Corporations

Companies That Do More Harm Also Do More Good

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A new study strives to answer that age-old question: Why does the Goldman Sachs website brag about sending their employees to bake cupcakes for the Jewish Community Council of Canarsie?

duncan hines cupcakes are a corporate governance solution

Everyone has heard the old saw that companies can do well by doing good. But many companies actually appear to do more good when they are doing harm, according to a new paper [PDF] on corporate social responsibility (CSR). The researchers, Matthew J. Kotchen of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Jon Jungbien Moon of the business school at Korea University, surveyed nearly 3,000 publicly traded companies over 15 years. They write:

We seek to explain why companies engage in CSR, but we do not focus directly on the link to financial performance. Instead, we investigate the proposition that companies engage in CSR in order to offset corporate social irresponsibility (CSI). While the link to financial performance is implicit, our analysis seeks to evaluate a different causal mechanism underlying CSR: that CSI is a liability and companies do "good" in order to offset "bad." 

The paper find evidence for what you might have already suspected: It's bad business to be seen as an irresponsible company, but an image as a socially responsible company can, to some extent, be bought with public do-gooding.

There is much empirical support for the notion that companies are penalized if they are perceived to conduct business in ways that conflict with social values. This is particularly true when inconsistencies arise between the pursuit of corporate profits and social goals—such as environmental protection, public health, and human rights, among others. In cases where the inconsistencies are large and there is sufficient public awareness, it is advantageous for companies to anticipate the social pressure and to take a proactive stance toward lessoning the potential for conflict. 

Tellingly, when the problem is perceptions of poor corporate governance—overpaid CEOs, for example, or lack of political accountability—the study finds that acts of corporate social responsibility increase, but not in the category of governance. Instead, companies choose to engage in projects related to the environment, community relations, or human rights. Thus the banker bakers. 

Of course, the definitions of good and harm here are slippery. For more on that, check out one of the best Reason features ever: Milton Friedman vs. Whole Foods CEO John Mackey vs. Cypress Semiconductors founder T.J. Rodgers on corporate social responsibility. 

NEXT: Albuquerque PD Adopts the Taser Shotgun

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  1. Why does the Goldman Sachs website send their employees to bake cupcakes for the Jewish Community Council of Canarsie?

    JOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. I can see my work here is done.

  2. So they found that the PR business is booming, if not exceptionally effective.

  3. Yeah, but this doesn’t always work. When I sent some of my employees from the massage parlor I owned to the junior high to help out the children, you should have heard some of the crap I got.

  4. THE FIVE YEAR [PRC] PLAN – Ending the hierarchical [EMPIRE/$USD$] base currency system.

    [ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1]

    It has reached the point were it has become necessary for the [PRC] Peoples Republic of China and the International Geo-Economic Spheres of Parity too begin a steady diversification towards other than [$USD$] assets, global investors have only one choice left and that is too follow the [PRC] and say enough to [EMPIRE], assumptions that it would all work out because life is sweet and the best thing in life always happens, and not the inescapable fact, which is immeasurable and can not be countered ? uncertainty, and that even the best laid plans of mice and men go astray, but slow and easy wins the race more than not in building sound economic stability. The [PRC] can not, nor will it continue to support an [EMPIRE] thru the continued folly of borrowing [40%] of its daily operating expenses. The [EMPIRE] has been afforded more leeway, by convention, to pay lower [PRC] and international interest rates via., the confidence in their ability to support international debt, but once that debt now will exceeds [100%] the interest rate on the debt equals the nominal growth rate, and at that point growth becomes untenable, and stops. This determined by Debt divided by [GDP] Gross Domestic Product, which stands, at present, at [97%], and is expect to reach [124%] by [2015] must be reduced to no more than [60%]. The [EMPIRE] abandoned this debt to [GDP] ration and now has put the [PRC] and entire global economy in peril.

    [Stepping out of pot hole not over cliff]

    The independent [PRC] Republic of China which has its own State Run and Funded Rating Agency Dagong Global Ratings Co., Ltd., and which had previously down graded the [EMPIRE] ratings from an [AA] rating to [A+] on [November 9th, 2010] in response to the [2nd] round of the [QE-2$USD$] Quantitative Easing Two has now once again placed the [EMPIRE] on a negative watch list as once again the [EMPIRE] raises the specter of a [QE-3$USD$] financial action of a [12%] weaker [$USD$], and can now be expected to once again downgrade the [EMPIRE], do to the nonchalant, cavalier attitude of the [EMPIRE] that the [PRC], will continue to make up [EMPIRE] reckless spending, financed by debt, borrowing from the [PRC],, to tide the [EMPIRE] over a period of investment deficiency, as not a temporary stop gap measure, and but as a permanent solution of [EMPIRE] geo-economics and therefore the Global Economic landscape, has had enough, and will no longer risk the financial and stability of the [PRC], over the [EMPIRES] lack of economic stewardship of the base economic structure of the Worlds Geo-Economic System, and must risk minor short terms loss in comparison to major long term damage, the [PRC] has had ENOUGH! In the end the solution is taking a short term loss, and downturn in [PRC] economic interests, of long term growth, is doesn’t take a wise to know that it is better to step out of a pot hole by one’s self, than step over a cliff holding hands with a fool.

    [The Five Year Program of Chinese Gradualism of Diversification]

    To this end the [PRC] Peoples Republic of China State Council using the proven technique of always starting slowly and gradually expanding, allowing for a new plan to take shape, giving time to make course changes as necessary to respond and counter those immeasurable uncertainties which could occur during the [5] year program of Gradualism of Diversification upon which it has embarked too be complete by the year [2015], ending its connection to the [EMPIRE] present base [$USD$] currency system, to a Diversified/Multilateral Currency Regime, based upon a broader trade-weighted basket. The Multilateral Currencies would be the new Global Numeraire Currency, made up of the nations of the (BRICS), Brazil, The Russian Federation, India, The Peoples Republic of China, and the Republic of South Africa, the [EU] European Union, Spheres of Global Economic Parity Influence Economic in the [21st] Century flexing their collective muscles geo-politically-economically-militarily, ending the Hierarchical [EMPIRE] base currency system. Based upon a basket of [Euro, Pound Sterling, Japanese Yen, and Chinese Yuan], and hard currency Gold, Silver, Oil and Mineral Currency [Gold, Silver, Lithium, Rare Earth etc.], Food Production Currency, and Production Currency creating a less volatile currency based system, against price fluctuations, virtually context-free of the chance of their value disappearing entirely.

    HERCULE TRIATHLON SAVINIEN

    1. Dude, you must be a blast to party with.

      1. I imagine him showing up to the party with a Fear & Loathing-caliber suitcase.

    2. Herc is back!

      Good thing too. I was starting to itch, I needed my brackets fix.

  5. THE [PDRC] PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CHINA ? Walking out of pot hole not stepping over cliff.

    [Slow and Easy Wins]

    It has reached the point were it has become necessary for the [PDRC] Peoples Democratic Republic of China and the International Geo-Economic Spheres of Parity too begin a steady diversification towards other than [$USD$] assets, global investors have only one choice left and that is too follow the [PDRC] and say enough to [EMPIRE], assumptions that it would all work out because life is sweet and the best thing in life always happens, and not the inescapable fact, which is immeasurable and can not be countered ? uncertainty, and that even the best laid plans of mice and men go astray, but slow and easy wins the race more than not in building sound economic stability. The [PDRC] can not, nor will it continue to support an [EMPIRE] thru the continued folly of borrowing [40%] of its daily operating expenses. The [EMPIRE] has been afforded more leeway, by convention, to pay lower [PDRC] and international interest rates via., the confidence in their ability to support international debt, but once that debt now will exceeds [100%] the interest rate on the debt equals the nominal growth rate, and at that point growth becomes untenable, and stops. This determined by Debt divided by [GDP] Gross Domestic Product, which stands, at present, at [97%], and is expect to reach [124%] by [2015] must be reduced to no more than [60%]. The [EMPIRE] abandoned this debt to [GDP] ration and now has put the [PDRC] and entire global economy in peril.

    [Walking out of pot hole not stepping over cliff]

    The independent [PDRC] Peoples Democratic Republic of China which has its own State Run and Funded Rating Agency Dagong Global Ratings Co., Ltd., and which had previously down graded the [EMPIRE] ratings from an [AA] rating to [A+] on [November 9th, 2010] in response to the [2nd] round of the [QE-2$USD$] Quantitative Easing Two has now once again placed the [EMPIRE] on a negative watch list as once again the [EMPIRE] raises the specter of a [QE-3$USD$] financial action, and can now be expected to once again downgrade the [EMPIRE], do to the nonchalant, cavalier attitude of the [EMPIRE] that the [PDRC], will continue to make up [EMPIRE] reckless spending, financed by debt, borrowing from the [PDRC] Peoples Democratic Republic of China, to tide the [EMPIRE] over a period of investment deficiency, as not a temporary stop gap measure, and but as a permanent solution of [EMPIRE] geo-economics and therefore the Global Economic landscape, has had enough, and will no longer risk the financial and stability of the [PDRC], over the [EMPIRES] lack of economic stewardship of the base economic structure of the Worlds Geo-Economic System, and must risk minor short terms lose in comparison to major long term damage, the [PDRC] has had ENOUGH! In the end the solution is taking a short term loss, and downturn in [PDRC] economic interests, of long term growth, it is better to step out of a pot hole, than walk over a cliff.

    HERCULE TRIATHLON SAVINIEN

  6. This is, to an extent, what various environmental mitigation “banks” and “markets” are about. You want to destroy some wetlands to build a power plant/mall/widget factory? You can pay some other entity to create some new wetlands somewhere else to offset the ones you’re destorying.

    You want to expand your factory to increase production capacity, but it also will increase greenhouse gas emissions? You can pay another entity to shut down its old, outdated (and thus more heavily polluting) equipment. Or pay to have so many acres of forest preserved. Or have greenhouse gases eliminated somewhere else. Or buried.

    Some of these “allowances” are traded as commodities. There are companies that exist solely for the purposes of “mitigation banking” – they make money by industry engaging in these practices.

  7. BORING DAY

    [The 4th of July]

    Well, this has been one of those boring Southern California the France of the North American Contintent, in The Empires Finest County, and yes it does rain in Southern California, not often but you get some water in the San Diego river, days not there isn’t anything to really write about, there is a ton of things that could and should be written about going on but there is nothing being done about any of it as the Media Messiah Imperial President and his [D.C.] District of Clowns, Royal Court keep fighting about Healthcare, Healthcare, and Healthcare over and over and over again its like a broken record, but the [4th] of July is just around the corner and the beltway bunch will be in campaign mode, and its all stop on Healthcare, as they have to face trying to get re-elected by out of work voters.

    [Leftie Chief of Staff Correct]

    Now, were not fans of Rahm Emanuel at all, period, zip, nada, but when he’s right, sorry he’s a leftie, when the Mossad Agent, White House Chief of Staff said its time to re-prioritize things and get out of the rut of Healthcare, Healthcare, Healthcare, and the Clinton bunch almost took his head off, well the Leftie was [Correct]. But, when the Clinton bunch gets a bee in their bonnet, forget it. Rahm should sit his [AIPAC] puppet down and tell him its about time to stop lecturing everyone and start listening to someone for a change, even his [AIPAC] masters must have had enough of what’s going on, the faster the America-Israeli Empire, declines, the worse position it puts Israeli and [AIPAC] into. But, the countdown has begun, it’s not that far to the [4th] when the weather is hot, and Washington is not, as all the hot air idiots are at home, trying to be sent back to their real home in the Beltway.

    [G’Day Mr. USA]

    There were only [2] Two things that even made our day today an article in The Sydney Morning Herald, (www.SMH.Com.AU) G’day Mr. USA., written by (CWaterstreet@GMail.Com), and those Aussies they don’t mince words, and then on (www.TheDailyBeast.Com), The Week In Political Cartoons, Drawn & Quartered, Mike Lester, Rome (GA) News Tribune/United Syndicate (Comics.Com) had a pretty interesting cartoon about us Tea-Baggers which we sent a few E-mails to about it. But, it’s basically just another boring day the [NYSE] New York Stock Exchange continues its roller coaster ride up and down, up and down, the Wall St. boys bonus’s keep going up, as unemployment keep going up, the dollar keeps going down, the national debt will reach the moon before another giant step for mankind, but the cartoon by Mike Lester, and the article by C. Waterstreet, brightened up the day, along with my made in China, Garfield, Laminated Cutout, I’m Not Always Right, But I’m Never Wrong.

    HERCULE TRIATHLON SAVINIEN

    1. TL; DR; kthxbai.

  8. THE FRIEND OF MY ENEMY IS MY ENEMY

    [Susan got it wrong]

    Now, we tend to disagree with a Professor Susan Shirk, a professor specializing in Chinese foreign policy at the University of San Diego, [The Republic of California’s Finest City], the University of California [The France of the North American Continent, now Susan [A Great name for a girl] said [Let’s watch what they do, not what they say, because sometimes tough words in China are a substitute for tough action]. That may well have been the past textbook view, if it worked in the past well it’s going to work again in this situation. But, this is not the [20th] Century it is a football/soccer match, and not only do the Dreamers, Thinkers, Workers, and Netizens of the [21st] Century see things in a different manner the new upcoming leaders of Sphere of Influence around the world hold a different view, they have closed the old textbooks and are writing new textbooks for a new Century.

    [The friend of my enemy is my enemy]

    Now, some old textbook adages still apply in all ages and the one that goes the friend of my enemy is my enemy, and the Media Messiah Imperial President has aligned himself with the enemies of the [PRC] Peoples Republic of China, not [1] one but [2] two, the Nationalist Chinese Rebels of Taiwan, but with the leader of the Rebel movement of Tibet, the Dalai Lama, and on top of that if that weren’t bad enough is going to supply the Nationalist Chinese Rebels on Taiwan with military equipment, then expecting the [PRC] to support the Empire’s Wars of Stimulus, and vote as the Empire dictates in [UN] United Nations Security Council Meeting, now if that isn’t Gaul, than what is. Your meeting and siding with my enemies, giving them weapons, while taking my money, and telling me to vote as you say, give me a break.

    [Cancellation of April visit]

    Susan should not be surprise if the visit by President Hu Jintao of the [PRC], to Washington, [DC] District of Clowns scheduled in April, will be cancelled, and has publically stated that the [PRC] will take corresponding measures to make the relevant countries realize their mistakes, turns into bare knuckle brawl. Why would President Hu Jintao, Kowtow, to the leader of a nation that just interfered in the domestic affairs of a nation, which it’s in hock up to its ears to. You want to talk to the man you owe money to and you just sided with his enemies, you better get off your high horse and do some kowtowing yourself on behalf of your debtor nation, my dogs come to me.

    [On the QT Baby]

    Susan should have realized that the Imperial Media Messiah President of the American-Empire is gaffe prone, and this is a stupid gaffe, a nation is like a woman, you don’t go an date her enemies, side with them against her, give them the dirt on they need to cause her grief in public, and at the same time be in debt to her father up to your ears and expect more loans at the same time, and on top of that expect her to go along with what ever you wants, ain’t gu’na happen. If your going to date her enemies at least do it on the [QT] baby, and don’t give them anything they can use against her, you simple don’t get anything with vinegar you have to be a sweet tongued, affectionate devil, specifically if your broke an she’s loaded. This should have gone down were Taiwan would have been let go, and the meeting between the Dalai Lama and the Media Messiah Imperial President had been arranged in a neutral nations during some other than official state meeting. Susan should throw out her old textbooks, its time for new ones.

    HERCULE TRIATHLON SAVINIEN

  9. WE’RE THE OTHER GUY!!

    [Were Number Two We Try Harder]

    Now, folks it’s only a mere short [147] One-Hundred and Forty-Seven days to go until the [4th of July], and the [GOP] Grand-Old-Party, open tent celebration, for the unveiling of its [2nd] Second Contract with America, and folks, its going to be a hum-dinger. Now, as many of you good people here remember, well some of the younger adults may not, but you older ones can attest to it, it weren’t too bad, we came out in clear view in writing an struck a deal that everyone if not pleased with at least could live with and we met the terms of that contract. Now, be that as it may, we know that we made mistakes, we freely and openly admit, that we got cocky, and we are heartily sorry, but everyone here has made a few mistakes in their time and all we are asking now of you is to give us the same chance you were given by other good folks of your caliber. Look folks were number [2] Two, and we promise [WE WILL TRY HARDER].

    [Who’s Invited In]

    We are having and open tent celebration of the New Contract with You, and were not the other guy;

    * You won’t hear yourselves being call un-American, or un-Patriotic, because you voice your anger or frustrations, at Town-Hall meetings.

    Your welcome here, if you feel like it well go on in an take off those store bought shoes and socks, and let your feet feel the cool green grass of this country’s soil, it’s like you it grew up here, and its no more un-American, or un-Patriotic then you, your past, present or future generations will be. Are you a Dreamer, are you a Thinker, are you a person that earns their living as a White or Blue Collar Worker, [Bad Old Tea-Baggers], are you a [Netchitizen], do you have young children, do you have elderly Ponders, well your all welcome, even if your sort of with the other side but they left you as they have many others, of the other side, we have heard it before, I didn’t leave them they, left me. Well ya’all just come right on in, we will make room. There will be plenty of vittles, and will have some of that good old sweet tea, for the mrs, and maybe we can rustle up some [JD] Jack Daniels, for the boys, the mrs, can drive you boys home. And, were even going to have preacher Huckabee up from Arkansas to do the opening prayer, it will be non-denominational, but feel free to bring your man of God along, with the rest of the family, we can all use a little more sav’in.

    [We’re The Other Guy]

    So, what’s in it for you, it’s hard times and we know many of you are out of work and your backs are against the wall, and the other guy is telling you what he’s going to do for you [if you like it or not], doesn’t ask, consult, or thinks you ain’t got the brains to understand when he’s doing something you don’t want done, maybe he just didn’t explain it right, when maybe he just didn’t listen, and never understood that two ears were a sign you should listen twice as much more than just opening mouth once to often. You need something else taken care of JOBS, putting food on the table, and paying the bills, government out of your life, and out of your wallets. Well folks in just a [147] One and Forty-Seven Days that’s all going to change, we may not agree but at least were willing listening, were going pull up a chair for you and the mrs, and were going to write down the things we can agree upon as to what should be done and were going to draw up an agreement a contract, our promise to you, were not going to be so foolish to this time tell you too read our lips, and then let you down, were going to say were going to give it our best, but it will also require your help, simple help, we know money’s tight, but be at the poles folks, vote for number [2] Two, if you feel were your best bet, that’s all we can and will ask. So, what’s in it for you, is simple what do you want to be in it for you, sit down, let’s talk, were not the other guy, you’re a Tea-Bagger well I’m proud to meet another Patriot like myself, lets work on making this a win/win contract, and not my way or the highway, take a hike over the other side of the Hill, if you get my drift, We’re The Other Guy!!

    HERCULE TRIATHLON SAVINIEN

    1. “Were Number Two”

      Then we’re in agreement.

  10. [What to comment upon?]

    Now for the last few days we haven’t really seen anything in the news we have wanted to write about it all seems pretty certain how things are going along, that’s badly for the American-Israeli Military Industrial Complex and its determined effort to complete the Father of Terror, Grand Chessboard Strategy and cage the Peoples Republic of China and the Russian Federation behind its missile wall built around them, and Trident Submarines at their highest patrol levels in their history, an now wanting the Taxpayers of the American-Israeli Military Industrial Complex to shoulder the increased tax burden of building up its Footholds Europe and Japan as the Dollar continues to weaken against all other major world currencies. But we finally began to look at things from the countries that have been under the boot heels of that never ending occupation.

    [Okinawa who’s real estate is it anyway?]

    We were reading the dumb comments made by the American-Israeli Military Industrial Complex [SOS] Secretary of State Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton concerning the Senkakus Islands [Clinton: Senkakus subject to security pact], which the taxpayers of the Military Industrial Complex are in the complete dark about, but its simply the Hillary believes that they the taxpayers of the American-Israeli Military Industrial Complex should go to a nuclear war over a small set of islands which are in debate over who’s territory it is the Japanese Empire or the Peoples Republic of China, but that being said it came to mind Okinawa who’s real estate is it anyway? The real question the people of Japan including its central government included is just who does Okinawa belong to? The way things are looking the [SOS] and her boss in the Oval Office of that Military Industrial Complex think’s it not only is the Real Estate of the American-Israeli Military Industrial Complex it’s a State of that Complex, much as Alaska is a detached but still State of the Complex.

    [Time to sell Okinawa?]

    It really has become that moment in history when the Central Government of Japan, its economic masters, and its tax base too answer the question as to just who does Okinawa belong to, what is the benefit of its remaining the property of a foreign state, the American-Israeli Military Industrial Complex, what are the short term and long term interests of the Japanese Empire and its tax base, and what does such a continued arrangement mean? It appears that all it means at this point in history is a burden upon the Central Government of Japan as each year a new Prime Minister is put into office, and the needs of the Japanese people are made second to the needs of a foreign force of occupation an occupation that no longer serves the interests of the Empire of Japan or its people. So, now if the answer is Okinawa is to remain the sole Foothold property of the American-Israeli Military Industrial Complex shouldn’t Japan just sell it off or give it way to that Complex and wash its hands of it, is there any real benefit to the continued support of someone else’s property, with no benefit to the Japanese Empire beyond being a burden to the Japanese economy and its people? The Russians sold Alaska, maybe its time the Japanese sold Okinawa!

    HERCULE TRIATHLON SAVINIEN

    1. dude why don’t you write a novel or something.

      1. He is, and publishing it for free at Reason.

      2. Hercule: The Novel is a little more verbose than LoneWacko: The Novel.

        1. You don’t know that, Epi. It all depends on how many times LoneWacko pasted ‘GoddamnedMexicans’ into his novel.

  11. Public piety to cover private wickedness. Nothing new under the sun.

  12. This study is just bullshit.

  13. http://scienceblogs.com/pharyn…..just_b.php

    PZ Myers strikes again.

    1. I’ll add: Fuck you too, PZ!

      1. Energised Democrats are so tiresome. The guy spoke gibberish for goodness sake.

        1. Teachers do it because they love it! That’s the only reason they do it!

          Nevermind the couple of months off, the near impossibility of getting fired, the pensions, the insurance…..

          1. Right, which is why they have been so eager to negotiate on pension and health insurance contributions with so many states and municipalities facing big budget deficits. They will gladly pay an extra $10/month for health insurance to help cut costs and balance the budget because they are teaching for the love of it, not for the benefits.

            1. To my surprise, one of the Pharyngulites brought this point up.

            2. Right, which is why they have been so eager to negotiate on pension and health insurance contributions with so many states and municipalities facing big budget deficits.

              Oh so true at many of the school districts here. The schools had to lay off a lot of teachers, all with less seniority. The ones negotiating are the teachers with the most seniority with no danger of losing their job. The greed of these people exceeds anything I have ever seen in the private sector.

    2. Do you suppose PZ Meyers is Hercule?

      1. I did learn through the comments at Pharyngula that Damon’s next movie will be directed by Neill Blomkamp, so I can’t say that Pharyngulites are entirely worthless.

      2. Hercule is everything…and nothing.

    3. Oh, yes, how silly of me, I nearly forgot.

      MATT DAMON!

  14. Is Hercule going to come on the next Reason cruise, like Steve Smith last year?

    1. Reason should sponsor a troll cruise, and then film it. It would be like watching hobos fighting over a steak, except that hobos usually aren’t fat.

      1. Can we sink the ship after it gets out to sea? If not, can we at least make sure cholera breaks out?

        1. Dude, there would be enough slung feces on that cruise to ensure an E Coli breakout, and probably cholera too. No worries. Besides, with all that fat, the boat will probably capsize.

          1. A cruise ship can only carry so much stupid.

        2. Just tell Alternet folks it’s a Reason cruise and hand them a rocket launcher. Film it, turn the film over to the police, kill two birds with one stone.

  15. It’s gotta be tough to do the control group on a study like that.

    You’ve got companies like Wal*Mart, Nike, McDonalds, Oil companies, et. al., all of whom have made really bad press in the past–and why wouldn’t they do what they can to counteract that?

    Then you’ve got companies like Whole Foods, Ben & Jerry’s, Toyota’s Prius, et. al., who make doing good a full on market advantage. People will pay more for their products just for the cache…

    But how many companies out there for your control group get really bad press and do nothing about it? How many of them pursue socially responsible behavior like Whole Foods, without advertising that fact to their customers?

    Find me some companies that get terrible press nationwide and do nothing socially responsible to counteract that image–then we’ve got half the control group. Find me some companies whose products themselves do a whole lot of socially responsible stuff–that their customers don’t know about–and then you’ve got the other half of the control group.

    I can’t think of more than a few companies in either category.

  16. This is like when you tell your kids to do (or not do) something, and they do what they want anyway, but say “but look mom, I cleaned the kitchen!”
    Would it not be better to just do what you should do in the first place?

    1. @ Episiarch|8.2.11 @ 3:32PM|

      Fucking threaded comments, how do they work?

      1. Yes, but fatter and stupider.

  17. The evil, uh do-gooder, company that I work for has volunteer hours as part of the metric for the quarterly bonus checks.

    Since they’ve cut the bonus check due to financial concerns, the number of public-do-good hours has dropped like a rock. Surprise!

    1. Mmmmmm, you can practically taste the Mandate.

  18. Companies that earn the highest profits are already doing the most good for society. Profits are the difference between what people willingly pay for products and services they want, less the costs in resources, capital, and labor to create those products and services. Since prices are set freely on the market to clear that market of goods, companies wasting the least resources to create those goods are the most profitable.

    Companies that make the biggest show of do-gooding are most likely the crooked ones, trying to assuage their guilt.

    1. Good point. But there is an agency issue here, perhaps. Bad publicity can hurt shareholder value, so offending corporations may be obligated to counteract that with “good publicity”. Although it might not be the most efficient use of capital, I imagine that it is the Board that authorizes these “Good Corporate Citizens” campaigns on behalf of shareholders. A more interesting study would be to see if Boards discipline/fire management in proportion to their dollar outlay on these types of PR campaigns.

  19. Why is a professor at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies studying businesses? Why am I not surprised that an environmental professor concluded that businesses are not really good?

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