Branding, partnerships, socially responsible consumption or business are all terms that catch people’s attention and even engender arm and fuzzy thoughts about things like “niceness.”
Simon Mainwaring has all of these in mind in his book We First.
He cautions that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is all very well and good, but depending on such responsibility or being swayed by lip service can be dangerous.
- He wrote that charitable giving is still a second thought in most companies. The following should be kept in mind about the for-profit sector:
- Giving is disproportionate to profits and salaries. Corporations can make big headlines for big donations, but those are still small compared to money paid to investors and executives.
- Companies fail to understand CSR. They think sustainability has to do with management of environmental issues, for example.
- CSR efforts are just “window dressing.” Most companies use it only to enhance their corporate reputations.
- Companies spin their CSR. Many companies have been exposed for using CSR as just a marketing scheme.
- CSR results and measurements are scattershot. Relatively few corporations measure results, leaving it to watchdog agencies to observe and rank them.