Monday, June 4, 2012

In Praise of Corporate Citizenship

My employer, a small but successful business in a small Colorado town, has long had a generation of giving back to the community and supporting good causes. Their charitable giving doesn't really follow a theme, unless the theme is "keep it local." I'm proud to work for a business that cares about their community like this.

Many large corporations have the same sense of corporate citizenship. I would name names, but the list would be prohibitively long. I applaud all of these corporations for doing something that they don't have to do, something that they are not legally required to do, but for which they feel a sense of obligation - even a sense of mission. And most of these companies do not make a big deal about their goodwill efforts; they keep it pretty quiet.

Rather than name names, I will give you an example of one such corporate citizen. Browse the "Community and Development" section of the ExxonMobile website to see what this large, multinational corporation is doing to make the world a better place.

After reading that, you may be tempted to pen a response, about how this example directly contradicts the Big Bad Oil Company's bad behavior elsewhere. Please resist the temptation to do so. Instead, take that energy and do one of two things with it: (1) investigate the goodwill activities of your own favorite for-profit corporation, and write something about it; or (2) find something that you can do, in your own community or sphere of influence, to make the world a better place.

POSTSCRIPT: Some people will also point out that none of these corporations are doing this out of the goodness of their hearts. In some cases they are right, but in the case of my employer, they are wrong. My employer gives, sometimes anonymously, just because it's the right thing to do.

In the cases where the skeptics are right, I would suggest that the corporations are taking a long-term view on their bottom line, believing that promoting K-12 math and science education, malaria prevention, or women's economic opportunities, today will lead to more skilled employees in a decade or more.

1 comment:

Ruben Kackstaetter said...

Your employer isn't looking for interns this summer is he? Or for a recent grad in electrical engineering in the first month of next year? If he is would you please contact me with information on how to contact him. Thanks