Written by Mathew Bishop and Michael Green, Is Corporate Social Responsibility Evil explores the issue of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by observing two events: the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the melt down of financial systems in the late 2008.
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It seeks to de-link corporate social responsibility from the two incidents in response to an article whereby Chrystia Freeland, an editor with the Washington Post, positively correlated the two. In the case of the oil spill, the article seeks to show that even though British Petroleum (BP) did go to great lengths in their CSR campaign; other firms that did not do this would have suffered the same fate because of their shallow strategy of just ensuring ‘no failure and never preparing for one.’
The article agrees that, CSR did have the effect of affording the company leniency and more time than would have been the case if their CSR were not so aggressive. It also argues that, the CSR campaign by the company had waned since it declared the need to go beyond petroleum in combating factors that lead to climate change.
On the financial systems meltdown, the article admits that Goldman Sachs focused on CSR activities, which did not seem to help the firm in its advancement. The firm became unpopular due to the huge profits it made after the crisis and gave out huge bonuses to its staff not acknowledging the public for the banking industry bail out. The authors therefore argue that the approach to focus on CSR rather than its presence was wrong. In conclusion, firms need to better their CSR by engaging in better ways with the public to avoid such incidences.
As the article further roll out, the need for CSR is emphasized and its advantages highlighted in different ways. Firstly, CSR need sticks out clearly in the BP case in the way the concerned parties were able to buy more time and leniency because of being part of corporate social responsibility. Their advocacy of increased use of greener sources of energy aligned the parties for future changes and gave the impression that they care about the wellbeing of the environment and the society as a whole.
Value added to products and services is one of the advantages of a well-implemented CSR plan. The regression in profits for Goldman Sachs shows a failure in their CSR approach. The article underlines the importance of efficient communication with the public in the implementation of a CSR plan. The article covers the existing literature but no new idea comes into play. However, the link between the theories of CSR and the industry practise comes out well in the analysis of these two cases.
Despite the author’s articulation of the importance of CSR, the article fails to give sufficient support to the ideas that it presents. For instance, the claim that the decreased public perception on the Goldman Sachs investment firm hinged on its CSR policy is not substantiated by a research or other relevant means.
However, the ideas presented do rhyme with the given literature on the subject especially on the benefits a firm stands to gain from CSR. I do therefore agree with the article that, CSR is not an evil but a strategy that calls for proper implementation in order to reap maximum benefits.
Bishop, M., & Green, M. (2010). Is Corporate Social Responsibility Evil? Huffpost Business. Web.