Posted on May 20, 2008 by ninapau
I read a very interesting article which is linked to the CSR subject we discussed in our presentation. Today, we concentrated in the discussion on the difference between good and bad CSR. But an important question is, if the implementation of a CSR in a company is a sustainable solution for the problem of the degradation of the environment or only a marketing issue for the company. The article (http://www.corporatewatch.org.uk/?lid=2693) discusses this problem. The main statements are the following:
- CSR would create a unique selling point and therefore a competitive advantage for the company, but if the majority of companies introduces a CSR, there is no competitive advantage for the company any more which would be the reason for the fact that many CSR activities are temporary
- in general, the competitive advantage that could be gained from CSR activities is limited, because the pool of consumers who base their decisions on ethical critiria is limited
- Mark Achbar, who made the film “The Corporation” thinks that “Corporations must be forced into sustainability”, which is exactly the point we discussed today at the end of the presentation; it’s the social and legal framework which can encourage (or enforce) changes
- and this is also the next statement of the article: smaller changes could maybe achieved by the implementation of a CSR, but important changes could only come from changes in the legal framework, changes that concern the power of corporations
- and the final question which should encourage us to think about the issue is: is CSR a step towards a sustainable development or does it only divert attention from the important and necessary changes??
I think, this question is very interesting and very important. In my opinion CSR is adequate to raise the awareness for environmental issues among companies. Nevertheless, changes in the social and legal framework are mandatory to move to a sustainable development. A growing awareness for environmental issues could create the necessary pressure.
Filed under: corporate sustainability, greenwash | Tagged: CSR, The Corporation | 1 Comment »
Posted on July 17, 2007 by sdcastudent
While Al Gore is understandably lonely within his club of Academy Award winning, ex-Vice President, Harvard- educated, climate change experts…I was interested to see who else might be on his speaking tour. Jeremy’s Powerpoint slides make reference to Ray Anderson, who is another superb spokesperson for the SD effort (and not just because he’s a product of Atlanta, Georgia!)
The YouTube video of an interview with Ray Anderson can be found here. If I remember correctly, the first excerpt was taken from the movie ‘The Corporation’.
In my opinion, Mr Anderson provides an excellent speaker for this cause because he continues to work ‘inside’ the system. He is perfectly situated as a successful businessman who was initially skeptical, yet is able to describe explicit examples of how his company, Interface, utilized SD efforts to improve profits. Anderson is audibly passionate about his goal of ‘zero footprint’ from his organization as he describes how customer questions of their behavior in 1994 led to his company’s establishment of an ‘environmental vision’.
Anderson also spends considerable time in additional interviews referencing inter-generational distributive equity, often referring to industry’s ‘plundering’ of available resources with no concern for future populations. He helped fund ‘Alliance to Save Energy’, which includes helping children establish energy saving campaigns in their respective schools.
Anderson could charge admission to his speaking engagements based on his success at Interface alone. His immediate credibility with the business community make him an excellent representative for the SD cause. While scientists may hold the most expertise, they may be deemed obscure to the uninitiated. Remember, Phil Knight would have been happy to tell us that NIKE manufactured the best shoe for sport…but it wasn’t until Michael Jordan told us, that an empire was born.
- Mike T
Filed under: corporate sustainability | Tagged: Al Gore, Ray Anderson, The Corporation | 3 Comments »
Posted on January 17, 2007 by sdcastudent
Once again I risked a look on the corporation movie. Amongst others, there is Nobel prize winner Milton Friedman speaking.
Here is what he thinks about a company’s CSR:
A business cannot have social responsibilities as it is an artificial person. It’s the people who have responsibilties. And in business, a manager’s responsibilty is to create shareholder value. If a manager decides to spend money for general social interest he would spent the money of the shareholders. It is thus the best way to give the shareholders their money so that they can decide what to do with it.
A business man has personal social responsibilties to cope with. He may be head of a family, for instance. If this is the case, he must not risk his job by ignoring the shareholder’s interests.
for further reading: “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits” by Milton Friedman
Filed under: corporate sustainability | Tagged: CSR, Milton Friedman, The Corporation | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 16, 2007 by sdcastudent
Even worse than the fact that companies pollute the rivers in the environment of their factories, is when a British company chartered a ship to get rid of their toxic waste by dumping it out in the Ivory Coast (click on it for more information). Apart from the damage and harm the African population has to suffer from this, the Ivory Coast has to pay France for taking the waste away and decontaminate it. That means additionally a lot of financial problems (corresponding article).
In my eyes it is totally irresponsible of developed countries – like the UK in this case – to menace our environment in this dimension and what is more to jeopardize people, the economy as well as the environment of a developing country like the Ivory Coast. Additionally I am wondering, if those companies really think that by using such a procedure their offence would stay undiscovered?
I think it is interesting to watch the now following process against the British company and to hear the CEO’s defence. Reflecting the CEO shown in this video, there is not always the opportunity to act like they want to. I agree in so far that it is not always easy to do whatever they want to, but they are responsible for the company, its decisions and the resulted activities, especially concerning important issues. Therefore the CEO should act in an appropriate way, which includes also the consideration of the environment. And if the CEO does not have the support of, for instance, the shareholders then he or she should at least try to convince them by announcing and defending his / her opinion.
Filed under: corporate sustainability, pollution | Tagged: distributive justice, Ivory Coast, The Corporation, waste management | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 9, 2007 by jeremy