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Corporate Responsibility Officers Need an Ethics Code!

Posted October 4, 2010

Doctors have an ethics code. PR professionals, accountants, lawyers, ombudsman, engineers and ethics officers all have ethics codes.  In many ways, a well crafted ethics code defines a profession; it gives guidance to its practitioners to support the most taxing judgment calls they will have to make and articulates its defining values to those outside the profession. As the conscience of many organizations, it's time for Corporate Responsibility professionals to follow suit.

CROA's Professional Development Committee Chair calls CR professionals to define an ethics code.



Responsibility Play of the Week: Jets, BP, & Tylenol

Posted September 30, 2010

Help us pick the "Responsibility Play of the Week" : an example of responsible or irresponsible behavior from any where in the world -- doesn't have to be business-related.  This week's candidates:

  • Jets bench Braylon Edwards for his DUI arrest.
  • BP gets ready for a major management shake-up
  • J&J does a phantom recall of a number of medicines

Which one should be our "Play of the Week"?



Water: the visible face of climate change

Posted September 7, 2010

Water is where climate change meets people.  As the climate changes its most visible, most pressing impact will come in how it impacts the access, availability, and cleanliness of water.  Beyond carbon, beyond greenhouse gases, water is the most pressing challenge facing every living thing on earth.






To Breach or Not to Breach

Consider the following scenario: a senior level employee urges the company to vacate commercial office space and breach the applicable lease. He explains that he has found other space that better suits the company's needs that is substantially less expensive. He supports his advice with flawless financial analysis; the savings will be significant and will help the company meet its financial goals. Should the company accept the employee's recommendation and intentionally breach the lease? Is intentionally breaching a contract socially responsible and ethical business behavior?

Corporate Responsibility's Detractors Present a False Choice: Business Have, Can, & Should Do Well by Doing Good

Posted August 25, 2010

Prof. Aneel Karnani of the University of Michigan lays out his case against corporate social responsibility (CSR) in a Wall Street Journal podcast. The WSJ editors themselves chime in declaring, "Corporate social responsibility is either irrelevant or ineffective. Take your pick." Both Prof Karnani and the WSJ editors entirely miss the point. In the end Karnani restates Friedmanism declaring that companies should seek profits and regulators alone should chase down bad-actors.sustainability.  And how to play a bigger game in advancing the debate about sustainability.



Valuing Sustainability: Quantification. Evaluation. Recognition.

Posted Aug 13, 2010

How can companies quantify their sustainability?  How should customers investors evaluate that sustainability?  How should communities, regulators, and NGOs recognize and reward it?

Some thoughts on channeling your inner math-geek to capture and hold the attention of the CEO, CFO, COO, and CIO.  Tips, tools, and tactics for making the hard-data business case for sustainability.  And how to play a bigger game in advancing the debate about sustainability.



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.



Why is Corporate Responsibility in the Public Interest?

Posted July 1, 2010

On June 30, the CROA convened its Corporate Excellence for Government Roundtable at the George Washington University to address Corporate Responsibility in the Public Interest.  Martha Johnson, head of the US government's General Services Administration, charged the assembled executives to take on improving transparency and responsibility throughout the government's supply chain.


Paris: City of Insights

Posted June 29, 2010
How do you compare and contrast Corporate Responsibility in Europe vs. the US?  The CROA's European Steering Committee opened my eyes to the differences and revealed a common ground we can build upon. 


A CRO’s worst nightmare…

Scott LiddellPosted June 25, 2010

By Phillip Clawson, Managing Director, Community Matters Group

If you are a Corporate Responsibility Officer, this could be your worst nightmare… you’ve spent years building CR initiatives at your company, and then overnight, a crisis arises in some other part of the company (an area over which you have no authority) that seems to undo all of the good you’ve done. I should know; it’s happened to me! (More on that later.)


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?

Doing Good Does NOT Make you Responsible

Posted June 8, 2010

Why does no one trust BP CEO Tony Hayward?  No one trusts Tony Hayward because he and BP have not made -- never made -- the conscious decision to be responsible and every action they take continues to demonstrate their lack of responsibility.  Take their continued reluctance to be transparent.  They show zero interest in measuring or disclosing the true amount of oil coming out of that well.  They release information on their repair operations on a "need to know basis."

No amount of "make good" -- in fact no amount of doing good -- can make up for a fundamental lack of character.  BE transparent Tony.  BE Accountable Tony.  BE Responsible Tony.  Then you can try to earn back our trust.




Busting the Myth: Corporate Responsibility is NOT a New Phenomenon

Posted: June 7, 2010

Left to themselves companies -- particularly big businesses -- have always been and always will be nothing but profit-pursuing machines, blindly chasing their bottom lines without concern for society.  Thank God for the corporate responsibility movement and the new laws coming down.  These will finally force business to think about more than the bottom line and care about society.

False.  False, and... False.


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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