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 commitments to cutting emissions throughout the supply chain, food to energy programs, development of drought-resistant seeds and working with the Environmental Defense Fund to reduce toxic chemicals in all Walmart products.
Along with Walmart, companies like Microsoft and JetBlue have also shined with efforts like Microsoft Philanthropies’ programs that facilitate technology to dairy farmers and doctors in remote African villages, and Soar With Reading, an initiative from JetBlue that provides a no-charge vending machine with children books for inner city kids in the Washington area.
In order for meaningful change to occur, organizations need to challenge each other. Eric Spiegel, CEO for Siemens USA, launched a challenge to other organizations to catch up to the Europeans on issues like climate change and employee apprenticeship programs. He noted that Siemens has pledged to take their emissions to zero globally by 2030, and is actively promoting a German-style apprentice program for high school graduates to train the workers they need for their high-tech manufacturing plants.
Data and results inspire; with it many informal discussions happen around how for-profit and nonprofit organizations should be looking for more partnerships and ways to solve problems together. As we head towards Impact 2030, companies will continue to develop their SDG’s in the hopes of communicating meaningful results when the time comes.