CSR Blogs

Sustainability Pledge: Walk The Talk

With a foot in both the academic and business worlds currently – I find myself intrigued that a lot of colleges/universities are taking such a lead in committing their facilities and community to new journeys in sustainability, while corporations are lagging way behind.   Some companies may be ramping up  marketing efforts, for certain, but what about the basics of first engaging the humans in their businesses with sustainability on a more personal level?   It goes beyond the recycling bin in the corner and the automatic lights in the restrooms.

Let’s learn from the many institutions of higher learning that have sustainability pledges, as they are all quite similar.  Harvard’s – which comes up first in a Google search, is a nice example.

Nothing too bold or scary here.  However, by putting such a list in front of your nose and occasionally glancing at it, you will – much more likely – stop and think a bit.  You may even start to change your own behavior.  Checklists are powerful stuff: Do you take the stairs as often as possible?  Do you unplug computers and turn off lights?  Do you walk, bike or take the subway more often than getting into a car or bus?

My question: Where are all the corporate sustainability pledges?

Consultants Talk Green: We Are Rather Friedmanite About This

Every year Vault conducts employee surveys to rank firms and companies by industry according to various standards including diversity, prestige, work/life culture, salary, etc. Last year, we added a short section on green, i.e., energy conservation, recycling, environmental friendliness and workplace safety, in the survey, hoping to get a glimpse into what companies were doing toward becoming ecologically friendly. We're currently in the middle of our 2010 Top Consulting Firms Survey.

These differ distinctly from the law community in not only their...

How to Leverage Your Advisory Board (Because Their Name Isn’t All They Can Offer)

You have your board.  Now what?

I wrote before about when and how to assemble your advisory board.  If you already have an advisory board though, what can you realistically expect from the people who comprise it and how do you best leverage their skills and commitment?

The first part–what you can realistically expect from your advisors–should be agreed on before they commit. I spoke with one enterprenenur who realized in hindsight the criticality of setting...

Remembering C.K. Prahalad

“What is needed is a better approach to help the poor, an approach that involves partnering with them to innovate and achieve sustainable win-win scenarios where the poor are actively engaged and, at the same time, the companies providing products and services to them are profitable.”


                 C.K. Prahalad – From The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits


Let’s Help Panera Bread Take Corporate Social Responsibility to a New Level

I was surprised to read about Panera Bread’s new cafe in St. Louis dubbed the St. Louis Bread Company Cares Cafe. The concept is simple yet groundbreaking… take whatever you want to eat or drink and instead of paying a cashier, drop whatever you can afford into a donation box. And if you don’t have any money, you can donate your time. Crazy concept, I know.

According to a great article in USA Today, Ron Shaich, who stepped down as Panera’s CEO last...

CSR & the Job Hunt: Just A Different Measure of Success

Last week I discussed how new graduating classes are prioritizing corporate responsibility in their job search. Citing an inter-generational study I am conducting with recent graduates focusing on sustainability in their job search, here's what I wrote:

"These graduates, who represent a diversity of professional experience and industries—and ages--unanimously admit that a company's commitment to CSR is a top priority for them. If you're thinking they'


Is Corporate Citizenship Measuring Up: The Latest Data

How Will Wall Street's Shortcomings Redefine The MBA Curriculum?

In November last year, MBA candidates at three business schools across the country decided to initiate oaths of ethical conduct for all graduating students. While the oaths were student-sponsored, these almost-socialistic self-administrations rang hollow amidst a recession. As I wrote at the time, it spoke of an identity crisis for business schools, which were beginning to look inwards at their curriculum for reasons behind the failed leadership on Wall Street.


Is Green the old Black?

One of the biggest networks of green blogs is dropping the word "green" from its name. Green Options Media, the former home of Sustainablog, Gas 2.0 and Cleantechnica, and current home to ten blogs, has been renamed Important Media. Now, GreenOptions.com is a full fledged community, running on Huddler’s innovative forum/wiki/product platform.

I recently...

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...


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