By: Dana Mitchell
“Our product is our people.” This view – simplistic yet powerful – is the way of life for most professional services firms, especially Deloitte. In client service, there is no “product” in the traditional sense of the word – there is no item that requires hours of engineering, design, branding, and production. There is no packaging material that must be eye-catching, functional, and also environmentally sustainable.
Professional services firms rely on each and every team member to be an ambassador of their brand: whether the brand emphasizes innovation, results-orientation, or something else, hiring and growing the best people is paramount to a firm’s success in the industry. Consequently, firms like Deloitte, KPMG, Bain & Co., and McKinsey & Co. spend incredible amounts of time and resources recruiting and developing their people through specialized trainings, social retreats, and educational events. Employees are not only immediate drivers of operational success, but they are also important to the long-term shaping and maintenance of the overall company culture.
Since people are their product, it makes sense that firms want the best of the best and their recruitment process is one of the most important pieces within their operations. Traditionally, human resource teams target top students from the world’s leading universities that excel in “tried-and-true” identifiers such as GPA, strength of academic curriculum,...
Following publication of our volume Beyond Good Company: Next Generation Corporate Citizenship, which identifies the five different stages that companies move through on their sustainability journeys, we have mostly followed Stage 5 “game changers” like Unilever, IBM, Nestlé, Dow, Danone, and others. These “game changers” have devised progressive, innovative and profitable corporate responsibility (CR) strategies, but the news of late turns our attention back to stage 1--where companies equate social responsibility to “jobs, profits, taxes.”
Remember Milton Friedman’s old saying: “There is one and only one social responsibility of business—to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud?” That standard seems to define how some otherwise leading companies today are approaching jobs, profits, and taxes.
“Fashion Victims” in Bangladesh
Some 1,127 textile workers died in the collapse of a shoddy garment factory outside Dhaka, Bangladesh in April, 2013, roughly four months after a fire claimed 111 in another of the country’s 4,500 such facilities. The latest: in mid-June, hundreds more workers in two other plants were sickened from drinking contaminated water....
By: Rich Cooper, Vice President, Research & Emerging Issues
In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy ripped along the eastern seaboard, killing 285 people and causing more than $62 billion in damage. In New York and New Jersey, storm surges topped 13 feet above low tide, flooding subways and communities and leaving millions of people without power. While the storm lasted just a few hours, the long-term impact will linger for months and years. Many communities remain in a tight spot today, and it is challenging everyone to do their part to help America recover.
When the going gets rough, businesses gets moving. One of the best friends this country has on its most challenging of days is the private sector. We saw this in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita that devastated the Gulf Coast. Wal-Mart and other big retailers applied their ultra-efficient supply chain approach to bringing fresh water, food and other supplies to the people who needed it, sometimes much faster than the public organizations that were charged with emergency response. That same kind of private sector...
Although trust in business is reported to be improving , a company can actively take steps to enhance their overall credibility by obtaining various certifications. Certifications, specifically ones displayed on a product’s label, add a level of certainty and quality assurance during the consumer’s selection and purchasing process.
When consumer’s see a third-party certification is displayed or visible on a product, customers believe that specific standards have been met because an outside organization has verified findings through an audit or a rigorous testing process. Consequently, with today’s focus on protecting the environment, proof of sustainability claims is an important contributor to building consumer trust.
For example, Lowe’s finds that customers recognize products bearing the ENERGY STAR or Watersense labels as money-savers (via lowered utility bills) that do not sacrifice performance, style or comfort. According to Lowe’s Public Relations Manager Steve Salazar, Lowe’s shoppers buy products with these labels because they know these items have been thoroughly tested and meet stringent efficiency guidelines. Plus, the ENERGY Star rating is easily understood, representing an objective assessment from an acknowledged authority: the EPA....
By: Zafar Brooks, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, Hyundai Motor America
No child should ever have to hear the words, “you have cancer.” Yet doctors unfortunately utter these words every 36 minutes across the United States. With three words, a child loses their innocence and parents’ hearts break as days, months, and years of treatments begin. But, thanks to modern day medicine, up to 80%of these children will survive. However for the remaining 20%, the diagnosis is terminal. Cancer remains the leading cause of death by disease in U.S. children. This is why Hyundai Motor America and Hyundai Hope on Wheels have made it their mission to help find a cure.
Hope On Wheels began 14 years ago as a local initiative supported by a group of New England—area-Hyundai dealers to raise money for childhood cancer research through the Jimmy Fund at Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Today, Hyundai Hope On Wheels is non-profit 501(c)3 organization and is the united effort of Hyundai and its more than 800 dealers across the U.S. Its goal is funding pediatric cancer research at Children’s Oncology Group (COG) institutions across the country.
Together with its medical advisory committee and dealer advisory...
The U.S. relies heavily upon technology and innovation for its economic strength, yet it is consistently being reported that American studies lag behind their international peers when it comes to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The business community realizes the vital role STEM education plays in the development of the future workforce.
Recently STEMconnector, a leading STEM nonprofit, released their list of the 100 CEO Leaders in STEM. The list reaffirms the important role business plays in education. Learn from one of the CEOs listed, Alcoa’s CEO Klaus Kleinfeld, why STEM education is crucial to America’s competitiveness and how public-private partnerships may be the answer.
“The U.S. ranks 25th in math and 21st in science. We are woefully behind. The only way to change this situation is through public-private partnerships” - Klaus Kleinfeld, Chairman and CEO, Alcoa
How do you believe STEM education can improve a...
If CSR 1.0 was "do good because it is good," and CSR 2.0 was "shared value -- do good in alignment with your business strategy," then CSR 3.0 is "networked value – do good in alignment with your business strategy and tap into the power of your value chain and social network. Fully utilizing this network, companies, NGOs and governments can create greater social and financial net worth for both the company and the country.”
What does that mean? Well, one of the principle lessons of CSR 1.0 was that companies do not exist in isolation from society or the environment. Each impacts the other and "externalities" are an illusion. Ignoring the pollution downstream or a human rights violation lurking in a third-tier supplier will come back to bite you. One of the principle lessons (and allure) of CSR 2.0 was the potential for additional revenue generation in “do-gooding.” By listening to the underlying values of customers and investing in your suppliers, companies can create high value products and services that attract new...
In recent years, significant strides have been made in promoting financial inclusion by greatly expanding access to financial services, particularly for the poor. The advent of microfinance and new innovations in the delivery of financial services to reach the unbanked have enabled between 500 million and 800 million of the world’s poor to gain access to finance. But access is only half of the financial inclusion equation. Financial capability, the ability to make informed judgments and effective decisions about the use and management of one’s finances, is equally critical to achieving financial inclusion. Unfortunately, of those who now have access to financial products, only about 25% have received even the most basic financial capability training that would help them make informed decisions about borrowing, savings, and their financial future. This lack of instruction represents the “financial capability gap,” which is both massive and rapidly growing.
The Citi Foundation has long invested in and supported the importance of financial capability and asset building as a financial inclusion strategy, both within the United States and internationally. As access continues to rapidly grow due to technological innovations like mobile delivery channels, we believe that addressing the lag in financial capability is an urgent...
As a single mother of three unable to find employment in Orlando, Fla., Amanda struggled to make ends meet. Lacking employable skills, Amanda could not find meaningful work. After a relative brought her to the Community Food and Outreach Center (CFOC), Amanda enrolled in the center’s Passport Out of Poverty Program, a 24-week educational program that helps low-income families regain hope and achieve self-sufficiency. As part of the curriculum, she participated in ARAMARK Building Community (ABC) workforce readiness workshops and learned valuable skills to help her secure employment. After completing the program, Amanda was hired by ARAMARK as a grill cook and was quickly promoted to a full-time supervisor position.
At a time when many Americans, like Amanda, are struggling with unemployment, rising living costs, and health disparities, it is critical for individuals and families to be able to access vital resources and solutions to live healthy and productive lives. In addition, the rapid rate of urbanization is putting a strain on many communities, and especially on jobs. The current social and economic crisis will continue if the need to build a strong workforce is not effectively addressed. Across the nation—in large urban environments and smaller local neighborhoods— community centers like CFOC have been working hard to provide these...
I’ve been talking to a number of industry leaders about their Corporate Responsibility (CR) challenges. Here’s what I’ve been hearing:
- Companies are under more pressure from stakeholders to scale up CR targets, initiatives, and commitments,
- There’s never been better buy-in inside the company for CR in general, but the resources to scale-up require a major business case,
- They’ve never needed partnerships more and never been more frustrated with making them work.
The answer? Use and mobilize an asset that effective CR teams build and engage with daily -- our networks.
What if CR teams approached the networks of communities, nonprofits, employees, existing partners, and stakeholders the same way that the rest of the business looks at its value chain? How would they do that?
The first step is to adopt a different mindset and banish the word “partnership” from your vocabulary. Instead, approach challenges by asking how can we mobilize the right...