Responsible Marketing

Responsible or not? Bayer Corporation

By March 26, 2008August 19th, 20202 Comments

Will Bayer need one of these after they read this?

For generations, Bayer has been a household name in America. Today, the company has over 106,000 employees working in 150 countries in healthcare, crop science, business services, technology and more.

The company’s slogan: “Science for a Better Life.”

Here’s a description of some of Bayer’s social initiatives from their corporate website:

We support both schoolchildren and talented scientists. We assist young environmentalists around the world and aim to ease social hardship and safeguard health care in less affluent countries too. We also promote sports and culture as important and meaningful leisure pursuits that help bring people together.

Bayer is the first private-sector partner to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), helping to win over young people around the world to the cause of environmental protection. Together with National Geographic, we have established the Global Exploration Fund, which supports innovative research aimed at overcoming the global challenge of providing the world’s population with sufficient drinking water. We are also testing the efficacy of a substance that has proven effective in other applications with the goal of making a new tuberculosis drug available in developing countries at affordable prices. With these and numerous other initiatives, the Bayer Group practices Corporate Social Responsibility. We are working to improve people’s lives – in keeping with our mission statement “Bayer: Science For A Better Life.”

But when you review their 2007 Sustainability Report, you’ll discover that, between 2005 and 2006, many of the their key performance indicators are moving in the wrong direction:

Ecological indicators

  • Increases in energy use, indirect greenhouse gas emissions, and total amount of phosphorous and nitrogen in wastewater
  • The company removed 38% less hazardous waste
  • The number of transportation incidents tripled from three to nine
  • The number of environmental accidents quadrupled from two to eight

Social indicators

  • Increases in occupational injuries and fatal occupational injuries
  • Reduction in training expenditures as well as the percentage of women in management (from a dismal 3.9% to 3.8%)

But Bayer has a lot more to worry about than minor slippage from one year to the next on their sustainability report.

Watch this, and hold on to your hat:

The above is just one of the many white papers, videos and other content circulating on the Internet and in the blogosphere regarding Bayer. You probably wouldn’t want info like this uttered about your company in private, let alone broadcast to the world.

Do you believe in ‘activist’ videos like this, or is Bayer just being vilified?

Is Bayer responsible or not?

Comment below to share your thoughts.

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • If you ask me, anyone who contributed that much to the Bush Administration ought to be questioned for being “responsible” – whether as a marketer or as a company.

  • Bill Boyd says:

    I have very mixed feelings about this one. It seems to raise serious, documented charges — but they’d be more effective if they were better explained. Were the political contributions illegal in some way — or just given to a candidate the producer doesn’t like? Is there some provable quid pro quo? The video doesn’t say. Moreover, the ending is extraordinarily lame. “The title is my opinion . . . now what’s yours?” is not a stirring call to action.

    Pressure from watchdog groups is one of the factors that tends to moderate corporate behavior — and Bayer clearly has some explaining to do. I’m no fan of Big Pharma. But the video left me wondering how many of its charges are really substantiated.

    The completely one-sided approach actually reduces the video’s effectiveness. Some actual journalism would have made it a lot more credible. It’s a shame that more effort didn’t go into this production, which amounts to little more than sliming Bayer.

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