Doing Good Is Good For Business

 

I saw an ad on Twitter the other day from Shell.

It was about how they contribute to conservation efforts around the world.

It is an extremely important cause to protect our wildlife.

I don’t think many people would question this.

What is to be questioned, is what Shell have to do with it?

The comments below the promoted Twitter post (as you can imagine) were a baptism of fire.

Companies, unfortunately, have a tendency to treat the general public like a bunch of idiots.
And create their marketing campaigns accordingly.

 

Is it time to call bullshit on CSR?

 

It is reported that in 2014 US and UK companies in the Fortune Global 500 spent $15.2bn on CSR (corporate social responsibility) activities.

For all their billions ploughed into important causes around the world, their day-to-day actions give a very different impression.

In 2016, Shell tried to cover up a leak of 88,200 gallons of crude oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. The spill was about the size of Manhattan. Three days later the case was closed and never discussed again.

Or the devastation of communities across Nigeria for decades because of oil spills Shell never decided to clean up.

Shell isn’t an isolated case. A finger can be pointed at almost all Fortune 500 companies.

Companies see CSR as a marketing tool to cover up the fundamentals of how they make money.
And see it as a tool to make more money.

They know doing good is good business.

Companies see it as a currency to deflect against any possible criticism.
It’s hard to attack a business that pours money into ‘doing good’.

It also makes them feel good about themselves.
It allows them to carry on doing the stuff they know isn’t good.

Like why a lot of people donate to charities.

 

The best marketing is based on truth

 

CSR (as an idea) is wonderful, meaningful and important. Disappointingly greed gets in the way.

Imagine Shell shutting down all their drilling activities and refineries and plough everything into renewables, paying their staff high salaries (not just the executives) and into projects to help reverse what the oil and gas industry has done to the environment and communities across the globe.

Imagine Shell putting their hands up and saying – we’ve made major mistakes in the past, abused our position of power but now we’re here to change and change forever.

This would be real transformation.

It would also be the world’s best marketing campaign.

Because it would be built on truth.

 

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