Ethical Corporation Conference Proves CSR Isn't Oxymoronic

Jul 5, 2012 7:15 PM ET
Campaign: CSR & Social Media

By Allison McGuire

Last week, the Ethical Corporation hosted its Responsible Business Summit USA in New York City. I was fortunate enough to attend, due to my enthusiastic tweets (shameless plug:@CaliMcG) about the event. Lesson learned: the possibilities are endless on the Twitterverse.

Ethical Corporation packed the house with representatives of huge corporations, innovative thinkers, and, like me, cause-marketing aficionados. I thought you might enjoy reading my favorite quotes, and insights gleaned.

“The best [business-related] thinking happened during the recession.” - Kyle Peterson, Managing Director, FSG

How could that be? During the recession, businesses were laying off employees left and right, and making hard choices, in an attempt to slash spending and cut costs. I was intrigued.

Peterson continued, “Tough economic times forced businesses to think deeply about their role in society, and thus the idea of shared value was created.” While I won’t wade too deeply in the shared value debate, I will posit that when examining your corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy, ensure it aligns directly with your business objectives and your view of where you fit in the community. To do any less would be a disservice to you and your CSR goals.

“Businesses, when acting like businesses, make more substantial changes than when acting as philanthropists.” –Kathy Pickus, Divisional Vice President of Global Citizenship and Policy, Abbott

I couldn’t agree more. Inauthentic cause marketing is easy to spot, and companies may even see vociferous backlash from ill-prepared campaigns. When businesses think long and hard about CSR strategies as a business interest—not just a “feel good” initiative—they make better decisions. P&G’s ‘Thank You, Mom’ campaign is a great example of sliding business thinking into the cause marketing arena.


What were the potent quotables from Timberland, Anheuser-Busch InBev, and Intel? Read on, via