The Truth About “Corporate Social Responsibility”

Quick Post

Remember those times when you were so broke you needed a friend of yours to lend you a little money to get by? That has happened to me. A lot. In fact, were it not for my family, friends and fellow Martians, I wouldn’t have survived my short entrepreneurial years. Even if you’re not an entrepreneur, there’s still a 99.9% chance you know how it feels to be helplessly in need.

Now, if one of your trusted friends indeed lent (or even gave) you some money in a situation like that, how would you feel if you bought some bundles and went online only to find that they had tweeted about it?! Would you be pleased to find that selfie, with your friend talking about how your calorie intake has improved over the past 24 hours by 37%?!

If you’re a normal, sane Homo Sapiens, you’d be quite upset about it, right?

Blowing your own trumpet sucks! Pun intended.

Blowing your own trumpet sucks! (Pun intended)

So how come we let corporates do the same thing and praise them for it? It’s the height of hypocrisy!

I am convinced that most companies that engage in CSR do so only because it makes perfect business sense. They don’t really care about the people they assist. Even if they do, they don’t care half as much as they care about the marketing, hype, and improved public perception that they’re going to milk out of it. It’s not charity. It’s a carefully planned and executed investment.

That’s why they’ll require that you buy one of their products at the entrance to an event. Boost sales. That’s why they’ll bring branded t-shirts, cheerfully ask all o’ y’all to wear them, then have pro photographers taking sentimental shots. Which will end up on their Facebook page and get a thousand likes.

Maybe they get away with it because people simply like free stuff.

Stop and think. Just a little.

  • Magunga Williams

    nowadays it is called CSI- Corporate Social Investment…INVESTMENT. Meaning there is an expected return. Those are not alms or tithes, they never have been

    • Never heard it referred to as CSI before. Unless if that’s what it’s called in board rooms, not in press releases.

  • Chrenyan

    The concept of not letting one’s right hand know what one’s left hand is doing would fell CSR at a stroke. Alas, those are not the values on which the world operates.

    • True.

      Perhaps the only exception might be to raise awareness of a widespread problem, but you’ll find that for-profit companies will usually either wing it and ignore the non-profit organisations that are already addressing those problems, or require that they be given special mention if indeed they assist the efforts of the NGO’s.

      I know NGO’s in general have become their own can of worms, but there you go…

  • Haha. It’s always been so w/ most firms. That’s what happens when you force companies to legally give away money they don’t want to. They’ll look for ways to get “returns” out of their perceived loss.

signed. martians.™