Mary Sims, JD, MA, an instructor in the graduate and undergraduate business programs, discusses “cause marketing” and corporate social responsibility in “Part of the Proceeds: What Does This Mean to Companies and Stakeholders Today?” published in Volume II of the Business and Economics Society International Anthology.
The ethical analysis discusses the reality that consumers feel good about buying goods and services from companies where part of the proceeds go to a worthwhile cause, or cause marketing, and whether those contributions truly make a difference or if they are solely a way to sell more products and services. The article explains some of the ways that businesses address the social and legal implications that companies must consider when they are acting in a way they represent to be socially responsible.
Sims examines several companies and corporations, such as Ben and Jerry’s, Sierra Trading Post, and TOMS Shoes, that align themselves with a cause with the intention of creating a win-win situation in which “the company makes money by selling more goods or services and brands their goods or services, and the stakeholders see the company as promoting worthwhile social objectives.”
“The study of a corporation from a Business Ethics point of view can be complex; infuriatingly difficult to tell fact from fiction and simultaneously troubling and encouraging,” she says. “Given this seemingly ever expanding influence of the national and multinational corporations, surely we must work from the premise that the corporations, private or public (along with the non-profit corporations) are in a unique position to do widespread good; their contributions can make a positive difference to organizations and people; very often with the result that both the company and the stakeholders benefit.”
“In this global business community, the corporations’ future is a future that will substantially and sustainably depend on their contribution to all of the stakeholders: environment, consumers, shareholders, employees and society.”