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Activism: How Good Corporate Citizens are Taking a Stand

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 26, 2018

Companies can be a force for good, and more and more, that means taking a stand on issues tied to their values. Consumers expect this from companies they do business with, but more and more, so do employees. In the recent Cone Communications Employee Engagement Study, “78% of employees expect companies to stand up for important social justice issues.” Here are a few examples of companies taking a stand in meaningful ways:

  • At Patagonia, the outdoor clothing company, the protection and preservation of the environment isn’t what they do when volunteering or writing checks. It’s the reason they’re in business. It is their every day’s work. As a result, this self-proclaimed ‘activist company’, recently took the changes to environmental regulation into their own hands as discussed in the Guardian.
  • Most recently, we saw Dick’s Sporting Goods be one of the first companies to set its own regulations on gun control. With heightened mass shootings, specifically school shootings, the company was proactive in taking on the very controversial topic of gun control. Here’s why.

  • In a slightly different scenario, Bank of America has emerged as an activist for diversity and inclusivity, topics that are important to their employees and customers across the country. For many years they have partnered with Ad Council in support of a Love Has No Labels campaign as a way to highlight inclusivity and diversity throughout their company and the community.
  • We can learn just as much from bad examples of corporate activism as we can from these good ones. For example, Pepsi attempted to take a stand on race relations in a recent ad. They said the goal of this ad was to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding, however it was perceived as trivializing racial strife. Pepsi apologized for this controversial advertisement that borrowed imagery from the Black Lives Matter movement and promptly took down the campaign.

Last year redefined responsible business operations to include taking a stand, something we see continuing to increase in 2018. The risks of not doing so can be high, both in disengagement from key stakeholders – employees, customers and other partners or alliances as well as lost business opportunities causing many companies to (re)evaluate what they stand for, and to what degree that will take action.

If your company is interested in incorporating advocacy into your corporate social responsibility program, reach out to us at or 407.975.6414. We can help you enhance your CSR program, or help you get started with one.


Tags:  activism  advocacy  corporate citizenship  examples  responsible business 

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