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Good Works!: Marketing and Corporate Initiatives that Build a Better World...and the Bottom Line by Nancy R. Lee, David Hessekiel, Philip Kotler

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Chapter 1

Good Intentions Aren't Enough: Why Some Marketing and Corporate Social Initiatives Fail and Others Succeed

When we come out of this fog, this notion that companies need to stand for something—they need to be accountable for more than just the money they earn—is going to be profound.1

—Jeffrey Immelt, Chairman and CEO, General Electric

At the November 2008 Business for Social Responsibility Conference

In the oft-cited 1970 article The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, economist Milton Friedman argued that business leaders had “no responsibilities other than to maximize profit for the shareholders.”2 Four decades later, the public statements of corporate leaders such as General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt quoted above and surveys of the general population indicate Friedman's argument is far from the majority view. A 2011 global consumer study by Cone Communications found only 6 percent of consumers in 10 countries agreed with the philosophy that the role of business in society is to “Just make money”3 (see Figure 1.1).

Figure 1.1 The overwhelming majority of consumers surveyed in 10 countries in 2011 for the Cone/Echol Global CR Opportunity Study indicated they believe businesses have societal responsibilities beyond generating profits.

1.1

More recently, Harvard's Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer have argued that businesses must adopt a “shared ...

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