It’s the simplest programs that drive action and results. Three days after Haiti was struck by the January 12 earthquake, Discover Card enacted a simple relief program that raised $3.1 million. Card members could contribute their cash back bonus points to the American Red Cross and Discover would convert this to dollars and match the donation.
Small business will lead us out of the recession and fuel the recovery. That is the belief among many of the nation’s economists. To understand the role Small B plays in society, here are some basic statistics.
Remember Haiti? Okay, good. Just checking. While it’s been hardly 4 weeks since the 7.0 magnitude earthquake rocked Port-Au-Prince, destroying over 200,000 lives and an entire capital city, the media cycle has already seemed to move on. It’s back to health care, elections, tea parties, and the economy.
When you target customers, it helps to know if they’re “dark green”, “light green” or “basic brown” in their attitudes, but, with so many green issues, products, and labels out there, it may be more relevant to your branding and communications to understand their personal green interests.
Counting and measuring carbon, although a daunting and remarkably puzzling undertaking, is a fundamental skill an increasing number of people will need to garner in the effort to understand and mitigate the effect of greenhouse gases and global warming. Especially so, since the world population continues growing by quantum measures and all of those folks are going to need survival basics such as heat and refrigeration, plus multitudes of electrical extras, such as mobile phone and computer power, broadband Internet capacity, etc.
My recent reading of Dan Pink’s Drive has sparked some interesting thought around the purpose, benefits and unintended consequences of goal setting. Traditionally in the business world, managers set goals and expect their employees to work toward them. Typically the purpose of goals is to provide focus for employees and provoke progress. However, goal setting can have a dark side and lead to stress, irrational thoughts and potentially unethical behavior.
Why I am posting about this? More and more companies are developing and publically sharing annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reports. Included in these reports are goals such as “we will reduce our packaging by X% by 20xx” or “we will eliminate the use of X product over the next year.” Upon first glance these goals sound great. They provide focus and give companies (and often their suppliers) something to work toward. However, these goals might also hinder progress. Two thoughts…
Such goals put pressure on executives and managers to deliver promised results to stakeholders. They want to publish in next year’s CSR report that the company accomplished the stated X% reduction in packaging. However, this pressure may lead some executives to unethical behavior and greenwashing practices. Executives may get “creative” with the numbers, giving stakeholders the illusion that stated goals were met. It is easy for companies to become overly focused on short-term progress and ignore the long-term practices that they should be implementing (sound similar to profit reporting traps…).
Unrestrained greed among the investment banking elite has been blamed for much of the world’s suffering in recent years. In a remarkable shift from only two decades ago, greed in all its crude reality, is no longer “good” in the eyes of the world.
Maverick thinkers have warned of the perils of unbridled greed for centuries, yet few were listening. Not until the world turned dark on September 15, 2008 in the perfect financial storm did the rest of society take notice.