Did we really need to spot Dumbo before realizing that acting upon our own morals and ethics as players in the business world should be the most evident thing to do?
The mainstream economic reasoning is based on the idea of continuous growth, which is in stark contrast to the reality of nature’s limited resources. This was clearly demonstrated by Professor Belz with the reality of peak oil, peak fish and peak water. Luckily “peak intelligence” has not yet been passed and (I believe) human creativity is the most renewable of resources we can find.
Acting in a socially responsible way is making sure that there remains a balance between the economy and the ecosystem. If companies are indeed striving for this and if they are improving their products and services to better sit on this delicate scale, how would we know about it?
“Sustainability marketing helps promote social justice, economic growth and ecological protection by creating something that appeals to the consumer.” (Belz and Peattie 2012)
The field of marketing could on one hand be seen as a strong touch point with consumers. It is a channel to speak to customers and consumers in general about what the company is doing and why it is doing what it is doing in an appealing, engaging way. Both for better and for worse. When successful, these touch points can make customers feel good about their decision to go with a specific company or brand. Who doesn’t want to feel as though they’ve made the right choice, the best possible decision AND get what they came to get? If Leonardo DiCaprio is driving a Prius, why wouldn’t I do it as well? But when performed poorly, however, these same marketing driven points of contact can weaken the ties linking customers and potential consumers with the company or the brands associated with it. (If a company has been selling me lasagna without telling me that I just ate Seabiscuit, I would obviously feel discouraged to ever buy it again…to say the least.)
”Companies have the responsibility to engage in public and political discussion around sustainability issues” (Professor Belz during Monday lecture)
Something that should’ve always been self-evident to incorporate into all internal and outbound (marketing) messages has only due to the urgency of the current state of the planet forced corporations to rethink their ways of operating, communicating and marketing. The bottom line of companies is to create value for stakeholders. Interestingly enough, in all of the stakeholder models presented, the environment is not seen as a stakeholder.
Luckily, people today are increasingly conscious not only of what they buy, but also how the products and services they buy have been produced: more explicit communication is expected from companies and not only on their products and services, but on how they run their business and how they impact the environment around them. Additionally, the past few years have also brought about the rise of the social entrepreneurs -a breed of entrepreneurs who have a strong desire to create change in the world through business.
In this respect, I think that CSR increases corporate credibility: in the 21st century, I believe that CSR is not only associated with morals and ethics, but as discussed during the lectures, also seen as a matter of corporate competence.