The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), set in 2000 by 189 United Nations members, were aimed at significantly improving social and economic conditions in the world's poor countries by 2015. As this deadline approaches, some controversy has arisen over the progress made over the MDG’s thirteen years and counting.
Most experts agree that the proportion of people living in poverty (defined as earning $1.25 per day) has been cut-in-half since 2000 (thanks mostly to jobs created in India, Bangladesh, and China). World hunger has also declined (1-in-8 suffers from under-nutrition today versus over twenty percent two decades ago). But when it comes to MDGs of universal primary education, gender equality, maternal health, sanitation, and such, progress ranges from mixed to middling to dismal.
How dismal? One new study by a Howard Friedman of the U.N. Population Fund (which was disavowed by the UN and published independently) reports: “The general result was that there was no trend in statistically significant accelerations in the MDG indicators after 2000.” A closer looks at the data, however, shows that some poor countries have made substantial progress in many areas, but that others have not moved the needle at all.
Ok, what has this got to do with business?
The UN Global Compact and the MDGs
In 2000, businesses throughout the world were invited to join the...
In the more than 20 years I have spent working in the international development sector, I have seen corporate giving transform from simple philanthropy to companies seeking to become a true partner in addressing global challenges alongside NGOs. As corporations become more global, so does their giving; businesses are targeting their corporate social responsibility efforts in communities abroad in which they operate, have a customer base or just see a need. This is happening at a very opportune time.
As U.S. public funding for global development declines, there is a strong need for increased private and corporate participation in development programs worldwide. Given these circumstances, Global Impact decided to take a deeper look at what drives U.S. corporations to give money and invest in development programs outside the U.S.
Today, we are releasing the results of our research study, “Giving Beyond Borders: A Study of Global Giving by U.S. Corporations.” The study, performed by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, explores the scope and depth of international giving by U.S. corporations and examines what makes corporate-nonprofit partnerships successful.
The study identified two major determining factors that propel U.S. corporations to give to a program or charity in a foreign host country:
Many businesses that rely on skilled workers report difficulty finding qualified individuals to fill open jobs. In fact, skilled trades have been the hardest segment of the workforce for employers to staff for the last three years, according to ManpowerGroup.
Partnerships that help align the skill needs of businesses with the training offered by community colleges are a solution to build a stronger workforce, but many don’t know where to start.
October is “Skilled Trades Awareness Month,” a time when Grainger, the leading broad line supplier of maintenance, repair and operating products serving businesses and institutions, invites the nation to honor, celebrate and raise the visibility of the skilled trades. To kick off the month, Grainger has launched an interactive skilled trades playbook called “Dynamic Partnerships for a New Economy” that connects businesses and community colleges in an effort to boost local workforce development.
A Playbook for Partnership
The Playbook, developed in partnership with...
As a chef and former restaurant owner, I like you all, know that human capital is often the most expensive investment a business makes. Training, mentoring and developing staff can have a big price tag, especially on a small business. Yet our nation’s human capital is threatened by one very common problem – childhood hunger.
In our nation today, one out of five children struggles with hunger. Making sure these kids get the food they need every day isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s also the smart thing.
In the short term, when kids don’t get enough of the healthy food they need, they feel the instant effects. They’re tired and sluggish. They can’t concentrate in class. They have behavioral problems. They don’t feel well and suffer from headaches and stomach aches. Thiscan have serious, long-term effects on their future success, as childhood hunger negatively affects health, academic achievement and future economic prosperity. We can’t have a strong America with weak kids.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign is ending childhood hunger by connecting kids to effective nutrition programs, like school breakfast, and educating low-income families to stretch their food...
The world market relies heavily on male-owned businesses. WEConnect International, a corporate-led non-profit that certifies women-owned businesses around the world, estimates that on average less than 1% of global corporate or government spend is on women-owned businesses in any country.
This staggering gap between male and female businesses reminds us that women’s economic energy is still an enormous untapped resource for global growth. This gap is partially due to persistent challenges including discriminatory regulation, less access to education, and societal norms.
In fact, women’s difficulty in achieving economic success is a big reason why women make up 70% of the global poor. They have the highest rates of unemployment and underemployment, less access to credit, and are often not equally represented in public education and training programs. In addition, women are often underrepresented in stakeholder discussions and the political arena.
Last month in New York, I attended the CEO Water Mandate conference on corporate water stewardship, which was part of the UN Global Compact Leaders’ Summit that brought together leaders from business, government, nonprofit organizations, and other stakeholders. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss how to harness the power of the private sector to advance solutions to address global priorities such as water, jobs, education, food, and women’s empowerment on a massive scale.
Water is used to make all products on Earth, so all businesses rely on water in some way to produce the goods we depend on, such as food, beverages, electronics, clothing, and medicine, to name a few. Water is also used to provide essential services, such as electricity, waste disposal, and more. Water is becoming increasingly stressed due to rapid population growth, urbanization, changes in climate, pollution, and increasing demand such as for agriculture production. As a result, the spotlight is more and more focused on business, one of the world’s most significant users of water, to help solve water challenges. The good news is a growing number of businesses are making the link between water security and their long-term viability and profitability, and are stepping up to be a part of the solution.
At the event I listened in on engaging conversations where several leading companies –...
[Editor's Note: Join Cheryl Heller during BCLC's October Conference Innovation Blitz. During this session, top social entrepreneurs and business innovators will share their work to inspire fresh ideas and foster collaboration. Register today.]
From a business standpoint, poverty has been a lousy investment. But one of the most resourceful businessmen of our time has set out to prove that when you know what you’re doing, there’s a multi-trillion dollar marketplace waiting to be had.
Paul Polak is the root cause of 20 million people’s transition from poverty to the middle class. He is the founder of iDE, author of “The Business Solution to Poverty” and “Out of Poverty,” and creator of “Design for the other 90%.” At heart, Paul is just a savvy businessman who sees opportunities to bring business where nobody else dares to...
For many years, companies have made community investments through monetary contributions, donations of in-kind goods and services, ticket purchases to special events, and sponsorships. While these may be eligible for tax credits, there are many more reasons why business should become involved with the nonprofit community.
For example, are you trying to improve employee engagement? Establish an emotional connection with customers? Build community goodwill? Attract future employees? Maybe, you hope to create synergies with a nonprofit that lead to solving an environmental issue or diminishing a social ill. That’s why it’s important to identify the goals you hope to achieve prior to aligning your company with a charity.
Because there are numerous social and environmental needs and many nonprofits addressing these challenges, you must do your homework by developing a network of nonprofits that emulate your organizational values, work in a field that strongly connects with your social and environmental platforms, and possesses a positive reputation. While this narrows the field, you may not have sufficient personnel or time to complete the proper due diligence to finalize your selection. That’s where organizations, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundations’s Business...
I want to say one word about Sustainable Brand’s The New Metrics of Sustainable Business 2013 — awesome. SB’s New Metrics felt like a practitioners convening. The focus on real world cases prompted truly useful dialog. The fact that the audience was largely filled with corporate responsibility (CR) professionals made for a collegial atmosphere that energized participants. It also seems that CR professionals interested in metrics are the same ones that are really driving performance.
There are many takeaways from the conference (I highly recommend attending if you can), but here are the main ones I got:
1) Don’t fear measurement. This meeting was chock full of companies that were surprised at how easy and powerful it was to measure sustainability impact. Multiple presentations stressed how powerful it is if you can talk numbers with the CFO of your organization. They also stressed how surprisingly easy it was to start measuring. Even if you need to use “back of the napkin” estimates in some parts, the message was clear: start converting your efforts to data.
2) Get specific. Find a specific project or value proposition that you want to make, and then figure out the components that comprise it. Then make the measurements happen. Don't worry about getting the right consultant in the room, and don't worry if you...
This summer the UPS Foundation announced $7.6 million in donations to 41 diversity, education, and veteran and military support nonprofit organizations. The UPS Foundation will positively impact thousands of lives through this support.
The UPS Foundation has a long-standing committee to diversity and empowerment according to the UPS Foundation president Ed Martinez:
"From higher education and economic empowerment to leadership and inclusion, The UPS Foundation continuously seeks opportunities to champion diversity by aligning our corporate giving with organizations that make a difference in global communities.”
The donation includes $1 million in cash and in-kind support to the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), an organization with which UPS has a 25 year history "from providing 300 employee volunteers for the National Veterans Wheelchair Games to making significant contributions to the American Gala annual tribute," according to Martinez.
The donations also included $1 million in support of Hispanic-American college and career readiness program Escalera and $1.1 million to the National Urban Leage, among others. The total contributions represent an increase in the foundation's diversity grants by more than $1.5 million since 2012.
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