Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is an unlikely state capitol. Even the people who live here agree that Philadelphia or Pittsburgh might be better choices. Visiting either of those cities immediately imparts a sense of scope and even grandeur — they are alive and vital in a way that Harrisburg, even amidst its slow renaissance, cannot yet match. But despite Harrisburg’s problems, it has emerged as a hotbed of corporate responsibility.
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.
While supply chains have evolved over the years, supplier risk assessments are still often equated with reviewing financial performance to ensure that suppliers are not staring at insolvency. But there is a fundamental problem with such assessments – they are post facto in nature, and are highly dependent on the financials reported by the supplier. What buying organizations need are risk assessments where the analysis of financial health is complemented by the assessment of business and sustainability performance of suppliers to identify risk signals ahead of time.
Sustainability execution today is undermined by a lack of language that speaks to a time when sustainability is achieved. As much as sustainability is mainstream, it’s unclear on outcomes. We might embrace the process of becoming sustainable, but it convinces neither the critics nor the impatient that it is taking us somewhere. So, what is sustainability’s end game and when, if ever, can we relax?
Last week, I was interviewed by Andrea Johnbaptiste on the JB Bizline Radio out of South Florida. Listen in to hear her explain how climate change can impact even the smallest of businesses and why diversity can boost your bottom line.
There are many ways to celebrate Earth Week and highlight the importance of living a more sustainable life. EcoPlum, an online fashion and gift item store, is opening its first pop-up shop with Environment Furniture in New York City, lasting from April 16 to April 22.
Apple is making waves in conservation and green energy as well as Internet and computing technology. On April 16, Apple and the Conservation Fund announced they are partnering to protect over 36,000 acres of working forestlands in Maine and North Carolina.
At the Gathering of Leaders conference, Carol L. Cone, global chief strategist for business and social purpose at Edelman, spotted these five ‘big bets’ social entrepreneurs are making to tackle global challenges. From revolutionizing pediatrics to creating “the next generation of peacemakers,” these stories are sure to inspire.
Incorporating sustainable practices into warehouse and distribution center design has proven to be a winning strategy for business. Sustainable warehouses earn respect from customers and community members. They also boost security and workplace wellbeing, lower a company’s operating costs and, ultimately, improve a company’s profit margins.
The polarized debate over fracking is getting us nowhere. Voluntary standards for responsible practices offer a new, productive middle ground.
STEM for girls still seems like a bit of a vague concept in schools — even the ones that claim to offer the very best opportunities for young women. That’s a bit alarming, given that our star-date is well into the 21st century. Mr. Spock, who defined the objective, unemotional epitome of scientific grandeur, wouldn’t be the only one displeased.
Tax filing is a headache, and that’s why some 80 million Americans invest in professional tax preparation. But it doesn’t have to be that way, points out the nonpartisan organization Maplight. The research group did some digging and found that there are big names and big money standing in the way of a bill to simplify the tax filing system. The pockets are deep: to the tune of $35 million. And several top politicians own stock in the companies most fiercely opposed to tax filing reform.
Posting record financial results for 2014, REI’s co-op business model is also delivering more in the way of social and environmental dividends. Besides paying out $168 million in cash dividends, REI will invest around $8 million in nonprofit community projects that promote outdoor life.
Imagine a foundation officer receiving the latest proposal from this social profit organization and re-reading the report submitted on the previous year’s grant. It says the organization served 1,200 people, a 20 percent increase from the year before. “But is that good?” she thinks. “Should it have been 30 percent? And how well were they served?” She reads the report, which says in effect that social problems are getting worse but everything is going better than ever with this organization, and the foundation should continue in its wisdom and generosity with ongoing funding. The foundation officer thinks: “This feels more like a dance than an evaluation.”
The global textile and garment industry is one of the world’s largest polluters due to its massive impacts on water, soil and of course, people. While consumers are becoming more aware that their fashion choices have on distant places such as Bangladesh, China and India, much work still needs to be done until the industry can be truly described as responsible and sustainable.
SPECIAL SERIES: Disrupting Short-Termism
What began with appliance donations has become one of Whirlpool’s most successful corporate social responsibility programs. It is hard to argue with the numbers: over US$85 million in donations since 1999, 8,000-plus company employees who have volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, and a renewed lease on life for over 100,000 families.