In Praise of Socially Responsible Corporations

Wonderful, socially responsible corporations do exist. They deserve our praise and our support. And they welcome appropriate regulation. But we need to do our part!

Many Socially Responsible Corporations Exist

A fairly extensive list is given at the end of this article.

Socially Responsible Corporations Welcome Regulation

Of course, the operative word is appropriate regulation. After all, too much of a good thing is not good! Water is vital for life, but you can drown in it! So there must be sensible boundaries. But the fact is that socially responsible corporations welcome regulation, for the simple fact that they prevent unethical corporations from obtaining an unfair advantage.

For example:

  • Unethical corporations happily put partially hydrogenated oils in their foods, because they’re virtually indestructible, which extends the shelf life of the products (which are “foods” only to the extent that they are ingestible substances). Extended shelf life means greater profits, or cheaper prices, which improve sales relative to healthy foods.
  • Unethical corporations pollute the environment, because the cost of cleaning up after themselves reduces profits. For those corporations, either government can clean it up or people can get sick. Either outcome is fine, as long as they’re not bothered with the costs. On the other hand, socially responsible corporations want to keep the environment clean, but place themselves at a severe competitive disadvantage if they incur the costs alone.

The Proper Role of Government

Socially responsible corporations therefore welcome appropriate government regulations, to level the playing field and to make it possible to be profitable while “doing no harm” to people or the planet.

We Need to Do Our Part

But to get those regulations, they need our help. The fact of the matter is that we determine the kind of government we have. If we allow Big Money to rule the roost, then even a socially responsible corporation can be outspent by a collection rivals who are intent on maximizing profits at the expense of society.

As long as campaigns are dominated by advertising, then a socially responsible corporation has to spend a ton of money to keep things fair, and to continue to do good in the world. But they shouldn’t have to! They should know that people who were elected are in office because they had a good heart and good ideas — not because they accept giant wads of cash from corporate donors, and who will therefore be beholden to those corporations when the lobbyists come a-knockin’.

The Solution: A Voting Advice System

Clearly then, we need to do our part. To do that we need to be informed voters. But we need to be informed in a way that does not depend on huge campaign contributions. And that is the service that the Voting Advice System seeks to achieve. (Hopefully, you are now well-enough informed to add your signature to the Declaration of Support!)

Notable Socially Responsible Corporations

This list was gathered from several sources on the web (the list is below). The companies are ranked in approximate order of “social responsibility” based on the number of lists in which they appear, and their ranking in those lists:

Company#ofRankings1234Normalized Ranking
2Credo Mobile *01
4Ben & Jerrys122
5Levi Straus2413
6Solar City133
9Walt Disney2434
11 Costco 2 9 2 6
15Warby Parker155
18Calvin Klein177
22Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia188
25CVS Health11010
26Trader Joe’s11010

* Credo Mobile was not anyone’s list, but should have been. They donate a portion of their profits to progressive causes, let you choose the causes to donate to, and if you round up your bill, the excess is automatically donated.

Referenced Websites


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