Corporate Citizenship In a Time of Occupy Wall Street

Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship released its annual CSR Index the other day even as Occupy Wall Street and its satellite efforts continue their protests that are, in part, anti-corporate.

The top 10 were:

Publix Super Markets
Google
UPS
Kellogg’s
Amazon.com
Berkshire Hathaway
FedEx
Campbell Soup
Baxter International
3M

By my count I’ve seen cause marketing from six of the top 10 and 33 of the full list of 50 companies.

According to the BCCCC the index is based on a survey of “how the public perceives a company in three dimensions:”
"Citizenship: Does the company contribute positively to its surrounding community in a socially and environmentally responsible fashion?

"Governance: Is the company business run in a fair and transparent fashion? Do stakeholders associate the company with high ethical business standards?

"Workplace: Are employees treated fairly and paid a decent wage? Does the company invest in developing employee skill sets and career opportunities?"
Notably, in the wake of Occupy All Street, there’s only two banks on the list, neither of which are Wall Street heavyweights.

In this list, it’s good to face the consumer to some degree. I count only seven that don’t sell directly to consumers. Oracle, for instance, and Caterpillar.

Conspicuous by their absence are brands like Ben & Jerry’s… itself active in Occupy Wall Street… and progressive companies like Stonyfield Farms and Tom’s of Maine.

Given the context, what lessons can you take from the BCCCC list?

I think there's one lesson for sure. Americans want corporations who are better actors. Good cause marketing can be a signal that companies are good corporate citizens.

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