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Communicating CSR: Four Lessons from Chevron and IBM

By PAUL KLEIN

“You got me there.” That’s what a vice president of marketing for a global pharmaceutical company told me a few years ago when I asked about the impact of her company’s corporate social responsibility communications. At the time, this company was spending millions every year on communicating its programs.

Ten Ways to Make a Bigger Difference in 2013

By PAUL KLEIN

As a follow up to the article I wrote last week (Three Ways to Secure Your Social License to Operate in 2013) here are ten practical ways that businesses and civil society organizations can improve the impact of their social purpose initiatives in 2013.

Why Has Corporate Social Responsibility Stalled?

CSR has come a long way in a very short time. But while CSR remains a high priority, social performance has been lackluster and corporate leaders want to know how to increase the value of their investments in this area.

Defining the Social Purpose of Business

 

It’s ten years into companies’ efforts to engage in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the returns for business still aren’t good enough.

Four Ways to Make Mining More Responsible

“Wanting to be socially responsible is different than having to be socially responsible,” says Juan Pablo Duque, CEO of Four Points Mining, a Colombian-British company devoted to the exploitation and exploration of gold and silver in Colombia.

Ten Ways for Mining Companies to Work Better with Indigenous People

Why is there such a big gap between what’s important to indigenous people and how mining companies are addressing their priorities?

As a follow-up to the piece I wrote last week (see: Why the Future of Mining Depends on Social Change) I felt it was important to explore this question and to provide some direction for what should mining companies could do differently to improve their relationships with indigenous people.

Why the Future of Mining Depends on Social Change

“CSR represents mining companies of the future. The mining industry, more than any other, is aware of the problems more than other industries and understands the impacts of the past.” –Wes Hanson, President and CEO of Noront Resources Ltd.

From March 4th – March 7th the world’s largest annual gathering of people, companies and organizations connected with mineral exploration will take place in Toronto at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada’s Annual International Convention, Trade Show and Investors Exchange. CSR will be front and center at PDAC’s third Annual CSR Event Series.

This week, I reviewed the CSR Event Series program and had the opportunity to connect with some of the people who will be  participating in the series.  Although PDAC hasn’t defined a CSR theme, my conversations revealed a common thread: how companies in the mineral exploration and development industry can help solve social problems in a way that is also good for business.

Why Social Change is Good for Business

The most important thing I’ve learned over the last year is that social change has real business value. While corporations that are seen to be “responsible” benefit in many ways including improving reputation, attracting employees, and increasing market share, the real value goes to corporations that understand their social purpose and profit from making social change.

When CSR Should Be Risky Business

Aligning business purpose and social purpose is a cornerstone for better CSR. Examples of this include pharmaceutical companies investing in health care organizations that align with their therapeutic products, financial institutions supporting financial literacy, and electrical utilities providing free electricity to low income people.

Nine Ways to Make Mining More Responsible

Last week I attended the annual convention of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC),  the world’s largest annual gathering of the mineral industry.  The convention, which included trade and mining investment shows, attracted more than 22.000 people involved in exploration, discovery and development of mines around the world, and featured more than 1,000 displays from mining companies and suppliers to the industry.

A CSR Best Practice at Barrick

According to a report released yesterday by Human Rights Watch, private security personnel employed at the Porgera gold mine in Papua New Guinea (PNG) have been implicated in alleged gang rapes and other violent abuses. The Porgera Joint Venture (PJV) mine has produced billions of dollars of gold in its twenty years of operation, and  is operated and 95 percent owned by Barrick Gold, a Canadian company that is the world’s largest gold producer.

Cause Marketing: Which side are you on?

North American corporate cause sponsorship spending should expand by 5.0% in 2011. According to the IEG Sponsorship Report, this will be “driven by marketers seeking to earn goodwill from consumers and other stakeholders still recovering from the recessionary economy”.

CSR Messages: Raising the Bar

Do your CSR messages differentiate you from your competitors? Do you tell your CSR story in a way that captures the attention and imagination of your customers and your employees? I thought it would be interesting to look at some real examples – in this case from the oil and gas industry. See what you think: 

Social Purpose: The Fifth "P" of Marketing

“Purpose is now the fifth P of marketing. It’s a vital addition to the age-old marketing mix of product, price, place, and promotion,” said Mitch Markson, chief creative officer, Edelman, and the founder of Edelman goodpurpose.

Cause Sponsorship: The New Model

The way corporations sponsor causes is changing dramatically. Sponsors are moving from investing in “properties” that deliver quantifiable ROI in terms of impressions, interactions, and sales to developing proprietary social programs that deliver qualitative ROI such as employee and customer trust and engagement.

Return on Integrity Is the New Bottom Line for Marketers

What do a small chocolate maker, a global tire manufacturer, a natural-foods company and an insurance company have in common? They all believe that acting with integrity is helping their businesses perform better.

The recession was caused by a culture of capitalism that was characterized by an all-consuming pursuit of profit that put integrity on the back burner and made irresponsible business practices acceptable. As the recession eases, our expectations of corporations have changed radically. Today, we expect corporations to have a social purpose, and we need new ways to assess performance that are not just in black or red.

How should we account for the feelings that employees have toward their employers? What are the best ways to measure the bottom-line impact of a partnership with a community organization? What is the value of authenticity and transparency? What is doing the right thing really worth?

While there are no easy answers to these questions, integrity has become a common denominator to many of the intangible assets that together are adding up to a new idea about what business success looks like. And return on integrity is a new measure that will help redefine how business operates.

PricewaterhouseCoopers recently launched a global call to action for business integrity. Its framework for integrity involves: establishing integrity as a C-suite and boardroom priority; putting integrity at the core of a company's mission and making it a business, not a moral issue; establishing company codes and standards based on models recommended by leading standard-setting organizations; establishing internal controls to ensure compliance; and reinforcing standards with rewards and compensation schemes.

The New CSR Frontier: Integrating Sustainability and Community Investment

A Salary Cap for the Non-Profit Sector

Within the community investment community there’s still too much thinking about the money that goes in and not enough about what’s coming out the other end in terms of social capital.  In Canada, a good illustration is the recent debate about salaries for executives in non-profit organizations.

Do You Need a Corporate Responsibility Expert?

If you do, don’t bother calling me. Unfortunately, I’m just a beginner and wouldn’t be much use to a company that needs someone who really knows what they’re talking about. The good news for you, however, is that there now an extraordinary number of corporate responsibility experts, authorities, advisors, and consultants.

Employee Engagement Rethought

The post I wrote on Sunday about the institutionalization of corporate responsibility and the need for more innovation seems to have struck a chord. It’s also made me think more about how specific aspect of corporate responsibility have become ubiquitous and, as a result, may have lost a degree of meaning and impact.

Going the Distance in Corporate Responsibility

It’s truly remarkable how important corporate responsibility has become in such a short period of time.

New Media and Corporate Responsibility

The results of Cone’s 2009 Consumer New Media Study include two points that I found to be remarkable:

“Forty-four percent of American new media users are searching for, sharing or discussing information about corporate responsibility (CR) efforts and programs…”

“Sixty-two percent of users polled believe they can influence business decisions by voicing opinions via new media channels. ”

HR: Gateway to Better Corporate Responsibility

The article in Saturday’s Globe and Mail about business schools introducing oaths of ethical conduct for MBA graduates is worth reading. (Here’s a link to MBA oaths from Harvard, Telfer School of Managements, and Richard Ivey School of Business: Sampling of Oaths.)

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