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Six Great Resources for Corporate Responsibility Professionals

For the first time, I had the opportunity to attend the                                                                                   Corporate Responsibility magazine’s Commit!Forum.
Held in New York, it attracted nearly 600 corporate
responsibility professionals, consultants, representa-
tives from NGOs, a few investment analysts, and others.

There were some familiar faces at the in the seats next
to me and on the panels, as well as many new faces.
Interacting with all these like-minded folks always
rekindles my enthusiasm, enlightens me on the latest
thinking and broadens my perspective. And, it acquaints me with new resources. For those of you who weren’t lucky enough to attend the conference, I’ll share six resources that every CR professional should know about: 

#1 - Cone Cause Evolution Study. Don’t plan another employee engagement program, launch a volunteer initiative or create a cause-related marketing program until you read this report. The Cone agency, leaders in building brand trust, asked consumers and employees how companies’ treatment of social and environmental issues affects their purchasing decisions, job satisfaction and volunteerism, and even their job hunting.  You need to know the answers.

#2 - OneReport.  When you’re swamped with ratings and ranking submission forms to complete, who you gonna call?  Maybe you could try OneReport.  This affordable, semi-custom software takes your environmental, social and governance data and fills out the submission forms for up to 20 organizations, from the Global Reporting Initiative and UN Global Compact to the Carbon Disclosure Project, EIRIS, KLD Research and Analytics, and more.  OneReport Director Janice Warren told me that just last month the OneReport platform, structured as software as a service (SaaS), received certification from the GRI. The GRI Certified Software and Tools Program certifies software and digital tools that contain GRI content.  Certification assures organizations that OneReport accurately reflects content from the GRI Reporting Framework, including the most widely used sustainability reporting guidelines worldwide. I haven’t used the software, but a colleague who manages the reporting for a global technology company happily uses it to prepare all his report submissions.

#3 - CSRHub, Inc.  Do you use CSRHub  to locate data on a company's sustainability and corporate responsibility rankings and ratings? I haven’t been, but maybe I should. CSRHub is a data-driven site that offers free sustainability and corporate social responsibility ratings on around 5,000 of the world’s largest publicly traded companies.  I had heard of the site but never visited it. Then I met Bahar Gidwani, CSRHub co-founder and CEO, at the conference and after hearing him describe the site’s capabilities, I thought I’d better check it out.  Navigating this site is a bit overwhelming, but it offers a lot of possibilities for slicing and dicing the data different ways, and by customizing it to your own personal values.  If you use CSRHub, I’d love to hear from you. Why do you use it? What features do you find most helpful? Is the data timely and relevant? Seems like a great tool, so I am considering subscribing but would like to hear what you think of it. [Ed. note: CSRHub is a 3p sponsor, but that had no bearing on their inclusion in this list]

#4 - Redemtech. Over lunch one day I had the good fortune to meet with Carol Baroudi of Redemtech, which specializes in IT asset recovery.  Based in Columbus, Ohio, Redemtech helps companies with certified, secure disposal of laptops, notebooks, desktop PCs, and all manner of used computers and printers. This company seems to have both a heart and a head.  This past summer Redemtech launched a partnership with Habitat for Humanity to provide 10,000 refurbished computers to Habitat families.  And, the company is working to provide ethical e-waste management. Redemtech is an approved signatory of The Electronics Recycler’s Pledge of e-Stewardship, recognized by the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition and the Basel Action Network. Redemtech’s Environmental Management System is certified ISO 14001 compliant. If your company is looking for an e-waste provider, seems to me you should at least check them out.

#5 - Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers. At the same meal, I met Laurie Kinsman, marketing director for Ricthie Bros., the  world’s largest industrial auctioneer. This on-site and online auctioneer operates from more than 110 locations around the world, including 39 auction facilities and live bidding at rbauction.com, accordingto his LinkedIn profile. When construction and engineering companies have finished building their bridge, highway or other massive structure, they can offload the specialized equipment they no longer need through the Ritchie Bros. auction house. A fundamentally green business model, no?  A graduate of the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship courses on corporate citizenship strategy and integration, Kinsman sees his business through a green lens.  He blogs about commuting by bicycle, composting and goads his marketing colleagues into being more green.  Even if you and I have no cranes or bulldozers to sell, we can all be inspired by Kinsman’s efforts as an internal change agent.

#6 - Women’s Network for a Sustainable Future.  Any woman who is interested in sustainability or corporate citizenship and lives in the New York City area should check out this organization.  I’ve attended several of their mid-day luncheons and the caliber of women (and men) you meet is unmatched. This is one group of bright, motivated, well-connected women.  You’ll learn as much from speaking with the other participants as listening to the panelists. When you see all these dynamic people in one room, it makes you think maybe we CAN solve our environmental crises.  At the Commit!Forum conference, I connected with former WNSF Executive Director Ann Goodman, who began to share with me the details of her recent trip to Hong Kong for the World Green Forum.  An intriguing woman, Goodman has spent the past six years forging a dialogue on sustainability between businesswomen in the United States and China through an ongoing exchange between WNSF and the China Association of Women Entrepreneurs (CAWE).

There you have them, six great resources you can benefit from even if you weren’t fortunate enough to attend the 2011 Commit!Forum.

Cindy Mehallow

Cindy Mehallow is principal of CRM Communications, a woman-owned sustainability communications consulting practice specializing in corporate social responsibility reporting and stakeholder communications. GRI-Certified in sustainability reporting, Cindy has produced award-winning sustainability reports for Fortune 500 clients in a variety of industries.

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