Molson Coors Brewing Company's Corporate Social Responsibility Practices

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Research Brief on CSR
Social Responsibility Project
Sauder School of Business

Prepared For: Frederick Fajardo, PhD
Prepared By: Douglas Cheung
Date: October 21st, 2011

As an intern of the Social Responsibility Project (SRP) at the Sauder School of Business, I am writing to discuss how Molson Coors Brewing Company can integrate CSR strategically to create a business partnership with the NGO Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Molson Coors Brewing Company
In 2005, Molson Brewery of Canada and Coors Brewery of the United States took part in a merger to become what is now the Molson Coors Brewing Company, the world’s fifth largest global supplier of beer. According to the Molson Coors Website, the brewery produces 14 signature brands of beer domestically and is involved in sales of imported beers from partner companies such as Heineken and Corona. Molson Coors takes pride in being a true Canadian company from its sustainable practices, heritage, and original founders.

Company Strategy: Public Relations
The final goal for for-profit companies is to generate revenue to make profits, and Molson Coors shares this same goal. What separates Molson Coors from just any other alcohol brewing company is their marketing strategy. Recognizing that they could only be successful if their products are consumed the right way, they strategically implemented Corporate Social Responsibility into their business framework to increase Public Relations. Public Relation is especially important to Molson Coors because their product, alcohol, is not perceived by society as a safe and beneficial product.

Molson Coors CSR
Molson Coors Brewing Company invests a lot of time and money into their corporate social responsibility practices from the value chain through to the end consumers. In fact, anyone viewing the company website would be able to see the importance the company places on CSR, emphasizing ethical and responsible business decisions. To them, Corporate Social Responsibility “has never been an initiative or a department”, instead, it is “becoming a global company with shared commitments to brewing extraordinary beers and running a business focused on respect for [their] employees, [their] communities, and [their] drinkers”. They effectively consider and cover all four prevailing justifications of CSR mentioned in Michael E. Porter’s Strategy and Society: moral obligation, sustainability, reputation, and license to operate. Their moral obligation to responsible consumption and community is what separates them from their competition and makes their business strategy unique.

Responsible Consumption
Marketing is one of the many factors that influence consumptions attitudes and drinking behaviors. Alcohol companies have always been condemned for their party campaigns and sales that target young adults and teens, and promote irresponsible drinking. Molson Coors has been criticized for numerous beer campaigns that convey irresponsible behavior when associated with their beer.

* Before the merger in 2005, Molson had a television commercial called “Friends” that portrayed negative behavior. The commercial showed a well-dressed young man, holding a Molson beer, fake business cards and pictures of orphans and puppies in his wallet, trying to impress women in a bar. Not only did this commercial endorse trickery, it was sexist as well. “An Alcohol-industry watchdog group says the campaign is a deceitful guide to luring women into bed”.

* The company held an online contest on Facebook to promote their brand to college students. It allowed students to submit photos that show their schools’ “spirit and sociability”. Molson Coors ended their contest early because parents and faculties of schools believed that the contest promoted excessive alcohol consumption and underage drinking. Even though the contest was supposed to be...
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