CSR Blogs

From Counting Beans to Crowdsourcing Dollars: An Interview with CauseVox’s Rob Wu

I first met Rob Wu, the co-founder of CauseVox, last year in New York when we were both StartingBloc fellows.  It didn’t take long for me to see that this unassuming professional beancounter & management consultant from Texas was actually a budding social entrepreneur sitting on a great idea, just waiting for the most opportune time to bring it to life. That time came shortly after when Rob left his well paying job at Deloitte to dedicate himself to his venture full-time. It’s been...

This Saturday, "Record Store Day" Celebrates Music, Community and Buying Local

Few will argue that digital media is fast, cheap and convenient. Since the rise of the iPod, music lovers have been able to carry an entire audio library in their pockets. We can buy a brand new album the very instant it becomes available, or preview millions of songs from the comfort of our homes. A band's whole discography can be downloaded in less time than it takes to listen to their first single.

But there's something missing from the iTunes Store, and this Saturday, you just might find it etched in a black vinyl disc for sale...

A Work-Life Balance Standard: Helping Employers Distinguish Themselves

Human resources specialists (and corporate social human resources specialists, as Elaine Cohen prefers), take note!  Earlier this month, the ...

Cause Marketing, Selfishness Drive Consumer Giving

New research out of the University of Michigan confirms what I always knew was true: I was right to name my cause marketing blog Selfish Giving. After giving college students the choice between donating through a cause marketing promotion or...

Time to Rethink Japan's Energy Future

Nearly four weeks after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami devastated northeastern Japan, emergency personnel are still struggling to stabilize the disabled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Beyond the immediate need to minimize further radioactive leakage and protect public health, the government is beginning to reconsider its long-term plans for nuclear power expansion. International media coverage has typically assumed that Japan must expand its electricity generation from coal, oil, and natural gas if nuclear is...

When CSR Should Be Risky Business

Aligning business purpose and social purpose is a cornerstone for better CSR. Examples of this include pharmaceutical companies investing in health care organizations that align with their therapeutic products, financial institutions supporting financial literacy, and electrical utilities providing free electricity to low income people.

This isn’t rocket science – it just makes good business sense and feels like the right thing to do. Aligned programs that are integrated at an operational level and well communicated internally and externally are...

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished? Madonna and You

Celebrity names make headlines when their charities are being investigated. It doesn't matter whether or not the celebrity has a full heart and means well. And once a charity or donor is questioned, the doubt lingers long after, even if no wrongdoing is ultimately found. Madonna is the latest case where allegations, as yet unproven, have been made with respect to her charities.

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Can the United States Feed China?*

In 1994, I wrote an article in World Watch magazine entitled “Who Will Feed China?” that was later expanded into a book of the same title. When the article was published in late August, the press conference generated only moderate coverage. But when it was reprinted that weekend on the front of the Washington Post’s Outlook section with the title “How China Could Starve the World,” it unleashed a political firestorm in Beijing.

The response began with a press conference at the Ministry of Agriculture on Monday...

Social Media and Corporate Responsibility

Getinvolved.ca is a fantastic initiative focused on connecting individuals and organizations to make change possible. They’re the folks behind Power of the Hour, a national campaign to encourage Canadians to stand up and count the power of volunteer time. They’ve also done a whole series of interesting videos, called Digital U, about various aspects of social media....

Can You Run a Sustainable Company with Unpaid Interns?

As spring approaches, and intern hiring season kicks into high gear, there’s a debate raging in companies throughout the U.S. To pay or not to pay – that is the question.

Unpaid internships – for college credit  – are a longstanding tradition in this country. But somewhere, somehow, the college credits disappeared from many internship agreements, and cold hard cash never took its place.

Businesses desperately trying to grow in these tough times have found a ready and willing crop of students and recent college grads, begging...

Board Matching the Silicon Valley Way

What a thrill to see headlines about Palindrome Advisors, a year-old nonprofit that matches business executives with nonprofit boards, mentors social entrepreneurs, and holds “salons” for board members to discuss nonprofit challenges and opportunities. Engaging corporate professionals on nonprofit boards through a thoughtful and purposeful matching process, and training and coaching them for successful service is the most...

How Many Students Does It Take to Save the World: Ask CGI University 2011

Waste-picking is a way of life for millions of children who live in extreme poverty. Living in landfill communities, they and their families spend their days scavenging dump sites for recyclable materials in order to earn $2/day. Determined to understand their needs and interests, and explore solutions and nonprofit partnerships, Ryan Integlia and ...

Helping Japan in the Best Way Possible

Just over a year ago, in the aftermath of the worst natural disaster ever to befall Haiti, I wrote about the generous and inspirational commitments that individuals, organizations and corporations were making in response. I also wrote about the very best way to helpin times of disaster, based on lessons long learned by government, NGOs and others in the disaster response and relief community.

Now, in the aftermath of...

The Counterintelligence of Sustainability

One of the things that so intrigues me about sustainability is the way it forces a hard look in the opposite direction for just about every business topic.  For instance, you’d think “green marketing” would demand an overt or visible approach, but green or sustainable marketing seems to be most effective when it uses a transparent approach.  Or, you’d think that to build your organization’s sustainability leadership you’d go about it in the traditional way – creating executive level...

Greener chemicals from Genomatica

You’ve got oil in your bedroom closet. Well, not exactly oil, but products that made from petrochemicals like Spandex. Spandex can be found in swimsuits, socks, intimate apparel, sportswear, ski pants and biking gear, among other things.

Christophe Shilling, an entrepreneur with a PhD in bioengineering, aims to change that–with the help of renewable crops and genetically modified bugs. He’s the founder and CEO of a company...

Nonprofits: How to Avoid Problem Board Members in the First Place

In a recent post, I advised nonprofit boards why and how to rid themselves of problem board members. Even better, there are ways to limit the likelihood of bringing problem board members on in the first place. You can also establish good board practices to cycle board members off at a dynamic pace; this mitigates the damage of problem board members, while also allowing you...

Cultivating a Community of Practice

Two years ago today, I launched the Canadian CSR and SD Practitioners Network on LinkedIn.

At the time, I saw a need for a network to connect individual corporate responsibility and sustainability practitioners in Canada.  There were already several Canadian (and, of course, international) organizations bringing together businesses and corporations around these issues, but, for the most part, these were...

Mobile apps tap the crowds to fight street harassment

Some 80 to 90 percent of women have experienced harassment on the street, yet traditionally there's little they can do about it. That's the primary motivation behind Hollaback, a crowdsourcing project that aims to help victims fight back by sharing their stories online and using a mobile app to focus attention on the perpetrators.

Street harassment is what New York-based Hollaback calls a “gateway crime”, with implicit...

Jewelry Trade Associations Pushing for Weak Rules on Blood Gold

By Scott Cardiff

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) closed its comments period over a week ago on rules that would require companies to disclose their use of possible Blood Gold from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Many jeweler comments are now posted online. Even as controversy continues to grow over recent DRC gold shipments smuggled

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Women Entrepreneurs: Right Under the Noses of the Taliban

Your initial image of Afghanistan is probably war, Taliban, bombings, insurgency, and corruption. And you'd think of girls and women as victims. Think again. Think innovative, successful women entrepreneurs. Indeed. In her numerous visits to Afghanistan and other conflict and post-conflict regions in the world, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon discovered another reality as well: that it is commonplace for teenage girls and women to build successful businesses in order to support and feed their families

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Nonprofit Finance Fund 2011 Survey: Engage Your Board Sooner

"The data show that the more financially challenged nonprofit organizations are more likely to engage more deeply with their boards," said Jennifer Talansky, Vice President, Marketing and Communications, Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF), in a private interview. Talansky was referring to the results of ...

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 ...

EcoSmiles

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

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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...

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