Thursday, February 15, 2007
Corporations That Dare To Go Green
Many corporate gurus doubt the value of "corporate social responsibility" - also known simply as "CSR". Milton Friedman was notoriously skeptical of CSR, citing that it did not directly enhance shareholder value, while others believe the practical value of CSR is much exaggerated. Some corporations practice CSR nonetheless, according to business consultant and author Christine Arena, not just for ethical window dressing but as "long-term corporate strategy". Her research has found that corporations that practice CSR are often top-performing, visionary companies, "among the alphas of the business world". More extensive research conducted in academia, on the behavior of 34,000 companies across the world over a thirty year period, found that good management and social responsibility go hand-in-hand. The best run companies tended to have better "social and environmental records". Not only that, but "overwhelmingly, firms that rewarded employees with good work climates and higher pay and benefits ultimately saw stronger sales and stock prices..." As one of the authors of that study suggests, "it's a virtuous cycle... As a company becomes more socially responsible, its reputation and financial performance go up, which causes them to become even more socially responsible."
Corporations that have practiced CSR to benefit the environment include the following:
General Electric - GE's "Ecoimagination" movement has contributed to the development of "fuel-efficient jet and train engines, wind turbine power, energy-saving fluorescent light bulbs and water purification projects."
Toyota - Toyota has been a pioneer in hybrid cars, introducing the Prius in 2000.
DuPont - DuPont manufactures Bio-PDO, an environmentally friendly ingredient used in cosmetics, detergents and fabric. They have also cut "greenhouse gas emissions by 72 percent and air carcinogen emissions by 92 percent at (their) facilities worldwide."
"Businesses grow more socially conscious" from USA Today