Can cause marketing damage reputations?

by Urs E. Gattiker on 2011/04/04 · 66 comments 26,495 views

in a analytics taking action,a dos and don'ts,d business ethics,d business SME,e marketing 101 KISS

The original story is below, while details about the updates can be found at the bottom.

    Update 2011-04-06: We have added more information based on feedback we got in another discussion forum on Xing.

Since I was unable to attend every session of the Geneva Forum on Social Change (GFSC) held April 1 – 2, 2001, and we have insufficient space to cover everything of interest, my conference report is only a personal view.

Rita Kaali called my office on Thursday evening, asking me to fill in for social media-savvy Matthias Luefkens, who was unable to attend Panel 4.

    24-hour preparation – crowdsourcing to the rescue

With so little time, I felt the need for crowdsourcing to help me address some of the issues likely to face our panel. The first article that influenced my thinking came via email from Beth:

Meanwhile, Rita Kaali sent:

The articles sensitized me to potential conflicts arising from cause marketing, but I also wondered how these issues would play out in Europe with corporate folks. So I launched discussions for input from knowledgeable individuals:

If you want to beef up on social media issues, why not sign up to get our weekly posts sent direct to your inbox:

Incidentally, we often forget to clarify that company size, and geographical location, including culture, are important issues in these matters. For instance, according to the European Commission, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises are socially and economically important; they represent 99 percent of an estimated 23 million enterprises in the EU and provide around 75 million jobs, representing two-thirds of all employment.

By the time I boarded the 06:04 train in Zurich to arrive in time for final preparations in Geneva, I had received more input from the Americas and Asia. I used the trip to summarize the material:

    More resources

Social media’s failed acid test: Pakistan disaster response
5 critical steps for reputation management
Toyota: How to commit brand and reputation suicide
ComMetrics – How BP shrugs off negative reviews
What do BP, big banks and Putin share?

    Morning sessions

Due to space limitations I focused on the second of two excellent sessions. This one addressed social media matters in the context of communication by international organizations. Speakers included:

A variety of important insights were shard and discussed with the audience.

    1. Social media can be a fantastic gateway to the media – for international organizations it is a great way to reach, interact and engage with the public.
    2. Social media is making the public part of the conversation, where traditionally, they may not have been.
    3. Don’t treat social media separately – integrate it as part of your overall communication strategy.

Image - Isaac Griberg from the International Committee of the Red Cross illustrates what one must be prepared for - mistakes. Tweet by @RedCross - Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head's Midas Touch beer.... when we drink we do it right #gettngslizzerd
The cases presented by the panelists perfectly illustrated these issues.

    Panel 4 – Social Media and the Business Community

We spoke about various things, including how to raise money for good causes the fastest using social media:Image - GFSC2011 - Panel 4 - Social Media and the Business Community - picture by Paul Papadimitriou

    1. Start with a strategy.
    2. Be clear about your audience, their values and wants.
    3. Set objectives that can be measured with SMART metrics.
    4. Spell out tools and approaches.
    5. Measure success and ensure you can clarify why you do something in case of ‘so what?’ instances.
    6. Take actions based on your progress to encourage improvement.

Some of us tweeted during the sessions, such as @geoffliving (a.k.a. Geoff Livingston), @PeterDublin (a.k.a. Peter Conlon), and @CDN (a.k.a. Christian de Neef).

Conlon pointed out that for large organizations, there will often be a greater willingness for support if the cause can be linked to products, image and reputation. De Neef drew from his experience in organizational change due to the necessity of making social causes part of their DNA.
Image - GFSC2011 - Panel 4 - Social Media and the Business Community - some tweets sent during the session by panelists and the audience.
Of course, Livingston directed the action with panache, knowing when to provoke and when to rein in panel and audience members alike, while continuously fostering discussion. Every time I thought we might lose the audience, Geoff would come along with another question that got several people to the microphone to contribute or challenge the panel.

There was little that yours truly could add in such a brilliant crowd, but I learned a lot and felt privileged to be in attendance.

By the way, one of the interesting points I wanted to raise, but never got around to was that the group that was fastest out the gate to help Japanese tsunami victims was the Yakuza (third largest Japanese organized crime organization with about 10,000 ‘franchises’), which has its head office opposite the Ritz Carlton in Tokyo.

With little bureaucracy in the way, it just loaded some trucks and brought those in most desperate need the things they needed. And yes, social media played a role in showing the Yakuza what was lacking.

Of course, a criminal organization does not draw attention to itself, since that could result in another police investigation, so once government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) took a more active role, they withdrew. Nevertheless, this flawlessly executed cause marketing does much to further strengthen its reputation with the Japanese public.

YouTube Preview Image
    Bottom line

It was obvious that the organizers (students of the International Organizations MBA at the University of Geneva)  did an outstanding job of putting together this conference. Not only did things go smoothly (at least for attendees), but everybody was exceptionally friendly and helpful. The atmosphere was pure inspiration while the event neatly illustrated the many challenges still facing fostering social change.

As always, please add your thoughts in a comment below, and attendees, please add your thoughts and impressions, links and whatever I missed!

UPDATES
Update 2011-04-06: We have added more information based on feedback we got in another discussion forum on Xing.

As these comments indicate comments in the thread are very much focusing on “… a lot of customers don’t always trust companies’ CSR projects.” Olga Henggi

Another interesting comment is:

    “…while corporations engage in all sorts of “save the planet and help the hungry” projects, I see total absence of accountability. I see total absence of results their campaigns should bring about. Isn’t it easy to claim that 3% of my glow in the dark bubble gum goes towards helping rubber tree growers in Thailand when of that 3% actually 98% go into cost of running that program ?
    Quite frankly, I stay away from those promoting their “incredible planet saving activities” and concentrate on organizations that are in the business of helping and changing things. Exploitation is the word I’d use when it comes to heavily promoted “giving back to community”.. Well, of course, there are always a few exceptions.” Hans Mecker
I also thank everybody who has left a comment below to add to these discussions, just wonderful.  Why not add yours so you can be heard?


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  • Kathleen Swalling

    Thanks great to have these summaries! Also, fabulous to see ‘bringing them home’ @ work. I look forward to sharing lessons learned with others. Inspiring. http://www.kathleenswalling.com and http://www.filmmakersforconservation.org

    • http://commetrics.com/?p=14363 Urs E. Gattiker

      Kathleen, thanks for feedback about my #GFSC2011 summary – it was an inspiring event and will result in a lot of sharing for all of us. Guaranteed. Until next year.

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  • http://twitter.com/marshallsitten Marshall Sitten

    Great panel, great contributions, thanks for coming! nnWanted to continue a thread from the panel: Do you get the sense from the discussion that “Cause Marketing” is often a gesture, not very sustainable, and not connected to an org’s core function; and that “CSR”, when successful, is directly tied to the org’s core function (and thus its incentives) and when done well can be much more sustainable? nnThanks again!

    • http://commetrics.com/?p=14363 Urs E. Gattiker

      #GFSC2011 – @marshallsitten I think you are on to something VERY important. If the cause is clearly linked to the company’s vision, mission, values then “Cause Marketing” can work for all involved.nnTo illustrate, if you want to reach out to the community (e.g., youth, scouts, homeless) employees need to be part of these efforts and they should carry the torch.nThe company is only here to support employees efforts with a charity or a cause. For instance, provide if needed a van to get around, truck to haul stuff for the cause, let them use the canteen to have a reception this weekend and so forth. nnThe above example also illustrates that if staff is interested and involved with a cause (e.g., Women’s Shelter) while drawing on the company’s sources to leverage these efforts, the involvement will be a long-term one. Accordingly, I believe that supporting causes long-term is far more beneficial for all involved than just a flash in the pan.nMarshall thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule commenting here. Appreciated.

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  • http://commetrics.com/?p=14363 Urs E. Gattiker

    Vera thanks so much for sharing.nYour comment links nicely with Marshall’s just previously made. CSR has to link to its core capabilities.nnGiving money alone seems less effective than money and skills, support on activities your people are really good at (e.g., helping charity to market an event or raising funds). One has to not only merge values but also link it to your talents ….. that makes you bring much more resources to the table than if you offer cash only.

    • kesinee

      You seem understanding of Charity & CSR better than I am. nWhy woul you need my advice? (#^_^#) nn==> Good CSR activity + Good PR = + image of business

      • http://commetrics.com/?p=14363 Urs E. Gattiker

        Thanks Kesinee for joining in here. Your formula puts it succinctly:nn==> Good CSR activity + Good PR = + image of businessnnHowever, you also point out and issue that Hans discussed in his comments below: http://commetrics.com/articles/2011-geneva-forum-on-social-change-wrap-up/#comment-179039921nnSometimes companies can be perceived as being more busy and spending more money on advertising their good deeds than doing much that changes the landscape as far as inequality is concerned.nnThanks for sharing.

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  • http://twitter.com/isaacgriberg Isaac Griberg

    Couldn’t agree more! nTwo days full of inspiration and meetings with smart and passionate people. nnKudos to IOMBA who pulled all this together for free! I’m already looking forward to participating in 2012’s edition, whatever focus it might have 😉 nnGlad to see you (Urs) picked up the Red Cross “rouge tweet”. I think it’s an excellent use case stressing the importance of being transparent and honest in the social media realm. Looking forward to seeing you soon! nnMy best /Isaac

    • http://commetrics.com/?p=14363 Urs E. Gattiker

      Well @IsaacGriberg: your comment is, of course, right on the money. #GFSC2011 was superb, @IOMBA did a superb job & I craving to have the 2012 event come around quick :-)nnI really liked you bringing up the Red Cross ‘rogue tweet.’ It is a great case for illustrating one way for handling such an event. Particularly important is that one has to take action because in many cases it could be a PR disaster and damage the organization’s reputation.nnIn your case, of course, the answer tweeted was calming nerves:nn”We’ve deleted the rogue tweet but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we’ve confiscated the keys.“nnBut then the mishap took a really nice turn for the Red Cross by @dogfishbeer lovers and bars taking up the cause encouraging people to donate blood to the @redcross blood bank, like this one:nn”Show us you donated a pint @redcross today & we’ll buy you a pint of @dogfishbeer #gettngslizzerd“nnThanks again for sharing this important case for all of us.nn

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  • samosaboi

    I attended the workshop on the CSR and I found it very interesting too (thanks to all panelists).nAs to the workshop on Social Media in International Organizations I retaind the following lessons learned:n- be personal, not instiutional. Use it for story tellingn- be strategic n- be honest

    • http://commetrics.com/?p=14363 Urs E. Gattiker

      SilverionnThanks for the feedback about #GFSC2011 – workshop/panel on social media in international organizations. Summary gave us another few tips we should remember when using social mediannJust this morning I came across another post related to social media and Facebook by Deborah Drake and I thought that was music in my ears about lessons learned. Hence, I quote:nn”I don’t try to be clever. If it comes out clever, that is divine timing! LOL nI write comments, including this one, with my head and heart in concert (and have done so for years.) It’s easier! nI behave on line as though I am in the same room as the person. nI seek to listen to what is being “said” via the written media and respond accordingly. “nnDeborahDrake wrote the above in our Xing Monitoring Group just today: nHow to increase engagement on Facebook + Effective and simple tips for Facebook posts in a reply to Kommboutique.nnSimilar suggestions but formulated somewhat more in a very personal way.

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  • Tina Santiago

    HI Urs,nThanks for following up with all of us! Congratulations for running an excellent panel! I thought the format of the panel was great- there was a lot of interaction and discussion from the audience. Also, Geoff rallied a great energy in the room! nnWe already discussed this (after you bought a beautiful Kismot shirt!), but the panel might be improved if the panel set the context a bit more in the beginning to get everyone on the same page. nnAll in all it was a great discussion and an AMAZING event. Congratulations to this year’s IOMBA programme.nncheers,nTina

    • http://commetrics.com/?p=14363 Urs E. Gattiker

      @TinaSantiago nnThank you for your insightful feedback about #GFSC2011. Agreed: @iomba did an amazing job.nnI agree with you that we should have probably tried to set things a bit more into context at the start of our session/panel.nFor instance, I am still curious to know how a smaller charity (more locally focused) can use purpose marketing (probably with a mid-size company and not necessarily a global brand) to further advance its objectives and thereby supporting its mission more effectively.nnAnd whilst we were not always on the same page, nevertheless, the interchange of ideas between all the people in the room including the panel was very interesting. As importantly for me personally, it allowed me to learn things I did not know before this session.nnI hope that we can do a bit more about how social media, engagement and purpose marketing in conjunction with corporate social responsibility or CSR on #GFSC2012 with @CDN, @GeoffLiving and @PeterDublin.nnPS. Our son loves his #KISMOT shirt, so much that I am washing it again later today :-)

  • Marianne

    As the year before, the two days were very inspiring and encouraging for me as an activist. Thanks to all who contributed to this successful event!In regard to the panel on CSR and the business community it reminded me of an old Harvard Business review article published in Dec. 2006 which addressed the link between competitive advantage and CSR. nAn organization needs to create a corporate social agenda which looks for ways to reinforce corporate strategy by advancing social conditions. A company must go beyond best practices! It needs to choose a unique position and select a small amount of initiatives whose social and business benefits are large and distinctive. nA CSR strategy must be responsive. Companies should use their value chain to identify their social impacts.

    • http://commetrics.com/?p=14363 Urs E. Gattiker

      Dear MariannennInteresting that we reminded you of an article published in December of 2006. Another example that often we re-hash stuff that others have discussed a long time before us.nnI am not sure, however, if CSR brings a ompetitive advantage. That the company has to get its house in order such as being socially responsible means you cannot hire and fire is obvious and I can subscribe to that for sure.nnSubscribing to a few initiatives instead of spreading oneself too thin also makes sense. Nevertheless, we need to choose those that are also supported by our staff.nnIdentifying my value chain is tough for me as a small company but what I try is to simply purchase stuff that I know has been produced under working conditions that I can agree to and without damaging our environments beyond reason.nnMarianne, your comment is a great example how difficult it is for a company to do it right… there are so many things one has to balance against each other.

  • http://www.DrKelvinWilloughby.com Prof. Kelvin Willoughby

    Much of the discussion here concerns what kind of marketing channels — social media or conventional advertising media — are most effective for promoting the image of corporate social responsibility of firms. That’s fine. The general conclusion is that any CSR marketing strategy should incorporate social media marketing if it is to be successful. The argument seems to apply equally to both SMEs and larger, multi-regional corporations.My question is, what is the best way for a company to create a powerful CSR image u2026 nn(1) to make and sell products and services which intrinsically embody the values of CSR u2026 or n(2) to “donate” a share of the revenue from “normal” business to worthy social and environmental causes? nnOn top of that, does social media marketing have greater power when applied to augment strategy (1) than when it is applied to augment strategy (2)? Prof. Kelvin Willoughby Curtin Graduate School of Business

    • http://commetrics.com/?p=14363 Urs E. Gattiker

      KelvinnnThanks so much so and I find it difficult to answer your questions if nna – social media marketing is more helpful for selling products nb – helping to tell everybody we are doing something worthy – social and environmental causesnnI think social media marketing is not helpful for selling products directly except maybe for giving people a coupon to get a dollar off their next coffee at Starbucks. However it is useful to create engagement and get a conversation going about these important topics as this thread of comments suggest.nnIn my opinion it is best to follow Marianne’s advice and focus on a few initiatives that can be supported with, as you would recommend, maybe a percentage of the company’s turnover.nnHence, social media is another tool we can use. In order to create a strong CSR image we must focus on a few initiatives… and contribute part of our tunrover to worthy causes.

  • http://commetrics.com/?p=14363 Urs E. Gattiker

    Thanks Geoff for stopping by.nnI was not aware that you say the panel as exhibiting a bit of cowboyism. I am sorry to hear that you feel that way but I find the cause marketing a slippery road…. sometimes. nnMaybe just donating a certain percentage to to worthy causes (e.g., as Migros does – the culture percent = one percent of its turnover cause into supporting cultural events such as theaters, concerts, exhibitions, etc.) could be a better way to go than cause marketing?nnThanks for having been a good chair.nn

  • mmb

    I loved the conference and for a non social media person, I learned a lot. Thank you.

    • http://commetrics.com/?p=14363 Urs E. Gattiker

      MariannennThanks for the flowers…. What made it so special were the people in attendance. Another example why many things work much better person-to-person than using virtual means including social media :-)nnBut we all know that. Hope to have you comment again soon. Merci

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nandini-Anantharaman/100002248056866 Nandini Anantharaman

    Thank you Urs for getting back with me! (Joy)nnPillows for a Purpose assists children in Southern Belize (in the village of Toledo) to be able to attend high school. The proceeds from the sale of the pillows will go to the The Ya’axche Conservation Trust (http://www.yaaxche.org/ ) for this purpose.nn”PILLOWS FOR A PURPOSE” is working towards giving 12 children the benefit of a high school education. This project is the brainchild of a high school student from the British School of Houston Justin Godfrey who while doing his Geography IB Coursework discovered this need and took it upon himself to help.nThe Ya’axche Conservation Trust is a charitable, non-governmental organization, duly chartered and registered with the Government of Belize. Its operations are based in the Toledo District in the south of Belize.nnInterested persons can see the items available here: http://www.highnsociety.com/ nnThank you again for your support!

    • http://commetrics.com/?p=14363 Urs E. Gattiker

      JoynnI thank you so much for coming over here from Business Kitchen – corporate social responsibility on Xing and commenting.nnI am just curious how do you get:nn1 – more corporate support, andn2 – how do you use social media to spread the word amongst activists?nnPlease share.n

      • Joy

        Urs,nnIn getting more corporate support, I haven’t addressed that area as yet since my project is very young and the model I am trying to use is individual giving back a little at a time as their contribution back to society, I had not planned on approaching corporations for this.nn2. I had planned now to use different groups whose interest is the same and that promotes this type of cause to place my information on the project, so I started (which was my first) with Business Kitchen.nnJoy Godfrey

        • http://commetrics.com/?p=14363 Urs E. Gattiker

          Joynn1 – understood you are focusing more on individualsn2 – putting information on groups, such as: Business Kitchen – corporate social responsibilitynnI am not sure if going to post in groups will get you to sell enough pillows, in order to get the funds needed to help the children attend High School.nnProbably having a blog with regular posts about the kids progress in school (with pictures) will get your donors more involved and engaged so they will continue to donate money and/or purchase more pillows, of course.n

  • http://www.ifb-loewenmut.de Stan Albers

    Hi Urs,nnit seems that I really missed something here during my last weeku00b4s stay in South Africa and I am afraid that because of my work load after the trip I wonu00b4t be able to catch up with the discussions here.nnBut still a few remarks on CSR.nn1) I think it is important to recognize that CSR can easily imply that governmental duties are handed over in the private (e.g. company) area. Seen that way, it becomes clear that CSR is a child of the neoliberal area we are just trying to leave behind us now.nn2) CSR-discussions easily get ideological as they can assume that a company that is “only” adding value is not doing enough and is not social enough. But adding value is an important, if not even a core social activity in itself.nn3) and most important for me: We are currently trying to improve the care for children with severe multiple disabilities in South Africa. Whose core business can be related to this group of children, please?

    • http://commetrics.com/?p=14363 Urs E. Gattiker

      StannnVery important point, particularly your number three:nn”3) and most important for me: We are currently trying to improve the care for children with severe multiple disabilities in South Africa. Whose core business can be related to this group of children, please?”nnSo it is probably the publics, ours and other stakeholders’ core business to help improve those children’s lives. I believe Loewenmut does an important job here.nnSo what is it that you need? Please spell it out for us.

      • http://www.ifb-loewenmut.de Stan Albers

        Thanks for asking, Urs.nnWhat we need?nnOf course we would be pleased to be embraced by some company or companies that identify with the fate of and care for severely disabled african children and that are willing to sustain our pilot home for twenty of them that is getting started this yearu00b4s september.nnBut what we found out is that it is hard to find companies willing to identify with the fate and care for severely disabled african children. Sad but true.nnSo the background of my third point was in fact a question: Do we tangle the boundaries of the CSR concept here? Imagine what companies could be willing to sustain this extremely vulnerable group of children?nnYour interest in our cause and the interest of your readers here in it is helping us also, though.nnThanks!

        • http://commetrics.com/?p=14363 Urs E. Gattiker

          But this is CSR or corporate social responsibility in practice and probably a concern that should interest companies from near and afar – or at least those doing business in South Africa.nnThe other challenge is that supporting such a project is not easy because just giving money is one thing, providing also some know-how on top of the cash to leverage it further might also be useful.nnI remember in the venture business we were always talking about smart versus dumb money – the former giving us more than cash with industry know-how, contacts, expertise and so forth on which we could draw upon. nnAn entrepreneur might probably be more willing to identify with this cause and support the matter long-term – if you own the shop you can do what you want with its profits.nnI wonder if others have more practical suggestions than this —- I am out of any right now.

        • http://www.ifb-loewenmut.de Stan Albers

          Thanks, Urs, for your compliment stating that what we are doing is “CSR or corporate social responsibility in practice”. I never saw it that way! But it is true, of course, that in a sense our project in Africa is our own companiesu00b4 CSR project. The only trouble is that as an NGO NPO we ourselves are not at all having the funds to sustain a project like this on top of our business …nnYou raise an important question concerning smart versus dumb money. We for example do have a good cooperation with a transport company that is willing to transport matters for us to South Africa on a no cost basis.nnBut to be honest, and to add some further reality to the discussion here: It is not very easy to incorporate knowledge etc., even though in theory that sounds good. Organisations are hardly ever as flexible as they should be in order to really take advantage from such offers. I am sorry. Money is no bad invention here. nnAnd still it would be very well possible for us to be a true part of another companiesu00b4 CSR scheme. We would love to.

        • http://commetrics.com/?p=14363 Urs E. Gattiker

          Stan:nnthanks for pointing out:nn”…But to be honest, and to add some further reality to the discussion here: It is not very easy to incorporate knowledge etc., even though in theory that sounds good. Organisations are hardly ever as flexible as they should be in order to really take advantage from such offers. I am sorry. Money is no bad invention here. “nnNever thought company’s would not be flexible enough … we are. nMoreover, whenever we do social media work with our charities, we deliver to produce the bang they need to get the cash to have an impact.nnWorks best for us since we have to manage our cash flow carefully like any small company with rapid growth.

  • Hans_mecker

    Social responsibility starts within an organization, meaning that a company is foremost responsible for the well being of it’s employees and for remaining strong and competitive in the market. Creating jobs and increasing the tax base in a community creates a strong social fabric in the immediate and often remote areas. Their responsibility is in turning their company into a environmentally friendly leader in their location.nnAs for “help projects” I see the absence of transparency and accountability. Company A claims that X amount of revenue will be used to drill wells in country Y but fails to actually provide information regarding amounts transferred and number of wells drilled. Typical board room discussion : “Folks, we need to increase revenue, what to do” ? “Well, lets hire a consultant and find out what would sound good”n” OK, how about some exotic save-the-Gumba-tree in the Amazon program. Saving trees always sounds good” “Well, tack 0.05 $ on our cleaner and start promoting. Surely the tree huggers will go for that”. ” By the way, what the hell is a damn Gumba tree ?” nnIt was also mentioned that companies should show responsibility when it comes to choosing suppliers based on whether or not, as an example, child labor does exist. Well, my question would be if we can eliminate suppliers in developing nations for reason of employing children, when all industrialized nations did indeed resort to child labor as well a mere 100 years ago ? Can we force our standards on developing nations, thus reducing their chances of catching up ?nnI personally would like to see corporations sponsor physicians and/or educators to visit developing nations or even create employee programs where actual employees of a company will be sponsored to teach selected trades in developing nations. nnMy question is simply, whether a company does indeed want to act socially responsible or just exploit certain situations for benefit. n n

  • Hans_mecker

    Social responsibility starts within an organization, meaning that a company is foremost responsible for the well being of it’s employees and for remaining strong and competitive in the market. Creating jobs and increasing the tax base in a community creates a strong social fabric in the immediate and often remote areas. Their responsibility is in turning their company into a environmentally friendly leader in their location.nnAs for “help projects” I see the absence of transparency and accountability. Company A claims that X amount of revenue will be used to drill wells in country Y but fails to actually provide information regarding amounts transferred and number of wells drilled. Typical board room discussion : “Folks, we need to increase revenue, what to do” ? “Well, lets hire a consultant and find out what would sound good”n” OK, how about some exotic save-the-Gumba-tree in the Amazon program. Saving trees always sounds good” “Well, tack 0.05 $ on our cleaner and start promoting. Surely the tree huggers will go for that”. ” By the way, what the hell is a damn Gumba tree ?” nnIt was also mentioned that companies should show responsibility when it comes to choosing suppliers based on whether or not, as an example, child labor does exist. Well, my question would be if we can eliminate suppliers in developing nations for reason of employing children, when all industrialized nations did indeed resort to child labor as well a mere 100 years ago ? Can we force our standards on developing nations, thus reducing their chances of catching up ?nnI personally would like to see corporations sponsor physicians and/or educators to visit developing nations or even create employee programs where actual employees of a company will be sponsored to teach selected trades in developing nations. nnMy question is simply, whether a company does indeed want to act socially responsible or just exploit certain situations for benefit. n n

    • http://commetrics.com/?p=14363 Urs E. Gattiker

      HansnnThanks so much for sharing.nnThis is something I addressed during our panel at the #GFSC2011 that one can do good without bragging too much about it (or wasting resources to place print ads in the Wall Street Journal to tell all about it).nnBut I was called back to the carpet by some people who pointed out, rightfully I might add that companies are there to make profits. The audience agreed that this should be done ethically and within the rules of the law. If paying huge bonuses is, of course, ethical or even justified and in the shareholders’ best interest is another question.nnBut one can, of course, also support such causes as Mu00e9decins Sans Frontiu00e8res – Doctors Without Borders with funds. One program I like is when companies agree to match donations made by the workforce to causes in the community or even charities that do educational or development work in countries that need it the most.

    • http://www.ifb-loewenmut.de Stan Albers

      Hi Hans, with our charity Lu00f6wenmut we transfer knowledge and experience from the field of working with severely disabled children from Germany to South Africa. We qualify staff members of south african homes for disabled children. We even build one exemplary home ourselves, to make training on the job possible for working with the severest of cases, but in this home we build, not a single german will be working. All employees will be south african. The transfer of knowledge and experience to them will be done by germans consulting.nnAs you wrote, “I personally would like to see …” etc., I thought this real life example could be of interest for you.nnHave a nice day!nStan

      • Hans_mecker

        Hello Stan,nthat is outstanding and exactly what I mean. It means training and putting people to work, make them independent.nNothing, in my humble opinion, is worse than handing out money and making people dependent on hand outs. But here I am going too far already; that would be an entirely different subject. Studies have been conducted showing how programs with the best intentions, resulting in great success in the beginning, did actually cause more damage in the long run.nAll the bestnHansn

  • http://commetrics.com/?p=14363 Urs E. Gattiker

    Hans you state:nn”I prefer corporations selling good quality and excellent service, thus adding revenue and improving the bottom line. If they then feel to act socially responsible , that is just wonderful and will earn my respect. “nnAgreed.

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