When Social Good Backfires: Oscar Wylee and Goodhart's Law
Oscar Wylee, the glasses retailer, was recently fined $3.5 million by Australia’s Federal Court for misleading consumers about the extent of its social giving. The brand had claimed to follow in the footsteps of footwear manufacturer (excuse the pun), Toms, and that it donated a pair of glasses to someone in need for every pair purchased between January 2014 and December 2018. However, during this period of time it sold 328,010 pairs of glasses but donated just 3,181, or, less than one percent. This raises an important question about social good and corporate social responsibility (CSR) more broadly - something that has made headlines recently with both Spotify and Coinbase taking positions that have been unpopular with the far left.