Theoretically, Corporations have a public mission and I now believe that trend is growing. Public pressure (think Shell oil spill, etc.) changes behavior. Companies respond to that pressure. Look at how energy companies have all adopted a "green" program of some kind. Starbucks adopting "fair trade" coffee practices. Appliance companies adopting energy standard (with a push from the Feds).
Individuals (small biz too) and governments have the same responsibility. But governments get off easy. I'll give you this example: here in King County, WA, a county sewage treatment plant dumped millions of gallons of raw sewage into Puget Sound. Have you heard about it? Doubt it. No protests, and very little hard media coverage. Some citizens calling them out at meetings, but that's it. Really disgraceful.
Can you imagine if that was a privately owned utility or treatment plant? There would have been protesters and flags burning, etc., especially here in Seattle, home to so many professional protesters. Admittedly, Seattle and KC governments are not very responsive in general to their citizenry. So it's just par for the course.
So corps and govts. need to run on the same legal track and should be held accountable in the same way. If you're going to protest Starbucks, t least go to City Hall with a sign as well.
Great topic. Thx.