New Trends in Altruistic Businesses

<strong>BRANDON WONG |</strong> Staff Photographer<br>Disneyland, like other businesses, is taking a new publicity approach, encouraging customers to volunteer.

BRANDON WONG | Staff Photographer
Disneyland, like other businesses, is taking a new publicity approach, encouraging customers to volunteer.

For the past several years, businesses have been increasingly socially-conscious and thus they participate in volunteerism and political and environmental activism.

As they reap profits for everyday items, businesses simultaneously pursue philanthropic projects funded by their income. Some businesses also sponsor many community and volunteer organizations.

According to Geetanjali Singh, a second-year M.B.A student from The Paul Merage School of Business, businesses should be aware of what the consumers are exposed to, especially political and environmental activism and humanitarianism. In the business world, paying attention to the community and its needs are highly crucial aspects.

“If [the businesses] want people to buy products,” Singh said, “then they have to match the mentality of the customers.”

Companies go beyond profiting from the purchases of everyday items such as beverages, office supplies, and books. The business profits assist other volunteer organizations and community services.

But why are companies and enterprises giving handouts to the less fortunate? What is the sole purpose of socially-conscious businesses?

“Companies want to help out their communities. It is about giving back,” Singh said.

Singh also mentions that companies and corporations exercise social consciousness in different ways.

“There are two ways [of conducting social consciousness in a business]: reactive and proactive. In a reactive way, if a business causes a problem, then it will make a resolution. In a proactive way, there is no problem, but the business helps out [in other volunteer efforts],” Singh said.

Singh also mentions how some businesses are becoming more environmentally friendly and conservative. Sony, for instance, is conserving its packaging materials for its CDs. The Sony CDs now have a slim plastic packaging.

Moreover, — the online superstore — is following in Sony’s footsteps, using “green” materials including special cardboard for its packages.

The Disney Company has hopped on the social conscience adoption by spreading its philanthropic magic by planning “Give a Day, Get a Disney Day.” Starting January 2010, Disneyland is giving out free day passes for anyone who volunteers in their sponsoring humanitarian organizations for five hours. After participating in one of the organization, he or she is granted a free pass to Disneyland or Walt Disney World.

“In 2010, we want to recognize and add one more reason for celebration: the contributions people make to their communities every day,” said Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “We want to inspire 1 milliion volunteers – people who will invest time and energy to make their own communities and neighborhoods a better place.”

Starbucks is another company that has begun participating in the new sector of public relations.

Since acquired by Starbucks in 2005, Ethos Water brand has been selling water bottles through Starbucks franchises. A percentage of each purchase of Ethos Water goes to helping desolate countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa gain access to clean water.

In addition, Ethos Water, through the Starbucks foundation, is raising awareness of the World Water Crisis. The World Water Crisis depicts how 1.1 billion people (20 percent of the world’s population) do not have access to clean, purified water. Indubitably, Ethos Water wants to water that number down to zero.

In efforts to be more eco-friendly, Starbucks also encourages its customers to bring their own tumblers in instead of buying coffee in a Starbucks cup.

The Coca-Cola Company is refreshing the world by partnering with local governments, NGOs (non-governmental organizations), schools and communities in India in order to engineer rainwater harvesting facilities.

Thus, the Coca-Cola Company, along with its partners in India, has created 320 rainwater harvesting facilities in 17 states in India. These facilitates will promote water recycling and conservation.

Coca-Cola has also been doing other philanthropic projects including eradicating poverty in Africa. It is building numerous manual distribution businesses throughout Africa, where Coca-Cola can create new jobs and a sustaining economy.

Coca-Cola has also joined the fight against AIDs by bringing education and awareness to China and countries in Africa.

At this age, businesses are doing more than ever to not only satisfy its customers. Businesses want to satisfy the world, not just through its products, but also by giving a helping hand to communities and the world. And no one could ever put a price tag on a helping hand.