Philip Morris and Corporate Social Responsibility

We don't just measure out performance in terms of financial success. We also track whether owe measure up to the expectations that society has of us, as a major multinational company- and as a tobacco company.- Philip Morris International Website.
When speaking of Corporate Social Responsibility, the companies that inevitably come to mind are the tobacco companies. Philip Morris International and other tobacco companies are now looked at with great scrutiny and employ the means of public relations to practice corporate social responsibility.
In 1990, Philip Morris was ranked number 2 in the USA for most respected companies in Fortune Magazine. Just a few short years later, an image that would stay in the mind's eye of the world for years to come, 7 CEO's testified to not believing that nicotine was addictive.

This would end up being just the beginning of problems that Philip Morris was about to face, a public relations nightmare would ensue. Lawsuits, bad press, FDA investigations, you name it and it was thrown at the Philip Morris company. One would think that after that whole ordeal the company would have slowly sunk into oblivion, never to be heard from again. That, however, is not the case. How did Philip Morris come out the other end? One simple answer: CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY.

Having to be fast acting, Philip Morris, entered the world of corporate social responsibility. Acting in the 'interest' of the public, Philip Morris took steps towards 'societal alignment.' Meaning they would act with the societies needs in mind and would take steps to becoming more trust-worthy in the eyes of the public. Philip Morris would begin campaigns that featured the harmful effects of smoking, offer tips on how to quit, speaking openly about their products and most importantly operating the company in a way that is corporately responsible.

Since these early steps taken to improve the public image of Philip Morris, many other steps have been made as well. Such as: engaging in conversations with those that oppose the company and its means of business, admitting to mistakes, and confess to trying to build up trust and credibility. Taking even more steps, PM devised a 'best practices' guide as a means to speak about public health and tackle the issues of reducing the risk of addictions and youth usage.

Now the question is, did it work?

In 2003, Fortune Magazine, awarded Philip Morris, the number 4 spot on its Most Admired List for its efforts in Social Responsibility.

Questions and comments are always welcome!

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