Corporate social responsibility programs have been labeled as 'doing good to look good' and nothing more than 'a placebo.' These more critical looks at what constitutes socially responsible business practices were the subject of my post last September and is another one I chose to feature as part of my first anniversary of blogging. [Wherefore Corporate Social Responsibility]
Six principles for corporate redesign to imbue social responsibility throughout the life cycle and operations of a company.
1. The purpose of the corporation is to harness private interests in service to the public interest.
2. Corporations shall accrue fair returns for shareholders, but not at the expense of the legitimate interests of other stakeholders.
3. Corporations shall operate sustainably, meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
4. Corporations shall distribute their wealth equitably among those who contribute to its creation.
5. Corporations shall be governed in a manner that is participatory, transparent, ethical, and accountable.
6. Corporations shall not infringe on the right of natural persons to govern themselves, nor infringe on other universal human rights.
Daniel Yankelovich, in his keynote address to the 2005 Innovations in Social Marketing Conference, also challenged social marketers to reset their sights when working with the private sector on CSR programs.
The goal of social marketing should be to accelerate the promotion of ethical standards - stewardship ethics, the company's credo (why we do what we do in [sic] context of civil society values), and corporate social responsibility efforts - as the primary drivers behind business goals, targets, decisions, and actions.
Sometimes in our efforts to increase partnership efforts with the private sector that rely on using the downstream model (that is, focus on changing individual behaviors) we may be keeping other things the same.