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.
Did you miss out on any of the year’s biggest news? There’s only one way to find out. Give that inbox a break, and spend five minutes catching up on the hottest sustainability headlines of 2015.
Mark Zuckerberg’s Internet.org initiative has a noble stated goal to bring Internet access to the billions around the world currently lacking it. However, the free application launched in Indonesia and India to waves of backlash from net neutrality activists and widespread concerns that it was promoting a Facebook-centric Web.
Sustainability proponents know intuitively that sustainability’s contribution to corporate value is great but that we have generally failed to convince skeptics that estimating sustainability ROI is less than impossible. Emerging methods based on once thought “nutty” brand-value methodologies are demonstrating that sustainability investments have substantial tangible and intangible value.
The Forests Dialogue launched its first of a series of field dialogues on understanding “deforestation-free” commitments in Riau Province, Indonesia. As stated by Andika Putraditama of World Resources Institute, one of the co-chairs of the meeting: “A big challenge is that key stakeholders on the ground don’t interpret the goal [of deforestation-free] and how to get there in the same way. This dialogue helps us understand issues faced by the people who are implementing and are directly affected by the pledges.”
A new global food scare is under way. While the last one led to the proliferation of industrialized agriculture in developing countries, this time around some prominent multinational corporations are coming to the aid of the world’s 2.5 billion smallholder farmers. These forward-thinking firms are partnering with locals and NGOs to launch market-based initiatives that revitalize smallholder farms and rural communities.
SPECIAL SERIES: Disrupting Short-Termism
Every now and then, a company takes a bold step, walking away from a profitable line of business because it doesn’t support their mission, or because it simply is the right thing to do. Retail pharmacy chain CVS took such a step last year when it decided to stop selling tobacco products. RP Siegel talks with Eileen Howard Boone, SVP of corporate social responsibility and philanthropy at CVS, to better understand the thinking behind this decision.
SPECIAL SERIES: Sustainably Attired
Levis Strauss & Co. is teaming up with Project WET Foundation to develop custom water education curriculum and train Levi’s employees to teach young students about water conservation. Called “water ambassadors,” Levi’s employees from San Francisco, Shanghai and Singapore were trained by Project WET to go into classrooms and teach students about their water footprints, all while promoting water literacy and awareness.
Semina Boni Terra doesn’t prioritize competition in the hostile trade environment between Mexico and U.S. corporations. Montse Castro, founder of the Mexican startup, re-imagined the agriculture business model as fair trade in practice, not promise—on a national level—to curb food poverty and preserve cultural and economic integrity in rural Mexico.
SPECIAL SERIES: Creativity & Social Innovation
By 2040, one in four Americans will be of Hispanic/Latino origin. If you peer into most Silicon Valley tech companies today (or most Fortune 500 companies, for that matter), the workforce you will see does not at all match current or projected demographic realities. According to organizations such as Code2040, this disparity is not only a business risk – it’s the greatest economic opportunity of our time.
SPECIAL SERIES: Women in Leadership
We spoke with expert networker and professional development facilitator Sarah Michel, the creator of the NetWORTHing process and author of “Perfecting Connecting: A Personal Guide to Mastering Networking in the Workplace,” who shared valuable insights on what it means to be a leader – for oneself and others.