Doing well by doing good—case study: ‘Fair & Lovely’ whitening cream

Authors

  • Aneel Karnani

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    1. Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.
    • Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, 701 Tappan Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1234, U.S.A.
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Abstract

According to the ‘doing well by doing good’ proposition, firms have a corporate social responsibility to achieve some larger social goals, and can do so without a financial sacrifice. This research note empirically examines this proposition by studying in depth the case of ‘Fair & Lovely,’ a skin whitening cream marketed by Unilever in many countries in Asia and Africa, and, in particular, India. Fair & Lovely is indeed doing well; it is a profitable and fast-growing brand. It is, however, not doing good, and I demonstrate its negative implications for public welfare. I conclude with thoughts on how to reconcile this divergence between private profits and public welfare. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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