Profit is the typical motive of corporations around the world. However, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is becoming more a part of our consciousness as we recognize that life is much more about what we leave behind than how much money we make.
With oil gushing into the Gulf for the last two months now, and doing G-d knows what ultimate damage to our environment, we are reminded that our actions do matter and that we must put our ideals, values, and generosity first and foremost.
Certainly, some companies disregard social responsibility. For example, BP with their slogan of “Beyond Petroleum” and their logo of a helios—a lovely environmentally-friendly green and yellow sunflower—seems to have hidden the true extent of their unsound environmental and safety practices.
In contrast, other companies are getting it right when it comes to CSR. For example, eBay has launched a charitable program called “eBay Giving Works” in which “sellers can commit to donate a percentage of their listing final sale price to the nonprofit of their choice.” Additionally, “shoppers also can donate to a worthy nonprofit at eBay checkout.” According to eBay, more than $150 million has been donated already!
One organization on the eBay charity list is called Save A Child’s Heart (SACH) foundation. According to their website, this Israeli-based charity has performed lifesaving heart surgery on 2000 indigent children in 30 countries around the world and “every 29 hours, we save a child’s life.” They have been certified as Best in America by the Independent Charities of America. Their work is inspirational and the children they save is truly moving. And this is one of many good organizations around the world.
As much as I am repulsed by BP and other such organizations that seem to function with near-complete disregard for fundamental principles of human decency in the name of the “almighty dollar”, I applaud others such as eBay, SACH, and many more that are working to “give back” and do genuine good for people around the world.
Many years ago, when attending Jewish day school, I remember a teacher telling us that “one day when you are on your deathbed, you will look back at what you have done in your life— make sure it’s meaningful and noble (and more than just about money).” I believe this is a valuable lesson personally and professionally.
Perhaps the oil gushing out from the depths of the sea can be a metaphor for charitable giving that can gush out from the hearts of people and organizations. We can counter greed and destruction with selflessness and caring for others.