CSR Blogs

Sustainability Beyond the Photo Op

One of the perks of attending sustainability and corporate social responsibility events is exposure to business leaders who are genuinely excited about the way their organizations are making the world a better place.

Increasingly, I’m encountering senior executives who encourage their peers to look closely at CSR programs to make sure they have adequate scale to actually make a difference, and that they connect to a company’s mission.

Bill DiCroce, the newly appointed CEO Veolia North America, is publicly applauding American business leaders for focusing on sustainability as...

Analysts Mum on Sustainability During Earnings Calls

Questions from sell-side stock analysts about corporate sustainability issues remain few and far between on the quarterly earnings conference calls held by publicly traded companies.

More and more institutional investors, however, are digging deep into voluminous sustainability reports to gain a strategic advantage.

Those are some of the observations shared this week during the Bloomberg BNA Sustainability Business Summit in New York.

James Hnat joined JetBlue Airways in 2001 and has listened to every one of the NASDAQ-listed company’s calls with investors. JetBlue’s...

Offshore Wind Power, From Rhode Island to Copenhagen

For the past couple of summers, our family has watched as construction workers ferried back and forth between Rhode Island’s Point Judith and a wind farm being built off nearby Block Island.

We knew the turbines would be spinning soon when the main highway traversing the peninsula was gouged to make way for a cable that would bring ashore any surplus electricity not consumed by Block Island residents and businesses.

For the sustainarati in the Ocean State there is clearly a sense of pride that the United State’s first offshore wind project got approved and built there. ...

‘Purpose is like Pokemon,’ contends Mr. Goodvertising

Among an impressive line-up of deep thinkers, CEOs and Ph.Ds sharing wisdom about instilling purpose into businesses, it was Homer Simpson that drove the point home.

Corporate branding executives are not unlike the lovable cartoon oaf battling with his alter ego, contents Tom Kolster, author and founder of the Danish creative agency Goodvertising.

“You have a mission and a vision, and then introduce a purpose – a third thing. How are you ever going to move forward with that?” he...

University of California's "Audacious" Climate Action Plan

If the University of California was a state, it would be the 15th largest.

The annual budget for UC is 20 times larger than Arizona, where Janet Napolitano was governor from 2003 to 2009.

So the impact of California’s 10 public university campuses, hospitals and research labs becoming carbon neutral in their energy consumption is an “audacious” goal, Napolitano told Verge 16, the GreenBiz Media Group conference, in Santa Clara, California.

The decision to tackle energy as a primary issue at UC stemmed from the same kind of assessment of meta risks she...

Powering Data Centers with Renewable Energy

The typical Internet data center consumes as much electricity as a small U.S. state, Microsoft’s chief environmental strategist, Rob Bernard, told attendees at the Verge 16 sustainability conference in Silicon Valley today.

As oceans warm, lakes dry up and water systems collapse due to climate change, the tech giants enabling cloud computing are mobilizing so surfing the web doesn’t contribute to the problem.

“It’s easy to get discouraged,” Bernard acknowledged, recommending attendees read the e-book, “...

Huffington Post’s Confino promises sharp uptick in social, environmental coverage

Leaning heavily on video and guided by metrics showing readers crave stories about solutions to environmental and social problems, a senior Huffington Post editor says coverage in the post-Ariana era will emphasize “positive journalism”

Jo Confino, speaking to CSR and sustainability communicators during a 3BL Media webinar, said the highly trafficked news site is determined to produce a flood of content and partner with activist organizations to drive change in the areas it deems important.

“The thing about...

‘Copycat’ Doesn’t Have to Precede ‘Crime;’ Huffington Post Executive Editor to Discuss News Outlet’s Focus Sept. 7 in Free 3BL Media Webinar

Ariana Huffington pledged in early 2015 to dedicate more editorial space to positive stories on her namesake news site, hoping stories about solutions rather than problems would inspire copycat acts of kindness.

Now that entrepreneurial media mogul is stepping down from her post, news industry observers are keen to see how the highly trafficked portal will evolve in a post-Arianna regime.

We will be providing some insights into the editorial direction of the Huffington Post on Wednesday, Sept. 7 at noon ET when Jo Confino, executive editor, Impact & Innovation and...

Top Four Reasons to Attend a CSR or Sustainability Conference This Fall

Professional development events exist for just about every career, and they’ve been around since Thomas Edison held his first, “How to Change a Light Bulb” seminar for aspiring electricians (attendees earned 10 CEU credits and went home with some nice tsotchkes).

For the growing number of corporate and nonprofit professionals focused on social impact and sustainability initiatives, there is more choice in fall 2016 than ever before for events aimed at showcasing successful programs and the brands that made them happen. 

Getting approval from corporate controllers for...

Sustainability ‘Pioneers’ Honored for Backing SDGs

The mechanics of corporate disclosure were a big part of my two decades on the management team of a commercial newswire service. 

As the biggest distributor of earnings releases and other time-sensitive data, our team worked with CFOs, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications to quench an insatiable thirst from stakeholders for market-moving financial information.

Fast forward to 2016 and we’re seeing thousands of companies providing varying levels of voluntary sustainability reporting and healthy respect for the handful of stock changes that are starting to mandate...

Nasdaq President Addresses Sustainability Reporting

The president of Nasdaq Inc. served as a different kind of market maker at a gathering of the Sustainerati this week.

Adena Friedman was celebrated at the United National Global Compact’s Leadership Summit as a role model for those just beginning their careers in sustainability and social impact work. Starting as an intern as she finished business school in 1993, she is now widely seen as the apparent heir to Nasdaq CEO Bob Greifeld, when he retires.

Friedman was also...

CEOs Urged to Talk ESG, Though Wall Street Wants EPS

CEOs need to ramp up communications about environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues even when Wall Street is more concerned with short-term financial performance like earnings per share (EPS), according to a new report from the Conference Board.

While acknowledging that reporting about sustainability is at an all-time high, the failure of the investment community to engage can be remedied if CEOs take the lead, maintains Thomas Singer, principal researcher in corporate leadership at the Conference Board.

“In addition to incorporating sustainability into annual...

Innovation within Corporate Shared Value

Traditional corporate philanthropy’s methodology of simply giving funds to worthy causes is increasingly seen as unsustainable and fading into the past. Companies are now moving beyond their bottom lines to make a measurable difference in their communities by connecting CSR efforts with their core mission, products and branding shared value.

During the Social Innovation Summit in Washington this week, Kathleen McLaughlin, Walmart’s CSO and president of the Walmart Foundation, called for companies to play a new role as problem-solvers and innovators. She cited the company’s...

Strategy Alert: Pros Focus on a Cause, Follow Trends to Maximize Impact

Staying ahead of the curve and in the know isn’t optional for world-class marketers.  It’s the reason brain trusts like the Cause Marketing Forum fill massive hotel ball rooms with corporate CMOs, nonprofits and communicators eager to create the next movement that awes consumers and changes the world for the better.

In the traditional realm of social responsibility, few brands connect business with social impact better than JetBlue.

“Inspiring humanity goes a long way. Whether it’s donations or volunteer hours, we strive to make sure it all counts,” Mike Elliott, JetBlue’s...

Brand Support for Sustainable Development Goals is Rising, Reveals 3BL Media Study

The United Nation’s sustainable development goals (SDGs) have sparked corporate and nonprofit communications activities that are growing each month, according to an analysis we’ve just conducted here at 3BL Media.

Brands have created 30 percent more digital content mentioning the SDGs or Global Goals so far in the second quarter of 2016 than the prior quarter. Consumer, pharmaceuticals and financial services were among the sectors referencing the SDGS more often.

The Global Goals were masterfully launched in September 2015 with great fanfare that included leaders of state,...

Cause Marketing Done Right: Bridging the Gap Between CSR & Brand-Building

Mining for the next big idea is constantly underway in marketing departments across the world. In today’s content marketing world, the next killer concept has to be better than a catchy slogan and a viral video.

As corporate social responsibility and cause-awareness continue to grow within the marketing world, some brands struggle to bring together the product and the cause seamlessly, according to brand and non-profit experts gathering at the annual Cause Marketing...

Corporate America honors fallen soldiers, supports veterans

On this Memorial Day, we salute the men and women whose lives were lost while serving in the U.S. armed forced.

To the fathers, mothers, wives, husbands, partners, children, grandchildren and friends whose loved one did not come home from military service, please accept our condolences for your loss and our gratitude for your loved ones' sacrifice.

Memorial Day should not be confused with Veterans Day, celebrated in November.

Yet it is hard not to draw contrasts between those who died on the battlefield and those who returned home with scars, both mental and physical...

A Case Against the 'S Word'

For a few minutes today, it appeared the United Nations might have to rebrand the newly minted sustainable development goals as PDGs.

A soul-searching session on day two of the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) conference in Amsterdam took issue with the term sustainability, suggesting companies adopt “purpose” instead.

“The word sustainability is about as bad as it gets from a branding perspective,” said Ken Pucker, a former COO at Timberland who now teaches at Boston University, adding that CSR, CR, EHG and other corporate functions that are not fully integrated across a...

Watch 3BL Media updates from GRI in Amsterdam on Facebook Live at 10 a.m. ET, May 18-20

What a difference two years makes.

It’s been 24 months since corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability executives gathered in Amsterdam to discuss how their companies are tackling environmental and social challenges, and how best to report their progress.

As delegates of the fifth GRI Global Conference assemble in Amsterdam for a three-day summit beginning Wednesday, skeptics will be few and far between in the wake of two landmark agreements.

In Paris, leaders from 195 nations signed a universal, legally binding climate change pact that limits global...

‘Clean trillion’ is New Goal for $300 Billion Woman

The $300 billion woman is shedding her CEO title at the largest U.S. pension fund and adopting another monetary moniker: cheerleader for the “clean trillion.”

Anne Stausboll, who retires from CalPERS at the end of 2016, is urging global capital markets to remove barriers so the aggressive climate change goals agreed to by 175 global leaders in Paris can be achieved.

“The Paris agreement’s importance cannot be overstated. It’s unleased an unprecedented opportunity for institutional investors worldwide – a powerful, global green light to shape tomorrows low-carbon economy,”...

Gnarly Fruit Paves Way for Ugly Fish Jerky in Battle to Curb Food Waste

Misshapen carrots, oranges with bulging navels and pockmarked pomegranates have debuted at the Whole Foods and Giant Eagle supermarket chains, giving U.S. consumers a wake-up call about the issue of food waste.

Shoppers at Intermarche in France and Asda in the UK are already buying tons of wonky fruit in a successful campaign to reduce the unnecessary disposal of produce that was fresh but lacking in aesthetic appeal.

In January, Shark Tank investor Robert...

Senator Whitehouse to Ceres Conference: 'Denial Castle' is Crumbling

With the ink barely dry on the landmark Paris COP21 agreement signed by 175 countries, one New England lawmaker sees “real cracks in denial castle” and is calling on corporations to lobby Republicans in Congress to break party ranks and take a stand on climate change.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said industry associations opposed to stronger laws curtailing fossil fuels are now the only voices being heard in Washington.

“Talking to my colleagues about climate change is like talking to prisoners about escape,” Whitehouse quipped at the opening session of a conference...

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...


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