps it can increase its research budget to 10% of sales and focus more of its research on green technology in particular. Eventually, this will allow Schneider to shift even more of its product line towards green technology and it will enable Schneider to become a global leader in green technology control systems.