February is the Month of Love, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Corporate Social Advocacy

The Paine of Measurement, February 2020

February—the month of love and all things of the heart. We started The Measurement Advisor more than 7 years ago, and we’ve always devoted February to talking about love, relationships, or something equally “squishy,” as most CFOs would call it.

Which is why this issue of TMA is going to tackle two of the squishiest and more hotly-debated tactics to measure: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Corporate Social Activism (CSA).

Corporate social responsibility has been around for decades. We first wrote about it back in the 90s, and last devoted an issue to it a couple years ago (see “Read This and Save the World: Your Guide to Measuring Corporate Social Responsibility.”) Over the years CSR has lost its special cachet and is now a basic cost of doing business. If you’re not socially responsible today, society takes away its permission for you to exist. Witness the movement to divest in oil company stocks, or fierce reactions to bad corporate behavior by Uber, Purdue Pharma, and Bayer.

CSA, or the embracing of controversial social or political issues, is the next notch up from CSR. Some organizations adopt it to set themselves apart from the competition. For others, like Patagonia, it’s part of their history and DNA. And for still others, like Weathertech’s CEO David MacNeil, it’s born of a passion sparked by a personal awakening. For whatever reason, it’s a powerful if occasionally risky strategy. We’ll explore ways to measure it and to mitigate that risk.

Ultimately, how successful or risky a corporate social responsibility or corporate social advocacy strategy is depends on public perception. If your words or deeds are seen as purely a marketing ploy executed for self-interest, you’re guaranteed a flop. If you, and more specifically your CEO, is perceived as authentic and sincere, you have a chance of succeeding. So we’ll also talk about ways to both achieve and measure authenticity and integrity.

We hope you enjoy this issue of The Measurement Advisor. In it you will find:

 ** And if you’d like to read the index of our coverage on how to measure CSR, see this page. **

Measure on,


About Author

Katie Paine

I've been called The Queen Of Measurement, but I prefer Seshat, the Goddess.