In the best-case scenario, signature programs turn out to be wildly popular, which is what happened with PNC’s “Grow Up Great.” The program began nine years ago when PNC’s CEO, James Rohr, decided that the company’s prominence in local communities meant it could make a significant impact in early childhood education opportunities. From the beginning, PNC was committed to a program with measurable...
If you have been following the garment manufacturing tragedy in Bangladesh, you are well aware of the outrage expressed over the factory collapse. You also are aware of the pressure likely to be exerted on retail outlets and clothing labels to ensure such deplorable and unsafe working conditions are not used in the creation of their garment lines.
Consumers have always wanted lower prices for goods and services, but today they also want businesses to be ethically and socially responsible, which includes responsible sourcing.
Regardless of company size, sourcing responsibly isn’t easy. You may identify vendors who verbally commit to standards but whose operation may not comply with the agreed-upon principles. Or, the supplier may aspire to meet the required social and environmental criteria, and being afraid to lose a major account, they decide not to share their shortcomings.
This means you must do our homework to locate suppliers that meet your requirements. And, you must develop procedures to ensure your social, ethical, and environmental expectations are met.
MillerCoors adopted responsible sourcing principles in 2008. In 2011, the company asked a number of its top suppliers to join the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (Sedex)....
Small and medium-size businesses are a huge part of the American economy; the Small Business Administration estimates that the 23 million small businesses in the United States account for 54% of all U.S. sales. Small businesses also provide 55% of all jobs and 66% of all net new jobs since the 1970s.Companies who are engaging in corporate responsibility (CR) acknowledge that the strength of small businesses is essential to the overall business ecosystem, and many have launched initiatives to try and help out their smaller counterparts (the reason Small and medium-sized business empowerment is one of BCLC’s 2013 issue networks).
Goldman Sachs, IBM Corporation, and HP are three examples of companies with substantial, innovative programs which are empowering entrepreneurs and small businesses via financial, instructional, and technical assistance. Read more about their programs, which are features on our Business for Good Map, below:
Goldman Sachs’s 10,000 Small Businesses
Recently we’ve been thinking a lot about research projects at BCLC. With the launch of our new framework, we’re busy coming up with eight applied research projects – one for each of 2013’s Issue Networks. With research projects on the brain, now seems like a good time to share some insight about what makes for a good corporate responsbility (CR) research project.
Every day I see the results of CR studies coming across my news reader. When I click on one, I frequently ask myself: Why this one? Why didn’t I ignore it like the dozens I skip daily? The ultimate aim of all research is to be read, and there are lots of reasons why some get clicked and some don’t. Some of it is personal preference. Marketing is also a big part. However, marketing can only do so much. Research is designed to prove something, and what’s going to be interesting and effective is largely related to the kind of proof you show.
Many of the articles that I skip make grand claims like: “Green Scoreboard finds $4.1 T in Private Green Investments.” One might think that such provocative claims would grab my attention, and yet these are often the ones that I skip.
The problem is that I see lots of big, abstract claims. Worse, I know from frequent experience that when you make such an abstract claim, the study...
Humanitarian organizations call it a crisis unlike any other. The worst drought in 60 years in Sub-Saharan Africa, coupled with conflict in Somali last year, left 13 million people at risk for starvation and malnutrition—a number greater than all the inhabitants of New York City and Los Angeles. In the face of this unprecedented disaster, Cargill donated 10,000 metric tons (more than 22 million pounds) of rice to support the World Food Program (WFP) USA’s efforts to fight starvation in the Horn of Africa. It is the largest ever food contribution from a company to WFP USA, as well as our largest ever food donation. The rice, enough to feed nearly 1 million people for one month according to WFP, arrived from India at the port of Mombasa in Kenya in late November 2011.
The donation grew out of a conversation between Dr. Rajiv Shah, administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and Greg Page, Cargill chairman and chief executive officer. Shah described how thousands more children in the Horn might die without specific action to save their lives. Page decided that Cargill needed to respond in an unprecedented way “given Cargill’s vision to nourish people, the desperate need and our unique ability to source and move food to where it is needed.”
With financial support from its family shareholders, Cargill...
Western Union is at the center of a global economic future in which emerging markets, small and microbusinesses, and mobile/online technologies will intersect. Western Union works with underserved individuals and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), bringing financial services to communities with few banking options and unlocking potential in emerging markets.
Access to financial services provides dignity in the form of financial inclusion and opportunity. A recent Grameen Foundation Study—funded by the Western Union Foundation in Uganda—found that mobile money transfer services created an immediate impact on financial inclusion, financial literacy, and ongoing savings levels.
With more than 510,000 retail locations in 200 countries and territories, Western Union is well positioned to help fuel emerging economies. Western Union has a presence of 96,000 agent locations in India, 35,000 in China, 11,000 in Brazil, and more than 5,900 locations in Morocco, including mobile locations that travel to remote areas of the country.
The company does business in 140 currencies, and is able to rapidly adapt its models to meet distinct financial needs in specific social and economic contexts. While other companies market to those with credit, plastic, income, and online access, Western Union focuses on the overlooked and underserved as its core customer, which in turn, builds financial inclusion in communities everywhere.
From migrant workers sending...
A recent survey of nearly 800 sustainability professionals in business, government, NGOs, academe, and the media in over 70 countries concluded that “experts overwhelmingly believe companies should collaborate with multiple actors, including governments, to advance sustainability most effectively.” Yet the survey found a huge gap between the importance to companies of partnering for sustainability versus its likely adoption in practice (58% versus 30%). Key perceived barriers to collaboration included the absence of shared goals, a lack of executive leadership, and simply a lack of experience.
No experience to draw upon? In the past year, we’ve participated in conferences at the University of Southern California on multi-business and business-NGO partnerships, at the Copenhagen Business School on partnerships between business-and-government, and in the Asia Forum on CSR, on multi-sector collaborations. These were not academic conclaves. They featured contributions from and dialogue with private-sector companies, government agencies, and NGOs from all over the world. Our attention here turns to the growing body of scholarship and tested practice on multi-organizational collaboration for sustainability
Why are companies participating in multi-stakeholder networks and partnerships? With global...
The 2013 CECP Summit: Ahead, Together, brought chairs of foundations, CEOs, and corporate responsbility experts to NYC to discuss how to make corporate giving more effective. At a session on June 4, Eva Tansky Blum, EVP & Director of Community Affairs at PNC Bank and Lori Forte Harnick, General Manager for Citizenship & Public Affairs at Microsoft shared their insights during Adapting Signature Programs to New Realities, a panel moderated by Carol Cone, Global Practice Chair of Edelman Business + Social Purpose for Edelman.
In her introduction, Cone addressed some of the benefits of a signature program: bolstering a positive corporate image with stakeholders and creating a sense of community investment within the company. According to Cone, “signature programs reveal corporate character.” But as times change, signature programs need to adapt to new corporate and stakeholder expectations, and Blum and Harnick discussed how their companies have adjusted their programs accordingly.
Today I would like to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Pfizer’s Global Health Fellows (GHF) Program. GHF is a great example of the potential of employee skills-based volunteering (something my colleague Richard Crespin has written eloquently about in this space). GHF was at the time and continues to be a pioneering program. As a part of the first wave of this movement, GHF’s lessons show us that, yes, these programs require effort. But when done correctly, the rewards for the community, the employees, and the bottom-line are substantial.
Connie Lieu from Pfizer Madison NJ joined Project HOPE to partner with a team of doctors and specialists from Shanghai Children’s Medical Center Children hospital to conduct free children clinic in the rural part of China.
GHF places Pfizer employees (or “colleagues” as the company calls them) in short-term assignments with international development organizations to improve access, quality, or efficiency of health services. The experience includes working in resource-constrained settings, helping patients,...
You may think that selling the hottest cell phone or the fastest car will drive consumers to choose your brand over another, but according to Reputation Institute, products are not the primary factor in their decision. Instead, the global private consulting firm found that reputation -- which it defines as the emotional bond between companies and their stakeholders -- is the single biggest component in consumers’ purchasing decision.
The study found that there is a strong correlation between a company’s reputation and consumers’ willingness to recommend it or buy from it: 55% of consumers would definitely buy products from companies with strong reputations and 59% would be willing to say something positive to others about it. But for companies with weak reputations, the number of consumers willing to recommend it plummets to 7%.
In order to compile a list of the most reputable American companies, the firm conducted an online study among 4,719 consumers to measure their perceptions of the 150 largest companies with which they were “somewhat” or “very” familiar. Reputation Institute then assigned each company a “RepTrak Pulse” score of 0 to 100, which represents an average measure of a consumer’s feelings about that company. The study used four emotional indicators as the primary components of reputation: admiration, trust, good feeling, and overall esteem.
To improve charities, first change how donors donate. Then upgrade their visions and volunteers.
Do you believe in fixed pies or expanding pies? How you answer this question dictates how you approach many key issues. Do we live in a world of fixed natural resources where every use takes away another, or a world of ever-expanding technological innovation that can stretch our resources and find new ones? Do we live in a world where every dollar in compensation for a CEO takes away a dollar from a manufacturing-line worker, or a world where the CEO earns her pay by growing the company so that more manufacturing workers can earn theirs?
Thomas Malthus most famously articulated the fixed-pie world view. Fortunately, the Industrial Revolution started just about the time his book got published, ultimately proving him wrong. Robert Solow came along in the middle of the last century and put forward one of the best articulations of the ever-expanding-pie argument. Lucky for us, free-markets tend to bend the arc of history toward the ever-expanding-pie worldview. And many of the world's largest philanthropists have made their money in the free market and now use it to expand the pie for non-profits.
Yet, many of these same donors are hypocrites. They impose restrictions on non-profits they would never accept on their own affairs. Principle...