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CSR Is No ‘Sacred Cow’ in Tough Times, Microsoft Proves

Several publications (PR News, Environmental Leader) have reported recently that Microsoft has cut its PR budget for corporate social responsibility activities, and is spending its more limited resources instead to promote products such as Windows 7, Office and Xbox.

Some “green” believers will undoubtedly be outraged about Microsoft’s choices and question its commitment and motives, despite the company’s sterling reputation.  Others will see a silver lining – Microsoft has acknowledged cutting its PR budget for CSR but not the CSR budget itself (although I suspect that has been affected as well).

In these tough economic times, however, cuts and tough choices are a reality.  The fact that CSR is part of the discussion is a good sign.  It tells me that CSR has arrived as a core corporate function.  And, like everything else, it’s subject to economic reality. 

If CSR were a “sacred cow,” THEN we would have a problem.  Most metaphorical sacred cows eventually become irrelevant and they just fade away.  They’re not sustainable.

By definition, a CSR/sustainability program must be sustainable.  Give Microsoft credit for acknowledging that, even though it is probably going to take a couple of PR hits along the way.

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