CSR, Warriors and Peacekeepers

 

“Every soldier should be a warrior first”…

“The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits”…

Norwegian Peacekeeper during the Siege of Sarajevo, 1992 - 1993, photo by Mikhail Evstafiev.

Before the first peacekeeping mission was launched in 1948, a soldier was often regarded as nothing more than a warrior. With 98,582 uniformed peacekeepers deployed in the world at the end 2010 (United Nations), the military role has shifted from warrior to peacekeeper, and soldiers have been given new tasks involving assisting local populations, training police, restoring governments, supporting rescue efforts or reconstruction.

The “Warrior Ethos” still has supporters though. General Peter Schoomaker, the US army chief of staff, expressed alarm in 2003 that soldiers in Iraq “considered themselves to be support troops — cooks, mechanics and supply staff — rather than fighters”. He’s wrong.

As for the second quote – do I really need to mention the author? – although it’s the title of an article that was initially published in The New York Times Magazine on September 13, 1970, this theory still has some strong supporters too. They’re wrong. The same way the military role has evolved to meet the needs of  the last century, the role of business has changed too.

In the aftermath of the terrible earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Akhila Vijayaraghavan, a Justmeans staff writer for CSR and ethical consumption wrote an amazing article: “Beyond Business, CSR: Help Pouring in for Japan From Companies.”

UPS, Bayer, Abbott Laboratory, Walt Disney, Microsoft, VISA… the big names, the multinational corporations, the very ones that should be applying without mercy “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits” mantra, “are opening out their hearts and their wallets” wrote Akhila.

“Even small businesses are pitching in” she added, writing that “The Extreme Pita restaurant in Riverside (sister city to Sendai) is donating a portion of sales. The Takami Sushi Restaurant in downtown LA is donating 100% of all restaurant profits. In Phoenix, Stingray Sushi has created a Recovery Sushi Roll for $12, all of which will be donated to the American Red Cross.”

Akhila Vijayaraghavan´s article reminds me how wrong my 2 opening quotes are.

 Support the Red Cross.

 

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About Frederic Page
Learning & Development professional, based in Barcelona, Spain. Blogging about Corporate Sustainability and Social Responsibility.

2 Responses to CSR, Warriors and Peacekeepers

  1. mimibcn says:

    This is a very interesting post! I was captivated by the title and had to read more. It’s great to know that businesses large and small are donating time and money. I think we often forget that people do lead these companies and people have empathy for others. I’d add, however, that companies should (and do) contribute to the social good even when there is not a crisis (when is that?!), or to smaller, local causes. There is a lot of publicity to be gained from helping during a large-scal crisis. We should acknowledge those businesses that contribute every day, even when there is no press coverage.

    • aequology says:

      Thank you for your comment! I totally agree with you: demonstrating generosity in time of crisis is great but that should be a standard behaviour from companies as part of their CSR initiatives. Many of them do this already, we’ll keep on eye on them!

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