CSR message must be honest, ethical and fair

I thoroughly enjoyed David Benady’s article on corporate social responsibility (CSR) (MW February 12). In a short article it is hard to cover all the aspects, yet I think three further points deserve particular mention.

The first is that CSR is a very broad term and needs more definition. It’s a sad fact that many leading companies are producing social reports yet frequently fail to address the biggest issues, such as sustainability, associated with their company’s activities. This must be bravely addressed and those companies that do it frankly and honestly will ultimately win. Consumers aren’t fools and, in the longer term, will value companies that speak honestly.

Secondly, we need to recognise that consumers have double standards. They want things cheap, but they want what they perceive as fairness too. It’s up us, the marketers, to help consumers realise that for quite literally a few pence more, everyone can win.

Finally, the anonymous marketer who said “the idea that making a profit can be reconciled with being ethical is nonsense” is talking, well, nonsense. Cafédirect and the Co-op Bank are just two examples of companies benefiting from the ethical pound. And there will be more as companies and consumers wise up to their global responsibilities.

I’m not sure if I buy into the term “global village”, but I do buy into global responsibility, as indeed do many other consumers.

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