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Social Responsibility Makes Business Sense, Panelists Say

February 17, 2014

Asking whether corporate social responsibility efforts improve the bottom line is the wrong question, says Drexel LeBow Assistant Professor Daniel Korschun. “That’s like asking, ‘Should I advertise more?’ The question is not should we be involved, but rather how we can configure social responsibility in ways that contribute to business performance.”

Korschun, co-author of the book “Leveraging Corporate Responsibility: The Stakeholder Route to Maximizing Business and Social Value,” made his remarks as moderator of a panel discussion (view video) sponsored by LeBow’s Center for Corporate Reputation Management.

Highlights of the participants’ comments included:

Ed Satell, founder, Progressive Business Publications

In today’s world, sustainability is a great marketing concept. It’s in businesses’ self-interest. All wealth comes from the community; to be successful, businesses need successful communities. You can’t say if I had the time and if I had the money, I’d do it. Everybody’s got some time and everybody’s got some money. Get involved in something you’re passionate about.

Paul Beideman, President & CEO, Avenue of the Arts

You can be really good at CSR or you can squander a whole lot of money and not be of any value to your company. You need to listen to your employees and customers about what they think is important. CSR is more than philanthropy, it’s also about how you manage your organization.

Camilla Meiby, IKEA store manager

We think about sustainability in everything we do. By 2016 IKEA will sell only LED light bulbs; for every LED bulb we sell now, we donate $1 to the United Nations. We have a 10-year-old soft-toy campaign that supports UNICEF and Save the Children. It would take 1.5 planets to sustain the world’s current energy consumption. Sustainability is for every product, for every customer.

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Headshot of Daniel Korschun

Department Head & Stephen Cozen Research Scholar in Marketing