The Washington Post has an interesting report about the relative social responsibility of America’s corporations. If you find reading about business interesting, or if you hate business and want to read about it squirming you should read the article.
The most interesting part of the article to me was the author’s decision not to count a corporation’s charitable donations when considering its level of social responsibility. While I agree with that choice, because of the large cash advantage some companies have over others, it was interesting to read the quotes from representatives of the three most socially irresponsible companies. Without exception each of these corporate mouthpieces attempted to use the amount of money that their employer or its employees donates as justification for why they should not have received the ranking they did. To me, those arguments highlighted one of the real shames in our society.
Far too often, people believe that the best solution to our problems is to throw money at them. All of these companies want to buy our love and support by throwing money at charities. When the government faces a problem its first option is to throw money at it. It seems as if the individual aspects of cleaning up our society are, largely, gone. While money is important it can not solve problems without the commitment of people to do the right thing. So, I am glad that these companies were not let off the hook for the socially irresponsible things they do simply because they throw millions of dollars to the public.
Now, to satisfy your curiosity the three least socially responsible corporations were: Eastman Chemical; Lockheed Martin; and in case you didn’t get it from the title–ExxonMobil is the least socially responsible corporation in America.