CSR Roundup – March 6, 2013

It’s a video bonus! Check out one debate to find out what CSR has to do with charity. (Hint: it’s nothing.)


Meanwhile, in print:

  • It’s the era of “we, not me,” according to PRWeek. Employing a new buzzword, one expert says “corporate socialanthropy” defines the new era of reputation management for businesses big and small.
  • A case study discusses the international definition of a socially responsible company.
  • If today’s students are tomorrow’s CEOs, there are great things to come in socially responsible business! A high school entrepreneurship class challenges students to develop “for-purpose” business plans—breaking through the traditional for-profit model.
  • What do John Deere, Pfizer and PepsiCo have in common? They’re all contributing to development in emerging markets.
  • Ethispere released its ranking of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for 2013, with a record of 143 companies.

CSR Roundup – Feb. 27, 2013


CSR Roundup – Feb. 20, 2013

Photo: ABC News (Gerald Herbert/AP Photo)
  • From the Carnival cruise fiasco to horse meat “beef” in grocery stores, recent crises have highlighted the importance of consumer trust in businesses—or as Drake would call them, #trustissues.
  • Forbes lists six criteria for selecting a CSR consultant. Does a blog and a bachelor’s degree count…?
  • 3BL Media, a distributor of CSR and sustainability news, has signed a distribution agreement with the Associated Press.
  • For sustainability tidbits from the mouths (or thumbs) of experts, follow these 34 corporate sustainability execs on Twitter.
  • Next Monday, Feb. 25 is International Corporate Philanthropy Day and the 8th annual Board of Boards CEO Conference, hosted by CECP. CECP will also present its Excellence Awards in Corporate Philanthropy. For background on the organization’s past events, check out these takeaways from the CECP Corporate Philanthropy Summit, held last summer in New York.

Five (Free!) CSR Mobile Apps

Corporate transparency has become more and more prevalent in today’s digital age. Shoppers equipped with a smartphone can access business and product information with a tap of their thumb. Taking advantage of this, organizations have created mobile apps focused on a variety of aspects of CSR, so consumers can take this information with them wherever they go. Below are just five of the free CSR apps available!



No matter what issues you support, the GoodGuide app can help inform your shopping decisions. The app connects to the GoodGuide website, which ranks consumer products based on a number of areas of social responsibility, including climate change, fair trade, human rights and nutrition. In addition, the GoodGuide app allows users to scan products in stores in order to access an overall company rating for social responsibility, as well as certifications the company has received. The app also allows major personalization—users can filter based on the issues they care about the most, flag problematic product ingredients and track purchases. It’s available for both Android and iOS devices.

Seafood Watch


If you’re a lover of seafood and sustainability, Seafood Watch is a great resource for you. Created by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Seafood Watch provides up-to-date recommendations for sustainable seafood at restaurants and stores geographically near the user. Users can access “Best Choice,” “Good Alternative” and “Avoid” rankings, as well as “Super Green” seafood that is both healthy and sustainable. The newest version also allows users to share locations where they have found sustainable seafood. The app is available for Android and iPhone.



Free2Work seeks to eradicate human trafficking and modern-day slavery by telling “the story behind the bar code.” A project of Not for Sale, Free2Work allows consumers to access company ratings on policies, transparency, monitoring and worker rights by scanning product bar codes. The app links to social media accounts so users can share findings on Facebook and Twitter. Free2Work features information across a number of consumer industries, including apparel, chocolate and technology. It’s available for both Android and iOS devices.

HRC Foundation Buying for Workplace Equality Guide


Like others on this list, the Human Rights Center app is designed to inform buying decisions on the go. It focuses specifically on LGBT equality in company workplaces. The app includes a highly comprehensive catalog of business and products and their HRC Corporate Equality Index ranking. Each featured business and brand has its own detailed breakdown of workplace policies that contribute to the ranking, such as non-discrimination policies and domestic partner health insurance. The guide links to social media outlets. As of now, it appears to only be available on the iPhone.

Fair Trade Finder


Created by Fair Trade USA, Fair Trade Finder is a crowdsourcing app that encourages users to add, tag and photograph Fair Trade Certified products to add to the catalog. The app seeks to help users find fair trade products wherever they are. Fair Trade Finder is available on iPhone and Android, and can also be accessed on Facebook.

Know of another great CSR app? Share it in the comments below.

CSR Roundup – Feb. 6, 2013

CSR Roundup – Jan. 30, 2013

Each week, I’ll post a brief roundup of the latest and greatest in CSR news, with links to read the full story. 

  • From Target to Toyota, it looks like corporate philanthropy programs in the United States are here to stay.
  • McDonald’s announced this week that the company will only use sustainable Alaskan Pollack in its Filet-O-Fish sandwich and Fish McBites. Meanwhile, Burger King, IHOP and In-N-Out have also launched food-sourcing initiatives. Could restaurant chains be the leaders in CSR?
  • A new infographic from Edelman’s annual goodpurpose study shows that 76 percent of consumers would buy and recommend products from a company that supports a good cause.
  • Social media and government involvement are just two CSR trends to watch in 2013.

That’s all for now! Next week, I’ll delve deeper into Edelman’s goodpurpose study. Stay tuned.

Coca-Cola anti-obesity ad: CSR or defense move?

A new Coca-Cola ad targets the obesity epidemic in an unprecedented way.

Last week, the beverage company released an advertisement addressing its role in obesity. The ad, called “Coming Together,” met mixed reviews. “Coming Together” boasts the availability of low calorie and no calorie Coca-Cola products, as well as solutions such as all natural zero calorie sweetener. The ad also stresses that all calories count, “no matter where they come from, including Coca-Cola and everything else with calories,” says a voiceover in the video.

“And if you eat and drink more calories than you burn off, you’ll gain weight,” the voiceover goes on to say.

The ad represents a larger campaign within the company. The video directs viewers to a website displaying Coca-Cola’s low calorie drinks and initiatives to fight obesity. The company also showed an ad during American Idol called “Be Ok,” demonstrating different ways to burn 140 calories.

Is this a socially responsible move on Coca-Cola’s part? Some say no.

Many believe the ad is misleading in its message that all calories count, including Barry Popkin, a nutrition professor at UNC-Chapel Hill.

“The Coca-Cola Company still remains one of the major causes of obesity in the USA and globally,” said Popkin in a USA Today interview. “Yes, other foods matter, but the biggest single source contributor to child and adult obesity in the USA is sugar-sweetened beverages.”

A business’ CSR effort generally focuses on some area where they’ve faced criticism, and from this perspective, Coca-Cola is right to focus on obesity. This isn’t the company’s first CSR effort in the realm of public health – Coke has worked with the Boys & Girls Club on Triple Play, a youth health initiative, since 2005.

But the backlash from public health professionals may demonstrate that Coca-Cola wasn’t ready to enter the conversation. If your company’s CSR causes controversy, it might be better for the business not to address the issue so directly.

Despite the criticism, it seems consumers are standing behind the brand. Coca-Cola created a page for people to vote on whether the ads “hit the mark or miss the mark.” As of today, three quarters of voters say the ads hit the mark, with 400 total votes.


Hey! My name is Nora Chan, and I’m a senior public relations major at UNC-Chapel Hill. I started this blog to share my thoughts on goings-on in the world of CSR. I’m excited to challenge myself to delve into the topic of corporate responsibility. I’m no expert, but I hope this will be a learning process for me and any readers!

I became interested in corporate responsibility while interning at the Orange County Rape Crisis Center. I had planned on majoring in journalism since my freshman year, but wasn’t sure about my purpose in PR. As a Spanish speaking intern at the nonprofit, I realized the importance of reaching audiences when working for such an amazing cause. 

Brands and corporations are being held increasingly accountable for their impact. I feel this presents an exciting opportunity to connect corporations with organizations that help communities.

I’m excited to learn more, and I hope you’ll stay tuned and share your thoughts throughout the coming months. Thanks for stopping by!