EDITORIAL: Short-term charity pledges don’t work

At a Business in the Community seminar this week, Anne-Marie Huby of Medecins Sans Frontieres took the wind out of the sales of many a good corporate citizen with her hard-hitting comments on the real benefits, or otherwise, of corporate social responsibility.

At a Business in the Community seminar this week, Anne-Marie Huby

of Medecins Sans Frontieres took the wind out of the sales of many a

good corporate citizen with her hard-hitting comments on the real

benefits, or otherwise, of corporate social responsibility.



Contrary to the common misconception that all acts of corporate

generosity are a ’good thing’, Huby pointed out that throwing money at a

cause does little bar salve the corporate conscience.



To date, corporate community campaigns have all too often been devised

on a short-term basis. But to be truly effective from both the company’s

and the charity’s point of view, acts of magnanimity must be sustainable

and appropriate.



Over one-third of all emergency medical supplies donated to aid workers

in Macedonia and Albania by Western pharmaceutical companies, for

example, have recently had to be jettisoned after they were found to

contain anti-smoking packs and lip salve rather than anticipated

syringes and antibiotics.



Effective corporate social responsibility involves a long-term

commitment in terms of the provision or even development of relevant

products with real benefits. This kind of policy decision has

wide-ranging consequences.



However, through this commitment, not only will the charities involved

reap benefit, but the company’s investment will stand out from the crowd

of cause-related head-shaving marathons and sponsored walks.



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