Those indulging in Schadenfreude over VW’s woes need to take a step back and see the ramifications of this embarrassing ‘defeat device’ snafu. It will reverberate within the automotive industry, the German economy and the corporate responsibility movement as well.
This category is about corporate social responsibility (CSR), a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model. The goal of CSR is to embrace responsibility for the company’s actions and encourage a positive impact through its activities on the environment, consumers, employees, communities, stakeholders and all other members of the public sphere.
Corporate influence over the climate change debate and policy process is often cited as a key reason for the relatively slow progress of both the U.N. COP process and national-level climate legislation, nonprofit NGO InfluenceMap noted. According to the group, nearly half of the world’s 100 largest companies engage in tactics to obstruct climate change action.
There is no other commodity grown on the farms of our planet that is more polluting than cotton. Major apparel and textile brands and retailers need to incorporate sustainable cotton sourcing and communicate the benefits of this to their customers in their corporate responsibility efforts to drive demand. Increased demand is the obvious path toward mainstream acceptance.
We must translate the vast horizon of sustainability into language that gets business to act in its interests today – sidestepping uncertainty and building in reward. What turns long-termism into a near-term benefit?
Last Friday the EPA accused Volkswagen of installing “defeat devices” in four-cylinder Volkswagen and Audi automobiles from model years 2009 to 2015. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) also launched an investigation into Volkswagen’s practice of installing software to manipulate information transmitted during vehicle emissions testing.
This is a PR firm that reported $833 million worth of earnings. In the words of the Guardian’s Suzanne Goldenberg, Edelman “has played a critical role in shaping public opinion in the U.S. and globally about climate change.” So, the company’s shift is huge.
Today, 1.2 billion people, or almost a fifth of the world’s population, live in areas of water scarcity, and, according to the U.N., this number will climb to almost 2 billion by 2025. The good news is that citizens, governments and businesses are waking up and acknowledging the importance of water stewardship.
Many products command premiums due to their geographic origins and native know-how. Corporate social responsibility initiatives have a role to play in preserving and protecting them.
Tax policy can enhance the social impact of business and support business at the same time, says Wayne Dunn, president of the CSR Training Institute. We are seeing some governments making corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy into a tax, setting minimum amounts that companies must spend on CSR, often with little thought for value and impact.
Dunn puts forward the case for replacing that with its polar opposite – using tax breaks to incentivize and enhance CSR to everyone’s benefit.
The paper industry is pushing back. The Paper and Packaging Board has launched a site that touts paper’s benefits. The campaign, called “How Life Unfolds,” showcases studies on how paper is better for learning, can forge stronger emotional connections from that wedding invitation to that saved football game ticket and also promotes the industry’s environmental stewardship.
Traditional cause marketing has lost its meaning and relevance. It’s time for a new approach from purpose-driven companies that weave cause — not cause marketing — into their corporate DNA.
Procter & Gamble just dropped two announcements, concerning climate change and clean water access, that prove it’s serious about sustainability.
Whole Foods stocks have declined in recent years. The company is fighting back with a new, leaner prototype of its brand, due to open this year. It’s just in time, as it’s got lots of company in the organic food business.
SPECIAL SERIES: 3p Explores Climate Week NYC 2015
As world leaders prepare to convene in Paris to discuss an international climate agreement, a growing number of private firms are contemplating their role in a low-carbon future. Expect big announcements from the public and private sector at Climate Week NYC 2015.