Shopping for a cause.

November 10, 2011 | Teresa

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I have always been a big fan of Coke and its iconic red can, so the recent announcement by Coke to change the color of its can to all white for a brief time (from November 1, 2011 to January 15, 2012) to help support the World Wildlife Federation's efforts to save endangered animals in the polar region, caught my eye.  By buying a "white" Coke during this time I will be helping contribute to saving the polar bears!

With the Christmas season around the corner, and more shopping to be done than any other time of the year, do efforts like this influence how we shop? 

A number of companies donate a portion of their sales to worthy causes.  A few examples include Tom's shoes which donates a new pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair sold,  Better World Books, an on-line used book site that  helps find new homes for unwanted books, donating 3.3 million books to date to partner programs around the world.  Their five primary literacy partners are : Books for Africa, Room to Read, Worldfund, the National Center for Family Literacy, and Invisible Children and The Body Shop, which runs a program called Community Trade, that has the Body Shop purchasing ingredients, gifts and accessories from marginalized countries - giving small entrepreneurs access to a global distribution market. 

Corporate social responsibility (CSR, also called corporate conscience, corporate citizenship, social performance, or sustainable responsible business), has become one of the benchmarks when a company is evaluated by investors and well as potential employees.  If done right, it can elevate a company's profile and is good for the bottom line.  If done incorrectly, it can smack of hypocrisy and insincerity.   

Check out some other examples of CSR done right and wrong.  Toronto Public Library has a number of books on this topic.  Check out a few recent examples below:

CSR Business ethics for dummies     CSR Business ethics     CSR Corporate Social Responsibility

TPL also subscribes to a periodical entitled Corporate Knights, which is devoted entirely to this topic, as well as having a number of websites bookmarked that discuss CSR. 

Do you support a company that is trying to make the world a better place?