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

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Strategic CSR - Ethical shopping

This is the last CSR Newsletter of the Spring semester.
Have a great summer and I will see you in the Fall!
The link in the url below takes you to Businessweek's "Ethical consumer game":
"Ethical shopping is even harder than you thought. You buy cage-free eggs, eat quinoa and drive an electric car to do your part to help the environment. That's all great, right? ... Pump the brakes on that Tesla. We built an ethical consumer game that leads you through the difficulties of living a cage-free, carbon-neutral lifestyle."

My favorite slide covers the topic of reusable shopping bags:
"Only 3 percent of shoppers with multi-use bags said they regularly washed them. … In 99 percent of bags tested, half carried coliform bacteria, while 8 percent carried E. coli."
A heads-up – you are not going to win this game. It seems as though every consumer choice we have has perceived negative consequences for some stakeholder somewhere.
Have a great summer!
Instructor Teaching and Student Study Site:
Strategic CSR Simulation:
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Ethical shopping is even harder than you thought
By Miranda Purves
December 22, 2016
Bloomberg Businessweek

Monday, May 1, 2017

Strategic CSR - Cadbury

The article in the url below reports a decision by Cadbury (the UK chocolate company) to drop its commitment to the Fairtrade certification of its cocoa sourcing and, instead, replace it with its own scheme – “Cocoa Life”:
“The British confectionery maker, which is owned by US food giant Mondelez, was applauded in 2009 when it announced its Dairy Milk brand would be made from Fairtrade cocoa — guaranteeing farmers in its supply chain decent working conditions and a minimum cocoa price.”
The company is being criticized for the decision in some quarters because it weakens support for Fairtrade, in spite of its growth in recent years:
“Fairtrade now has more than 4,500 products to its name, including bananas, coffee and sugar.”
In contrast, Cadbury says farmers will not lose out from the change and, in fact, the company’s new program indicates a higher commitment to a more sustainable supply chain:

“Instead, the new scheme will involve the entire Cadbury range. Products including Flake, Twirl and Wispa bars will all sport a Cocoa Life logo on the front of their packets, the company said, and the farming supply chain will receive $400m in investment by 2022. ‘This is about making sure we make a greater impact to more farmers in more communities,’ said Glenn Caton, president of Northern Europe at Mondelez, adding that the decision was driven by a desire to take ‘ownership of the challenge of sustainability.’”
From the outside, it is good to see Cadbury taking ownership of its supply chain and imposing its own operational-specific standards, similar to Starbuck’s CAFÉ standards. From the consumer’s point of view, however, it is difficult to see how yet another ethical/environmental ‘standard’ is going to aid transparency and enable better consumption decisions (see Strategic CSR – Green Noise). As noted by the head of the Food Foundation, a UK think-tank:
“… there is a risk that if every company has their own mark it will be extremely difficult for consumers to determine which mark represents the best, independently verified standard.”
“NestlĂ© and Barry Callebaut each have their own company schemes, Cocoa Plan and Cocoa Horizons.”
Take care
Instructor Teaching and Student Study Site:
Strategic CSR Simulation:
The library of CSR Newsletters are archived at:
Cadbury move fuels concern for Fairtrade’s future
By Hannah Murphy
November 29, 2016
Financial Times
Late Edition – Final