You are a Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations for a company called “Random Stuff.” Random Stuff sells several products and employs about 10,000 people. It has fallen on hard times due to the economy. Its stock price has been falling and the investors are scared. You have heard rumors that the Board of Directors has been discussing replacing you with someone else. Obviously, this concerns you because you are a single parent since your spouse passed away with no life insurance. You have three children between ages 2 and 8. About a year ago, you discovered that your oldest child has leukemia and she’s been suffering through chemotherapy. Your health insurance benefits for the cancer treatment, however, have been exhausted, so you really need this job.
Of the products that Random Stuff sells, the only product it is currently making a profit with is a plastic, reusable water bottle, which has been incredibly popular. Random Stuff markets itself as a “green” and environmentally friendly company. In particular, it advertises its water bottles as comprised of 90% recycled materials and BPA-free (“BPA” is chemical used in plastics that has been reported has toxic (although the FDA has recently decided not to ban it for the purpose of food packaging)). These representations by the company are true.
One day, you open your email and find a memorandum mistakenly “cc’d” to you. It is from the company’s Research and Development division and was sent to the company’s Environmental Affairs division. The memo reported that, about 3 years ago, Random Stuff developed a chemical as a substitute for BPA. It has been using in its bottles for about two years and the company has been very proud of this. However, the memo also reports that the company’s internal research has indicated that there may be a risk of respiratory complications linked to the new BPA substitute. The memo states that there is no conclusive evidence that the chemical causes respiratory problems, but that there seems to a strong correlation.
Another topic discussed in the memo is that the production plant is changing some of its manufacturing processes to save money. It has operated at a relatively low level of air pollution from the plant in the past. But, it will save the company millions of dollars if it increases its pollution levels up to the maximum levels under the federal regulations. The memo indicates these changes have officially commenced.
Last week, you launched a revitalized marketing campaign for Random Stuff to promote the company’s products and the central theme is about how Random Stuff is such a wonderfully environmentally friendly neighbor to its community. The Board of Directors thinks the survival of the company may turn on the success of the new marketing campaign. Having read the memo, what is your reaction? What do you do, if anything at all?