The CSR-chronicles, Part 1

inspiredlargeli01It may not be extremely apparent on my blog, but I love philanthropic efforts. I love sustainability, advocacy, social causes, random acts of kindness, etc. My list could go on forever, but basically, I like helping others.

Thats Passion numero 1.

My second love-if you will- is communications. I find it so effective and powerful that I believe it can work wonders. Just read the book, The Tipping Point, and you’ll see the catalyst for epidemics and social change.

As Malcolm Gladwell expresses in an interview, “The virtue of an epidemic, after all, is that just a little input is enough to get it started, and it can spread very, very quickly. That makes it something of obvious and enormous interest to everyone from educators trying to reach students, to businesses trying to spread the word about their product, or for that matter to anyone who’s trying to create a change with limited resources.”

Anyone can express their opinion, but only a selective few really understand, respect and practice this skill.

My goal in life is to merge these two passions…Communicating to the world the benefits of doing well and making an impact. Sounds simple, right? Unfortunately, there’s a few hurdles.

People have the passion and the drive, but often times lack the support, finances, and network. One solution that I find many companies stepping up to is CSR: Corporate Social Responsibility. What you need are some strategic thinkers, kind-hearted, passionate people to integrate into a Corporation and use it’s finances, network and power to do good.

One prime example is the Product Red Campaign that many companies and organizations are participating in. Many closely associate GAP as the pioneer in the campaign, but this week, Starbucks is stepping up to the plate.

Check out their RED video campaign…

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5 thoughts on “The CSR-chronicles, Part 1

  1. Don’t see this as some type of criticism. But I have my doubts at any kind of ‘philanthropic’ effort that makes poverty (the problem) some kind of commodity. These efforts will not solve anything. But they are trendy. And actually do more for Starbucks image, then for the people who actually need help. So yes, making money off the idea that you are helping someone,, that’s not a good idea to me.

  2. Hi Kees,

    Thank you for responding! I find your comment to be constructive and interesting. I do agree that at times corporations can take advantage of certain agenda items or tactics to better themselves. The act of doing good and being philanthropic SHOULD be a self-less deed. That’s the ideal situation. I think in a realistic situation, these sorts of occurrences will happen. I know the Starbucks’ of the world are pleased that their sales will increase and they will have a better perception, but in the end, they’re still contributing and doing something good. I do think it’s beneficial when they utilize their power and network, but as long as people and social causes are being tended to, we can’t complain too much. I’d rather this situation then nothing at all, right?

  3. Jessica,

    I found your blog though UofO, even though I was actually an OSU grad. I am also in Seattle and changing careers from social work/education to public relations.

    I enjoyed this blog and I have been very interested in the marriage of social awareness and public relations as well. Coming from the social work and education fields, I have spent the last decade giving of myself for causes that are important to me. Yes, Corporate Social Responsibility is the “fad” of the moment, but I hope it is much more than that. I find it inspiring that companies are considering more than their bottom line and trying to improve the communities in which they operate.

    I happen to work for Starbucks right now. I really admire the Product Red Campaign. Yes, companies get some good press for their participation, but I don’t think that takes away from the good they are doing. I have heard many people complain that Starbucks only gave 5 cents… but that 5 cents does add up! And, the reality is, these are companies. At the end of the day, most companies want to make a profit. I applaud the companies that consider the world around them and make steps to better that world.

    Just my two cents worth!

  4. Hi Karianne,

    Thank you so much for commenting. It’s apparent we see eye-to-eye. I do agree that many people ridicule companies for using CSR as a means to enter into a philanthropic realm, but my feeling is, if they’re doing it, it’s going to be beneficial for multiple parties. I agree, Starbucks is a company set to make profit and to be quite honest, they would probably be perfectly fine surviving off of profit, but they choose to participate in CSR to fulfill several components and connect more with their community and environment.

    I plan on writing several “chronicles” of CSR, so feel free to add suggestions and checking back 🙂

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