Friday, February 10, 2012

Bell and Corporate Social Responsibility

This is a press release about Bell’s Let’s Talk Day held on February 8, 2012. The campaign aimed at raising awareness about mental health and reducing the stigma associated with mental illness. For every text and long distance call made by Bell customers, Bell donated 5 cents to go towards mental health programs. The grand total came to $3,926,014! Canadian speed skater Clara Hughes served as a national spokesperson for the campaign. I thought this was particularly interesting because it is a perfect example of a company’s social responsibility.

As we saw in the film “The Corporation” it was mentioned that it is unknown if corporations really care about the cause they are supporting or whether they do it to improve the image of the company in the eyes of the consumer. But really does it matter?

In some cases companies will do something for a good cause so the consumer might have a positive outlook on the company. We saw in a case from the film that companies will donate a portion of their profits to a good cause but what they do not show is that their products are sometimes linked to sweatshops and other negative factors. In a case like this, is it easy to distinguish their reasoning behind their acts of goodwill? Are they doing it because they genuinely care about the foundation they are supporting or are they just trying to gain a positive outlook from the consumer’s eyes?

Another issue is when a company like Bell is linked to brand name products like the iPhone, and the production of the iPhone in China is linked to child labour and high suicide rates, if it affects the social image of Apple as a corporation, does it affect Bell’s social image for dealing with them? Should it?

These are all debatable issues and they are more common than you might think. There is a lot that happens behind closed doors especially when companies outsource and manufacture their products in countries that can offer cheap labour. Ultimately, it is the consumer who buys these products linked to sweatshops, and the consumer that supports these acts by buying from these corporations.

- Andy Roy

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