CSR: powerful marketing tool or unshakeable corporate values?
Once walking along the shelves with variety of products, I eventually recognized symbol of "red heart" on Procter&Gamble’s (P&G) product. Advertisement where P&G products labeled with "red heart" told that some part of money received from “red heart” labeled products would go directly as donations for children with heart diseases. My hand turned toward the product with “red heart” label …
This is not only one story where one tend to buy products that advertised with relation to donation activities. Before tackling mini-project about CSR, I had thought that companies just “pretend” to spend part of money from such products. I had thought that they just encourage customers make “indirect donations”. Even I suspected them in being unfair toward their willingness to donate. However, I think that customers unconsciously buy such products believing that they are contributing “indirectly”. I’ve thought those kind of advertisements are marketing tools to gain customers attention and psychologically influence their buying behaviors. After mini-project completion, I was glad to know that I was wrong.
Natural Resources Canada presents about 10 case studies of companies that established themselves as the best Canadian Corporate Citizens. Particularly, Husky Injection Moldings company (2nd in top 25 Corporate Citizens, May, 2002) are known as company that views sustainable development as the mix of three: economical, environmental, and social. Company’s main goal is to lead in all these three aspects of sustainable development. Husky incorporated it Purposes and Values into company strategy and “live out” these purposes and values in business. Most interesting thing for me was that Husky company in financial difficult time, where figures indicated obvious decline in profits and need for strong generation of cash in order to survive, CEO of company, R. Schad did not cut off any activities related to SCR. I found this fact as the evidence of unshakable values incorporated by company. The values that reflect them as corporate citizen, who reflects its intention to improve state of the world by actions.
Haizhen argued during mini-project discussion that in order manage essential CSR activities, any company should have strong financial position. I totally agree with her. Again making link to leadership, it seems for me that leader as individual who should be “rich enough” to help group members or followers to cope with challenges. “Rich enough” in my interpretation incorporates the best personal characteristics as well as intelligence and knowledge. And again, as in case with Husky company, real leader will unshakable to his values and purposes and try to help others even in difficult time for him.