GRI guidelines call for reporting a triple bottom line , that is, a calculation of corporate economic, environmental, and social performance. While social auditing and reporting are increasing, there is little agreement on criteria for social performance and on what should be measured. Standards may slowly evolve. 74
Corporate philanthropy has a long history. Until the 1950s, few companies gave much to charity because they feared suits accusing them of exceeding the powers in corporate charters and giving away funds that rightfully belonged to stockholders. Then, in 1953, the A. P. Smith decision held that charters permitted charitable contributions. Companies started giving more and they set up charitable foundations that gave to a broad range of worthy causes. Most philanthropy, about three-quarters of the total in a year, comes from individuals. Corporate philanthropy was $13.5 billion in 2003 and has been rising over the past decade. There is a long tradition, beginning with Stephen Girard, of wealthy entrepreneurs giving large sums to charity. Bill Gates, who studied the philanthropic activity of Rockefeller and Carnegie, is the leading giver among contemporary entrepreneurs. Strategic philanthropy , which aligns a corporation’s business mission with its charitable mission, arose in the 1980s. Money is not given out of pure, altruistic motives. Rather, it is given at least partially in support of commercial objectives. Cause-related marketing is a marketing method linking a brand to a relevant social cause so that both benefit. Corporations advertise their brand as associated with a social cause and when consumers buy the product they feel they are also helping a socially worthwhile project. An example is the continuing campaign of Avon Products in which part of the sale price of beauty supplies is donated to the fight against breast cancer. In conclusion, good intentions must be translated into action. It is necessary to use the same management tools and levers in implementing social responsibility that would be used to implement a business strategy. 75
MARC KASKY VERSUS NIKE, INC. When a company allows elements of its global supply chain to violate increasingly strong international norms it becomes vulnerable to attack by nongovernmental organizations. The case explains how this happened to Nike. It illustrates a common pattern of learning as the company first takes a defense posture, but gradually comes to be more proactive in its social responsibilities. An additional element of the case is a unique California law that allowed a social activist to sue Nike for statements it made in defense of its labor practices. The lawsuit led to a California Supreme Court decision that still stands and may chill corporate speech.
- Spring '16
- John Z
- Business, Standard oil, fur trade, standard oil company, John D. Rockefeller, John Jacob Astor