Commentary: Corporations increasingly under pressure to take a stand on social issues

Author: Tom McCarthy, The Guardian, Published on: 20 September 2018

"Woke business: have big brands found a conscience or a marketing ploy?" 16 Sept 2018

[Last week]... Levi Strauss & Co... [announced] a partnership with Everytown for Gun Safety and other gun violence prevention groups. “While taking a stand can be unpopular with some, doing nothing is no longer an option,” the Levi’s chief executive, Chip Bergh, wrote. “Business has a critical role to play and a moral obligation to do something.”... Corporations in general are under increasing pressure to “take a stand in ways that go beyond the generic corporate social responsibility platitudes they used to be able to sort of hide behind,” said Michael Serazio, a professor of communications at Boston College.

... Many other corporations have dared to tread where Pepsi stumbled. Yuengling, the Pennsylvania brewery, endorsed Trump for president; Patagonia, the California-based clothier, sued Trump for annulling public lands; Delta Airlines and REI, the gear store, came out in favor of gun control; Adidas stood behind Kanye West, the inventor of the brand’s best-selling Yeezy shoe line, after his controversial statements about slavery and Trump. Burger King, meanwhile, made a Whopper commercial about net neutrality, and after Trump was elected, Heineken staged an excruciating series of conversations between strangers to assert “there’s more that unites than divides us”... With its recruitment of Kaepernick as spokesman, Nike seemed to go even further... Patrick Rishe, the director of the sports business program at Washington University... said the company had obviously done its research and was thinking it was going to sell shoes.

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Related companies: adidas Burger King Delta Air Lines Facebook Heineken Levi Strauss Nike Patagonia PepsiCo