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August 16, 2014
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How Governments Can Tap Corporate Responsibility to Address Public Issues

 

 

Often, government looks to the private sector for best practice ideas regarding operational efficiency, cost reductions, and technical innovation. An emerging new approach to industry collaboration taps into the consciousness of corporate responsibility to meet very specific needs.
 

The concept of corporate responsibility covers a broad spectrum of corporate “give back” including governance, social responsibility, philanthropy and, most recently sustainability.  Generally, corporate responsibility focuses on an individual organization’s relationship with its community, stakeholders, and customers, and the way in which it contributes to the world around it beyond profit and shareholder value -- sharing and contributing to something bigger than the immediate economic well being of the organization. 

 

 
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The Truth Will Out: CSR is a Profession

The following guest post is part of a CSRHub series focusing on 10 trends that are driving corporate transparency and disclosure in the coming year.

How many US companies do you think have positions that include the word “sustainability” in their job title? Would you guess 100? 1,000? According to ZoomInfo, the answer is 12,660 This statistic proves that sustainability jobs exist, but does not necessarily prove that there is an established career path within the sustainability profession.

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Making the "Body Corporate" Healthy Starts with Employees

CSC—Computer Sciences Corporation—just announced that it had been awarded Gold Level Achievement in the American Heart Association’s (AHA) 2012 Fit-Friendly Companies Recognition program. I wanted to immediately congratulate CSC on the achievement. Then I wondered, why is this award special? Why aren’t all companies at a gold level for this kind of achievement in promoting their employees’ health?
One of the most clearly defined areas of crossover between corporate responsibility and other departments of any big business is the intersection between corporate responsibility and human resources. Employee health and wellness should be at the core of any executive leadership agenda. I have spent considerable time in my career in the presence of the CEO’s of major companies. When you ask them about what concerns them, talent is always near the top of their lists. Concern for talent needs to extend well past the recruitment and retention of competence to the availability to perform physically, emotionally and mentally.
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Building Our Body of CR knowledge

What makes a corporate responsibility (CR) program successful? Do an organization’s structure, staffing, budget impact success in achieving goals? What’s the effect of executive engagement in CR?

These are just a few of the questions CR Magazine and NYSE-Euronext have sought to answer over the past couple of years of research into CR practices.Thanks to strong response from the CR community, we’ve learned a few things about the state of corporate citizenship...

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Corporate Sustainability Is Itself Unsustainable

New Research Highlights Structural Flaws in the Field & Profession of Corporate Responsibility

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Do Corporate Responsibility “Best Practices” Really Exist?

In short, no. 
 
Although there are a growing number of examples of “successful practices”. More often than not, companies are still sorting out what CR really means for them. While companies have an important role to play in tackling some of our most pressing challenges, each company’s CR strategy has to make sense for their industry, their business model, and the identity of their individual organization. So rarely does CR look the same at different companies. Moreover, this remains a nascent field, making it a little early declare any practice “best”.
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Showcasing Supply Chains

A few years ago, Nike paid the price for the bad labor and human rights practices of its suppliers.  Now it's Apple's turn in the penalty box.

 
In stark contrast, McDonald’s has put its suppliers front-and-center in a series of heartwarming new ads.  McDonald’s put faces, names, and voices to these folks.  Frank Martinez, potato supplier.  Dirk Giannini, lettuce supplier.  Steve Fogelsong, beef supplier.
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Poking Holes in the Corporate Responsibility Curriculum

In preparation for our upcoming webinar on June 1st on “Building the Corporate Responsibility Profession,” (FREE WEBINAR -- register today!) I met with Nancy Beer Tobin from the Executive Education Department at Georgetown University's McDonough Business School.  She asked me to point out the holes in the Corporate Responsibility (CR) curriculum. Universities, trade associations, and training organizations have jumped into the CR education space giving us a rich panoply of information, but does it really fulfill on the potential: equipping companies to not just comply with society's mandates but actually lead?
 

Our June 1st webinar will explore these issues in-depth from multiple perspectives:  the CR practitioner’s (thanks to Kevin Moss of BT and Susan Seutter of Cisco), the CR educator’s (via Nancy Beer Tobin and Georgetown), the up-and-coming CR professional (through Ryan Whisnant, Director of Sustainability for SunGard & 2009 EDF Climate Corps Alumnus), and the media’s (from Vault.com’s Aman Singh).  But as a preview, here are my perspectives on Nancy’s question.  The short answer is no.  The longer answer: the potential exists, but needs refining.

I see five holes that need filling:

 
1.     Embedding CR into the core leadership curriculum
2.     Finance for non-finance majors
3.     Responsibility for non-responsibility majors
4.     Responsibility communications skills
5.     An organized body of knowledge and development path
 
Let's take these one at a time...
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This Easter God Calls You to Live Sustainably

 Posted April 23, 2011

Man as dominator.

Man as animal.

Man as parasite.

Man as steward.  


Four visions of humanity's relationship to nature. Which one you subscribe to has a lot to do with what you think God said to Adam in the Garden of Eden.  In Chapter One of the Book of Genesis, God says to Adam, "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth."

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Get Real: The Facts on What Works in Corporate Responsibility

This year I jumped on the Corporate Responsibility cocktail circuit. I've attended literally a dozen events this year already and at every one, I eventually end up in the same conversation: cornered by a pundit opining on what companies should do.

Don't get me wrong. Many of these people not only have good intentions, they often have very good ideas. But here's what they don't have: responsibility. They're not in the chair with the actual responsibility for delivering on these programs. I used to be a consultant -- and I'm married to one -- so I know that consultants can offer a lot. But I also know, that companies can learn a lot from each other.

That's why, in cooperation with NYSE Euronext, we started the CR Best Practices Survey last year and why we continue it this year. Last year we had a terrific response rate, with over 650 companies responding. We want to beat that this year and produce the most comprehensive survey of actual successful practices; what's really working in live operations at real companies.

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