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March 17, 2012
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Finding & Supporting New Models of Collaboration for Good

Following up on last weeks blog post about how, in the midst of the economic downturn, the best corporate citizens built more successful ways of working with governments and NGOs, we now look at how to help organizations establish them by shining a light on real-world examples and providing a platform for connecting with potential partners.

At the 2011 COMMIT!Forum we highlighted several new models of collaboration. Two of my personal favorites were the work done by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and Compass Group to alleviate slave-like working conditions for migrant workers in Florida and that of Western Union and USAID to establish an African Diaspora Marketplace to harness the wealth and entrepreneurialism of this community to jump-start new businesses in Africa itself...


Deficit-Driven Developments

The recession started a renaissance in how companies, NGOs, & governments collaborate

Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention.  With governments and non-profits facing yawning budget deficits and business facing one of its biggest trust-deficits in history, organizations are coming together in unprecedented ways to tackle some of society's greatest challenges. In fact, a distinct set of collaborative practices used by the “best corporate citizens” and their partners have emerged that others could adopt.


American Tribalism?

Will “tribal” loyalties tear American society apart?

An empire at its peak brought low by mounting debt, a government beset by in-fighting, business and bureaucratic elites conspiring to line their own pockets, and emerging countries that eventually surpass and overwhelm it.

A prediction about America?  Possibly.  But this little vignette actually comes from Frances Fukuyama’s description of the fall of the Ottoman Empire.  The Janissaries, the bureaucratic class that controlled many of the levers of imperial power, organized themselves into the equivalent of political parties, fighting each other over the spoils of empire, even as it became increasingly clear that the imperial economy was collapsing under its own weight and that the rising powers on its borders had out-innovated it and would soon overtake it.  The parallels to our modern crisis leap off the page.


The Economics of Corporate Responsibility – A New Model Redefining Externalities

Traditional economics requires firms to take certain items into account and treat others as externalities. ResponsibilityWorksin an effort to put the Corporate Responsibility Officers Association’s data, practices, and insights to work for government, ensuring that government and its contractors can also do well by doing good—is promoting how corporate responsibility redefines externalities with a new economic model.


To change the world, change California or change Wal-Mart…or the US Federal Government

California and Wal-Mart are recognized as having far-reaching influence on our lives. California has one of the world’s largest economies. Wal-Mart’s supply chain spans huge swaths of the world economy. The US Federal government has even greater reach and impact. This is why the mission of ResponsibilityWorks is to foster and evolve corporate responsibility practices, measures, and disclosure in the government contractor community.  This will help to drive transparency and accountability across the board. 

ResponsibilityWorks Calls Upon Government & Industry to Lead the Way to a New Responsible Economy

The people of the United States are demanding increasing levels of transparency and accountability from their government and the companies with which it does business. President Obama has responded with a historic commitment to bringing more transparency and integrity to the way his Administration conducts itself and how it interacts with its business partners. 

In keeping with these principles, the Corporate Responsibility Officers Association (CROA) has created ResponsibilityWorks, a Government Roundtable that has convened sixty leaders of companies, government agencies, nonprofits, and academia committed to improving transparency and responsibility among contractors.


BMWs, Limos, & Bad Data: Why Transparency 1.0 is Going to Suck

 Posted July 23, 2010


The government and its military industrial complex are out fleecing America again, right?  Well, that's what the Washington Post seems to think and its reporting may drive a lot of government executives and contractors to duck for cover.  But now's the time to double down on transparency and greet scrutiny with better data.



The Buying Power of Government

Posted June 14, 2010
We've heard a lot about government as a regulator.  What about government as a buyer?  With almost half a trillion dollars in government spending that flows to government contractors, as a buyer, the US federal government is pretty much as big as it gets.  What would happen if government and industry came together to encourage corporate transparency and accountability?  What would happen if buyer and suppliers got together in the same room and decided to make a big difference in the world, not by mandate and law, but through the marketplace?

When the Angel of Death comes knocking we need Moses, not Pharaoh

The unmitigated, seemingly unstoppable horror that is the Gulf Oil Spill forms a collective challenge that must become our defining purpose. The model for dealing with this crisis is less Watergate and more Mandela's Truth & Reconciliation process used in South Africa after the end of Apartheid, forgoing recrimination without forgoing justice, so that our best can go to work.


Government Contracting: A Practical Way Forward on Climate Change & Corporate Responsibility

Posted May 26th, 2010

After a bruising health care battle, financial reform still hanging in the balance, a still-struggling economy, and (oh yeah!) mid-term elections around the corner how can the Obama Administration make progress on climate change and corporate responsibility?  The same way government has pushed forward on lots of other social change programs: use the power of the purse.

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