Feedback and Plans for the RBA

Link to my infographic: https://drive.google.com/a/stanford.edu/file/d/0B60BJ2WCoxz4STNUWXREUW1uSzg/view?usp=sharing

The feedback that I received on my research proposal was very informative. My peer reviewers allowed me to see that the connection between environmental issues and the ethical treatment of animals is not immediately clear. Therefore, I refined my proposal to focus on “progressive ideals” which encompass these two issues. From there, I also included an example of a company that is using “greenwashing” purely for gain, namely Coca-Cola in their “Life” campaign, in order to contrast that with the activism promoted by Lush Cosmetics. Ultimately, I am building my proposal towards the idea of defining the criteria that a company needs to meet in order to be considered honest in their pursuit of activism for change rather than profit. When presenting my infographic, I tried to hone in on the intersection of environmentalism and animal activism under the umbrella of ideals they represent in order to introduce the conversation surrounding marketing schemes that exploit these societal morals and the confusion in the marketplace surrounding terms such as “natural” and “eco-friendly”. Additionally, I worked on presenting without notes and using more emotion in my tone. The visuals and presentation were well received, and I felt that I improved with each presentation.

Overall, the reviewers helped me refocus the lens of my proposal in order to hone in on analyzing businesses as activists. My research question will be: how can a conscious consumer determine the credibility of claims made by a company in regards to activism surrounding modern progressive ideals? What criterion defines honesty in the realm of capitalist competition? My thesis will tentatively be: In order for a company to be considered an ethically valid activist, it must create lasting change that is not directly profitable in the area of society that it claims to hold an interest and foster transparency in its manufacturing practices. I want to hone in on how consumers can use their purchasing power to foster change rather than the façade of investing in societal well-being.

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2 thoughts on “Feedback and Plans for the RBA”

  1. I appreciate that you were able to meaningfully utilize feedback in order to focus your infographic and hone in on aspects of your topic. Additionally, the color scheme and flow of your infographic allows for a streamlined approach.
    Do you believe that it is possible for a company to be for profit in an environmental or animal-related sector of the world without causing harm? I understand that your very thesis discounts this possibility, but perhaps this could be beneficial to consider as you develop responses to counter-arguments for your topic and overall thesis.

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    1. I really like the direction your research is going, and I think a “code” by which to evaluate companies’ ethical claims seems like a great argument to push in an RBA. We’re naturally cynical of businesses as activists, but there’s a lot of room to be convinced otherwise.

      I have a few (sort of disjointed) ideas for places to go. One is that “B Corps”, companies which are incorporated with a legal obligation to “do good” in addition to turning a profit, could be a goldmine of examples for “good” corporate activism. Another is that, if you’re interested, the outdoor industry has a whole lot of green-and-greenwashed initiatives. Maybe checking out Cotopaxi and Patagonia could be a good lead if you haven’t already. I like your tentative thesis, but “directly profitable” could be a tricky line to draw. Most corporate activism has some kind of payoff in the form of goodwill, so profits are always on the mind. Finally, it could be cool to touch on what kind of activism companies are uniquely well-suited to performing as opposed to individuals or nonprofits.

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