Each year, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center (CCC) produces a series of reports highlighting the positive contributions of businesses tackling pressing environmental and social challenges. In the 2014 environment report, we are pleased to present more than 25 success stories in Achieving Energy and Water Security: Scalable Solutions from the Private Sector. The report illustrates how the private sector is moving the needle on energy and water issues that benefit the environment and the bottom line.
Energy and water are essential for economic development, food production, and global security. However, rapid population growth, an increasingly prosperous middle class, urbanization, changes in climate, and demographic shifts from rural to...
By: Robert Ludke. Executive Vice President, Corporate Advisory Practice. Hill+Knowlton Strategies
Corporate executives across industries and sectors continuously seek a “license to operate” from the public. In essence, this means the company is actively working to gain and maintain the reputational support needed to achieve its short and long-term business objectives. They must build a reputation that assures the public that their behaviors are consistent with their values.
To their credit, many companies have put in place innovative programs and initiatives to engage their audiences and show that the company is worthy of the public’s trust in its brand and reputation.
However, many executives don’t fully appreciate that today’s public takes a much broader, integrated view of the company when evaluating the company as something worthy of their trust. They perceive the company as a whole, not segments that they choose or do not choose to interact with.
Companies have been slow to present themselves to the public in the same way that the public looks to evaluate them. Too often corporate executives segment their audiences by issues or corporate functions – an approach that prevents the public from being managed in a coordinated, strategic manner across all functions of the organization.
BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities and Global Communities Partner to Assist Vulnerable Communities in Colombia
By John Forman, Country Director, Global Communities Colombia
Global Communities and BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities (BSC) have now completed the first year of a partnership to assist vulnerable communities and displaced persons in Colombia. BSC has provided US $28.6 million to ANDA, a five-year program specifically designed to address the needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and vulnerable communities to complement poverty reduction efforts by the national government.
Global Communities has worked for nearly 13 years implementing large-scale development programs throughout Colombia including income generation, microfinance, housing/infrastructure , HIV/health, and humanitarian assistance programs. ANDA has partnered so far with the San Isidro Foundation, a foundation supported by the Cerro Matoso mine, Fundacion Amanecer and Diakonia de la Paz, and will partner other local organizations to implement this program.
ANDA targets poor communities within the municipalities of Planeta Rica, Buenavista, La Apartada, Montelibano, Puerto Libertador and San Jose de Ure in the northern Colombia department of Cordoba. It also helps disadvantaged women, youth, Afro-Colombians and indigenous persons living in and around the cities of Monteria and Cartagena, all of which have large populations of IDPs.
The program targets these communities because decades of conflict have left these areas without access to vital public services such as health...
By: Kerry Sullivan, Bank of America Charitable Foundation President and
Sue Stephenson, Vice President, Community Footprints, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company
Mentoring can be a powerful way for companies to leverage their employees’ skills and expertise to have a positive impact on young people and help address social issues. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and Bank of America were recently recognized for their achievements in mentoring by MENTOR and the Corporation for National and Community Service. While our companies represent different industries and take a different approach, we believe there are common lessons we can share about how to build, maintain and expand the impact of an effective employee mentoring volunteer program.
Design your mentoring program with outcomes in mind
What do you hope to achieve through your mentoring program? You can build a successful mentoring program to address specific need by leveraging the unique skills and expertise your employees can bring to an issue.
At The Ritz-Carlton, we leverage our commitment to...
How should one celebrate International Women’s Day? For us at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, we celebrate by bringing fifty of the greatest women’s empowerment leaders together with more than 500 “change agent” participants to document, through a multitude of themes, that economically empowering women is not only possible, but there is no other choice. On Tuesday, March 4, we celebrated International Women’s Day with a phenomenal gathering of speakers that reiterated over and over again that the “time is now” to create a paradigm shift for women’s role in the world. With our partners, United Nations Office for Partnerships and Business Call to Action, our fourth annual International Women’s Day event was filled with inspiration and calls to action.
One of the clearest messages of the day is that there is a strong business case for empowering women, and the “time is now” to act. As Michelle Greene, Head of Corporate Responsibility at NYSE EuroNext, said passionately, women’s empowerment is a, “strategic imperative,” not philanthropy. Corporate leaders from IBM, Ann Inc., Coca-Cola, Gap Inc., and others noted over and over again that investing in...
I wanted to share more with you about Enactus, an organization that KPMG proudly supports. This global nonprofit is dedicated to enabling real human progress through entrepreneurial action. Their vehicle for change is the passion and dedication of college students around the world working on community outreach projects focused on empowering those in need and creating sustainable change. This community of business, student, and academic leaders has a presence in more than 35 countries with more than 65,000 students enrolled at more than 1,600 academic institutions all through the generous support of more than 400 corporate partners.
I would encourage you to learn more about joining the Enactus network and to that end would like to invite you to attend their upcoming Enactus USA Expo taking place in Cincinnati, Ohio from March 31 to April 3. The USA Expo is a unique cross-generational leadership experience for student, academic, and business leaders. The event includes a national competition, which is a showcase of how Enactus students are transforming lives and enabling progress through entrepreneurial action.
During the 20 years I have spent working in international philanthropy, I have seen enormous strides made towards the goal of eradicating poverty. Be it through programs on the ground, grassroots initiatives or fundraising campaigns. Despite this progress, much remains to be done. The next step in creating a healthier and happier future for those in need must come from organized, concerted collective action.
The problems facing us today are too great for any one group to tackle alone. We must partner, leverage action, and pool resources in order to make additional progress. One movement in collective action that my organization, Global Impact, is investing in is High Impact Funds.
Designed to be a turnkey solution for donors, especially corporations looking to increase their global citizenship, High Impact Funds harness together small groups of best-in-class charities working on a common issue. This collective action is then leveraged to make a larger scale impact, providing donors (be they individuals, corporations or foundations) with an opportunity to take advantage of these funds so that their gifts and investments go further toward helping those in need.
High Impact Funds are a particularly great tool for corporations...
By: Brad Smith, General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft.
The past year has been a busy one at Microsoft – and not just because of new products, a new acquisition and a new CEO. It has also been a busy time for our employees and their support of the nonprofit community.
In fact, 2013 was a record-breaking year! Microsoft’s employees raised $113 million for 19,123 nonprofit organizations worldwide. Amidst Microsoft’s transformation, the value of community involvement continues to define us as employees.
The $113 million total includes our employees’ cash donations, the company’s matching contributions, and $7.8 million from Microsoft to match volunteer hours logged by our employees. Our volunteer program provides a Microsoft contribution of $17 for every hour spent by our employees. Last year, more than 7,400 employees participated, logging almost 460,000 volunteer hours to help nonprofit groups. This has been growing – enough so that 2014 may well see Microsoft...
By: Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO, Women’s World Banking
“That would make us feel very proud and our lives would be very happy every day.”
You could probably make several well-reasoned guesses about what life-altering experience this woman from Malawi was referring to and still not guess that she was describing how she would feel if she could open a bank account in her own name. As we approach International Women’s Day, we’ll hear many stats and figures about the lives of women around the world today. Here’s one that may surprise you: over one billion women don’t have access to the most basic of financial tools, a savings account. For this woman, and millions of other low-income women throughout the developing world, having a bank account is aspirational, representing safety, security and the opportunity to be treated with dignity.
With no access to financial institutions, low-income families are forced to conduct all of their daily transactions in cash; cash is literally hidden under the mattress, subject to theft or within easy reach of family members asking for a loan that won’t be paid back. A cash-only society means traveling long distances to transact business, taking time away from school or a job that puts food on the table. Carrying cash puts women and girls in particular at greater risk.
While cash-based societies face these challenges, there is growing evidence around the world that an increase in the number of...
Today womens economic empowerment leaders are at the United Nations for Turning Inspiration into Action: Next Steps for the Private Sector to Empower Women Globally. Even if you're unable to attend, you can still participate in our annual celebration of International Women's Day by watching our live stream! Also be sure to join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #Inspire2Act and @USCCFBiz4Good.