Daily Thought 2/3/12: Corporate Responsibility

This morning I saw a great piece in Fast Company that discusses the relationship between corporate responsibility and profit. At first thought, these two business concepts seem completely at odds with each other. When your role as a business leader is to ultimately drive profitability, how can it be reasonable to devote money to corporate responsibility? The article suggests that informed consumers appreciate corporate responsibility.

It is one thing for a consumer to appreciate corporate responsibility and another thing entirely for them to chose a brand because of it. However, I will argue, that as leaders (as individuals AND as corporations) people watch you. Whether you desire to be or not, people watch you and they model their behavior after you, thus you are a role model in some fashion. As a role model, I think you have must act responsibly. In a corporate setting this can be something as little as decreasing your waste (Coca-cola’s new PlantBottle) or going so far as to cut ties with vendors who, despite being more affordable, may have some unethical practices (McDonalds with Sparboe Egg Farms). The key take away here is to remember that people are watching, and like it or not, as a leader you are charged with behaving responsibly.

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