Tuesday, July 31, 2012

corporate social responsibility

Isuzu Philippines adopts trees in the
Makiling Botanic Garden
Some of the people at the PA3i-LB get-together are experts in forestry conservation. They talked about the Makiling Botanic Garden, the venue of the meeting, and how the trees and the other plants are being maintained.

One of the paradigm shifts the administrators of the garden is pursuing is about tree planting activities, a popular type of environment-conscious projects to industrial companies. Now, instead of tree-planting, people are being encouraged to participate or to spearhead tree-nurturing activities; instead of just planting trees up the mountain, the companies are made to commit the first two years after tree-planting for caring for the trees as they grow.

Alternatively, the company representatives who talk with the garden administrators are instead asked to adopt a part of the Makiling National Reserve for conservation purposes. Isuzu Philippines, as shown in the photo here, is one of those companies that has donated funds to help conserve the dipterocarp arboretum (trees). Now that is long-term corporate social responsibility.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR), however, is not limited to companies' employees planting trees or to cleaning up the streets. It can also be about them making sure that children have ample resources in the classroom or that the food being sold in the market is safe to eat.

Dongmin Kong of the Huazhong University School of Economics discusses investor behavior and CSR in the article entitled "Does corporate social responsibility matter in the food industry? Evidence from a nature experiment in China". In this article the author used China's milk-melamine fiasco to study investors' trade patterns and food companies' CSRs. The study's findings indicate that when a crisis in food companies occur, such as the melamine incident, CSR activities try to soften the blow of short-term negative investor reaction to the companies in question.

To me, then, CSR functions as a public relations tool to keep the good name of the companies affected. Does it mean, when companies adopt trees or contribute toward research potentially leading to food security, it's only all about boosting the corporate image? Or are these companies really concerned with the greater good?

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To have a look at the article, please see the details below:

Kong, D. 2012. Does corporate social responsibility matter in the food industry? Evidence from a nature experiment in China. In: Food Policy 37: 323-334