Who Benefits From Corporate Social Responsibility?
Concerned with enhancing a business’ sustainability through making ethical options, a participant raised the question, “Is it realistic for companies to advertise how [responsibly] their products are made?” In response, Vogel told a story about when Levi’s CEO Bob Haas was asked by fellow classmates why none of the apparel company’s philanthropic efforts were ever publicized. Haas went around and asked every lady in the classroom what criteria she used in deciding which pair of jeans to buy. The answer was unanimous – “the pair of jeans that makes me look the thinnest.” Vogel’s take on the question: “Virtually no one has done that because they don’t think customers would pay a premium.” However, his studies show that consumers are more likely to be responsive when part of the benefits go to the product itself, citing organic goods as an example. On the contrary, when all of the social benefits go to someone else, as in the case of fair trade and improved labor conditions, the buyer is