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Think Business, Not Poverty

Posted by Cheryl Heller on Mon, 2013-09-30 15:02

[Editor's Note: Join Cheryl Heller during BCLC's October Conference Innovation Blitz. During this session, top social entrepreneurs and business innovators will share their work to inspire fresh ideas and foster collaboration. Register today.]

From a business standpoint, poverty has been a lousy investment. But one of the most resourceful businessmen of our time has set out to prove that when you know what you’re doing, there’s a multi-trillion dollar marketplace waiting to be had.

Paul Polak is the root cause of 20 million people’s transition from poverty to the middle class. He is the founder of iDE, author of “The Business Solution to Poverty” and “Out of Poverty,” and creator of “Design for the other 90%.” At heart, Paul is just a savvy businessman who sees opportunities to bring business where nobody else dares to...

Getting the Most from Nonprofit Relationships

Posted by Ruth Kinzey on Thu, 2013-09-26 10:59

For many years, companies have made community investments through monetary contributions, donations of in-kind goods and services, ticket purchases to special events, and sponsorships. While these may be eligible for tax credits, there are many more reasons why business should become involved with the nonprofit community.

For example, are you trying to improve employee engagement? Establish an emotional connection with customers? Build community goodwill? Attract future employees? Maybe, you hope to create synergies with a nonprofit that lead to solving an environmental issue or diminishing a social ill. That’s why it’s important to identify the goals you hope to achieve prior to aligning your company with a charity.    

Because there are numerous social and environmental needs and many nonprofits addressing these challenges, you must do your homework by developing a network of nonprofits that emulate your organizational values, work in a field that strongly connects with your social and environmental platforms, and possesses a positive reputation. While this narrows the field, you may not have sufficient personnel or time to complete the proper due diligence to finalize your selection. That’s where organizations, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundations’s Business...

If you Want Your CFO to Understand Sustainability Measure Your Impact

Posted by Jeff Lundy, PhD on Thu, 2013-09-26 09:52

I want to say one word about Sustainable Brand’s The New Metrics of Sustainable Business 2013 — awesome. SB’s New Metrics felt like a practitioners convening. The focus on real world cases prompted truly useful dialog. The fact that the audience was largely filled with corporate responsibility (CR) professionals made for a collegial atmosphere that energized participants. It also seems that CR professionals interested in metrics are the same ones that are really driving performance.

There are many takeaways from the conference (I highly recommend attending if you can), but here are the main ones I got:

1) Don’t fear measurement. This meeting was chock full of companies that were surprised at how easy and powerful it was to measure sustainability impact. Multiple presentations stressed how powerful it is if you can talk numbers with the CFO of your organization. They also stressed how surprisingly easy it was to start measuring. Even if you need to use “back of the napkin” estimates in some parts, the message was clear: start converting your efforts to data. 

2) Get specific. Find a specific project or value proposition that you want to make, and then figure out the components that comprise it. Then make the measurements happen. Don't worry about getting the right consultant in the room, and don't worry if you...

UPS Foundation Donates $7.6 Million to Impact Lives

Posted by Bailey Jacobs on Thu, 2013-09-26 09:35

This summer the UPS Foundation announced $7.6 million in donations to 41 diversity, education, and veteran and military support nonprofit organizations. The UPS Foundation will positively impact thousands of lives through this support.

The UPS Foundation has a long-standing committee to diversity and empowerment according to the UPS Foundation president Ed Martinez:

"From higher education and economic empowerment to leadership and inclusion, The UPS Foundation continuously seeks opportunities to champion diversity by aligning our corporate giving with organizations that make a difference in global communities.”

The donation includes $1 million in cash and in-kind support to the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), an organization with which UPS has a 25 year history "from providing 300 employee volunteers for the National Veterans Wheelchair Games to making significant contributions to the American Gala annual tribute," according to Martinez.

The donations also included $1 million in support of Hispanic-American college and career readiness program Escalera and $1.1 million to the National Urban Leage, among others. The total contributions represent an increase in the foundation's diversity grants by more than $1.5 million since 2012.

Want to learn...

What Do Walmart and USAID Have in Common?

Posted by Sarah Thorn on Mon, 2013-09-23 16:20

[Editor's Note: Join Sarah Thorn and other business leaders on October 9-11 for The Network Effect: How Business Drives Progress. Space is limted, register today.]

(From L-to-R) Mike Duke, President & CEO, Walmart; Dan Bartlett, Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Walmart; Rajiv Shah, Administrator, USAID

So what do Walmart and USAID have in common? That was a question we at Walmart asked ourselves several years ago.

Well, for starters we both can be found all over the globe, but what else? We both work with farmers and business owners—USAID through sustainable development efforts and Walmart through our supply chain. We both have demonstrated a commitment to community-oriented solutions that solve big problems. And perhaps most importantly, like USAID, Walmart believes that businesses have an important role to play in advancing the economic development of the communities we serve around the world.

That’s why today Walmart, the Walmart Foundation, and USAID signed a new global Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work even closer together on...

Hyundai Hope on Wheels: Driven to Cure Childhood Cancer

Posted by Marc DeCourcey on Fri, 2013-09-20 15:44

Last night, I was honored to join the Hyundai Hope on Wheels 4th Annual National Childhood Cancer Program. The event, hosted here in Washington, D.C., looked to commemorate September as Childhood Cancer Awareness month and bring awareness for those families affected by childhood cancer. It brought together cancer survivors and their families, members of Congress including Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and Congressman Mike Kelly, Hyundai leadership, and health stakeholders.

Hyundai’s dedication to finding a cure for childhood cancer runs throughout the entire company. All of the 800 Hyundai Motor America locations support the program and the company’s leadership including Hyundai Motor America’s president and CEO John Krafcik, and its Chief Executive Coordinator BH Lee are dedicated to finding a cure.

To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement. Before the event, I thought I understood the full impact of the Hyundai Hope on Wheels program. Their work has been covered on the BCLC blog and in our publications on the Role of Business. However I learned long ago...

The Move from Relief to Recovery: Business Delegation Focused on Moore, OK's Long-Term Plan

Posted by Gerald McSwiggan on Wed, 2013-09-18 10:02

In August, BCLC supporter companies the Shell Oil Company, Western Union, IBM, and Deloitte joined me in Moore, OK for a corporate delegation trip.  The trip was sponsored by Shell and gave participants an opportunity to meet local community leaders that are working to get the community up and running again after the tornado.  After spending a few days in Moore, I can say that I was extremely impressed.

We purposely took the trip a few months after the disaster for a few reasons.  First, we didn’t want to overwhelm the local leaders with our presence during the response phase.  Now that recovery in Moore has started, we felt it was an appropriate time to visit.  Second, after most disasters, a lot of money and resources pour into a community immediately, and many of those resources dry up quickly after that.  We have heard from many communities that struggle when initial relief turns to recovery.  This especially happens during the “in between time,” between when initial relief resources come in, and when communities receive federal government recovery dollars that often come from US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

Brenda Roberts, CEO of the Moore Chamber of Commerce and Deidre Ebrey, Director of Marketing and Economic Development for the City of Moore led...

Innovation Nationalism

Posted by Richard Crespin on Wed, 2013-09-11 12:08

"How can you say they [the British East India Company] were socially responsible?" she asked. "We're from a former British Colony and they were just awful."

"Well, we with our modern eyes may not like their social missions of colonization and Christianization, but those were social missions nonetheless," I responded. "Part of what I want you to come away with from this [History of Surprising Figures in Western Corporate Responsibility], is to realize that social consciousness is in the DNA of corporations...sometimes it's just misplaced or dormant. Your challenge is to reawaken it and focus it."

I don't know if the thirty visiting social entrepreneurs from around the world invited by the U.S. State Department to hear me speak at the US Chamber of Commerce planned on getting a history lesson, but that's what I gave them. From England's Queen Elizabeth I (who signed the charter of one of the world's very first corporations) to GE's Jeffrey Immelt (who rescued Ecomagination from the dustbin of history), we went through a cavalcade of philanthropists, nay-sayers, and pioneers. What stood out for me is how often the social responsibility of one era has to unwind the unintended consequences of the social responsibility of another.

The best and brightest of Elizabethan England thought colonization and Christianization along with imperialism and mercantilism were great ideas. While we may hope we've put ethnocentrism behind us, even as these thirty visiting...

Heyshey Connects Local Farmers with Critical Information to Benefit Communities

Posted by Guest Contributor on Fri, 2013-09-06 10:30

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...

Can ICT Solutions Sustainably Grow the World’s Economies?

Posted by Chris Llyod on Thu, 2013-09-05 08:58

[Editor's Note: Don’t miss your opportunity to discuss the future of ICT and energy use with Verizon’s Executive Director of Public Policy and Corporate Responsibility, Chris Lloyd at BCLC’s October conference The Network Effect: How Business Drives Progress.]

On Monday, December 3, 2012, the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) released a new study entitled SMARTer2020.

The report demonstrates that the abatement potential of Information Communications Technology (ICT) is seven times the size of the ICT sector’s direct emissions. ICT-enabled solutions offer the potential to reduce annual emissions by an estimated 9.1 GtCO2e (gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent) by 2020, representing 16.5 percent of the projected total in that year.

Of significant importance, SMARTer2020 demonstrates how ICT-enabled solutions offer the opportunity to sustainably grow the world’s economies.

Specifically, the report’s findings demonstrate that ICT is an important tool in facilitating the transition to a low carbon economy; maximizing the energy efficiency savings...

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