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After reading Kreitner’s (2008) Chapter 3 and the case study at the end, there are several reasons Chiquita has done the right thing in cleaning up their act. Corporate social responsibility is defined as “A company’s sense of responsibility towards the community and environment (both ecological and social) in which it operates. Companies express this citizenship (1) through their waste and pollution reduction processes, (2) by contributing educational and social programs, and (3) by earning adequate returns on the employed resources” (BusinessDictionary.com, n.d.). The arguments for corporate social responsibility evident in the case of Chiquita are (1) that social action will prevent government intervention and (2) a better society means a better environment for doing business.
An example of social action preventing government intervention is how Dave McLaughlin worked with the non-profit environmentalists Rainforest Alliance to gain their insight and suggestions. Instead of working against them, McLaughlin worked with them (Kreitner, 2008).
The farm workers who worked long hours in dangerous and dirty conditions can probably vouch for the fact that Chiquita made an investment in society by creating cleaner and safer working environment for its workers. The reduction in pesticides resulted in healthier workers and a $5 million dollar savings (Kreitner, 2008).
As Standard Oil Company’s founder, John D. Rockefeller passed out dimes to hungry children over one hundred years ago, “he believed he was fulfilling some sort of social responsibility” (Kreitner, 2008, p.55). Rockefeller may have been the pioneer of enlightened self-interest. When Chiquita partnered with the non-profit environmental group, Rainforest Alliance, to clean up its farms and working conditions, Chiquita was ultimately helping itself by helping its brand image and its own bottom line, not corporate philanthropy with a non-profit. This form of enlightened self-interest is different from other partnerships with non-profits because Rainforest Alliance “does not accept donations from companies that it certifies” (Kreitner, 2008, p. 71).
Chiquita helped its brand image; however, it was not helping Rainforest Alliance’s bank account. In enlightened self-interest, also loosely called cause-related marketing, money for the corporation and the nonprofit is the goal. “Cause-related marketing is corporate America’s lexicon for working in financial concert with a charity. It is marketing that ties a company and its product to a cause. Its goal is to increase incremental sales and corporate image while contributing to the nonprofit” (Ptacek and Salazar, 1997, p. 9).
Chiquita has accomplished far more than retained a trusted brand name through corporate social responsibility; Chiquita has helped Latin American employees work in a safer environment, created more jobs, and a greener environment through new programs such as recycling 100% of its plastic bags and twine and reduced pesticides by 26%. Still, “they are just getting started, and the results are beginning to show up on the bottom line” (Kreitner, 2008, p. 72).