Social Responsibility to the extreme by
10 companies

I found a fascinating article about social responsibility in a magazine that specializes in advertising, Advertising Age.  It’s dated 2010 but still valid in my opinion. The article’s author is Bob Liodice. In his words: “Many companies believe they have a responsibility to give back to society. This focus includes contributions of time and money, a duty to provide environmentally friendly products and services, and a desire to improve the lives of individuals here and around the globe. Such socially responsible companies see to it that this consciousness permeates everything they do”.

The 10 companiesburt's bees

The focus for Burt’s Bees has always been on well being and “the greater good.” As part of the Natural Products Association, the company helped develop The Natural Standard for Personal Care Products, which created guidelines for what can be deemed natural. Burt’s Bees follows the highest possible standards for packaging sustainability, furthering its dedication to the cause as a member of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition.

General Electric USING ITS ECOMAGINATION

To stay true to GE’s mission, Ecomagination offerings include products that significantly and measurably improve customers’ operating performance or value proposition and environmental performance. Ecomagination helped GE build its business by increasing awareness of how the company is using renewable energy and reducing carbon emissions.

MethodTHE NEW MEANING OF CLEAN

As a cleaning product, Method hit the jackpot. While cleaning products historically contained hazardous chemicals, Method was able to make safe and effective home and personal cleaning products derived from natural ingredients such as soy, coconut and palm oils. The products also come in environmentally responsible, biodegradable packaging. As one of the fastest-growing companies in the world, and with $100 million in annual revenue, Method proves that socially responsible products can be wildly successful.

The Body ShopBEAUTY COMES FROM WITHIN

The Body Shop is regarded as a pioneer of modern corporate social responsibility as one of the first companies to publish a full report on its efforts and initiatives. Founder Anita Roddick led her company to stand up for its beliefs and champion causes such as self-esteem, environmental protection, animal rights, community trade and human rights. From sponsoring posters in 1985 for Greenpeace to presenting a petition against animal testing to the European Union with 4,000,000 signatures, The Body Shop has contributed significantly to the causes it supports, and exemplifies how other companies can do the same.Starbucks

BREWED RESPONSIBLY

Since Starbucks Coffee started in 1971, the company has focused on acting responsibly and ethically. One of Starbucks’ main focuses is the sustainable production of green coffee. With this in mind, it created C.A.F.E. Practices, a set of guidelines to achieve product quality, economic accountability, social responsibility and environmental leadership. The company supports products such as Ethos Water, which brings clean water to the more than 1 billion people who do not have access.

BEN & JERRY'STHE SWEET DELIGHT OF GIVING BACK

Ben & Jerry ‘s founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield have infused the company with the notions of giving back in every way possible, as well as “linked prosperity” between the company, its employees and the community. They started the Ben & Jerry ‘s Foundation, were founding members of the Business for Social Responsibility organization and set an extraordinary rate of giving to charitable organizations in the corporate world, donating a full 7.5% of pretax profits. In their own words, they “strive to show a deep respect for human beings inside and outside our company and for the communities in which they live.” Unilever bought Ben & Jerry ‘s in 2000 and continues to support the foundation.

Kenneth ColeSOCIAL AWARENESS CAN LOOK SO GOOD

Since 1985, Kenneth Cole has been openly involved in publicly supporting AIDS awareness and research. He uses fashion to promote awareness of, and help fight, various social issues. After 25 years of addressing meaningful social issues, Kenneth Cole established the Awearness Fund, a not-for-profit initiative that uses partnerships, merchandise, events and its blog to celebrate, encourage and empower acts of service volunteerism and social change. A full 100% of net proceeds of the Awearness products go toward the fund.

PedigreeLENDING A HAND TO MAN’S BEST FRIEND

Pedigree dog food built its brand by focusing on the need for people to adopt homeless dogs. It funds the support and care of these animals and sponsors a national adoption drive. Pedigree also donates one bowl of food to animal shelters every time it gets a Facebook fan. Pedigree’s goal is to donate 4 million bowls of dog food, enough to feed every shelter dog in America for one day.

Toms ShoesA SHOE FOR ME IS A SHOE FOR YOU

Blake Mycoskie started Toms Shoes on the premise that for every pair of shoes sold, one pair would be donated to a child in need. This innovative idea resulted from a trip to Argentina where Mycoskie saw an overwhelming number of children without shoes. Toms Shoes recognized that consumers want to feel good about what they buy, and thus directly tied the purchase with the donation. Consumers have clearly embraced the cause.

Whole Foods MarketA WHOLE LOT OF GOOD

Whole Foods supports sustainable agriculture, promotes the reduction of waste and consumption of nonrenewable resources and encourages environmentally sound cleaning and store-maintenance programs. The company created the Local Producer Loan program, which provides up to $10 million in low-interest loans to small local producers to help grow their businesses. Whole Foods has also created Whole Planet Foundation, which fights poverty through micro lending in rural communities around the world. The foundation helps women lift themselves out of poverty by empowering micro entrepreneurs.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bob Liodice is president-CEO of the Association of National Advertisers. The above article was published in Advertising Age.

 

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