Defining Free Software Business - excurse to CSR

franz schaefer schaefer at
Tue Jun 20 10:48:56 UTC 2006

> I like to reason around 'ethics' and have suggested the following:
>    A company that daily accepts its social responsibility towards 
>    reaching freedom in the digital age, respecting the ideals 
>    contained in the GNU Manifesto.
> but honestly I don't think it is fit, [..]

since you explicitly mention "social responsibilty" here. i think the whole
debate has a lot in common with the CSR discurse.

CSR - corporate social responsibilty. it is the new hype word that everyone
uses. the ideas behind it is that corporations do not want to go through the
tedious process of convincing/bribing government to make laws in their
interest but to make them themself.

for the consumers who care, the corporations wants to present themself as
"good citicens" who act "socialially and environmentally responsible". (so
that the consumers do not see a need to ask for laws). 

in order to be credible the corporations seek the certification by respected
NGOs. some NGOs see this as a good thing: so they can charge the
corporations for consulting... and the corporations see it as a good thing
as they can try to bribe the NGOs with these consulting fees... and it it
does not work, that is if the certificatition requires too much from them,
they can still search for an other/cheaper NGO.... or found their own fake
NGOs themself...etc..

an other problem ist: the corporation choose one cheap field where they can
present themself favorable where they do bad things in an other. e.g. donate
a bit of money to amnesty international and have huge environmental
pollution on the other side.. or be "green" on the one side and exploit
people on the other side..etc..

another field of problmes with big coproation is how these standards are
passed on to the supply chain....

as you can see: i do have a rather pessimistic perspective on these
certification thingy... but this does not mean that i suggest that you do
not do it at all. just to be aware of the potential problems.

on conclusion could be:

2 have labels: one positiv and one negative. "GNU friendly bussiness" and
"hostile to free software" (e.g. because they do not give out hardware specs
for drivers). so if one corporation wants to polish up their public image
with a CSR report they could go for the first one but they will not want
that someone who googles the company name finds them listet on the list of
bad corporations....

greetings mond.

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