Prostrations, Corporations and Hand Soap

Anything goes (almost).

Prostrations, Corporations and Hand Soap

Postby BuddhaSoup » Sun Mar 10, 2013 2:32 pm

Roshi Joan Halifax posted this video today, which I thought worth sharing:

http://youtu.be/UF7oU_YSbBQ

I'm usually suspicious of large US corporations that claim to do actual good in the world. I drive each day past a billboard put up by (evil) Monsanto, showing a smiling farmer. Meanwhile, Monsanto is suing (and destroying) farmers in the US that reuse seed that Monsanto claims has DNA from their patented frankenseeds.

Is Unilever really doing good and being an ethical corporate citizen? I hope so. This ad was a nice way to start the day.

Story at : http://www.guardian.co.uk/sustainable-b ... nge-health
BuddhaSoup
 
Posts: 165
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 6:06 pm

Re: Prostrations, Corporations and Hand Soap

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun Mar 10, 2013 8:17 pm

Actually, a lot of big companies are involved in efforts to end poverty and the effects of poverty globally, and this is due to a few factors. Let's look at india, since that is where this video refers to. There is a profit-driven motivation, because good hygiene also creates a market demand for soap, and potentially a lot of customers. Furthermore, India is a developing country providing a lot of services to America and Europe and the #1 biggest reason that western companies give for not investing more there is the infrastructure. The roads are crap, the electricity goes out, etc. So, this is all tied in with development. There is a desire to modernize India and this seen is part of that.

DHL, a huge global shipping company sends its management people out to remote parts of Africa to help locally-run clinics and performance groups administer medicine and educate villages about sanitation and other things that. Why? I know first hand that it is because they know since they can help, that they should help. And feel it is important not only for the people whom they assist, but for the people they employ as well.

The other thing is that there is a new attitude among many people entering the corporate workforce, that their huge global companies do in fact have an ethical obligation to engage in things that end preventable illnesses. So, there is some pressure from within, also to be more environmentally responsible. I'm not saying it's all becoming Mother Teresa and Greenpeace, ---no way, but that a teeny bit of actual caring is an undeniable factor.

And of course, it's great Public Relations, and therefore can all be written off as an a business expense. A lot of companies spend money on a humanitarian cause and then spend ten times that amount advertizing what great humanitarians they are. So, let's not be fools about this.

Someone may not like the amount of weight that big corporations throw around, but the fact remains, it is a lot, and people buy from big companies and shop at chain stores that handle incredible volumes of products. The fact that many of them recognize a growing demand for fair-trade products, organic food, environmentally friendly packaging and so forth, even if they only recognize it as a sales figure, is a big deal because, like it or not, if they throw their big corporate weight in a positive direction, this changes things. Costco, for example, moves millions of gallons of organic milk every month, and that brings the price down and more people can get it. Profit motive aside, this has much more impact environmentally, and health wise, than all of the neighborhood organic food co-ops in the country combined.

So, not all bad, not all good, maybe a little bit better that it would be otherwise.
.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
 
Posts: 2845
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Prostrations, Corporations and Hand Soap

Postby BuddhaSoup » Sun Mar 10, 2013 8:33 pm

Padma, a very nice post and thanks for weighing in. Sometimes, I post stuff to see what kind of thoughtful responses my post might bring. Yours was terrific, and I learned something of value. Thanks, and glad you took the time to respond so thoughtfully.
BuddhaSoup
 
Posts: 165
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 6:06 pm

Re: Prostrations, Corporations and Hand Soap

Postby greentara » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:35 pm

buddhasoup, Great video, great music! Leaning heavily on the ancient practice of 'tapas'
Indians don't need more soup....they need clean, drinkable water!
Lets get real.The big companies are not big hearted....they just want big profits.
greentara
 
Posts: 933
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:03 am

Re: Prostrations, Corporations and Hand Soap

Postby greentara » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:38 pm

Sorry should read soap.
greentara
 
Posts: 933
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:03 am

Re: Prostrations, Corporations and Hand Soap

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Mar 11, 2013 1:15 am

Of course, India already has soap. And nobody can argue that Unilever sees a huge market for its product there.
What they are promoting is hand washing awareness, and naturally, exploiting a serious health problem to their own benefit, trying to position themselves as the saviors.
http://www.unilever.com/brands-in-actio ... oy/292086/
That's just how corporate minds tend to think. Its almost like another realm.
But it is not really that different from the person who makes generous donations to a Buddhist temple
secretly hoping that doing so will bring a favorable rebirth.
there is some merit, but not much.

There is some irony to these kinds of programs, because, obviously, a civilization as old as India wouldn't have survived if some hygiene basics hadn't been handed down through the generations, and this is true for the countries of Africa as well. So, why would you need an outsider to come in and tell you this stuff, tell you not to poop upstream, tell you to wash your hands before preparing food? The irony is that the interruption of culture, of the passing down of this very knowledge and life skills, is due largely in part to European invasion in the first place, which often caused the breakup of villages, the displacement of rural populations, and the eradication of a cultural setting in which such knowledge is passed from parents and grand parents to children.

So, while one can certainly see this as more multinational corporate meddling,
one might also regard this as a way of fixing a problem one has caused.
As I mentioned before, the corporate population is a little bit different than it was 30 years ago.
It's not all fat white men puffing on cigars,
although profit is still their primary concern.
Many companies have already set an example of global resposibility,
and when that happens,
other companies often think they must out-do the competition.
They also must respond to the ethical demands of a world community
and even if it is only lip service at first,
sometimes that is how the seeds of change get planted.
.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
 
Posts: 2845
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am


Return to Lounge

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 16 guests

>