CSR Is Changing: Web 2.0 and Social Media and Its Importance For CSR

// The current oil spill disaster brings up a new question. How come that a company, which invested millions in a marketing campaign so that it would be perceived as an environmental friendly company, now turned out to be a big liar? BP was named to be a sustainable company and listed in numerous rankings. Now they have disappointed consumers that started to believe in the importance of corporate responsibility.

But in a world, in which it is shown that consumers become more aware of what influence their buying/consuming behavior can have on business behaviors, transparency gets more important. People need to know the truth about how social and environmental friendly companies really are. Author and business theorist Douglas Rushkoff was quoted: “The only thing that actually matters is corporate activity…if it’s doing something real, that will be communicated. You don’t decide to be transparent; you are transparent.”

This article really shows an interesting perspective on how CSR is changing through the oil spilling disaster of BP. The author is putting a great emphasize on the role of social media regarding CSR.

„The rise of social media has gone hand-in-hand with the ascent of a new breed of mainstream “consciousness” that’s one part Whole Foods and one part “Inconvenient Truth”–an emphasis on the local, the sustainable, the future-minded. The combination of the two, in turn, has been a significant public relations win for businesses, including massive corporations, that want to push a progressive image.“

Furthermore, this post by Intel states the importance of web 2.0 for CSR and transparency:

“There is so much potential for companies that value open and transparent dialog with their employees and other stakeholders. All they have to do is tap into the exciting tools offered by the web. The use of Web 2.0 is positioned to turn intranet sites, especially those of large corporate giants, into a platform to give employees their say within an informal framework. At the same time, Web 2.0 is a valuable tool, which can be used by corporations to inform their stakeholders about on-going and upcoming CSR activities, thereby involving them in the bigger picture – making them real partners in the contribution to the community.”

So maybe we really have to hope that through social media and web 2.0 we will get more information on how we can behave more responsibly and in which companies we can trust.

“Imagine if when (the BP) disaster happened, think about what would have happened if they embraced the social networks,” Ogilvy planning director Evan Slater said during a panel at #Promise. “Instead of telling people, ‘you can’t come research this’…imagine if they had gone out to the social networks and said, ‘We’re going to take $30 million and put out a reward for the group of individuals, the organization, the company, that can find a solution to this problem.’ I think the difference would have been phenomenal.”

http://www.smartplanet.com/business/blog/smart-takes/corporate-social-responsibility-learning-from-the-bp-oil-spill/8055/

http://blogs.intel.com/csr/2008/11/web_20_and_csr_-_getting_the_m.php

http://www.vault.com/wps/portal/usa/blogs/entry-list/?blog_id=1462&page_type=blogs

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One response to this post.

  1. I feel that using social media is also a great way to connect to young people and can influence them as they will be the ones with the spending power in the future. Also, it is a great way to educate people about CSR as it is convenient and fast to access the web. I also agree with Douglas Rushkoff that if companies are actually practicing CSR, they do not need to proclaim it to the world as people can witness it for themselves and they will tell others about it through word-of-mouth which is more trustworthy.

    Reply

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