June 9, 2010
Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a catastrophe to initiate change.
In light of the recent Gulf of Mexico BP oil crisis, it is clear that corporations need to be held more accountable for their social and environmental responsibility. Although it may seem like the British Petroleum disaster was a freak accident, their safety record would suggest otherwise. In the years leading up to the disaster, BP had accumulated 760 ‘egregious, willful’ safety violations. In contrast, the often maligned Exxon Mobile, had received just one. Had the consumer possessed this knowledge, and reacted accordingly, a punished profit may have lead BP to altering their practices. Unfortunately, there was no simple resource to evaluate an organization’s social responsibility.
Now there is.
In their own language,
Goodness 500 is a social enterprise that ranks the largest companies in the world based on corporate social responsibility.
In making consumers aware of corporations’ social practices, the goal is to alter their purchasing patterns in favor of those companies who behave more ethically. Once society takes these factors into consideration, hopefully corporations actions will adjust accordingly. The goal is for companies to work as hard, if not harder, to rank highly on the Goodness 500 as they would on the Fortune 500. If people take social responsibility seriously, a ranking in one list will eventually correspond to the other. The power lies in the hands of the consumer.
Although there’s an abundant amount of information available on government websites, reading through the official documents can be both tedious and confusing. Goodness 500 prides itself in using understandable language and “beautiful interfaces” to clearly communicate with its audience. The concept is dependent upon a widespread and active conversation, and complex jargon has the potential to alienate the average participant. In other words, their approach, “is more MTV than WSJ.”
Goodness 500’s founder and CEO, Michael Mossoba, “believes that we are presently living through the most exciting period in history to be a problem solver.” Only through the vast accessibility of the nearly endless amount of information provided by the Internet is a project like Goodness 500 even possible. By pulling a variety of credible information sources, (i.e. government databases, company and non profit reports) the Goodness 500’s analysis is both well-rounded and highly quantitative. With that said, the project is still in its early stages and will “continue to optimize [their] algorithm (aka ‘the al-gore-rithm’) to reflect the best possible snapshot of corporate goodness”.
If you’d like more information on this socially responsible project, take a look at the current Goodness 500 ranking. Also Goodness500 will be a showcased startup at TECH cocktail DC 9 during Digital Capital Week.
Editor’s Note: Zach Davis is an independent Internet marketer and consultant with a specialty in social media marketing, creative content production, and branding. He earned his BBA in Marketing from the Wisconsin School of Business and currently works and lives in San Diego, CA. You can find Zach’s personal website at zrdavis.com or follow him on twitter @zrdavis.
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