The CSR Newsletters are a freely-available resource generated as a dynamic complement to the textbook, Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility: Sustainable Value Creation.

To sign-up to receive the CSR Newsletters regularly during the fall and spring academic semesters, e-mail author David Chandler at david.chandler@ucdenver.edu


Friday, February 28, 2014

Strategic CSR - Zappos

I have written about the values in place at Zappos before (see: Strategic CSR – Zappos October 6, 2008, October 7, 2011, and March 22, 2013). The article in the url below is a Q&A session with Tony Hsieh, Zappos’ CEO, in which he describes the workplace environment at his company. Most importantly for this Newsletter, it contains another example of how this CEO is integrating values throughout the organization in a way that can only result in increased loyalty and reduced turnover among his employees:
 
“Qu: Where the wild things are
Ans: We have two buildings that are kind of attached. There’s a 10-story building and a three-story building. We just moved here. The three-story building is where the [executive team] are. At the top of the 10-story building, we have the people who answer the phones, the call center reps.”
 
“Qu: Who has the best view
Ans: The call center reps. We’ve always done that. They’re the ones providing customer service and that is what our brand is about.”
 
What would be interesting is to see if the organizational culture generated by such policies actually increases productivity among Zappos’ employees. My intuition says it would (and I know the firm’s customer service is great), but it would be encouraging to see empirical support for that hypothesis.
 
Have a good weekend.
David
 
David Chandler & Bill Werther
 
Instructor Teaching and Student Study Site: http://www.sagepub.com/chandler3e/
Strategic CSR Simulation: http://www.strategiccsrsim.com/
The library of CSR Newsletters are archived at: http://strategiccsr-sage.blogspot.com/


Workplace: Welcome to My Rain Forest
By Tony Hsieh
December 29, 2013
The New York Times
Late Edition – Final
BU3
 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Strategic CSR - Fur

Reading various articles in the newspapers, I am often struck by how some industries have crossed their CSR Thresholds (Chapter 5, p181), but deny reality in desperate efforts to hold onto declining revenue streams. Such issues arise when I see the soda industry fighting a sugar tax or tobacco firms grasping at e-cigarettes as their industry’s savior. I haven’t seen much written about the fur industry, however. In fact, I am surprised a fur industry still exists. According to the article in the url below, however, it not only exists, but is trying to reinvent itself as the producer of a sustainable product:
 
“The British Fur Trade Association (BFTA) describes the wares of its members as ‘a natural, renewable and sustainable resource that is kind to the environment and respectful of animals' welfare.’ … The CEO of the International Fur Trade Federation (IFTF), of which the BFTA is a member, is former Liberal Democrat MP Mark Oaten. ‘It's a very natural product because it's an animal product and something which lasts for many decades,’ he says, describing how fur is ‘often passed down from grandmother to mother to grandchild.’”
 
What is mildly amusing about the claim, however, is that, after dutifully reporting this attempted revival in the introduction, the rest of the article proceeds effortlessly to demolish the shaky foundations on which it is built. First, there is the issue of toxicity:
 
“… because fur comes from animals, it has the cycle of decay built into it. Fur straight off a dead animal will rot, so manufacturers fight off decay through the application of a plethora of chemicals designed to prevent putrefaction. The main processing chemicals used are formaldehyde (linked to leukaemia) and chromium (linked to cancer). Not an attractive prospect either for wearers of fur or for the workers in processing plants. This hazardous process has led to fur dressing being ranked as one of the world's five worst industries for toxic-metal pollution – not by animal rights groups, but by the World Bank.”
 
Second, there is the issue of animal welfare:
 
“Some 80-85% of the global fur trade's products are industrially produced on fur farms. … Stomach-turning scenes have been filmed at fur farms across the world, with overcrowded cages, crazed terrified animals and routine killing methods that include suffocation, electrocution, gassing, and poisoning. On mink farms, caged female minks are bred once a year, they produce a litter or three or four kits which are killed aged around six months old. Between 40-80 mink are needed to make a full length coat.”
 
Third, there is the issue of relativity—while the fur industry rates itself favorably (in environmental terms) against clothes made of “faux-fur,” the reality is somewhat different:
 
“In 2004, Teresa Platt, executive director of America's Fur Commission, announced that one gallon of oil was needed to make three faux-fur jackets. Faux fur is indeed made from textiles like nylon and polyester which take hundreds of years to biodegrade, and produce pollutants on an industrial scale. Yet … despite the environmental cost of faux-fur, it still takes 20 times more energy to produce a farmed-fur coat.”
 
The end result?
 
“‘The idea that fur is in any way ‘green’ is pure fiction. In fact, several countries, including Belgium and Canada, have banned advertising claims to that effect peddled by the fur industry’ [says Ben Williamson, a spokesperson for PETA].”
 
Take care
David
 
David Chandler & Bill Werther
 
Instructor Teaching and Student Study Site: http://www.sagepub.com/chandler3e/
Strategic CSR Simulation: http://www.strategiccsrsim.com/
The library of CSR Newsletters are archived at: http://strategiccsr-sage.blogspot.com/

 
Is the fur trade sustainable?
Tansy Hoskins
October 29, 2013
The Guardian
 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Strategic CSR - Scale

Climate change is a serious challenge. As a result of the scale of the challenge, a large scale response is required. As the article in the url below makes clear, however, large-scale is not yet where we are at as a society:
 
“Like recycling, re-using carrier bags has become something of an iconic ‘sustainable behaviour.’ But whatever else its benefits may be, it is not, in itself, an especially good way of cutting carbon. Like all simple and painless behavioural changes, its value hangs on whether it acts as a catalyst for other, more impactful, activities or support for political changes.”
 
Unfortunately, the easier the action to perform (i.e., the less effort or sacrifice required), the lower its catalyst value:
 
“My colleagues at Cardiff University analysed the impact of the introduction of the carrier bag charge. Although their use reduced dramatically, rates of other low-carbon behaviours among the general public remained unaffected.”
 
Although changes like recycling or reducing plastic bag use make us feel like we are taking action, for the overall effect to be meaningful, the positive environmental consequences need to outweigh the negative. At present, we are far from achieving this. In effect, by convincing ourselves we are doing something, we are less willing to make the difficult decisions that would result in meaningful results. The author describes a conference he recently attended that had the goal of understanding exactly how big a task we face:
 
“Scientists and engineers described the unprecedented scale of energy system change necessary to decarbonise rapidly. Social scientists argued for a transformation in the way we view ourselves, our consumption, and our role in society. Economists demolished the idea that economic growth could be maintained forever in a fossil-fuel driven, finite world. Policy experts questioned whether our current carbon targets were fit for purpose. But across almost all of the papers presented at the conference, there was an inescapable consensus: a fundamentally different economic system is required, if we are serious about avoiding dangerous climate change, based on nurturing wellbeing rather than stoking corporate profit.”
 
Of course, the key question is whether “we are serious about avoiding dangerous climate change.” The answer is not encouraging because it depends on stakeholders demanding change and then being willing to enforce that change:
 
“Clearly, economic systems do not overhaul themselves – and in a democracy, majority support is a prerequisite for any significant societal shift. Politicians do not take risks if they don't think the electorate will support them. And civil society cannot function without a diverse supporter-base.”
 
Take care
David
 
David Chandler & Bill Werther
 
Instructor Teaching and Student Study Site: http://www.sagepub.com/chandler3e/
Strategic CSR Simulation: http://www.strategiccsrsim.com/
The library of CSR Newsletters are archived at: http://strategiccsr-sage.blogspot.com/
 
 
‘Every little helps’ is a dangerous mantra for climate change
By Adam Corner
December 13, 2013
The Guardian
 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Strategic CSR - The Pope

In very general terms, I am not a fan of organized religion (the Church and the institutions that accompany it). Any large bureaucracy, especially one anchored in absolute doctrine, often does more to cause harm in the world than alleviate it.
 
Starting from this point, it has been fascinating to watch the papacy of Pope Francis unfold. His revolutionary impact on the entrenched interests in the Catholic Church has done much to bring the Church’s actions more in line with the teachings it purports to follow. To this end, the Pope’s recent apostolic exhortation, ‘The Joy of the Gospel,’ is an important document. In the context of this newsletter, the Pope’s teachings have much to say that is relevant to the CSR debate. Here is a comment, for example, criticizing trickle-down economic theories:
 
“Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories, which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.”
 
Here is another one that focuses on the damaging influence of money:
 
“One cause of this situation is found in our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies. The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idol­atry of money and the dictatorship of an imper­sonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: con­sumption.”
 
Commentary on the Pope’s thoughts can be found by E.J.Dionne in the article in the first url below. As Dionne notes, there has been a history of anti-authoritarian thought in the Church:
 
"Christianity has been used over the centuries to prop up the powerful. But, from the beginning, the Christian message has been subversive of political systems, judgmental toward those at the top and demanding of all who take it seriously."
 
Francis’ criticism, however, is leveled not only at the centers of power in capitalism, but also at the consumer ethos that drives the system:
 
"And in light of the obsessive shopping on Cyber Monday and Black Friday, here is a pope who paints consumerism in the darkest of hues. 'We are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase,' he writes. 'In the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.'"
 
While Dionne notes that Francis is not the first Pope to criticize the unequal consequences of capitalism, he suggests that he is the first to combine that critique with such a powerful message of empowerment among the poor:
 
"The difference is that a concern for the poor and a condemnation of economic injustice are at the very heart of Francis’s mission. 'In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits,' he writes, 'whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.' Can you imagine an American liberal who would dare say such things?"
 
In contrast to the support the Pope received from Dionne (who didn’t miss an opportunity to insert his political bias into his column), the Pope’s comments prompted a spirited rebuttal by The Wall Street Journal in the article in the second url below:
 
“I'm glad the only economics ministry the pope runs is the Vatican's. The trickle-down theories he simplistically denounces have done more to bring people out of poverty than any government program or charitable institution in history, including the Church.”
 
Take care
David
 
David Chandler & Bill Werther
 
Instructor Teaching and Student Study Site: http://www.sagepub.com/chandler3e/
Strategic CSR Simulation: http://www.strategiccsrsim.com/
The library of CSR Newsletters are archived at: http://strategiccsr-sage.blogspot.com/
 
 
Heart of Pope Francis’ mission
By E.J. Dionne Jr.
December 1, 2013
The Washington Post
 
Of Jane Fonda and Pope Francis
By Bret Stephens
The Wall Street Journal
Late Edition – Final
A15
 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Strategic CSR - Amazon

The article in the url below poses an interesting question that results from the interaction of the Holiday season and a higher percentage of shopping done online – Which is greener, shopping online or shopping at the store? (Chapter 8, Paper or Plastic? pp. 486-489). Apparently, the answer is not as straightforward as you might think:
 
“Going to a physical store often involves driving, which consumes fossil fuels. But that is offset by the fact that people tend to pick up multiple items each trip. Online shopping creates packaging waste and consumes energy for shipping, especially when purchases are made one item at a time or with expedited delivery. In the end, ‘the trade-off is pretty much the same,’ said H. Scott Matthews, an engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University who has studied the issue.”
 
Either way, the holiday season generates a lot of trash – Amazon’s success and our convenience come with an environmental cost:
 
“The end of the year is peak trash season across America, a superlative earned by all the eating, parties and gift giving that people do in the final weeks of the year. Americans produce around 25% more waste around the holidays than other periods, estimates the Environmental Protection Agency. The additional garbage—which adds up to over one million tons of waste—includes food scraps, cutlery, wine bottles, wrapping paper and Christmas trees. People also toss furniture, television sets, microwaves and other appliances after receiving new ones as gifts.”
 
Perhaps the main effect of more ecommerce is just a different kind of trash, rather than any more or less:
 
“Online sales add a thickening layer of refuse. In recent years, as more consumers have taken to buying online, the volume of corrugated cardboard boxes, air-filled plastic pockets and Styrofoam pellets in trash has grown. Much of it is recycled, but some people discard the items with other household waste, which ends up in landfills.”
 
And that is a trend that does not look like it will change anytime soon:
 
“Online sales in the U.S. this year are forecast to grow 15% to $78 billion, according to technology researcher Forrester Research Inc. United Parcel Service Inc. earlier predicted an 8% rise in the daily volume of package delivery during the holidays, thanks to growth in online shopping. Last year, UPS delivered more than 500 million packages during peak season. The U.S. Postal Service expects to ship a record 420 million packages between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, an increase of 12% from last year. Both are used by large retailers including Amazon.com Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to deliver their products.”
 
Take care
David
 
David Chandler & Bill Werther
 
Instructor Teaching and Student Study Site: http://www.sagepub.com/chandler3e/
Strategic CSR Simulation: http://www.strategiccsrsim.com/
The library of CSR Newsletters are archived at: http://strategiccsr-sage.blogspot.com/


The Last Christmas Present: Lots of Trash
By Serena Ng
December 26, 2013
The Wall Street Journal
Late Edition – Final
B8
 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Strategic CSR - Subway

Reassuring news from Subway, one of the world’s largest sandwich chains:
 
“That footlong loaf baking in your local Subway’s oven could contain an ingredient called azodicarbonamide. It’s an additive the U.S. Food and Drug Administration permits for use in restricted amounts to strengthen dough and to increase the shelf life of bread, and as a bleaching ingredient in cereal flour—it also happens to be used in plastics and rubber. After a petition launched this week, the ubiquitous sandwich chain announced on Wednesday that it will stop using the additive, though it did not say when.”
 
The chemical, which is already banned in Europe and Australia, is used in a number of Subway’s breads, but is also used in other restaurants and foods. Encouragingly, the change came following a petition launched online:
 
“Chatter about the use of the additive in food grew in 2011. This week, FoodBabe.com blogger Vani Hari started a petition asking Subway to remove azodicarbonamide from its breads; so far, Hari’s garnered more than 66,000 signatures. The company said it was working on reformulating the recipe before the petition was launched, reported the Associated Press.”
 
Of course. Eat fresh!
 
Have a good weekend
David
 
David Chandler & Bill Werther
 
Instructor Teaching and Student Study Site: http://www.sagepub.com/chandler3e/
Strategic CSR Simulation: http://www.strategiccsrsim.com/
The library of CSR Newsletters are archived at: http://strategiccsr-sage.blogspot.com/
 
 
Subway Chain Will Stopp Putting a Chemical Used in Rubber in Its Bread
By Venessa Wong
February 6, 2014
Bloomberg Businessweek
 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Strategic CSR - Financial Crisis

Some quotes from a recent article in The New York Times by Gordon Brown, who was Prime Minster of the UK during the most recent Financial Crisis:
 
“Already, we have forgotten the basic lesson of the crash: Global problems need global solutions. And because we failed to learn from the last crisis, the world’s bankers are carrying us toward the next one.”
 
“… most of the problems that caused the 2008 crisis — excessive borrowing, shadow banking and reckless lending — have not gone away. Too-big-to-fail banks have not shrunk; they’ve grown bigger. Huge bonuses that encourage reckless risk-taking by bankers remain the norm. Meanwhile, shadow banking … has expanded in value to $71 trillion, from $59 trillion in 2008.”
 
“In the patterns of borrowing today, we can already detect parallels with the pre-crisis credit boom.”
 
“China’s total domestic credit has more than doubled to $23 trillion, from $9 trillion in 2008 — as big an increase as if it had added the entire United States commercial banking sector. … And China’s banking system may not be Asia’s most vulnerable.”
 
Ultimately, Brown’s criticism is not focused on different laws and regulations put in place by individual country legislatures, but with the failure to act on a global scale. Because big banks have become bigger (more multinational), the need for consistency across borders is paramount:
 
“The Volcker Rule, now approved by American regulators, illustrates the initial boldness and ultimate weakness of our post-2008 response. This element of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law of 2010 forbids deposit-taking banks in the United States from engaging in short-term, proprietary trading. But these practices are still allowed in Europe. Controls are even weaker in Latin America and Asia. International rules are needed for international banks.”
 
“In short, precisely what world leaders sought to avoid — a global financial free-for-all, enabled by ad hoc, unilateral actions — is what has happened. Political expediency, a failure to think and act globally, and a lack of courage to take on vested interests are pushing us inexorably toward the next crash.”
 
Take care
David
 
David Chandler & Bill Werther
 
Instructor Teaching and Student Study Site: http://www.sagepub.com/chandler3e/
Strategic CSR Simulation: http://www.strategiccsrsim.com/
The library of CSR Newsletters are archived at: http://strategiccsr-sage.blogspot.com/


Heading Toward Another Crash
By Gordon Brown
December 20, 2013
The New York Times
Late Edition – Final
A27
 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Strategic CSR - Business case

The article by Mallen Baker in the url below makes a great point about the futility of our ongoing search for a business case for CSR/sustainability:
 
“Think about it. Why is so much business networking based around semi-social settings, such as dinners or entertainments? Because any good salesman knows that you have to create a positive relationship of trust. If people like you, they’re more likely to want to buy from you. And if they want to buy from you, they will seek a business case that makes it work. Because they already wanted to do it.”
 
In other words, Baker argues that we have our priorities the wrong way around—that making the business case is the easy part; it is convincing the hearts and minds that is difficult. Once that is done, however, the business case will be constructed to justify the decision that has already been taken:
 
“… the business case becomes the tool that shows how something can be made to work for the business. It is not the tool that helps you choose to do the thing in the first place.”
 
In making this point, Baker is talking more about the essential nature of business and how humans act and interact:
 
“It’s received wisdom that corporate responsibility is all about the business case. You can’t hope to get sustainable action within your company unless you can prove it’s going to work with hard, indisputable numbers. And lots of people duly spend time crafting the business case, only to find that it fails to persuade. It’s frustrating. When that happens, the chances are that the role of the business case is being fundamentally misunderstood.”
 
Business, like most of human activity, is inherently social. This underlying social component of human behavior extends to all aspects of decision making, from who we associate with, to major decisions about how we run our lives (and our businesses):
 
“So you have to deal with your decision makers as people. They need to be seduced. They have to be influenced by people they respect and want to emulate. They have to see something that will make them think about it in a new way – that will touch their heart not just their head. And then, only then, the business case becomes a powerful and essential tool.”
 
The business case for CSR, in other words, is the means by which we help senior executives do what they want to do anyway, rather than a tool we use to persuade them to do something that they perceive to be against their best interests:
 
“So the business case is no longer the tool you use to win somebody over. The business case is the tool that demonstrates you can do what they now want to do and maximise the benefit for the company.”
 
It is useful to remember that CEOs are human too:
 
“… very few chief executives or other senior decision makers would really decide to take action based on a business case if they came to the table in a sceptical frame of mind.”
 
Take care
David
 
David Chandler & Bill Werther
 
Instructor Teaching and Student Study Site: http://www.sagepub.com/chandler3e/
Strategic CSR Simulation: http://www.strategiccsrsim.com/
The library of CSR Newsletters are archived at: http://strategiccsr-sage.blogspot.com/
 
 
Sustainable business – Keep the business case in its proper place
By Mallen Baker
March 7, 2013
Ethical Corporation Magazine
 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Strategic CSR - Social cohesion

The article in the url below by David Brooks is not directly related to CSR, per se, but registers a strong statement on the cohesiveness of a society—in particular, society in the U.S. Brooks is discussing how best to give a greater number of children an opportunity to be successful in life. And, by “successful,” he is not talking about any major contributions to society, simply that they do not detract from social value. The article is good and is designed primarily to widen the debate beyond merely spending more government money trying to improve education and school systems, for example. One quote stood out for me, though, because it illustrates vividly how far we have to go to reach a bar that is not set very high:
 
“According to work done by [the University of Pennsylvania’s Isabel] Sawhill and others, a significant number of kids stay on track through the early years, but then fall off the rails as teenagers. Sawhill set a pretty low bar for having a successful adolescence: graduate from high school with a 2.5 G.P.A., don’t get convicted of a crime, don’t get pregnant. Yet only 57 percent of American 19-year-olds get over that bar. Only one-third of children in the bottom fifth of family income do so.”
 
It is hard to imagine a stronger indictment of where we are as a society than a simple statistic such as that. And, that does speak to the CSR debate in terms of how we can envision moving it forward.
 
Have a good weekend
David
 
David Chandler & Bill Werther
 
Instructor Teaching and Student Study Site: http://www.sagepub.com/chandler3e/
Strategic CSR Simulation: http://www.strategiccsrsim.com/
The library of CSR Newsletters are archived at: http://strategiccsr-sage.blogspot.com/


It Takes A Generation
By David Brooks
January 24, 2014
The New York Times
Late Edition – Final
A25
 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Strategic CSR - Markets

Where are the limits of the market to solve societal problems?
 
“The Dallas Safari Club knows how to bring in the new year with a bang. On Jan. 11, a rare permit to hunt and kill an endangered black rhino will be sold in Dallas to the highest bidder.”
 
The idea, of course, is to use the auction to raise as much money as possible (the goal is $1 million) that can then be used to help preserve the species. It is also hoped that the attention the auction garners can be used to raise awareness of the danger of extinction. The argument of the Dallas Safari Club is that, not only is this how conservation should work, but that it is the best chance we have to avoid the rhino’s extinction:
 
“‘This is a great opportunity to do something we are all going to be proud about,’ Carter [Ben Carter, executive director of the Dallas Safari Club] said. ‘It would be a terrible travesty to not have black rhinos roaming in their natural habitat. We hope they'll be around for a long time to come.’”
 
Conservationists, needless to say, are not convinced:
 
“‘Issuing this ... permit is a threat to rhinos, since it will now encourage more Americans to travel to Africa and start killing these imperiled animals,’ said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. ‘It is also a very dangerous precedent.’”
 
What is not in debate is that this animal is in danger. The vast majority would like to keep it around, yet existing policies are not working:
 
“The black rhinoceros, once numbering in the hundreds of thousands, has had its population drop sharply since the 1960s. Now there are only about 5,000 — and many of those, nearly 1,800, are in Namibia, a southern African country that borders the Atlantic Ocean.”
 
The problem is, of course, is that the market works in many different ways and there are more than enough incentives to kill the animal that manage to persuade some that it is worth their while:
 
“The black rhino, as well as its white counterpart, is hunted by poachers for its horns, which are highly valued for medicinal and therapeutic purposes and can be sold on the international black market for anywhere from $50,000 to $300,000. In recent years, more than 1,600 white and black rhinos have been slaughtered for their horns.”
 
At least there appears to be some science backing up the market logic for selective culling:
 
“‘The removal of limited numbers of males has been shown to stimulate population growth in some areas,’ according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. ‘Removing specific individuals from a population can result in reduced male fighting, shorter calving intervals and reduced juvenile mortality.’”
 
And rules in place ensure the least damage possible will be done:
 
“The winner of the permit — if he or she uses it — would hunt the animal in the Mangetti National Park in Namibia with a guide and officials who would indicate which of the black rhinos it is OK to kill. … The chosen rhino will be an older bull, one who no longer breeds. And he will be known to hurt others in the group, one who could kill babies, breeding males and females of any age.”
 
The upside is that, potentially, a lot of good will come from the exercise. But, I wonder if the logic that is ultimately being used to rationalize the auction alters the underlying ethical decision:
 
“‘This one that has been chosen — a problem animal — will be removed whether there is or isn't an auction,’ Carter said. ‘This is an opportunity to raise a lot of money for something that will happen no matter what.’”
 
The winning bid for the right to shoot the animal? $350,000 (see: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/21/opinion/a-trophy-hunt-thats-good-for-rhinos.html)
 
Take care
David
 
David Chandler & Bill Werther
 
Instructor Teaching and Student Study Site: http://www.sagepub.com/chandler3e/
Strategic CSR Simulation: http://www.strategiccsrsim.com/
The library of CSR Newsletters are archived at: http://strategiccsr-sage.blogspot.com/
 
 
Dallas auction for the right to hunt endangered black rhino stirs uproar
By Anna M. Tinsley
December 25, 2013
msn news
 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Strategic CSR - Consumerism

An integral component of the intellectual framework underlying Strategic CSR is the empowered stakeholder. If all stakeholders, whether consumers, regulators, suppliers, the media, etc., establish the values they wish to operate by and then enforce those values in their dealings with firms (favoring those firms that support them and discriminating against those that do not), then firms will quickly adapt their behavior to match these expectations. The article in the url below reinforces this idea by criticizing our current economic system that is driven primarily by consumerism—two critiques, in particular:
 
“The first is that the kind of shift we need in our society is deeply unlikely while the idea of people as Consumers dominates our language. The second is that to truly to solve our problems, we're going to need to move beyond acts of consumption as the primary means of participation in society.”
 
The first critique is important because the idea of consumerism, at least as currently practiced, is unsustainable:
 
“Set-piece social psychology experiments have shown that even a few words that prime people to think of themselves as Consumers, result in more selfish behaviour and attitudes and lower social and ecological motivation levels. … by the very act of reinforcing that mode of being they're actually undermining the extent to which we feel we have a genuine responsibility to anyone apart from ourselves.”
 
The article is also important because it criticizes those organizations that, even with good intentions, promote consumerism as a solution, rather than an inherent part of the problem:
 
“As the Consumer has become the primary role of the individual in society, the act of consumption has become the defining act of participation in society. Every time we see an ad that asks us only to transact, that prominence is being reinforced; we are being told we are Consumers and that how we spend our money is the extent of our power in the world. This is true even of most charity ads, and certainly true of the new wave of ‘shop for good’ ads, of which the latest offering comes from Innocent smoothies.”
 
The second critique is important because, having broken down the central tenet of consumerism, it is important to replace it with something substantive:
 
“The signs are everywhere that people have had enough of being Consumers, and are searching for rather more fulfilling ways to participate. … Brands can help us do this, and harness our help, by meeting us in the middle. … That's a really difficult world for the big boys to enter. But Unilever could easily encourage us to get involved in their work. … In this context, Innocent, so often the little guys who lead the corporate way, have seriously disappointed with their latest offering. Chain Of Good? Must try harder.”
 
The solution, the author argues, is an iterative relationship between firm and stakeholder—in other words, strategic CSR.
 
Take care
David
 
David Chandler & Bill Werther
 
Instructor Teaching and Student Study Site: http://www.sagepub.com/chandler3e/
Strategic CSR Simulation: http://www.strategiccsrsim.com/
The library of CSR Newsletters are archived at: http://strategiccsr-sage.blogspot.com/
 
 
The ‘just go shopping’ message from advertisers has a dangerous effect
By Jon Alexander
January 10, 2014
The Guardian