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Dealing with Despots

Each day, the Globe and Mail – one of Canada’s national newspapers – runs a reader poll on a “hot topic.”  Today, in light of current events in Libya and elsewhere, the ...


If sustainability is about creating shared value for our stakeholders and conducting business in a manner that promotes well-being, then doing something that makes people smile has got to count, don't you think? And I think we’re onto something.

So last week, we launched the first annual EMC EcoKids Drawing Contest. 

The contest itself is simple. Employees' children create drawings that depict why we need to be concerned about our environment or what we should do to protect it. Parents scan them into our internal social networking site with the artist's name, age, and


Nonprofit Boards: On Saying No to Problem Board Members

Who is the Charlie Sheen in Your Company,” asks Nell Minow, Co-Founder and Editor of The Corporate Library. The moment I read those words, I thought of too many nonprofit boards that tolerate...

How Not to Thank a Donor During a Disaster

I am speechless!

As you may already know, I decided to see what charities were doing in response to online donations given to help Japan. So I donated a small amount online to several charities, specifically for relief efforts in Japan.

The result? Only one provided a thank you email that was specific to the relief efforts in Japan. The others were all generic: thank you very much and here's your receipt.

Frankly, I think that if you are going to go to the trouble to set up a special web page to encourage...

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.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) was front and centre at PDAC. There


Is Cause Marketing Really a Disaster After Disasters?

No sooner had the ground stopped shaking in Japan last week and people were already shaking their fists calling for a moratorium on cause marketing. It happens after every disaster (the last being after the earthquake in Haiti).

I’m not saying that these calls for pause weren’t uncalled for. I’m just wondering whether cause marketing is really a disaster after disasters, or are people being overly sensitive or maybe even hurting they want to help.

Let’s begin with the definition of cause marketing. You might be ...

Pizza Chain Uses Co-Marketing to Raise Funds for Causes

For 33 years Papa Gino’s and its sister company D’angelo have been raising money a buck at a time for Easter Seals and The Genesis Fund.

What always distinguished this point-of-sale program from any other is that Papa Gino’s andD’Angelo 


Context in context

This post a response to Mark McElroy and Henk Hadders. Both have been urging me to "pronounce" on the subject of context, or lack of it, in sustainability reports, in particular following  my outline of the way the


International Women's Day: Women's Leadership on Nonprofit Boards

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let’s honor the women who provide volunteer leadership through their service on global, national, and regional nonprofit boards. And let’s recognize the unique opportunity for younger generations of women to develop and contribute as leaders through nonprofit board service.

Boards have...

Ceres: SEC Climate Change Disclosures Need More Work

Last year the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued interpretative guidance on what public companies should disclose to investors concerning risks related toclimate change.  While the interpretive release did not create any new legal requirements, it provided SEC registrants a framework by which they could outline climate change-


Defragging Cause Marketing

Ever feel like cause marketing is starting to feel a little cluttered?  Everywhere you turn, there’s another cash register ask, cause-branded product, digital cause campaigns beckoning you to “Like” them, location based donations to unlock…each benefitting a different, and potentially unfamiliar cause.

Remember when you could “defrag” on your computer (oh…sorry, PC users, do you still do that?) to increase the efficiency and functionality of your hard drive?  Well it’s time we defrag cause marketing.

Easier said than done, right?...

Taming the Tiger: GE Manages China Supply Chain Sustainability Issues with Education & Collaboration

Many of my prior posts have highlighted the critical needs for increased supply chain collaboration among the world’s largest manufacturers. This is especially evident for large worldwide manufacturers operating subcontractor arrangements in developing nations and “tiger economies”, such as India, Mexico and China (and the rest of Southeast Asia). I have stressed how the most successful greening efforts in supply chains are based on value creation through the sharing of intelligence and know-how about environmental and emerging regulatory issues and...

Sure, let's call HFCS what it really is

From Marion Nestle, I learned this week that the FDA is taking comments through this week on the Corn Refiners Association request to change the name of high fructose corn syrup to corn sugar.

Previously, she says, she didn't oppose the move, on the grounds that it didn't matter, except, of course to the corn refiners, since HFCS has come under suspicion as a particular cause of the nation's obesity...

Rev. Peter J. Gomes: A Message for Millennials About a Good Life Well Lived

"In this generation the search for goodness, both institutional and personal, has reappeared as a defining characteristic in young people's renewed search for the good life." Rev. Peter J. Gomeswas referring to the Millennial Generation in his book ...

Privacy is Dead. Long Live Privacy!

The Queen of England joined Facebook late last year. I signed up early last month. It was a New Year’s resolution and I was officially out of excuses. If, at age 83, Her Majesty could do it, then I certainly could. I had my reasons for waiting so long, much to the surprise, chagrin and teasing of friends and family. First, the time crunch. I’ve seen how so many friends and colleagues practically live on the site, and how much it consumes some of them. But, more than


Consumer Sustainability Thinking: Making Stuff Last

In the category of sustainability “hidden in plain sight,” I spy another example.  According to a New York Times article by Matt Richtel, consumers are found to be holding onto – get this – even their cellphones and TVs(!) a little longer these days.

Do pigs now fly?

Not the last time I checked, but the numbers mentioned in Richtel’s piece are intriguing:

But in some important categories there are


No more glowing press coverage for green?

Glowing coverage of corporate greening initiatives is coming to an end, pens Kate Galbraith in the International Herald Tribune. Galbraith, Energy and environment reporter for the Texas Tribune, writes:

Journalists are a little less wide-eyed, and a little more picky. The cutting-edge coverage today does not typically revolve around the greening of fill-in-the-blank company. Instead, topics like “Who’s not going green?” and “What are the difficulties of going green?” are being...

The Devil's in the Details with Federal Budget Cuts: Life Without City Year Would be a Real Devil

“Students who exhibit at least one of three off-track indicators – poor attendance, unsatisfactory behavior, course failure in math and English – as early as the 6th grade - have less than a 25% chance of graduating from high school. Fifty per cent of our nation’s dropouts come from 12% (2,000) of our nation’s high schools.” These findings are from ...

Campbell’s Nourish: Authentic Social Purpose or Smart Marketing

As reported by Jessica Leeder in today’s Globe and MailCampbell Canada‘s new Six Grain Vegetable formulation, branded Nourish, is the first Canadian private-sector, not-for-profit product tailored to address the growing problem of world hunger. According to the Globe, Nourish was developed by socially conscious Campbell staffers and will only be distributed to food banks


Review: Radisson Hotel Varanasi

Early one smog-enshrouded morning in VaranasiIndia, my pollution-spewing tuk-tuk 3-wheel taxi zooms across the cow-and-car congested city streets and delivers me to the sparkling 5-star Radisson.

To say the least, this is one of Varanasi’s top hotels. The accommodations are flawless–from immaculately clean, tasteful rooms and reliable WiFi, to excellent fitness, spa and dining facilities. My own reaction is...

Opening the Pod Bay Doors to Possibility: The Distinctly Human Applications of IBM's Watson

After trouncing its carbon-based competitors in Jeopardy, it seems Watson can answer nearly every question except one: "Where does Watson go from here?" To borrow a phrase from HAL 9000: I'm sorry, readers--I'm afraid it can't do that.

With this in mind, the company convened a group of experts yesterday at IBM's campus outside New York City. The aim was to provide "input on how the public and private sectors can harness technology for societal advancement," in order to "explore the ways in which IBM's Watson computing system...

Planters Goes Nuts for Sustainability With Oscar Week Announcements

Oscar week in Los Angeles is usually dominated by glitzy brands that get to drop those coveted luxury items into those swanky swag bags.  No word on whether Planter snack mixes will be included with Gucci clasps or Prada accessories, but the Omega-3-rich division of Kraft Foods has nonetheless been busy in La-La-Land.

Led by Mr. Peanut, the most impressive celebrity to come from the ground since Mr. Potato Head, Planters added to the Pre-Oscar week fun with its announcement of two sustainability initiatives:  an investment in...

Four CSR Challenges for Sustainable Businesses

Written by Chris Milton

We have become so used to the way business has been done for the last 50 years or so it's often difficult to break out of the mindset and look at what is unsustainable and how we can fix it.

Four pieces of news from the past few weeks have set me thinking, and below are my conclusions. These I offer up as four challenges for CSR businesses, ways in which they can truely change the paradigm of business to a more sustainable model.

Challenge 1 : Change...

Campbell's Soup Does M'm...M'm Good!

“Business at its best: Maximizing long-term profitability and societal impact.” That’s the topic at the 6th Annual Board of Boards CEO Conference that will be held by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) in NYC later this month. ...

NYC Closer to Turning Sewage into Energy

New York City is the only city in the US that never sleeps.  It is also one city that often smells, especially in the summer.  One reason is the city’s aging sewage system, to which the city’s 8 million residents contribute 1.3 billion gallons of wastewater daily.

All that wastewater goes through several processes until it is reduced to a daily amount of 1200 tons of sludge.  For 50 years until the late 1980s, that sludge was treated as a waste product and...


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