Blogs & Comment

CSR News

I just got an update from Jantzi Research(Canadas leading provider of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) research for institutional investors) that their Jantzi Social Index decreased in value by 5.63% during the month of November 2007. During the same period, the S&P/TSX Composite Index and the S&P/TSX 60 Index decreased by 6.22% and 5.78% respectively. According to Jantzti, from its inception in 2000, the JSI has achieved an annualized return of 8.53%, while the S&P/TSX Composite and the S&P/TSX 60 had annualized returns of 8.24% and 8.03% respectively, over the same period. These results add to the growing base of evidence that supports the business case for corporate responsibility.

Here are a few other interesting news items that underscore the impact of cause related marketing (from the Cause Marketing Forum).

Product (RED) recently announced that it had hit the $50 million mark in funds generated by the sales of (RED)-licensed products and contributed to fight AIDS in Africa.

In the eleven years after its launch, the General Mills Box Tops for Educationprogram has engaged over 90,000 K-8 schools in raising funds by sending in Box Top coupons worth 10 cents each. The program stands out in terms of transparency thanks to its simple 10 cents per box top metric and the clarity with which the programs other fundraising options (online shopping and book clubs) are explained.

Paul Newman and the Newmans Own Foundationdonate all profits and royalties after taxes to educational and charitable purposes. This has amounted to over $200 million to thousands of charities since 1982.

I wonder when more Canadian brands will demonstrate this degree of commitment to a cause? Importantly, genuine commitment also delivers the authenticity that is needed to overcome skepticism from consumers.
I believe business purpose + social purpose = more meaning at a consumer level. And, with an increasing genericness to products and services, more meaning means more differentiation, and more differentiation translates into more sales.