Socially Responsible Restraint

What are a company’s responsibilities when a small amount of its product doesn’t do anything bad, but when higher levels of consumption have bad consequences either for the individual consumer, or for the community?

That’s the topic of a guest posting by me today over at CSRwire, called “Social Responsibility as Restraint”.

Here’s the opening paragraph…

Restraint is tough. Anyone who has ever dieted, even just to lose five pounds, knows that. Our bodies whisper, “more…more….” even as the conscious part of our brain tells us that more would be bad. The hard thing is, just one more bite of cake really isn’t going to hurt us. The calories in one bite of cake are trivial. But we know that in the long run, all those “one more bites” are going to add up….

Basically I advance the idea that for certain categories of products — namely, ones that are harmless on a case-by-case basis but dangerous in the aggregate — the social responsibilities of companies might imply looking not at ways to cut back on production or sales, but to look at specific, concrete categories of sales that they could eliminate (e.g., sale of sugary colas to kids).

Anyway, you can check it out over at CSRwire.

2 comments so far

  1. Clayton on

    Chris – sounds very interesting and I’d love to read your post, but the lnks provided seem broken (or my browser can’t read them).

  2. Chris MacDonald on


    Thanks — there’s a problem with the website, and they’re working on it.


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