Moving Beyond Corporate Social Responsibility
In recent years, Greenpeace and other organisations have used campaigns to decry corporations’ empty discourses and greenwashing, reminding us to look beyond the message and into the actions and results. Communication has the power to drive change, but it cannot be self-sufficient. While the past 20 years of advertising for good have enabled NGOs to build their legitimacy and gain bargaining power, with the advent of Corporate Social Responsibility advertising, agencies’ attention is simultaneously diverting away from pro bono projects.
16% of campaigns collected in 2021 were from corporations, compared to 10% in 2015 and 6% in 2010. While we believe it is necessary that brands take part of the movement, this shift also raises problematic trends, namely greenwashing and social-washing. Balancing the role of NGOs and corporations is a challenge our industry will have to tackle in the years to come.