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Responsible Companies:Creative Activists

No discernible conenction between the two subjects in the title . . . except the one often bears no relationship to the other; that is, responsible companies may still be the targets of activists. This is simply a truth . . . just like even good companies will suffer the effects of the trust deficit at some point.

CRO magazine just came out with its 100 Best Corporate Citizens list and there are some fascinating and some would say questionable members of the club. But CRO Magazine has the merit of being completely frank about the list:

"Even with those eight companies (that is, companies in "the penalty box"- my note) temporarily pushed aside, a spot on 100 Best shouldn’t be viewed as an automatic sainthood nomination. Among the largest companies in the United States, many of the corporations that made the list face complex regulatory issues, some cope with the consequences today of yesterday’s sub-par practices, and many have very diverse businesses scattered across dozens of countries, further complicating the equation. Instead, these data-driven rankings should be seen as a way to gauge how the major players in U.S. business stack up against one another relative to their corporate responsibility programs in the real world."

At the same time, I noticed a few days ago a report in The Washington Post on a note found in some boxes of Kleenex in the New York area warning the purchaser that the parent company is destroying boreal forests in B.C. Greenpeace denies that it is involved with the campaign, but does admit there are vigilantes and that it finds the whole campaign amusing anyway: Greenpeace's forests campaigner, Rolf Skar, said the leaflet was not officially sanctioned, but he finds it "sort of funny (and) "a new way of engaging directly with consumers."

Greenpeacevacilagndolade_2 Also in the category of creative activism, the same organization is campaigning to rid the world of CFls. In Argentina in early February, Greenpeace's protest (link is to a Spanish post) involved removing a store's entire stock of incandescent bulbs.

Let me clear, I am not condoning this kind of activism. On the contrary, what I see when I look through the CRO magazine 100 list are many companies who spend enormous amounts of money and time trying to do good, to make a social contribution, and to mitigate -- yes it's sometimes true -- the worst consequences of their very business (although frankly I see nothing wrong with that.)

What distinguishes the best is often the extent to which they take aggressive, speedy and suitable steps to SOLVE PROBLEMS. Is that what these type of protests do? No . . . but they're fun right?

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