CSR Blogs

FAQs From Business Executives Re: Financial Giving to Nonprofit Boards - Part I

"How much will be expected of me financially?" asked Greg. I was interviewing him in preparation for a national board training session for business executives who would be joining nonprofit boards.

Here's my response to Greg in addition to 4 more FAQs that business people ask me related to contributions and fundraising. Look for Part II next week for the remaining FAQs on this topic.

1. What does "give/get" mean?
The "give/get" is the combination of what you contribute financially and what you fundraise from others.

2. What's an...

Echoes of Bhopal in BP

“Business started long centuries before the dawn of history, but business as we now know it is new – new in its broadening scope, new in its social significance.  Business has not learned how to handle these changes, nor does it recognize the magnitude of its responsibilities for the future of civilization.”

        Wallace Donham, Dean of Harvard Business School – 1929

I love this quote.  Sadly, it rings as true today as it did 80 years ago.  Business had not yet learned how to handle the changes that were happening then in...

Dodd-Frank: Hell Hath No Fury Like a Lobbyist Scorned

At the Global Leaders Summit last week, an octogenarian economics professor from a Southern German university asked, “But will it be enough?” He was referring to the financial reform agreement reached in Congress and passed by the House this week that President Obama calls “historic.”

There have been quite a few references to history lately by self-congratulating politicians. Is the exemption stuffed financial reform bill of 2010 really a history-making event comparable to Great Depression reforms? As the seasoned professor asked, will it be enough to rein in an out-of-...

Academics Push for Sustainability, But do They Live and Work It?

Attend a sustainability-themed conference or peruse through the web, and you will hear from academics who urge for companies to be more transparent in their business practices.  Much of the debate over issues like climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, and what happened to global financial markets is due to the research and hard work of university academics.  For that enormous body of work, we should be thankful.  Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a hot topic now, especially after a certain spill in the Gulf.  And corporations’ behavior in the past has spurred this interest....

How To Make Your Business Successful For FREE: Lessons From Nonprofits

Your company is slashing its budget and reducing staff. Nonetheless, you want to enhance your brand and motivate your employees. Look no further than the nonprofit sector for solutions. And, best of all, Nancy Lublin has pulled all the best answers together in "Zilch: The Power of Zero in Business." Lublin is the CEO of DO Something and the...

Who Really Wins by Lifting the Oil Drilling Moratorium?

As I watch the news, I’m hearing both sides of debate regarding the deepwater, offshore drilling moratorium, which was sparked by the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The Obama Administration believes it is critical to “push the pause button” for six months until a full investigation is completed. The president wants to hear a national panel’s recommendations to improve worker safety and environmental protections on oil rigs before the he lifts the...

Survey: CEOs See Sustainability Shifting From Discretionary Choice to Corporate Priority

In Good Company debuted a little over a year ago with a broad focus in mind: To track how corporate responsibility and sustainability evolves at companies and explore how they along with academic institutions react to increasing demand for accountability and transparency in the marketplace. Along the way, we also hoped to analyze and throw some perspective on how all this plays out for graduating students, for mid-career professionals and...

Sometimes We Forget

Sometimes, I think we forget what we're talking about when it comes to the sustainability movement. Even the ardent professionals among us who try everyday to help the world's people consume a little less or those trying to make the products and services that can create a better, more resourceful world, even the most globally conscious among us...they too sometimes forget what it is we're really talking about when we say "sustainability."

We're not talking about anything less than the advancement of human civilization. I know that sounds a little ridiculous, but it's absolutely true. I would never pretend to know what political turmoil will come next or what piece of art will move the culture.  But I do know none of that advancement will take place without a powerful movement toward sustainability. There are simply more and more people on the planet competeing for the same number of resources. So if we do not rapidly change the way people consume and create those resources, we will not advance as a global civilization. Everything we do as modern people consumes energy: moving from place to place, writing our next piece of research, listening to music. Every bit of that requires energy and we don't know where we're going to get it all.

Buildings are no small part of that struggle. When taken together all sectors of existing buildings use 48% of the energy consumed in America, according to the folks at Architecture 2030. So the built environment is half of the energy crisis, half of the problem. As building professionals, when we tackle a problem like that--a problem so large--we aren't just making things better for our client, we are advancing civilization.

Winning is a Habit

This month, Jamie Qualk shares some of his thoughts on the LEED rating system. Jamie Qualk is a vice president at SSRCx, LLC and team leader of the Sustainable Solutions Group. He lectures in the Civil Engineering department of Vanderbilt University regarding sustainability and construction and also at Lipscomb University in the Institute for Sustainable Practice regarding renewable energy.  He also blogs on ED+C's Enviro-Blog and under Green Voices at...

Robert Cialdini is My Hero: Sustainability “Social Proof”

When people see that their neighbors have more energy efficient households, it GETS them!  My absolute hero (and someone whose work I am closely studying for my master’s thesis), Robert Cialdini, is now leveraging his “social proof” compliance technique for sustainability purposes.  A New York Times article by Saqib Rahim reports on Cialdini’s post-academic career in studying consumer behavior and energy efficiency as chief scientist for...

The #Promise Event: High on Twitter and Promises, Low on Substance

Complete with a hash tag symbol, the #Promise event held during Internet Week in New York last week was corporate sponsorship and social media at its best. With its dizzying digital presence and overwhelmingly real-time conversations, it was like having a multitude of dialogues at any given moment. Featuring marketing heads from...

Warren Buffett on Sustainability. Not.

The UK sees no need in a CSR Minister anymore

Inhance Sustainability

Big Oil, God and Money

Who knew until just a few weeks ago that Big Oil had a contract with God? BP, the self-proclaimed poster child for corporate social responsibility, got their right to dig one mile below the surface of the sea direct from above.

Yup, that is just the way it is. Nothing any of us can do about it. Because if God gave them the right to drill baby drill, who are we mere mortals to question their authority? 

How else would the American government, the international maritime agencies, and oil industry regulators have allowed this one profit-driven company...

Hooters Girls Donate Pantyhose to Clean Up Oil in the Gulf of Mexico

What are Hooters Girls famous for? Their shiny pantyhose, of course. And now, the girls are shedding their said pantyhose for a good cause… to help clean up the Gulf Coast. I guess, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

It’s true. This isn’t fodder for Late Night TV (may be it should be) or a skit from the Daily Show with John Stewart. The lovely ladies of Hooters plan to donate over 100,000 pairs of pantyhose through an effort dubbed… wait for it… Project Pantyhose.

Once laundered, the pantyhose will be...

Arguing For an Integrated Annual Report: Too Much Data, Too much Irrelevance?

Yesterday, the Conference Board hosted a webcast on the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the Future of Integrated Reporting. The panel included Mike Wallace, the director of the sustainability reporting framework with GRI; Intel's Director of CSR Strategy and Communications, Suzanne Fallender; Doug Kangos, a partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers' National Professional Services unit; and Rina Levy, an environmental and social governance (ESG) analyst with Bloomberg. The topic: the future of integrated reporting, and how much data is too much? (For those unfamiliar with GRI and...

Microsoft’s Noblest Cause

Child pornography is the Internet’s most severe social problem. In recent years it has exploded as countless illicit images are circulated online – viewed by pedophiles and passed around from predator to predator. Since 2003, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) has reviewed and analyzed almost 30 million of these images. It projects that an additional nine million images will be examined in the coming year. NCMEC also acknowledges that the scope of the child porn...

The Other 99%

There are 4.9 million commercial buildings in the US.

In 2009, more than 275 projects achieved LEED-EBOM certification. Compare that with only 12 certified projects in 2004, 11 in 2005, 17 in 2006, and 27 in 2007. (Stats taken from the Center for Sustainable Systems) For me it's very hard to hold those numbers in my head at the same time. And while I know it's not really a fair comparison to pit the entire commercial building stock of the US against a program that's only 6 years old, I hope I'm...

Corporate Boards: You Can Navigate Away From Deepwater

Just 10 days before the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion marked the beginning of the devastation wrought by BP's oil spill, Cone completed its new "Shared Responsibility Study," entitled: "Companies Fail to Engage Consumers on Environmental and Social Issues."

According to Cone, 84% of consumers indicate that "by listening to my feedback and ideas, I...

It’s a Miracle: Financial Reform

Do you believe in miracles? Well, brace yourself. We may have another one coming down the pike. Financial reform bills have been passed by both the House and the Senate. Lawmakers are currently working on the final version. We just might see the most sweeping financial reform since the Great Depression within our lifetime. Considering the aggressive and well-funded lobbying by banks, financial institutions, large corporations, and highly placed politicians, this would truly be a miracle.

Why didn’t we have financial reform before this, you may wonder? Because… “The markets can...

CSR Corporate Leadership Meeting 2010: What They Said

BP Removed from Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes

Another nail in BP’s coffin. The oil company responsible for the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history was removed from the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes (DJSI) effective May 31, 2010.

The DJSI are the first global indexes tracking the financial performance of leading sustainability-driven companies worldwide. Socially responsible investors use the DJSI to help them determine where their investing dollars should go. Many of us have 401(k) or IRA accounts, and we can...

A Little Fabric Shop...

I love walking around my neighborhood (Astoria, Queens) because it's one of those areas of NYC where you get a true cross section of the population. There are some upper middle class, middle class, and working class folks of every ethnic and religious denomination. You're as likely to run into a white out-of-work actor as you are 2nd generation land owner leaving his local mosque. The other great thing about Astoria is that it's a great case study for small business environments, especially retail. Raquel and I were walking home when she decided to stop into the fabric shop along the way. The place was full of patches, brightly colored yarns, sewings kits, and bolts of fabric. It had the potential to be so exciting a place, so welcoming an envrionment, yet it wasn't. It was, instead this cold grey pall was cast over what should have been a vibrant visual array of fabric and supplies.

CSR: Everything you always wanted to know, but were afraid to ask...

Regardless of how you view corporate responsibility, there is no denying that it has been increasingly grabbing more news space in mainstream and alternative media than ever before. Especially in the wake of the ongoing BP oil spill fiasco, there remain some core questions regarding the extent, criteria and involvement of CSR that could use some honest answering. Whether you ask these questions as involved consumers or informed professionals, the answers remain central to the heart of our daily decision making: How do personal accountability and responsible actions extend to the brand I...

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