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Do Companies Like Apple and Starbucks Really Deserve Their Ethical Chic Reputations?

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In her book, "Ethical Chic," Fran Hawthorne examines six companies with glowing brands to see if they deserve their halos.

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL With social awareness and consumer intelligence on the rise, it's becoming the case that companies need to do more than create great products and services to inspire a loyal fan base. The success of companies like Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Trader Joe's prove that a strong brand with an ethically conscience image can do wonders for business, since even in this tough economy, consumers are lining up and going out of their way to buy pricey iPhones and frozen foods because the brands seem to fit the right social profile.

However, being profitable and socially responsible can be a tough road to take for most companies. In her new book, Ethical Chic, award-winning freelance writer, Fran Hawthorne analyzes six of the most popular companies that benefit from their socially responsible images. Apple, Timberland, Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX), Tom's of Maine (NYSE:CL), American Apparel (NYSEAMEX:APP), and Trader Joe's are all put under the spotlight to see if they're really doing all they can to earn their status as exemplary firms.

As a veteran business journalist, Hawthorne has served as a writer and editor for Businessweek, Fortune, and Institutional Investor, and still regularly writes for Newsday, the New York Times, and other publications. In 2009, she was a recipient of the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants Award for Excellence in Financial Journalism for her book Pension Dumping, which exposed the tendency of troubled American companies to dump their pension programs to appease investors.
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