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Corporate Social Responsibility.As consumer and investor engagement continues to rise, there is intense pressure on companies to ramp up their corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts. Being a good corporate citizen is no longer an option but a necessity in order to stay in business. As a result of this increased pressure, there has been an influx of CSR collaborations among competitors—some initiated by governments and NGOs, and others established by industry participants themselves. In each case, generally, the goal is to do good and promote various CSR goals ranging from environmental, health and safety, and labor.

That said, an effort to be socially responsible can still run afoul of the antitrust laws. For example, an industry agreement to improve the quality of life for animals may be alleged to increase prices or reduce output. Re Processed Egg Prod. Antitrust Litig., 851 F. Supp. 2d 867, 877 (E.D. Pa. 2012)). Similarly, an industry agreement to lower air emissions may be accused of raising prices or choice for consumers. Ben Foldy and Brent Kendall, Justice Department Issues Civil Subpoenas to Auto Makers in California Emissions Pact Probe, Wall Street J. (Nov. 7, 2019)). But companies that want to do good should not fret completely. There are still several options to consider that are well within the bounds of the antitrust laws.

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