As the head of corporate citizenship research at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USCCF), I’m pleased to announce the release of a new research product: Practitioner’s Guides to Corporate Citizenship. Today we are releasing guides on four corporate citizenship topics:
- Nutrition & Obesity Prevention
- Women’s Economic Empowerment
- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education
- Job Skills Training
These documents are primers and “crib sheets” for corporate responsibility professionals interested in various social and environmental topics. Filled with quotes, facts, talking points, and other useful information (e.g. potential partners, future trends, infographics) the guides will inform new and experienced professionals with the most up-to-date and important information. Throughout the rest of the year, USCCF will complete two more Practitioner’s Guides on the topic of Disaster Preparedness, Response, and Recovery and Energy & Water Use.
A decade ago, German farmer Klaus Muenchhoff outfitted tractors with optical sensors that scan soil composition. In the past six years, the farmer says he has saved nearly 150,000 euros ($200,000) by reducing the use of phosphorus and potassium.
By using “telematics” to route their trucks, UPS saved 1.7 million miles of driving in 2010, equating to more than 183,000 gallons of fuel (or 1,857 metric tonnes of CO2). If this same rate of improvement was applied across the entire domestic car fleet, it would have yielded savings for the year of 9,256,000 miles and 974,000 gallons of fuel (9,890 metric tonnes of CO2). UPS is actively deploying full telematics in all of its fleet.
We don’t often think of tractors and trucks when we think of data – but that is a mistake. As these examples show, most industries have been transformed by the capacity to gather, share, and analyze data. And yet, data is still a wild frontier for the business community.
Capacities for collecting and connecting data are exploding. This means great potential for both reward and difficulty. On the one hand, data collection has shown tremendous economic potential. Google recently reported that it contributes to $94...
As the world races headlong into the urban age, cities across developing countries are facing the significant challenges of governing increasingly complex urban systems and tackling higher rates of urban poverty. Where city governments have failed, social enterprises have increasingly taken the lead on forging new solutions and championing them into public policy. India has been a beacon of innovation in this field, pioneering solutions that span from mobile banking to low cost toilets.
Solid waste management sits at the nexus of these issues. This can be seen in Bangalore, India, where the city's population of almost 8 million people produces about 4,000 tons of waste daily. An estimated 600 tons of this waste is recycled by about 20,000 informal waste pickers, nearly half of whom are women, mostly from lower castes and disadvantaged groups.
Working as individuals and small enterprises they retrieve recyclable materials from households, businesses, city streets and dump yards. They sort the materials, typically in back alleys or vacant lots, and sell them for small profits up the recycling chain. On average, a self-employed waste picker earns about 100 rupees, or $2, a day.
This informal sector forms the backbone of India’s nascent recycling economy. Their recovery and sale of recyclable...
By Andy McCormick, Vice President, Public Affairs, The Hershey Company
The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), The Hershey Company, and the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) introduced a first- of-its kind program that uses mobile technology to deliver practical information on agricultural and social programs to rural cocoa farmers and enables them to ask questions and provide feedback.
The program, called “CocoaLink—Connecting Cocoa Communities,” will make use of Ghana’s rapidly developing mobile phone infrastructure. It also builds on the existing WCF education and literacy programs that successfully reach more than 8,000 Ghanaian cocoa farmers and community members in 15 pilot communities in the important cocoa-growing regions of Western Ghana.
The innovative program will use mobile technology to connect cocoa farmers with useful information about improving farming practices, farm safety, child labor, health, crop disease prevention, post-harvest production, and crop marketing. Through voice and SMS text messages delivered in their local language or English, cocoa farmers will receive the information at no charge. They also will be able to share information and receive answers to specific questions relating to their cocoa farming livelihoods.
“This program offers an innovative, yet simple, way to get critical information to cocoa farmers that can have a tremendously positive impact on their livelihoods and on communities, including their children,” said...
By Yolanda Londono, Vice President, Global Social Responsibility, Tupperware Brands Corporation
Women play a vital role in powering the global economy—and providing women and girls with opportunities to gain confidence and achieve economic and social empowerment is critical for success. For more than 60 years, Tupperware Brands has been at the forefront of providing women the confidence, tools, and entrepreneurial skills they need to build thriving businesses and improve their lives, which in turn improves the lives of those around them. Tupperware believes in enlightening, educating, and empowering women, both in its global sales force and in the communities it serves.
One of those key communities is Mexico, where Tupperware Brands operates two successful businesses: Tupperware Mexico and Fuller Cosmetics. Together, these two businesses have a sales force of more than 700,000 strong.
To quantify the...
By Gary Ellis, Chief Financial Officer, Medtronic, Chair, Medtronic Foundation Board of Directors
The rapid rise of chronic, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) is one of the major challenges to global health and development.
NCDs are the leading causes of death1 worldwide, and the anticipated economic burden of the four primary diseases— diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, and cancer—will reach $30 trillion by 2030.
Eighty percent of people who die from NCDs live in low- and middle-income countries and lack sufficient access to treatment. With nearly half of those dying in their productive years (under age 70) the impact on emerging economies is staggering.
With expertise in treating a range of chronic illnesses— including diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, two of the four leading chronic illnesses globally—Medtronic is committed to increasing patient access to appropriate health care, which in turn will increase availability of its life- enhancing therapies worldwide to patients who could benefit. However, global access to the company’s technologies remains a challenge. Only a small fraction of the individuals who could benefit from Medtronic products receive them. A variety of factors, including inadequate medical infrastructure and cost, contribute to the problem.
By collaborating with health care professionals, policy makers, regulators, government agencies, patient advocacy groups, non-governmental...
2013 was a great year for both our organization and the world of corporate citizenship. We brought together business, nonprofit, and community leaders to harness the power of collaboration at our annual conference. We documented and coordinate business disaster responses around the world. We shared the many ways businesses make an impact in communities. I’d like to thank our full business network, their support in 2013 allowed us to share the many ways businesses make an impact in communities. I’d also like to thank our staff for all their hard work throughout the year.
It’s was an exciting year to join the team and I’m a great year, we’ve expanded our business network to include exemplary corporate citizens like Time Warner, Inc, and Johnson & Johnson, and that business network continues to expand. Here are 13 highlights from 2013:
New Organization, New Staff: On January 1, 2013, BCLC officially merged with our affiliate nonprofits to become the U.S Chamber of Commerce Foundation. We’re proud to now be a part of an even stronger organization dedicated to making the world a better place. We also gained a few new faces including our new Foundation President, former Governor of Maine, John McKernan,...
In September, I attended a great conference put on by Sustainable Brands called The New Metrics of Sustainable Business 2013. In a previous post, I commented on the overall lessons I learned from attending the conference. However, in that post I didn’t mention one of the best individual presentations I heard.
Led by Tim Bent of Bridgestone Americas and Jeff Gowdy of Vanderbilt University, the presentation described a tool they recently created to help Bridgestone respond to requests for sustainability information. Tim and Jeff colloquially refer to this tool as “The Hub.”
If this tool spreads between multiple companies, it might be possible for them to stand together on ... the flood of redundant requests.
From the start, it was clear why Bridgestone needed The Hub. They are like thousands of other manufacturing companies, who get a lot of requests for information. As they mentioned in the panel, these requests are a Tower of Babel. Suppliers, buyers, NGOs, and other organizations ask for hundreds of pieces of information about the company's sustainability; much of it redundant. Previously there was no way to see all of these requests in one place or a common repository for finding information that was already discovered. Without a common hub for inputting requested information, it was...
By Sue Stephenson, Vice President, Community Footprints, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, LLC
Rapid urbanization is placing a great strain on many communities across the country, with a critical shortage in the availability of skilled workers to fill essential roles in manufacturing and other industries. For the city of tomorrow to thrive, be competitive, and develop a strong workforce, it is essential that we increase the number of students who graduate from high school and go on to acquire necessary skills through postsecondary education in the form of college, technical school, or apprenticeship programs.
Currently, one in four public school students drop out before they finish high school. For African-American and Hispanic students, the likelihood of graduating is closer to 50 percent. Many of these students don’t have access to positive role models, cannot envision a career, and don’t feel connected to their communities. Tragically, young people who drop out are much more likely to be unemployed, incarcerated, or live in poverty.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company launched Succeed Through Service, a pro bono skills-based volunteering program, to help prepare at-risk students for a successful future. The curriculum, which was developed in partnership with the children’s advocacy organization America’s Promise Alliance, pairs Ritz-Carlton employees with middle school students in low-income communities to teach them critical life and career skills while...
“Doing well by doing good” has been adopted as a slogan for social enterprise, though as with everything else that is in flux in 2013 nothing is simple.
For one thing, “social enterprise” is used to mean two quite separate things: enterprise that is “social” in the sense of engaging social media; and enterprise engaged for the purpose, in part, of “doing good.” There’s a further subdivision: In some contexts “social enterprise” refers to profit-seeking corporate efforts that are aligned with delivering also the kind of value traditionally associated with charitable efforts. In others, charities themselves are typically the players, developing entrepreneurial efforts with ultimately non-profit aims. It’s messy. We need to define our terms and hope they soon settle.
Meanwhile, the broad effort that is known as corporate social responsibility (CSR) includes both traditional philanthropic efforts (giving business profits to good causes – hugely illustrated by the late-in-life largesse of titans from Carnegie to Gates) as well as integrated projects - which align a public good with business strategy. I have written before about the effort of global privately-held secure printer Giesecke & Devrient, for which I am an adviser, to host high-level research and discussion of the implications of new technologies for human identity. We have also discussed the “shared value” proposal of Michael Porter – that, at the end of the day, there will be only one bottom line...