New Website Rates Corporations’ Ethics During Coronavirus Pandemic

Corporate ethics, accountability, and sustainability have become increasingly important to consumers over the past decade. In the internet age, shoppers are in the driver’s seat—they have a plethora of choices regarding what they buy, where they shop, and when they shop. And as information on retailers has become easier to find, more consumers are shopping with brands and retailers who demonstrate that they take care of their employees and strive to positively impact their local communities, and the planet.

During the current COVID-19 pandemic, it seems shoppers are looking even more closely at what corporations, and the world’s wealthy classes, are up to. The New York Times reported on the souring of civilian-celebrity relationships this week, citing the perceived obliviousness and privilege as famous-person qualities currently rankling the non-famous. And new website DidTheyHelp.com has cropped up to keep tabs on how corporations—and people in the public eye—have been behaving during the pandemic.

The site has a single purpose: ratings companies (Target, General Electric, etc.), celebs and influencers (Gal Gadot, Andrew Yang), and corporate titans (Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates) during the COVID-19 crisis on their do-goodery and, conversely, lack thereof.

The site’s creator is anonymous. He or she posted of the platform’s existence on Reddit. But DidTheyHelp.com is a decently comprehensive search engine with a simple rating system: Points are awarded to a company/individual for each positive action or good deed they take to support people during the coronavirus pandemic. And for each “negative action or bad deed,” points are taken away. “Actions are not assessed on weight of impact or severity,” the site’s About Us page explains. “This is so the points system is kept simple and easy to understand as to why someone has +4 points (4 good deeds) or -2 (2 bad deeds).”

Rihanna, for example, has a +1 rating for pledging $5 million in aid including $700,000 for ventilators for her native Barbados. Walgreens has a -1 rating for having been served cease and desist letters for unlawfully raising prices on food, cleaning products, and personal hygiene supplies recently, among other ills.

Topping the “Leaderboard” for giving in the U.S. is Target, which has +10 rating for actions including providing employees with illness and quarantine pay; Facebook (+8 rating) for donating $350,000 of WiFi hotspots to a high school district, among other charitable endeavors; and Aldi for donating $1 million to community organizations that support those in need and implementing temporary wage increases for workers.

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Ratings for Southern grocery store H-E-B on DidTheyHelp.com (image courtesy of DidTheyHelp.com)

Capping the “zeroes” list are Everlane, for allegedly firing a group of people who were promised continued employment, Walgreens (see above), and Air Canada, which reportedly hiked prices on passengers stranded in places during the pandemic.

The site’s growing viral popularity (we’ve seen it linked and tweeted out several times) feels like proof that consumers are studying corporate behavior and factoring it into their buying decisions—more closely than ever. In a global pandemic that’s given everyone ample time to consider what’s valuable and precious in this world, that makes perfect sense.

(Top photo: Pexels)

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JCK Magazine Editor