The old saying that the cobbler should stick to his last – his mold – suggests that we ought not venture far from things we work with day by day. That may have been true at one point, but it is no longer. And yet cobblers need to know their lasts, and take responsibility for them. Perhaps before they do anything else.
You have probably never heard of Giesecke and Devrient (G&D), a privately-held German company founded in the middle of the 19th century. G&D is chiefly a printer. But not just any printer. It’s a secure printer. They print banknotes. In a typical year, they print the banknotes for 80 nations and manufacture the paper for 40 more, over half the member states of the United Nations. Perhaps the next Oceans 11 remake will hit one of their warehouses. The Bourne Banknotes would track global financial conspiracy back to Bismarck.
A year ago, I was asked to consult, as part of a group, for a new venture emerging from this high-tech banknote machine. While G&D has ongoing engagement in several more traditional CSR areas, the new project was to focus on core questions in the domain of its business technology, such as identity and the human-machine interface. It appealed to me as I was just winding down a three-year project on biometrics, identity, security and ethics, in which our Washington, DC think tank C-PET served as U.S. partner in a global effort and last May hosted a three-day event in...
Last week, BCLC hosted the first of a series of webinars (see the presentation here) with the goal of promoting the importance of smart, internal operations management for companies looking to grow as environmental stewards. These webinars aren’t meant to be at the ‘sustainability 101’ level of discourse: rather, they’re tailored to fit the priorities of companies that have advanced beyond the ‘introductory’ phase of environmental management and are looking for new ways to prove themselves as environmental leaders.
The first webinar certainly set this advanced tone. Jeff Rice, the Senior Director of Sustainability at Walmart Stores Inc. discussed how his company has translated the bold vision of former CEO Lee Scott in 2005—to use 100% renewable power, create zero waste, and make products that sustain people and the environment—into impressive results.
Jeff explained how Walmart chose to integrate its sustainability strategy into its core philosophy and value proposition for consumers. Rather than merely create a line of expensive green alternatives to trusted brands, the company has sought to push environmental performance throughout its stores. As Jeff reiterated during the webinar, “customers shouldn’t have to choose between products they can...
BCLC's new executive interview series, 3 on the 3rd, is dedicated to providing deep and valuable business insights delivered in a quick manner. As the column name suggests, interviews are three questions in length and air on the 3rd of the month.
This month I interviewed Jack Wysocki, VP of Business Development at CSRwire. Since 1999, CSRwire has served as a leading global source of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability news. For over a decade, the news platform has told the stories of how hundreds of businesses create a positive impact in society, but what about the company's own initiatives? See how an organization dedicated to sustainability is leading the way on innovative community development.
1. CSRwire is a leader in sharing the news of societal improvement – hundreds of organizations turn to you to amplify their stories. But you have your own story to tell, too. So tell us, what is CSRwire’s community involvement focus?
Our office is located on a chemically-contaminated street called “Gasoline Alley.” Years back when the buildings were purchased I thought it was a crazy move. There were no bugs, plant or wildlife, but plenty of crime. What we have built since then is an oasis in the middle of blight. We have built an evolving village and I'm proud of the fact that I have helped...
One sure way to achieve success is ensure that cooperation, coordination and common goals are part of any solution. For The Dow Chemical Company and other businesses in Bahia Blanca and Ingeniero White, Argentina, the extensive involvement of community, government, education and business was vital to the success of “Buen Trabajo” (Good Job as it’s called in English), a job training program started in 2007.
The Good Job training program is the creative and effective solution developed to meet a basic community problem: Matching qualified employees to available jobs. With high unemployment rates in Ingeniero White, especially among young people, jobs are a key to improving people’s lives, the local economy and the strength of the community.
The solution was obvious to area businesses and the community: better prepare young people through training for available jobs. However, creating a real world solution was more involved and required participation from many community stakeholders.
Needs Assessment Needed
The first step was to identify the need for skilled workers in the area’s petrochemical, oil, industrial, cereal and service labor markets. Based on surveys given to 34 Dow supplier companies, the major findings were:
- Growing Job Opportunities. Suppliers’...
It was all very surprising. I had seen Sandy’s damage on television, I had heard the stories of those on the ground, and affected businesses had called our Help Desk, but still a part of me didn’t believe it. The media sometimes has a tendency to exaggerate, and I figured that they found the most damaged houses and kept showing them on TV. I figured that the media’s East Coast (especially NY) bias played a role as did the rarity of hurricanes in the Northeast. But I was wrong.
Last week, BCLC took a group of 20 companies to the Sandy affected areas to see the damage firsthand. We toured the area, visited with nonprofits and other community leaders, and saw first-hand how the status of the ongoing recovery. This is a service that we provide for our supporters. It is one thing to make decisions on how to support community recovery from your desk, it is another to see things for yourself. The latter makes for a much more informed decision. Our group went to five communities over three days: Monmouth County, NJ, Lower Manhattan, Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Queens. And there was extensive damage in every area we went. I know this was a big storm, but driving throughout New Jersey and New York really put into perspective the full extent and intensity of the damage. We saw many houses that were destroyed, and countless more that received so much damage that they needed to be gutted down to the...
More than 30% of the children in St. Louis had lead poisoning in 2000*. You read that right. I learned this alarming statistic from Robert Fruend, CEO of the St. Louis Regional Health Commission (RHC), during The Atlantic's "Conversation on Community Health" (underwritten by GlaxoSmithKline). It was offered as a model for action.
Fruend explained how the RHC, the City of St. Louis, Saint Louis County, the State of Missouri, RHC Advisory Board members, community organizations, and hundreds of community members began collaborating to tackle this enormous lead poisoning challenge. Through their collaboration, the St. Louis community can now report that fewer than 3% of their children have lead poisoning--a dramatic drop achieved in just a decade. Bravo St. Louis!
Unlike the Field of Dreams principle, shoppers won’t support sustainability just because you do. And, Unilever appears to “get” that to become a sustainable company – it must partner with customers.
This is obvious in the consumer-centric project being launched in the U.K. and Ireland. The goal? Helping families live more sustainably, reduce household waste by 25 percent and cut monthly food bills by 15 percent.
According to their research, seven out of 10 adults in the U.K. say the primary barrier to adopting an environmentally-conscious lifestyle is cost. Committed to debunking this perception, Unilever plans to provide advice and tools to help customers achieve a more socially responsible lifestyle and help families change their attitudes about food waste, while doing so in a manner that doesn’t break their budget.
Obviously, you can change packaging, but if customers don’t understand why or believe it will cost them more, there is a “disconnect.” If consumers don’t connect the dots between sustainability and food waste, the compost pile simply grows. And if shoppers aren’t introduced to how smart, sustainable spending patterns can help them reduce grocery bills, they will be...
[Editor's Note: Want to learn more about Walmart's sustainability practices? Join our webinar on January 28.]
About five years ago, Walmart set some pretty ambitious sustainability goals that would affect practically every aspect of our business—from our everyday practices to the partners we work with and the products we sell. One of our main priorities was to improve our supply chain to reduce emissions and costs. We also decided to focus on selling products that don’t require our customers to choose between affordability and what’s good for the environment. To do this, we knew we needed to collaborate with others to get the right tools and information.
In 2009, we helped create The Sustainability Consortium (TSC), a collaborative effort with some our largest competitors, to help develop measurement and reporting systems for product sustainability and contribute to a Sustainability Index. It now has more than 100 members and offices across three continents. We’re using the tools that have come out of TSC...
By Sherry Ward, Vice President of Corporate Services, Maritz
Faced with a challenging economy and ever-rising health care costs, companies are keenly aware that workplace wellness is also good for business. With more than 70% of health care claims currently being attributed to lifestyle factors that are preventable, workplace wellness has quickly emerged as a top priority.
Despite the fact that more than 90% of large companies offer some type of wellness benefit, low participation and lackluster results are common. The challenge of company wellness programs is motivating employees to take ownership of their health—and providing the tools and support employees need to succeed.
Maritz—a sales and marketing services company, which helps companies achieve their full potential through understanding, enabling, and motivating employees, channel partners and customers—has formed a unique team of cross-functional experts to formulate a progressive health approach to wellness programs. This approach is focused on four key aspects of health: prevention, physical activity, mental well-being, and nutrition. In addition to helping clients implement this unique approach, Maritz has embraced it internally to successfully motivate its own employees to achieve better wellness results.
Today, the Amway One by One® Campaign for Children is marking its 10th anniversary with a remarkable accomplishment – helping 10 million children live better lives.
Since Amway One by One launched in 2003, its focus has been to help children in need. Amway distributors and employees have impacted 10 million lives by volunteering for hundreds of projects. They include providing nutritional meals to children in rural China, supporting welfare centers in South Korea and building homes for families in Latin America. Amway people have given life-saving immunizations to children in Africa and funded life-changing medical programs in Asia. Children with disabilities are able to compete in sports thanks to programs supported by Amway volunteers in the US and Russia.
The Amway One by One Campaign for Children program rallies the resources of Amway distributors and employees around the world to make a difference in the lives of children in every market in which the company conducts business. Learn more.