The truth is, McDonaldâ€™s takes CSR seriously. It offers healthy choices in its restaurants, has worked with environmentalists for more than a decade around issues ranging from packaging to sustainable fisheries, does lots of charitable work, etc. The company is far from perfectâ€”thereâ€™s a raging and very complicated controversy about its ties to exploited migrant workers who pick tomatoes in Florida, and giving away Hummer toys in Happy Meals isnâ€™t exactly green practice. But thereâ€™s no doubt in my mind that Bob Langert, who runs the corporate responsibility operation at McDonald’s, is one of the people inside corporate America who is changing things for the better.
Bob and a colleague, Catherine Adams, have been writing a blog for McDonaldâ€™s, and itâ€™s worth a look. Itâ€™s an effort by the company to be more transparent and open. Some of what Bob writes strikes me as spinâ€”he defends the Hummer giveaway by saying itâ€™s just a toyâ€”but he also offers insight into the tensions that face a company thatâ€™s trying to change its business to meet the rising expectations of consumers and critics. Fitting the blog-writing into his schedule isnâ€™t easy, Bob tells me via email, but he says heâ€™s enjoying the writing.
I am always thinking about my next blog, and the next one. I wish we had more comments, more dialogue, but there is a fair amount of blog activity outside my own blog on what I write, so I think that is good.
Corporate blogging’s catching on. I think that before too long, any company that wants to connect with its many stakeholders will have one. The challenge will be to make them authentic–and not just spin.