Corporate Social Responsibility
"Flanked by 'Survivor' champions Ethan Zohn and Jenna Morasca and two Washington Redskins cheerleaders, a leading D.C. environmentalist took time on Earth Day to thank Wichita-based Koch Industries," reports Alan Bjerga. Doug Siglin, head of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Anacostia River Initiative, praised Koch for helping pick trash out of the Potomac and Anacostia rivers. But while Koch colleagues heaped praise on the company, critics wondered whether the event wasn't designed to clean up Koch's image as much as the river.
"Through concerted marketing and public relations campaigns... 'greenwashers' attract eco-conscious consumers and push the notion that they don't need environmental regulations because they are already environmentally responsible.
Four years ago BP - the company formerly known as British Petroleum - launched a $200 million ad campaign to rebrand itself as "Beyond Petroleum" and to strut the company's avowed commitment to corporate social responsibility. At its April 16 annual general meeting in London, however, its real face was more visible.
The Green Life, a Boston-based environmental organization, chose April 1 to release its "Don't Be Fooled" report on the "10 worst greenwashers of 2003." Winners included: Project Learning Tree, a front group for the American Forest Foundation; Royal Caribbean International, for giving itself an environmental award and shielding customers from information about raw sewage dumping and other forms of cruise ship pollution; the Environmental Protection Agency, for calling its plan to weaken the Clean Air Act the "C
As the international business elite meet behind high fences in Davos, Switzerland, an international relief organization says corporate claims of good deeds often hide companies' efforts to undermine regulations and to elude responsibility for harm already done.
"Corporate social responsibility [CSR], and the role that communications plays
within it, is a controversial subject. ... So when CSR agency Futerra Sustainability Communications teamed up with communications agency CTN, PRWeek and the IPR to run an online discussion on the issue on 12 November, more than 200 CSR practitioners and communication professionals signed in to express their opinions. ... The irony that one part of a
Faced with the nation's growing waistline and flat sales in recent years, fast-food restaurants are relying on new products and PR to help improve their image and their profit. "Mike Donahue, VP, US communications and customer satisfaction for McDonald's, notes that PR pioneered McDonald's integrated marketing push on its salads," PR Week writes. "The company aligned its salads with Paul Newman's Newman's Own brand of salad dressings, offering those dressings for its new product. Newman's Own is highly regarded in the world of natural and organic foods.
ExxonMobil, which has a reputation as the least socially responsible oil country in the world (no small feat), has been holding "a series of secret meetings with environmental and human rights groups worldwide in an effort to change its hard-nosed public image," reports Terry Macalister. But critics such as Cindy Baxter, a spokeswoman for the Stop Esso campaign, remain unconvinced. "This looks like PR.
"Nike said today that although it has settled the suit brought against it by California consumer activist Mark Kasky, it still intends to curtail its corporate PR efforts, including the continued suspension of its social-responsibility reporting initiative," PR Week reports. "Despite the settlement, which was announced this morning, Nike said it does not plan to ramp up the PR activities that had been curtailed because of the pending lawsuit. ...