Tuesday, March 19, 2013

When CSR Infects a Corporation

From an agent in the field:

The company (Origin Energy) continues to pay their employees their full wages, but rather than doing accounting, admin or maintenance for the company, they're released to plant saplings, ladle out soup, and counsel troubled 'yoof' for the charity organisation of the employee's choosing. This "charity leave" is provided in addition to the employees annual leave. The only possible way it could make for good business is if consumers were so impressed with Origin's squeaky clean social conscience, that they'd choose to forgo a cheaper energy provider to make the world a kinder, friendlier place....bahahaha....God, are we proles really that stupid? I'm not sure I want to know the answer to that. In any case, I'm pretty sure Origin isn't pushing that angle with their customers, they're pretty quiet about it actually, rather it seems to be a recruiting lure, it's hinted at here:


I can't see why they wouldn't just offer their favoured charities discounted electricity and be done with it - seems far less economically destructive to my uneducated mind.

CSR is a disease. 

Let there be no doubt about it.

It just happens to infect corporations and not people.


daniel_ream said...

You have to remember that corporations are made up of people.

I work in IT and back when I was a beleaguered sysadmin I worked at one company where I'd spent significant effort setting up the supply chain for ordering new toner cartridges and getting rid of the old cartridges (they have to be sent back to the printer company).

My boss wanted me to ditch all that because some moppets from the local high school were running a "business" recycling toner cartridges (some kind of co-op or JA thing, whatever). When I pointed out that their little program couldn't be any better than what we already had, was likely to be much worse, and in any event would terminate at the end of the school year, leaving us in the lurch, his response was "should we not support education?"

Hey, dumbass, I already support education through my taxes and I don't even have any kids. If they want to run a business, they can learn to provide a service that has some value instead of trading on the "awww, isn't that pwecious" factor.

It later turned out that one of his own sproglets was in the program. It was entirely about Daddy using his position in the company to throw some nepotism his daughter's way.

While I think there's some truth to the "CSR = good PR" mentality, just as often I've seen CSR result from some highly placed employee misusing company funds to further their own crusader agenda.

I also think there's no small amount of female employees turning the workplace into a social/personal environment going on here.

Anonymous said...

Hey Cap, not sure if the problem is on my end, but your 'Shop at Amazon' link isn't working for me. I did access Amazon through the 'Enjoy The Decline" link, which is what I was purchasing anyway.

ukfred said...

Britain's HM Revenue & Customs also has this scam running for its employees.

Anonymous said...

A lot of big companies in Australia, particularly big carbon emitters, do the same thing.
Keep in mind that most, if not all, require it to be a work team day with a specific charity, not just "I'm helping out at my kid's school canteen".
Community Service is something that died thanks to women in the workplace.
I grew up in the 80s/90s and was probably the last generation to have lunch ladies being volunteer mothers before the became paid staff, resulting in fees going up.
There are lots of services now that government pay for that used to be covered purely by volunteers.

Anonymous said...

Cappy, CSR is directly linked to your bullseye rants about those airhead HR feminazis who keep hiring like-minded females into Marketing and PR. Before retiring I was a senior Marketing exec for large consumer brands that YOU and your readers all know. We were killers, focused ONLY on selling more stuff to more people more often in more places at more profit. Then during the mid-1990s the female HR airheads started infiltrating, followed by like-minded female (and/or gay) PR & Marketing airheads pushing for CSR ... resulting in my former employer's #1 brand putting cute white polar bear images on their iconic red cola cans for the past 2 Christmas seasons. It's enough to make me gag.

Anyway, just pointing out that the feminist invasion of HR is directly linked to CSR.


Anonymous said...

I think the cynic in me just naturally looks down on a lot of these do-gooder things, be they CSR, affirmative action, most large charity organizations, etc. If you want to know the depth of somebody's morality, see what they'd do if nobody would ever find out about it. So much of the do-gooder industry is about being seen doing good, not actually doing good.

When I was in high school, I looked at why a lot of people were volunteering and it almost uniformly came down to the fact that it looked good as far as getting into good colleges. Those people didn't give a damn about their community, they only cared about themselves.

I had a similar experience in college: The people who go and teach English for like two weeks in XYZ third world country? A far better use of their time would be volunteering training English teachers among the local population. But the pic with you and the college kid isn't quite as good as the pic of you with the cute little kids at the orphanage that you can show girls at the bar. Those people don't give a damn about what's good for those kids, they only care about themselves.

Recently I had the chance to spend a week with some Teach for America people. An enormous number of them were wealthy Ivy League types getting something to socially one-up their fellow SWPLs before riding daddy's connections to some other cushy job. The kind of people who use 'summer' as a verb, to use one of my favorite phrases. Talking to them, there was only one who seemed like she'd actually paid any serious thought to the well-being of her students or really even seemed concerned with their lives (surprise, surprise, she wasn't from an elite school). The rest just complained about teaching and partied a lot. They didn't give a damn about their students (except the one), they only cared about themselves.

Phil Galt said...

If I could only show you some of the crap behind the firewall of one of our clients. It's a huge semiconductor firm, and if you took a shot every time you read the word "empower" you'd have alcohol poisoning before you finished....

Dance...dance to the radio said...

Is charity leave tax deductible?

AgentInTheField said...

As a consumer I believe corporations have but one social responsibility - to provide me with the product or service I want, at a competitive price.

Gee, let me think, will Bill Gates have achieved more good in the world through the provision a product that hundreds of millions of people wanted and voluntarily paid for, OR, by wasting his hard-earned billions on "philanthropic" endeavours?!

Tough one, right? Lol.

Eric Mueller said...

While I firmly believe in giving part of my income for various things, most "charity" seems to be little more than what I call "secular piety". Most charity I find to be about as effective as the subjective "raising awareness". Those kind of people hate me. "We're raising awareness of breast cancer!" "I'm aware of it. You can leave me alone now.

I've never been impressed by most corporate attempts at charity. You want me to pay more for a service for this?

I used to work at a large defense contractor that had posters up in the breakroom about it being "A global company with a local heart". Every year, they launched a United Way campaign where they tried to strong-arm us into giving, so they could hit some magical number about employee contributions. I give to my own causes for my own reasons and have no reason to report it to my employer. While the United Way functions weren't mandatory, if you were in the office, they'd try to corral you. I usually went out to lunch or took a vacation day.

One time they brought in some guy to talk about how great United Way was for helping him with testicular cancer or prostate cancer or something. Dude showed in still in his tennis outfit carrying a tennis racket for the talk. I wasn't impressed by him.

Andrew said...

Eric: Don't know about you but I would have piped up in a manner that would have gotten me fired.

"We make shit, that kills people, for profit. If any of us wanted to make the world a better place, we'd quit our fucking jobs."

Eric Mueller said...

Andrew, love it! I should have tried that.

When I was in the Navy, I did make similar comments. Occasionally another sailor would part ways with me and say "Peace". I'd say "No. War man! If there were peace, we'd be out of a job".