November 15, 2018

Olympic sponsors: here today… and tomorrow!

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English: Farmland Farmland near Willoughbridge...

British farmland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the run up to the Olympics there were various grumblings in the media that corporate sponsors were wielding too much power. The ban on retailers selling chips because of “sponsorship obligations” was just one example that caused a stir. But on the flip side, sponsors not only ploughed vast sums of money and resources into helping promote and deliver the Games; they also promise continued investment. Now the event has closed and the excitement is winding down, it will be interesting to watch how this pans out.

As a big customer of British farming, fast food chain McDonald’s is concerned with the sustainability of farming in the UK. It has set up a training programme for young farmers called Farm Forward. Meanwhile, communications and technology firm Cisco is fostering innovation with its British Innovation Gateway (Big) initiative to help start-up businesses and entrepreneurs collaborate, celebrate success and get ideas off the ground.

An amusing article in the Economist reflected that there were three main buzzwords in corporate social responsibility (CSR) today: sustainability, innovation and sharing. On a more serious note, it suggested businesses seem to be taking CSR more seriously. Rather than viewing it a public relations exercise, they seem to be recognising the benefits of a more strategic approach and adjusting key processes such as product development and supply chain management to act in a more sustainable, innovative and collaborative manner.

A few days ago my colleague Craig Robinson asked, do the benefits of hosting the Olympic Games outweigh their costs? Perhaps the positive legacies promised by Olympic sponsors are a step towards offsetting the costs?

Jane Priest, Teaching Fellow About Jane Priest, Teaching Fellow

Teaching Fellow at Edinburgh Business School. Part of the Marketing teaching team, focusing on the Consumer Behaviour elective.