May 2013, Chartered Institute Magazine
“Social responsibility claims, by businesses amount to little more than posturing to gain competitive advantage ,” was the motion at CIM- sponsored debate at the House of Commons in January.
Proposed by Unilever chief marketing officer Keith Weed and formed IPA director-general and now 23red strategic advisor Hamish Pringle, the motion was carried after Weed argued that too many businesses and their shareholders feel they can simply pay lip service to the expectations of the wider society.
Businesses do this either through “compensation” for negative impacts with handouts or by greenwashing, he said. “This is little more than posturing to gain competitive advantage,” Weed said.
Johnson & Johnson senior director Mark Lloyd Davies and Ernst & Young managing partner Liz Bingham opposed this motion. “The charitable things that businesses do to help communities around the world are socially responsible initiatives, not for posturing, but because they make good business sense in the long run,” said Davies.