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.
There are a lot of reasons for divestment — and some oil company behavior might even be criminal, experts noted at the Intentional Endowments Network conference on divestment in Denver this week.
SPECIAL SERIES: The ROI of Sustainability
Just about anyone who has worked in the area of sustainability has had to deal with the question of justifying long-term investments on a financial basis. Some measures, like fixing leaks and making efficiency improvements, pay off quickly and are therefore easy to approve. It’s when the investments take a little longer to pay off in dollars and cents that the conversation between sustainability director and CFO becomes a little more challenging.
SPECIAL SERIES: Disrupting Short-Termism
Given The Coca-Cola Company’s role in our nation’s obesity debate, you may be surprised that the world’s biggest seller of sugar water is behind innovative programs that support health and wellness around the globe.
For a few rare companies, achieving zero waste within their own operations simply isn’t enough – they set their sights on waste reduction throughout their entire value chain, and better still, aim to influence their industry at large.
Ferrero uses 25 percent of the world’s supply of hazelnuts to make 180 million kilograms (397 million pounds) of its Nutella spread each year. Now those hazelnut shells won’t be going to waste every year.
Improper disposal of used cooking oil is harmful to the environment and can cause structural damage. However, certain organizations have stepped up to not only offer a ready and safe disposal service, but also a way to repurpose the oil into a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels.
Studies show that communities with statistically recognized transportation issues benefit the most from having a bike-share option in their neighborhood. However, disproportionately, some of the most recognized bike-share programs in the country have been met with controversy for lack of equitable distribution in core neighborhoods characterized by less affluence.
Greenpeace rates tech companies on their data centers. Oxfam America ranks food brands on the sustainability of their supply chains. The League of Conservation Voters scores elected officials on their voting records. But who rates, ranks and scores Greenpeace, Oxfam America and the League of Conservation Voters? Or The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International or WWF? For now, no one.
Divestment is not about dismantling the fossil fuel industry; it’s about the critical urgency of energy companies changing their business models to transition away from combusting fossil fuels and developing environmentally benign energy generation. When the “carbon bubble” bursts, the value of companies invested in fossil fuels will fall.
For me and my brother, helping families in need has been a lifelong endeavor. Adding a charitable arm to our business has created benefits that span beyond tax breaks and positive publicity. There have been far more rewarding bonuses worth noting.
If nature is like a bank, then we are borrowing without understanding the terms or planning a repayment schedule. In many ways, the impacts associated with our global sustainability challenge might be explained as penalties for default, or even foreclosure. Is Nature too big to fail?
It’s easy for people to associate business leaders with closed doors and dollar signs. But leaders who use compassion to drive their businesses will experience real-time benefits and grow a stronger network of colleagues and customers, argues Sheldon Yellen, CEO of disaster recovery firm BELFOR.
SPECIAL SERIES: The Circular Economy and Green Electronics
There are many environmental and financial benefits to extended producer responsibility (EPR): the idea that a product’s manufacturers and retailers should assume responsibility for the environmental and social impacts of the product throughout its lifecycle, from sourcing the material and production to consumer use and disposal. But can EPR – and taking responsibility for a product’s waste management, in particular – augment a company’s bottom-line, or is it always a loss leader?
SPECIAL SERIES: Creativity & Social Innovation
Ask anyone who’s led corporate environmental or social responsibility initiatives and they will tell you that employees can make or break any sustainability program. The success of other aspects of the business – from internal innovation to customer satisfaction – can also hinge upon how well a company engages its employees.