Companies that tout their support for breast cancer research are often the same companies whose products may be causing breast cancer. But you won't hear them mention that when they slap pink ribbons on everything.
Blue Nile's divergence from industry norms begins with its purpose. Tiffany & Co., for example, describes itself as "the world's premier jeweler and America's house of design." While this may seem innocuous, it exerts a powerful pull on how Tiffany's people see their business.
"No! No! No!" Oxford business professor Linda Scott does not use Avon products. In fact, she says with a smile, "One of the worst things that ever happened to me is that a friend of mine started selling Avon." But she believes her research in South Africa could prove a fascinating hypothesis: that becoming an Avon lady could help poor women in developing nations knock on prosperity's door.