CSR continues to become more sophisticated, more strategic, and undoubtedly, more effective. From American neighborhoods to the most remote villages in emerging markets, business is tackling core issues such as economic empowerment, community investment, and health & wellbeing. This work adds significantly to the positive changes and improvements in our society.
Helping to share the story of how business makes a difference, BCLC honored four companies for their strategic approaches to societal challenges. DSM, Google, Qualcomm, and WellPoint accepted the 2012 Corporate Citizenship Awards on December 6, in the categories of Best Corporate Steward, Best Business Neighbor, Best International Ambassador, and Best Partnership, respectively.
What stood out among the 2012 winners is how each of the four “Citizens” clearly aligns its work with its core competencies and corporate value chain to achieve real results in society.
The Citizens nominees undergo rigorous expert review in three of the four categories, while one category’s winner – the Best Partnership Award – is selected in a public “people’s choice” voting system that is unique in the corporate citizenship field. In all, DSM, Google, Qualcomm, and WellPoint took top honors from among 20 finalist companies in 2012.
Here are the 2012 Citizens Awards...
[Editor's Note: Stephen Jordan participated in a panelist discussion at the CityAge conference on Dec. 3-4, 2012, in Kansas City. This post is excerpts of his prepared remarks. Read full prepared remarks here.]
What makes a city an economic catalyst? Cities as varied as New York, Austin, and Kansas City have figured out strategies for catalyzing economic activity. You can’t go wrong if you pay attention to five core concepts and be C-I-V-I-C minded.
The first C stands for Culture. San Francisco and Austin have very distinct cultures. So does Nashville, and it has been very successful in creating a booming portfolio of economic catalysts from CMT and Bridgestone to Humana. Different kinds of cultures attract different kinds of demographics and industry profiles. Culture gives people emotional cues about where they might fit in and enjoy life with people who share their values.
The first I stands for Infrastructure Systems. Austin, Charlotte, and Atlanta will tell you that their airports helped them attract business. New York and Racine both brag about the purity of their water. Oklahoma City and Purcellville, VA, will sell you on their sustainable systems. Businesses...
From the early 1900s to the mid 1980s, wildfires were not a significant danger in the United States. The U.S. government had amassed data on the causes and behavior of wildfires, enabling the government to respond efficiently to major wildfire threats.
This all changed in 1988, when wildfires in Yellowstone National Park grew too quickly to contain and devastated the area. While many hoped that those fires were a one-year aberration, this was not to be. Since 1988, the amount of acreage destroyed by wildfires has increased significantly. So far in 2012, over 7 million acres have been destroyed in the western United States, making this year the most destructive year for wildfire damage in a century.
What has caused this alarming development? Will this trend continue into the future? If so, how can we as a country prepare more efficiently for wildfires?
These questions were addressed at the Up in Flames: the Causes and Aftermath of the 2012 Forest Fires event, hosted by the American Meteorological Society in Washington D.C. on November 30, 2012.Dr. Steven Running, from the University of Montana, and Dr. Elizabeth Reinhardt, from the U.S. Forestry Service, spoke about the causes and impacts of wildfires in the U.S. as well as potential ways we can ensure that wildfires do not become unmanageable.
Dr. Reinhardt pointed out that while we have seen more annual damage caused by wildfires in the last two decades, this is not because there have...
I recently interviewed Myriam Sidibe (pictured), global social mission director for Unilever-Lifebuoy. In commemoration of National Handwashing week (December 2 – 8), we talked about Myriam’s work at Unilever-Lifebuoy and the organization’s mission to change the hygiene behavior of 1 billion consumers across Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Handwashing with soap helps to reduce respiratory infections and diarrheal disease, which are the two biggest causes of child mortality. Through running handwashing activities, advocacy work, and partnerships with governments, multilateral, and academic organizations, Unilever-Lifebuoy is spreading the simple practice of handwashing with soap – an effective and low cost way to prevent diseases.
The Unilever-Lifebuoy handwashing initiative is an example of how organizations are aligning their business model with their social mission and engaging in partnerships in order to build capacity around their programs.
BCLC: You’ve set a goal with Lifebuoy to change the handwashing habits of 1 billion people by 2015. Why did you identify this goal, and what has your journey entailed in order to make progress toward it?
Myriam Sidibe: At Unilever, we strongly believe business can be a positive force for good in the world. Every day,...
After a natural disaster, there are immediate needs. Water. Food. Blankets. And tools. LOTS of tools.
On a global scale, UPS provides the logistical feat that connects the dots between an online shopper and the appearance of the purchased item on the doorstep. Scale that down to the community level, and you’ve got a ToolBank. Each ToolBank provides thousands of shovels and rakes, hundreds of cordless drills and ladders, dozens of generators and miter saws, and nearly 170 other tool types ready for borrowing by charitable organizations.
What happens when you combine ToolBank and UPS expertise? The result is the efficient replication and operation of ToolBanks in cities beyond Atlanta, and a natural readiness to explore how to apply the ToolBank concept in support of disaster response and recovery. ToolBank USA was launched in 2008 to explore these two initiatives.
A volunteer once described the Atlanta ToolBank as “Home Depot on steroids”, awestruck by the thousands of shovels and rakes, hundreds of cordless drills and ladders, dozens of generators and miter saws, and nearly 170 other tool types ready for borrowing by charitable organizations. In Atlanta, idle volunteers suffering a shortage of tools on a service project is a thing of the past. Schools, churches, neighborhood organizations, and 501c3s...
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 John Harvey, Managing Director of Global Philanthropy at the Council on Foundations (COF). Recent changes to federal regulatory classifications could have significant impact on global grantmaking. See what COF, one of the leading national advocates for philanthropy, sees as the global implications for these national changes.
1. The U.S Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service recently recommended a significant change in determining whether a foreign nongovernmental organization (NGO) meets U.S standards for charitable giving. Please summarize this recommendation.
The recent announcement by the IRS is the result of years of work on the part of the Council on Foundations and key allies, including TechSoup Global and many Council members, to create a more conducive environment for cross-border grantmaking by U.S. private foundations. We are delighted that our hard work has at last paid off, resulting in the most positive regulatory change for global grantmaking in two decades.
This month we're dedicating a blog series to sharing information about business-led efforts to fight the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. We're looking specifically at corporate workplace programs that help companies and their employees manage the disease.
Chevron became the first energy company to implement an HIV/AIDS policy and program in 2005. The company's fight against HIV/AIDS continues not only through its workplace, but also through its community outreach and initiatives like AIDS Is Going to Lose. Because of its efforts, Chevron won the Global Business Coalition's Business Excellence in the Workplace Award.
To kick off the December series, I interviewed Rhonda I. Zygocki, Executive Vice President of Policy and Planning for Chevron. Let's learn more about the company's workplace fight against the disease:
BCLC: How is your workforce affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic?
Rhonda Zygocki: Many of...
Think back to one month ago. If you were on the Eastern Seaboard you were probably closely tracking Sandy’s path and wondering how it would affect you. In other parts of the country, your news outlets offered you two stories and probably not much else: “Super Storm” Sandy and the elections.
Sandy’s U.S. landfall came one month ago today. BCLC’s free (thanks to the Office Depot Foundation’s generous sponsorship) disaster service for small businesses – the Disaster Help Desk for Business – has been available night and day to assist those affected by Sandy.
Many of you know that BCLC runs the Help Desk for Business, but you might not know specifically how it can be used in times of disaster. That’s why I thought it would be important to give you a behind-the-scenes look at what the Help Desk has been doing in the last month.
This is a letter from our Help Desk manager, Ines Pearce:
It has truly been a crazy time with this storm hitting the most densely populated area in the country. The Help Desk has received 928 emails/calls related to Hurricane Sandy. Before the storm we reached out to the potentially affected states, and of course after...
BCLC’s newest partnership tool, Business Corps, combines a collaborative, multi-company network with skills-based volunteer opportunities to become a catalyst to address social challenges. Over the past year, Business Corps members -- Alcoa, Amadeus, Dow Chemical Company, Greif International, HP, IBM, Merck, Motorola, Tupperware Brands -- have been working in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, with three non-profit partners: CDI, Bola Pra Frente and Saúde Criança.
Below are just a few of the Business Corps members’ projects and their valuable results:
- Established a new cloud storage service allowing broad sharing of essential files which were previously inaccessible. Included a 250% to 1,150% storage increase and process changes to streamline communications.
- Merged all staff email accounts into a single system, which improved organizational efficiency by 200% and increased disc space by 25,500% (100MB to 25GB).
- Started development on a new online donations platform, which is...
I recently interviewed Molly Brogan, vice president of public affiars at the National Small Business Association (NSBA). We discussed the findings of a recent study that NSBA and Humana conducted, Workplace Wellness Programs in Small Businesses: Impacting the Bottom Line. The study aims to uncover health and wellness needs and barriers facing small businesses in today’s post-recession business recovery.
Why did the NSBA and Humana Inc. decide to do this study?
Both Humana and NSBA have been long-time proponents of the benefits of wellness programs for all businesses. Specifically, we saw a need for better information on how wellness programs can impact small business. There was virtually no concrete data outlining how wellness programs help small business, how small businesses view wellness programs and what the key hurdles are to small businesses wishing to provide a wellness program. Humana, one of the nation’s leading health care companies and leader when it comes to workplace wellness programs, sought out and partnered with NSBA as an ideal partner for this survey because of the organization’s background and expertise on small-business issues such as health care.
What are some of the key findings?
- Fifty-eight percent of businesses said there is not enough information...