One of the projects funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been to immunize children living in Ebocha, Nigeria. But at the same time the foundation owns shares in the French oil company, Eni, that pollutes the residents air and water by the open air burning of gas considered to be waste.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Concerned about consumer backlash, the World Diamond Council (WDC) has pumped $15 million into a public relations and education campaign to respond to the new movie "Blood Diamond." The film, starring Leonard DiCaprio, opened to generally good reviews and ranked among the top ten in popularity during the holiday season.
"Large American nonprofits spend at least $7.6 billion per year on marketing and public relations," according to a consulting firm's analysis of U.S. tax data. "$7.6 billion annually in spending for advertising, communications, public relations and branding ... is not an insignificant business sector," writes Tom Watson. "Total spending on public relations in the U.S. reached some $3.7 billion last year. ...
Only a small proportion of annual corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports -- perhaps 15 to 20 percent -- provide "very thorough" accounts of real ethical problems faced by companies. Even that measure comes from within the CSR report industry, in interviews with writers Andrew Brengle of KLD Research & Analytics and Jeff Erikson of SustainAbility Inc.
"This was spin, and [the food industry] will have to get beyond that and make real changes or they'll get beat up again very soon." Perhaps a line from a nutritionist slamming the Better Business Bureaus' weak new voluntary restrictions on junk food marketing to kids? Instead, it's the president of MGP & Associates Public Relations, Mike Paul.
Public health charities are under intense pressure from potential or ongoing commercial sponsors to boost their budgets with product promotion schemes. For example, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) currently has a $1.5 million sponsorship deal with Cadbury Schweppes, maker of Dr. Pepper and the Cadbury Creme egg.
The Tobacco Manufacturers Association (TMA), a U.K.-based trade association, is lobbying against a European Union proposal to require companies to manufacture cigarettes that reduce the chances of causing a fire if not being smoked.
Corporate sponsorship is all the rage, even with the New South Wales Police. In 2002 a mother of three, Diane Brimble, died on board the P&O cruise ship Pacific Sky from a combination of alcohol and the drug gamma hydroxybutyrate. Her death was investigated by officers from the NSW Water Police. Eighteen months later, P & O was one of five sponsors of the opening of a new headquarters for the water police.
Adriane Fugh-Berman, an Associate Professor at Georgetown University School of Medicine, recounts her experience of speaking at a recent medical conference in New Mexico on the topic of drug industry influence in medical education. "Immediately after my talk, one pharmaceutical company representative announced to a conference organiser that her company would no longer support the annual conference. Another packed up his exhibit and walked out," she writes in the British Medical Journal.
When KFC crowed on October 30, 2006, that it was planning to ban transfats in its U.S. fried chicken, the company had a PR machine behind it ready to score a news hit in one of the nation's fast food capitals, New York City.