Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is often classified as economic, legal, ethical, and charitable. Economic responsibility is based on Adam Smith’s theory of nationalism, ‘price determination by the market’ as the most basic responsibility. In short, it means an obligation to maximize profits. However, companies are increasingly required to carry out these business activities and fulfill the minimum legal, ethical, and philanthropy responsibilities because they are part of society (stakeholder theory of the interests of stakeholders affected by business). In particular, social issues are emerging since ethical responsibility does not affect the companies visually, thereby resulting in companies underestimating this and becoming biased toward economic activities. In my opinion, it is not just to criticize the company, but also to directly and regularly monitor the people.
The case where society has been strong against companies that have not fulfilled their social obligations involved a photo of a 12-year-old boy making a Nike soccer ball that was released in 1996 and the minimum wage of the subcontractors was published. People around the world strongly boycotted Nike, and various labor groups and civil groups were furious and protesting. It also had to go through a serious stock market crash. After this incident, Nike eventually reorganized itself into a company that emphasized labor and human rights. Nike denied their responsibility immediately after the incident and made an excuse that they were unaware because it was a subcontractor’s job; however, the company admitted their mistake because society continued to criticize them.
On the other hand, when criticism and interest disappear immediately even though they cause social controversy, there are frequent cases where the measures related to the problem are ignored. Namyang Dairy is one of the most recent examples of this. The nationwide boycott of Namyang Dairy has been extensive due to the unfair contract with Namyang Dairy’s salespeople and headquarters. As the media’s interest moves, the incident moves away from the people’s interest, and the company is winning the first place in the chocolate milk industry. They did not acknowledge their mistakes after the incident and without legal effect because there was no evidence. It seems reasonable to protest social controversy in the same way as boycotts because companies are aimed toward profit. However, this interest can be effective if it is continuous and powerful enough to affect the enterprise. The legal obligations of the companies can be monitored by law. Nevertheless, ethical obligations are likely to be neglected because there is no clear surveillance system. Therefore, society must monitor, criticize, or recognize this, and produce results. Ambiguous criticism has no effect.
I did not really acknowledge the efficacy of boycotts because I had doubts about how many products I would have to consume in order to influence the company. In addition, because the product is useful to me right now, it was not important to me whether the company was a good company or a bad company. However, when I heard Nike’s case or the boycott of the Chinese people that led to corporate apology and mistake correction, I thought I should become an active consumer. I try to avoid purchasing the company’s products after seeing the stories of the victims regarding the company’s unethical behavior. I also try to use a lot of products from charitable activities or environmentally friendly companies. Although these efforts may be trivial, companies will also be able to fulfill their social obligations if many consumers are actively interested. I believe that a good consumer can attract good producers and good companies.