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...
"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...
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...
[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.]
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...
Businesses everywhere recognize the power and influence of social media. And besides, everyone is doing it. So, it’s a necessity for your company, too. Right?
This over-simplistic view can get your company into trouble quickly. So, it’s important to approach social media strategically. This means knowing why you should use social media; identifying how it can best compliment (and complement) your existing communication and marketing strategies; measuring effectiveness to ensure goals are reached; and monitoring it to protect your reputation.
Ask yourself the following four questions to help you determine if you are leveraging these communication channels fully and effectively:
What do you really hope to accomplish by using social media?
Clarify objectives. Know the types of messages you want to communicate and the frequency with which you want to share news. Understand where and how your target audience uses social media. Then, conduct research. After thoroughly analyzing your options, carefully select the best form of social media for your purposes. Be sure to determine how you can measure success and incorporate processes to do so into your plan. That way, you’ll be able to tell if you achieved what you set out to do.
Judging from the popularity of reality TV chef competitions, fascination with food is at an all-time high. Look no further than the volume of food infotainment shows about food production (The Chew), preparation (Kitchen Nightmares), consumption (Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations), and cooking tips (Rachel Ray). This used to be the territory of gourmands and epicures. Now, with everybody tuning in, the populist term is “Foodies.”
Those looking for hardy food-for-thought on this trend have been digesting Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma—on the “politics and pleasure of eating”—and Joel Salatin’s Folks, This ain’t Normal which proffers “a farmer’s advice for happier hens, healthier people, and a better world.” As frequent travelers, foodies, and advocates for sustainability and social innovation, we have spent the last several months as culinary tourists in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.
We found plenty that “ain’t normal” but also lots of innovation underway in the journey from farm to food to you. Let’s start with the USA.
Corporate Farming ain’t Normal
Our travelogue starts with the GEL (Good Experience Live) conference April 17-19, 2013, in New York City. The gathering featured talks about urban development with the High-Line public park and the Governor’s Island serving as the backdrop for the conference. On rural matters, Joel Salatin spoke about how religious faith...
In the aftermath of a natural disaster, it’s not a question of if companies should contribute support, but how and to what extent.
From Hurricane Sandy to the Ya’an Earthquake, it doesn’t take much when disaster strikes to change a person’s world forever.
The need for companies to address social and environmental issues is real and urgent, yet in the face of unexpected destruction, the mandate for company involvement becomes especially important. Cash infusions, product donations and volunteer efforts can literally be the difference between life or death, rebuilding or desolation.
Increasingly, companies are taking on disaster relief roles traditionally held for government agencies and NGOs, as citizens find companies uniquely equipped to tackle rebuilding in the wake of destruction. Findings from our recent 2013 Cone Communications Disaster Relief Trend Tracker, a global survey of 10,000 consumers in 10 countries, found a near-universal expectation for companies to not only give, but be long-term partners in providing relief solutions:
- 87 percent...
Qualcomm believes that mobile technology improves people’s lives. With this in mind, Qualcomm established its Wireless Reach initiative, which supports programs that bring wireless technology to underserved communities around the world. Working with global partners, Qualcomm identifies areas of need, including education, health care, public safety, the environment, and entrepreneurship, and develops programs tailored to benefit individual communities.
In August 2010, Qualcomm launched Fishing with 3G Nets in Santa Cruz Cabralia, Bahia, Brazil. Working in partnership with The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Telefonica/Vivo Foundation, a mobile telecommunications company in Brazil, Instituto Ambiental Brasil Sustenavel (IABS), ZTE Brazil, a provider of telecommunications equipment, and the municipality of Santa Cruz Cabralia, the program was designed to promote economic development for isolated fishermen and mariculturists (oyster cultivators).
In Santa Cruz Cabralia, fishing is a primary source of income for many families. Poverty and overfishing led to a reduction in resources and posed a threat to the way of life in the coastal community. In addition, the industry suffered from a lack of investment and old infrastructure. As a result, Wireless Reach and its partners saw an opportunity for...
The goal of developing countries has always been to reach the point where aid is no longer needed, and with new technology has come new optimism that emerging markets can “skip steps” and advance rapidly as never before. Technology, especially the internet, has raised expectations, and the international education sector is no exception— both in terms of using new technologies to reach students and in the IT focus of the education itself.
Technology is opening new doors for educational institutions and members of the wider education sector, particularly those in the Global North, to establish a presence in new markets where there is significant demand for quality higher education and skilled workers.
One new trend in the education sector is the introduction of Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to fill some of this demand. Growing in popularity, MOOCs are offered exclusively on the internet and hold great potential for scaling up: a single course can enroll over 100,000 students at a time. Most are offered at a university level for free, which eliminates both the cost and location barriers faced by many students in the developing world. And there may be even more possibilities if such courses can be delivered in villages and communities.
In this past weekend’s Wall Street Journal, journalist and author Amanda Ripley, profiled a teacher in South Korea who makes $4 million a year. Yes…$4 million. His name is Kim Ki-Hoon and he teaches in one of South Korea’s private, after-school tutoring academies called ‘hagwons’ where his lectures are videotaped then available for purchase on the internet. Mr. Ki-Hoon is paid according to his demand (which, evidently, is pretty high) in what Ms. Ripley calls “a free market for teaching talent.”
These private tutors are essentially ‘free agents’, meaning they don’t receive a base salary—their pay is based on performance. So, how is their performance evaluated?
Ripley writes, “Performance evaluations are typically based on how many students sign up for their classes, their students’ test-score growth, and satisfaction surveys given to students and parents.”
In South Korea, students truly are the customers. If you are a highly-respected teacher in a hagwon, countless numbers of students will pay for your services, which, as Mr. Ki-Hoon has demonstrated, can become quite lucrative. Most importantly, they are getting results....