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Peso for Your Thoughts on Sustainability?

Acronyms make it easier to remember new concepts. The term PESO – paid, earned, shared and owned -- was useful in remembering the new paradigm for PR pros and marketers seeking to reach key audiences with their content in a highly fragmented media environment.

For those PR purists who find it hard to stomach paid as a mainstay comms tactic, try rearranging the letters and going with ESOP. This acknowledges that scoring coverage in a respected news outlet often commands more authority than the content a brand writes and publishes on its own.

Pitching a positive story about a...

Going At It Alone

Sometimes boldly going where no brand has gone before can be a lonely voyage.

Three multibillion-dollar companies, that received accolades for taking an early and socially progressive stance on controversial issues, have publicly acknowledged they expected their competitors to follow suit sooner.

“We’re the only big company that’s on the record for mandatory GMO labeling on the label,” Dave Stangis, VP of public affairs and corporate responsibility for Campbell Soup Company,” said during an Ethical Corporation event in New York City. “We thought we’d have some followers.”...

Turning Corporate Goals into a Movement: Impact 2030 Gains Momentum

With the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in place, the call to action is to harness the collective action of the public and private sector to fully realize this potential.

Few groups are as well positioned to get busy on meaningful social projects than a consortium of big multinational corporations dubbed Impact 2030.  The nonprofit, which formed in 2014 in anticipation of the SDGs, strives to put company-sponsored volunteering front and center.

“When our employees share their skills, there is a far reaching...

From Farmer to Aerospace Engineer, 4-H Launches Drones

The farm kids’ organization long associated with sheep shearing and canning vegetables will focus its 6 million youth members on drone aircraft as its official national science experiment this year, 4-H Council’s president and CEO announced Tuesday.

The drone project aligns with a high-tech makeover aimed at encouraging girls to pursue science and engineering careers which, if successful, could make it easier for big U.S. defense contractors like Lockheed Martin to recruit female engineers in the year ahead...

Corporate Responsibility Needed at Uber, Says GreenBiz Presenter

It’s routine for massively successful startups like Uber to inspire or unnerve executives of the legacy businesses being disrupted by the sharing economy.

But Monday was anything but routine at GreenBiz, where an opening session on the circular economy took a detour to focus on Uber’s lack of corporate responsibility.

“That’s not the kind of design we want to put into the world,” Steelcase Inc.’s Angela Nahikian said of Uber’s focus on growth rather than ensuring the safety of customers and the communities where the ride-sharing service operates...

How Much is Too Much?

A Look at Wounded Warriors Project & Operating Costs

Should not-for-profit organizations operate more like for-profit businesses?

In this age of “value creation,” improving the operational efficiency of charitable organizations has become a top-of-mind issue as businesses seek more measureable outcomes for social initiatives. On the other side, leaders from the non-profit sector often cite that “not-for-profit” is a tax status designation, not a business model.

During my time working at Boys & Girls Clubs America in the strategic marketing department,...

News Sites Emphasize Sloths, Social Good

A “help wanted” posting by an executive editor at The Huffington Post caught my eye recently.

Few news organizations have keener insights into the type of content that compels readers to click and share, so the fact that HuffPost is beefing up its “Good News” section is indeed good news for CSR and sustainability communicators.

“Do you communicate with your friends in GIFs? Do you have airtight journalism standards? Can you...

Thaw and Learn: 14 Winter, Spring 2016 CSR & Sustainability Conferences

Accountants have been around since the abacus. Personnel managers began issuing pink slips to unlucky employees as early as 1910. 

Corporate social responsibility and sustainability officers are a much more recent breed of corporate professional. Their numbers are growing, with more than 7,000 organizations now issuing sustainability reports, up from a few dozen in the early 1990s.

Because few companies have long-established departments staffed with generations of veteran CSR pros to teach newbies the ins and outs of corporate citizenship, learning often takes place during...

CVS Tobacco Ban Wins Market Share, One Octogenarian at a Time

Larry Merlo gets a gold star from retired pre-school teacher Reva Sipser.

The president and CEO of CVS Health banned sales of cigarettes at the chain’s more than 7,900 stores in 2014, proclaiming, “Tobacco products have no place in a setting where health care is delivered.”

The move sacrificed billions in cigarette-related retail revenue. But the positive reaction of Reva Sipser, age 88, suggests CVS Health’s reputation boost may be worth far more in the faster growing health and pharmacy segment.  

“When I saw that CVS was no longer selling cigarettes, I decided to...

UN Sustainable Development Goals are Pfizer's 'Christmas Windows' Display

Just two blocks from Grand Central Terminal, Pfizer’s headquarters on East 42nd Street in midtown Manhattan gets plenty of vehicular and foot traffic.

While it’s not Times Square, the location would earn a solid B+ from marketers if they could use the pharmaceutical giant’s office tower as a billboard.

So the site takeover procured by Pfizer’s Chris Gray is a feat worthy of acknowledgment.

When I last saw Chris, Pfizer’s senior director of global institutions and corporate responsibility, at the BSR Conference in San Francisco, the United Nation’s 2030...

Eco-Innovator Ellen MacArthur Partners With H&M to Recycle Clothes

While attempting to become the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe 11 years ago, British sailing champion Ellen MacArthur had plenty of time to think.

Sure, she probably considered how success might lead to being knighted by Queen Elizabeth II – and how she’d have to reprint her business cards to include the title Dame before her name.

But her 71 days alone at sea also allowed her to ponder weightier topics like ecology and industrial engineering.

“Without looking for it, I found something quite fundamental. That was that when you sail around the world in a...

No Unicorn Sightings at BSR

Just blocks from a San Francisco construction site that will become the new home of the 61-story Salesforce Tower, executives from across the globe gathered yesterday at BSR Conference to learn how to be better corporate citizens.

Salesforce, with a $53 billion market cap, dedicates 1 percent of its value – defined as profit, equity, and employee time --...

Giving Birth to a CSR Report

Companies that rely on their CSR report as a primary communications tool are missing the opportunity to tell their stories year-round to audiences that care about corporate citizenship, according to veteran CSR executives.

IBM has evolved its communications efforts from press releases to blogging, relying on 100 corporate citizen managers around the world, each with their own voice in social media, according to Kristina Kloberdanz, corporate responsibility leader for the tech giant.

“Now I’ve enabled the employees to be the spokespeople,” Kloberdanz told CSR pros at CR...

CSR "More Than Giving Away Money and Product Donations"

We’re on the ground in Washington for this week’s U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizenship Conference, where corporate social responsibility leaders are demonstrating how they are closely tying business objectives to social impact.

Abbott talked about the success it’s having improving health care in Tanzania, where the company has invested...

It's time for the Social Tools Summit in San Francisco, Oct 27 - 28

This past May, I attended the Social Media Tools Summit in Boston. This event got me thinking about social media tools and organization in a new way. I was also able to get first-hand insight into how these tools are constantly improving and what is inspiring these developments. Well, October is almost here which means the San Francisco version of this conference is just weeks away, October 27 & 28! 

I highly reccomend Social Tools Summit as it is truly different from all those other social media conferences. The focus is on the tools that ...

Top 10 Fall Events for Sustainability Pros, Plus 2 Comms Conferences

As fall airfares drop, CSR and sustainability conferences are taking place across the United States.  Here's our Top 10 list, plus two communications-focused events that can help marketing and PR pros sharpen their skills. 

Wait & See, Not Far Enough

Boy Scouts of America Haven’t Earned Back Corporate Support Yet

On July 27, 2015, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) ratified a resolution that removed the national restriction on openly gay leaders and employees. The resolution allows chartered organizations to select adult leaders without regard to sexual orientation. However, the resolution provides an exemption that allows religious chartered organizations to continue to discriminate if doing so is in keeping with religious beliefs.

Since the announcement was made, there has been considerable speculation about...

Boy Scouts End Ban

New policy allows openly gay adult leaders

Psychologists have found that emotions, such as sadness, fear, anger, and happiness, influence information processing and memory in different ways. We’re more likely to recall events that happened decades ago due how we felt at that time over the details of a business conference call from last week.

This morning I watched the video announcing a monumental policy shift by Boy Scouts of America (BSA) President and former Secretary of Defense, Dr. Robert Gates. As you are most likely aware, the BSA has removed the national...

Practitioner to Educator: Writing the Book on CSR

One of the most social attributes of social media is the ease of sharing content and collaborating with others who want to share your content with their audience.

For writers disciplined enough to post quality content on a regular basis, it’s not unusual to receive offers to become a guest blogger or contributor to a site featuring stories on your area of expertise.

Whether you take advantage of the solicitations depends largely on whether you need the SEO value of links back to your site and – this is probably the bigger factor for many of us – if you have time to cram any...

Making a Difference Through the Media

Does someone who works in CSR and sustainability communications even belong at a conference on positive change through the media?

This question ran through my mind again and again as I drove through the Catskill  Mountains of New York last month, headed to the Images & Voices of Hope (ivoh) Summit.  The four-day conference and retreat brought together media professionals from a wide variety of fields: journalism, performing and visual arts, game design, advertising, public relations, non-profit leadership, psychology, academia and...

Corporations See Faster Sales Growth of Sustainable Products, Study Reveals

Many homeowners who installed energy-saving light bulbs five or 10 year ago were disappointed when they burned out prematurely, especially since the “green” bulbs cost significantly more than the old Thomas Edison-era filament models.

Same goes with the first generation of water-saving toilets, which met the government standard but didn’t get the job done reliably.

But manufacturers did not stop tinkering with their product designs and have created far superior replacement lines using LED bulbs and bathroom fixtures that actually work effectively while using even less water...

Extra Extra: Company Publishes 150+ Page PDF?

Let’s face it — if you’re breaking news with a sustainability report, you’re probably doing it wrong.

We came to this realization several years ago as we were changing up our reporting structure. We had moving stories, first-hand accounts and brilliant pictures. We also had great data, and loads of information on governance, policies, training and management. Did it really make sense to hold all this material and send it into the world once a year in a fell swoop?

Probably not. So we broke our “report” into a ...

Top Hashtags to Use for CSR & Sustainability Communication Pros

Not entirely sure what a hashtag is or how and why you should be using them in your tweets? Check out this blog post: The How’s and Why’s of Using Hashtags on Twitter. Once you have the basic understanding of hashtags down, it’s time to gwork towards selecting and using the best hashtags for your tweets.

Recommending hashtags is a task that ranges from simple to nearly impossible, but here are a few things to consider first:

  • What’s the main
  • ...

The How’s and Why’s of Using Hashtags on Twitter: A Primer for CSR & Sustainability Communication Pros

Hopefully there is someone on your team in charge of writing tweets to talk about your organization’s corporate social responsibility efforts. Ideally, this person also is well aware of hashtags and this post will give them a few ideas to keep striving for the perfect tweet. I stress the word striving here because social media is like a living creature, just when you think you have it figured out, it changes on you and adjustments will need to be made. If hashtags are still a foreign concept, this post will help with the translation.

Many communication pros still struggle...

Brand Sustainability Communications Lacking on Facebook, Study Finds

Only 40 percent of 195 multinational consumer goods brands in a new study are communicating about their sustainability efforts on Facebook, and just four companies are doing half of the talking, according to research from Sustainly.

Half of the Facebook discussion about sustainability happens on pages managed by McDonald’s, Dove, Coca-Cola and Nescafe, Matthew Yeomans, founder of the UK research firm, reported at 

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