Case study: Ethics
- March 8, 2022
- Posted by: Phillip Author
- Category: Uncategorized
Suzanne Valentine had been noticing an increasing number of businesses asking their customers to donate to charities when they make a purchase, a practice known as checkout charity or point of sale fundraising. One example was the Shoppers Drug Mart “SHOPPERS LOVE. YOU” campaign, which encourages customers to purchase a leaf for $1, a butterfly for S5, an apple for $10 or a bird for $100. All proceeds go directly to the women’s health organizations chosen by each Associate-owner, best reflecting local community needs. Over the past five years, $57 million has been contributed to local, regional and national women’s health initiatives.
Many other corporations have similar programs including Indigo, Loblaw, Walmart, and McDonald’s. Even former Governor General David Johnston’s “My Giving Moment” encourages participating in such programs.
Suzanne was directly affected by this type of corporate social responsibility fundraising. She worked part-time as a cashier at her neighbourhood grocery store where the owner established a donation scheme, “Pennies for Pets.” The owner was a strong supporter of animal causes and the donations were to support the local animal shelter. All cashiers were instructed to ask customers if ther wanted to donate $1 or $2 to the shelter.
Suzanne followed instructions but she had several reservations about the scheme. She felt awkward asking customers for the donation, particularly those who looked like they could not afford it. Some customers might be intimidated by the request and she did not believe that they should be put on the spot to say yes or no. Some customers may not wish to support this particular charity. As well, she was not convinced that the particular shelter deserved funding, as there had been some articles in the media about its poor management and treatment of animals. Lastly, she was not sure how much of the money collected was forwarded to the charity, and whether or not the owner matched the customer donations.
1. What are the ethical implications in this example of corporate social responsibility?
2. What information should the company provide to Suzanne and its customers?
3. Carroll has identified four corporate social responsibilities: economic, legal, ethical, and philanthropic. Which responsibilities are involved in “Pennies for Pets” or similar fundraising schemes?
4. How should Suzanne resolve her personal ethical dilemma?