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Corporate social responsibility: distinction or distraction?

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Committing your business to corporate social responsibility is not without its tradeoffs. Time devoted to a cause is time not spent advancing your company. Even the social issue you choose—no matter how popular—could negatively impact your business. Therefore, it is recommended to choose issues closely linked to a company’s core expertise and interests. TOMS Shoes, for example, donates a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair of shoes it sells. Newman’s Own donates all profits to charity—roughly $330 million to date. Pepsi was one company that had its heart in the right place when it decided to give away $20 million to organizations that offered “refreshing ideas that change the world.” During the effort, sales declined almost 10%.