CSR Blogs

Social Media: A Window into a Post Traumatic World

Every day, 22 military veterans commit suicide, according to the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.  Between 2005 and 2011 the veteran suicide rate rose 2.6 percent a year, over twice that of the civilian national average. Called an “epidemic” among post 9/11 service members, the total number of veteran suicides for the entire year is expected to exceed 8,000. Almost one out of every five American suicides is carried out by a former military service member....

How Social Media Engagement is Advancing Sustainable Leadership

In addition to executive management playing a critical role in the success of a company, business sustainability requires leadership across the entire organization.  While management may ultimately carry the responsibility of sustainable business results, employees have a part to play in the definition and implementation of the company’s business sustainability programs.  Whether led by a sustainability executive or traditional management, a sustainable organization has many teams and key roles for individuals seeking to become leaders - especially so regarding adoption of corporate...

The Three C’s of Sustainability Communications

Although business sustainability is not new, grasping sustainability concepts and its practical applications to a specific business is new to some business leaders.  It is not uncommon within our business sustainability consulting practice to be questioned for specific examples as to the value of business sustainability.  Pointing to industry leaders and leading companies is the easiest way to capture the attention of skeptical business owners. 

Fortunately, with the recent release of ...

The Value of the Test

There was an interesting post by Michael I. Norton and Jill Avery, Making Charity Pay, in the Harvard Business Review.  Certainly worth a read. What really started me thinking was the first sentence in the last paragraph, “Third, conduct careful experiments.”

Cause Marketing is on the rise and I would say rightly so.  In addition to being a source of revenue for the partner NGO, studies, such as the...

Patagonia’s CEO, marching for climate action

Recently, I had lunch with Mary Wenzel, a senior vice president at Wells Fargo who directs the bank’s environmental projects. The bank’s efforts are laudable–it intends to provide $30 billion of financing by 2020 to business opportunities that protect the environment, it’s making its offices more efficient, it’s a big-time supporter of a nonprofit called Grid

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How Social Media Transforms Sustainability Messages from Logic to Heartfelt Connections

Many people are confused as to what sustainability means and how it applies to business.  To some, they hear sustainability and it means renewable energy to them.  To others it may mean organic farming practices; however, to another person, sustainability  might mean energy efficiency or responsible purchasing in a supply chain.

Social media engagement offers the opportunity to define and...

Is Social Good Overtaking Cats?

For the first time in quite a while I’ve noticed a distinct lack of cute / comedy cat posts (albeit somewhat distorted by buckets of ice water) and a stronger impression of more purpose based flashes in the social media world.

My gut, if backed up by more than a little professional insight into the data, feeling is that we may at long last be turning a social good communications corner. The activist world had too long preached at its audience to save the whale / panda / water / energy / planet to only see early plateauing of resulting engagement. Those...

The Inversion Equation: Chronic versus Episodic Disasters

Should corporate executives consider broadening their response to the Ebola outbreak in Western Africa? If so, when? Wait. Before you answer these questions, here are some thoughts you may want to consider before making a decision. 
 
Chronic and episodic humanitarian disasters are approached differently, yet the scope and long term affects can be far greater with the former. A chronic humanitarian situation is a protracted crisis where conditions which persist over a period of time lead to ongoing suffering. An episodic crisis happens within a defined shorter period. As a frame...

Social Media IS Professional Development

Communications has a bad rap. Long (and wrongly) suffering a “soft skill” or lower priority taint, it – at the same time – is considered a key leadership strength. What? The disconnect has harmed the practice, and even seeing it as a “practice” or separate role has harmed the integration of communication into EVERYONE’s job.  Not to discount at all the importance of deeply trained marketing and communications professionals, but the power of their work is only further enhanced by more corporate leaders who can authentically (and comfortably) contribute...

A Smarter Approach to Biofuels

The US biofuels industry has not covered itself in glory. It has consumed billions of dollars in taxpayer dollars, as much if not more from investors and in return delivered economic and environmental benefits that are murky at best, at least according to its critics.

You’ll hear a different story ...

How can Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) lead to value creation for your company?

Corporate executives struggle with this question, and rightly so.  This question requires quantitative analysis of the degree to which social and environmental actions taken by a company improves measurable factors that positively benefit the enterprise.

There are countless qualitative examples of the positive role CSR...

The End of Garbage

In nature, nothing goes to waste. The excrement of one species (forgive me if you are reading over breakfast) becomes food for another.

Why can’t we design the industrial economy to be like nature?

This isn’t a new idea. During the American Revolution, iron pots were melted down to make armaments. I take notes with a pen made out of recycled bottles. The gospel of “natural capitalism” or “cradle to cradle” has been spread by  such pioneering...

Little Known Ways to Do Social Media for Sustainability Communications

Sustainability and social media together offer a refreshing and innovative approach to business.  But, can social media be a catalyst for green businesses?

The path of business sustainability is a journey.  And what makes up a journey?  Experiences.  As sustainability consultants, we're aware that high level sustainability concepts are universal and easier to understand.  However, what is compelling is the ...

You May Lead, But Do You Influence?

Who are the leaders in corporate sustainability? When you hear that question, do you think of an individual or a brand name? The average business-aware person would likely spout brand names like Unilever or Coca Cola, given the coverage they get for various sustainability related practices. But, does knowing that these corporations “lead” mean they also influence others in learning and furthering sustainability in the broader sense? Not necessarily.

Individuals have much more power to influence....

More Barn: Neil Young and CSR Leadership

“I once went down to Neil’s ranch and he rowed me out into the middle of the lake—putting my life in his hands once again. He waved at someone invisible and music started to play, in the countryside. I realized Neil had his house wired as the left speaker, and his barn wired as the right speaker. And Elliot Mazer, his engineer, said ‘How is it?’ And Neil shouted back . . . ‘More Barn!’” —Graham Nash, talking about how Neil Young first played him Harvest...

Search Engine Optima-Panda, errr…Penguin…-zation

Even if search engine optimization (SEO) is not a task that occupies a line in your job description, it is helpful for your entire team to have each person (at least a little) aware of what SEO is, and the havoc Google can wreak upon your website.

Google is always tweaking their algorithms to enhance the search experience for users. When Google first began to dominate the search industry, their algorithms were formulaic and made SEO for websites an easy skill to master. But that is no longer the case. As Google continues to refine their algorithms (probably at least 5 times while you are reading this), SEO has evolved into a much more sophisticated creature.

6 Criteria for Selecting a CSR Consultant

As companies  embed corporate social responsibility into their businesses, the value of working with CSR consultants isn’t always clear.

In many cases, companies don’t need to hire outside consultants. For example, if you understand your company’s social purpose, your communications team should be able to get the...

A New Era of Collaboration and Innovation for GRI

GRI this month welcomes a new Chief Executive, Michael Meehan

GRI's announcement states:

Mr. Meehan’s appointment comes at a crucial juncture for GRI and for sustainability disclosures. In an evolving sustainability reporting landscape, Mr. Meehan will lead GRI in working with new methodologies such as those on natural...

Producing a GRI G4 CSR Report: The First 5 Steps

So, you’re thinking about your company’s next sustainability report, or possibly producing your first one, and you want to make the move to Global Reporting Initiative’s newest standard: G4. Where do you start? What does it take? The following are the first 5 steps I recommend, based on my experience managing UPS’s latest corporate sustainability report (the first Comprehensive report in the U.S., launching July 30) and working on another company’s report at the Core level.

1....

Key Lessons on Getting Social with Business Sustainability

Using social media for sustainability communications means finding ways to engage your audience and get them paying attention to you.  It may sound simple, but there are so many tools and strategies an individual company to take.  What is the right playbook?

“Corporations can take insights from social movements to create authentic sustainability initiatives that inspire consumer participation and propagation.”

This was an introductory to a recent GreenBiz article, How to Engage Consumers: 5 Lessons from Social Movements.  In this discussion, the author presents a parallel...

How Infographics Add Meaning to Sustainability Communications

Infographics, "data visualizations that present complex information quickly and clearly”  have been included in communications for a while now but recently, they’ve been embraced in social media for sustainability communications.  

Infographics are visual presentations of information that use the elements of design to display content. Infographics express complex messages to viewers in a way that enhances their comprehension. From a sustainability perspective, this is especially important. Part of the challenge is the definition of sustainability. How do you define it? What...

The Lazy Fundraiser's Guide to Raising Six Figures This Fall

Get started with cause marketing from the comfort of your beach towel or chair. You'll raise six-figures in September!

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How Secure Is Your Cyber?

It was wonderful to reconnect recently with Cecily Joseph, VP, Corporate Responsibility & Chief Diversity Officer at Symantec Corporation and hear about a fabulous new initiative that I was very impressed with. And let's face it, you know that I don’t get impressed all that easily. The program is an inspired combination of meeting an array of social needs, supporting Symantec's business, building and consolidating meaningful social partnerships and engaging employees. Roll...

The Coming End of Corporate Charity, and How Companies Should Prepare

The end of corporations giving money to charities and getting nothing in return is close at hand.

As the pressure to quantify all results intensifies, businesses are finding that the most meaningful social change happens when they stick to the business of business. This is evident in the way corporate social responsibility has evolved. Once primarily a vehicle for corporate philanthropy, CSR as it is practiced today usually consists of...

Relational Skills: The Secret Sauce for Business Leadership

The definition of business leadership has changed, a lot, since the 1950s. The fact that there are many more women in leadership positions these days is rightly getting plenty of coverage now. But, beyond celebrating that women are bringing “it” to the table, what “it” is has yet to be been given its full due.

What I’m talking about are relational skills and traits. Things like practicing...

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