CSR Blogs

The New Girls’ Club

Remember the Old Boys’ Club…? The boring, cranky, devious one that controls the banks, the economy and most of our wealth creation and money supply from behind the scenes? The one where nearly every key position in government is occupied by an Old Boy? Yes, that one.

Well, there are still a few lifetime members of the OBC firmly entrenched in the Federal Reserve (Grandpa Ben), and the Treasury (Timmy G and Larrykins) who continue to give all our money away to their ever-popular clubby friends.

These are the same old boy club members who along with ex-Goldman partner and Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin gave the store away to the big banks in 1999 with the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act. Ordinary banks like Citigroup could now legally play roulette with government guaranteed deposits. OB Robert Rubin thought it was such a great idea he took a job with Citibank only weeks after leaving the Treasury.

These same old boys, Summers, Greenspan, Geithner with OB Senator Phil Gramm (now a lobbyist for Swiss Bank UBS) the very next year pushed through the ill-fated Commodities Futures Modernization Act - otherwise known as Derivatives-Are-Born-Free Act. This little understood law overturned a century old rule that had prevented unregulated market bets since the Panic of 1907. Now all bets were off…

The New Buzz About Business and CSR

Key business lessons can come from unlikely places. One man found them by spending six years on a bench in his back yard.

Michael O'Malley, Ph.D. says that beehives are the "original sustainable enterprises" that go back millennia, and they have a lot to teach us. Based on his observations of a bee hive in his back yard, O'Malley wrote a book, "The Wisdom of the Bees," to share 25 lessons on "what the hive can teach business about...

Does CSR Matter In A Job Hunt?

It's one thing to be environmentally conscious. It's another to encompass sustainability as a good business practice. And yet another to demand that employers discuss their corporate citizenship as part of the interview process and make it a part of your job search, especially considering the current job market.

As more business schools start addressing sustainability and corporate responsibility (some recent examples include Marlboro College and MIT's

...

Dissecting Marlboro College's MBA in Managing for Sustainability

Here In Good Company we have been busy keeping up with all the business schools who have recently been adding sustainability and CSR course content to their curricula. Whether that's MIT's Sloan School of Business, the recent announcement by University of California, Berkeley's Haas School of Business on the revamp of their MBA curriculum or Marlboro College Graduate School.

The rationale for this continuing trend is linear, at least for now. The schools are responding to demand...

Lessons For Recruiting Top Talent (Hint: Don't Pay Them)

The Challenge of Translating Sustainability

Let’s face it: sustainability can be a challenging topic for many people to understand.

For example, when you hear someone on the news or in business talk about alternative energy or cap and trade policy, can you honestly say you understand it all?

I’ll go out on a limb and admit that when I hear the word “carbon,” I sometimes struggle to pay attention – let alone understand what’s being discussed. That’s why tools like Annie Leonard’s Story of Stuff are so powerful – they take complicated subjects and translate them...

Advertising Firm Ogilvy's CEO on Corporate Responsibility: "No one has the RIGHT to a reputation"

Yesterday, I discussed the PR perspective on corporate responsibility as presented by Edelman's Edelman's EVP for CSR-New York, Michael Holland. Here now is the final post on the CSR Forum organized by the Better Business Bureau, New York. The last panel of the day was represented by advertising, marketing and public relations giant Ogilvy's Global CEO Christopher Graves, and advertising columnist from the New York Times Stuart Elliot. The issue on hand: brand...

The PR Take on CSR: "Corporate Responsibility Is Not Public Relations"

How is the public relations and advertising world handling all the buzz being created by corporate responsibility? This was the issue at hand at the BBB CSR Forum III: Good Business 2010 organized by the Better Business Bureau earlier this week. Yesterday I highlighted some of the key quotes from Ernst & Young CEO Jim Turley's keynote address. As the event progressed, it was clear that the speakers as well as the attendees, who represented a wide array of industries—...

The Thrill is Gone

It used to be that indifferent wealth building and outsized risk was sexy. For thirty years, the world of high rolling high finance was the object of admiration and envy. The chants of “Wall Street sucks” some ten thousand strong in front of City Hall last week signify that the days of glamour and greed are over. Inarticulate and ineffectual as that phrase might be, it reveals the increasing rage building against Wall Street titans. In the wake of the deepest financial crisis since the Great Depression, economic hardship has become too real for too many.

Wall Street’s ”burn baby...

Wanted: Self-Promoting Narcissist Blowhards. Besides Men.

Oh the gender divide. How that riles us up. Recently, the ombudsman for National Public Radio (NPR), Alicia Shepard asked why there were significantly fewer women being used for sources, expertise and commentary on NPR. Although her methods were highly unscientific, she felt she was onto something.

Just by measuring NPR's top shows, she found out that women made up a small 26% of their sources. Now this isn't just a NPR issue, by far. Look at any news channel or mainstream newspaper. And we're not talking about female anchors but experts and interviewees called upon every day for...

The New CSR Frontier: Integrating Sustainability and Community Investment

Ten Things You Must Know Before You Join A Nonprofit Board

You certainly want to join the board of an organization where you find the mission meaningful. But be careful not to wind up in a situation that you will soon regret. You can save yourself and the nonprofit from a bad match by taking a few steps before committing to join a board.

Here are the ten things you need to know and do: 

  1. Meet with the organization's chief executive officer--sometimes referred to as the executive director. The CEO's effectiveness is essential to the organization's success, so getting a sense of the CEO is important. Additionally, the CEO is

  2. ...

Best Practices in Corporate Responsibility: CEOs Prefer Corporate Governance over Sustainability

Earlier this week we celebrated the findings of the latest salary survey for corporate responsibility professionals, conducted by Acre Resources. Encouragingly, the survey included for the first time, a bigger responding population from North America. Now it's time to continue the discussion past salary levels to actual practice and see how the field plays out at companies internally, what are the main focuses under CSR at most organizations, whether...

Financial Reform Just A Subway Ride From Wall Street

Five years ago, Bishop Mitchell Taylor had a vision that many people thought was impossibly audacious. Today, Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City presided over the realization of that dream.

Bishop Taylor established East River Development Alliance (ERDA) with the dream to transform the nation's largest public housing communities in Long Island City from neighborhoods of poverty and despair to centers of promise, opportunity, and economic mobility. Bishop purposefully designed a package of programs to empower residents to...

Survey: Salaries Increased by An Average of 10% for CSR Professionals Amid Downturn

Believe it or not, the downturn has had its benefits for some. According to a new survey conducted by Acre Resources, a recruitment firm that focuses on sustainability, corporate responsibility and the environment sectors, estimates that most professionals in the CSR field actually saw an improvement in their salaries and job security in 2009.

Over 600 respondents comprising of senior CSR executives from North America, U.K. and Europe were polled by Acre along with Ethical Performance magazine and Acona, an independent consultancy, on several questions, including their...

The Most Important Part of Your CSR Plan (And You Might Be Missing It)

Take a look at your CSR program. You've got a green plan: check. Volunteer program: check. Philanthropy: check. But what is your company doing to invest in good leadership? Leadership for the sustainability and betterment of the communities where your employees and customers live and work, and leadership for the future of your company?

What if you could develop your company's...

The Next Generation of Responsible Business Leaders

Recently, I hosted a group of graduate students from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School.  I also spoke to a group of undergraduates at George Mason University.  I was struck by the questions they asked me and their responses to the questions I asked of them.  They wanted to know about the linkages between ethics and business performance; they asked about the risk management dimensions of social and environmental responsibility; and they hold crystal clear points of view on corporate reputation, respect for customers, and the value and impact...

Of the Banks, by the Banks, for the Banks…

So much for democracy…

There isn’t even democracy among bankers these days. Community and regional banks are being shuttered around the country by the FDIC to the tune of 218 since 2007. Any bank that levered more than its fair share of capital, suffered losses due to bad subprime, and generally managed their money poorly dies a quick painful death as it is swallowed up by the government “safe banking” machine.

Any bank that is except for the Supersized Big Bailout Six…...

Earth Day Career Special: An Interview with Jeffrey Hollender

Today we're celebrating two triumphs. One, of course, is Earth Day's 40th anniversary. And to commemorate the day, here is the final chapter of the lineup we prepared leading to today. To refresh, last week, I discussed why this year Earth Day is important for your career beyond just recycling.

And I left you with a thought: This year, as we go about our day on April 22, 2010, think about two key game changers, which will soon envelope our lives. 1) That...

Volcanoes, Business, and Sustainability

Funny thing about the planet - we often forget that it is much bigger than we are and often has a mind of its own. Take, for example, the chaos being created by the volcanic ash cloud over Europe this week.

The recent eruptions of Iceland's Eyjafjallajoekull volcano are disrupting business systems on a global scale. We have been reminded once again of nature's brute force and primordial beauty. The continuing volcanic ash cloud is having holistic and systematic repercussions.  Starting with air travel disruption, the impact is now ricocheting across international business and global supply chains.

"BMW in Germany and Nissan and Japan have both temporarily shut down plants due to supply chain disruption. . . Kenya, which exports 1,000 tons a day of fresh goods, threw away 10 million flowers, mostly roses, since the eruption began April 14 . . . One Boeing 747 with 110 tons of fish destined for Europe sat on the tarmac in the Middle East, among some 2,000 tons of other disrupted shipments." Associated Press

What will happen if the volcano repeats it's last (1821) eruption cycle of on-and-off spewing of ash for 13 months?
What impact will it have on the long-term viability and sustainability of companies in the region and around the world?

CSR and the Coming Talent Wars

Why do talented employees leave companies, often despite good salaries??

I keep hearing this question uttered by talent agents to news casters.  They are saying this because, despite the ugly job market, people are jumping ship.

Beyond the typical reasons of bad management, poor working environment, and lack of stimulus – I would say that the top talent are fundamentally looking for something else.

  • Engagement
  • Purpose
  • Meaning
  • Challenge
  • Leadership
  • Inspiration

They leave because of a lack of one, or...

HealthRight International: Building Sustainable Solutions That Appeal To Business Investors

Today's philanthropists struggle to balance crisis contributions with investments in longer term, lasting solutions.  HealthRight International exemplifies a nonprofit that leverages relatively small resources for a significant and sustainable impact in underserved communities around the world. And business investors love it.

Founded in 1990 by the late...

A Salary Cap for the Non-Profit Sector

Within the community investment community there’s still too much thinking about the money that goes in and not enough about what’s coming out the other end in terms of social capital.  In Canada, a good illustration is the recent debate about salaries for executives in non-profit organizations.

In today’s issue of Charity Village’s Village Vibes weekly e-newsletter there’s an excellent piece by Andy Levy-Ajzenkopf about...

Do You Need a Corporate Responsibility Expert?

If you do, don’t bother calling me. Unfortunately, I’m just a beginner and wouldn’t be much use to a company that needs someone who really knows what they’re talking about. The good news for you, however, is that there now an extraordinary number of corporate responsibility experts, authorities, advisors, and consultants.

Your Board. Your Story.

Most of the time when we meet someone, socially or professionally, one of the first questions that comes up is "What do you do, and where do you work?" The response to that question often defines us. I thought about that when I read "BRAND OR DIE," Nick Nanton's and JW Dicks' great new blogpost.

So what if the next time you meet someone, you could tell them something more than what you do for a living. What if you could tell them where you serve on a...

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