Last week’s quake and tsunami will have huge financial implications, not just in Japan but across the world.
There will be further questions asked about nuclear energy (why, for example, were reactors built in an area virtually certain to undergo major quake activity?) and these will spark huge ethical debates in business.
There’s already a backlash against companies capitalising on the “For every x you buy, we’ll give y to a disaster fund” marketing message.
There’s no doubt that Japan and New Zealand will need all the help they can get. Charities are, however, hard hit by the recession (along with the rest of us). Even in the best financial times, there hasn’t been enough to go round.
If a company seems to you to be taking advantage of a disaster, don’t avoid buying from it – the money will still be used for a worthwhile end. But remember that many of the very best fund-raisers are the ones you never actually hear about – and who do it solely for the right reasons. These are the unsung heroes.