CSR News

The Advantages of Leading with a Team Approach

Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 - 11:38

It’s difficult to think about Apple without the name of Steve Jobs coming to mind. And, who hasn’t seen countless Men’s Warehouse commercials, where George Zimmer leverages his personal credibility to promote the brand?

In both instances, the top executive’s brand was inextricably linked to the corporation’s reputation. But, such a move can be dangerous. 

Although having a strong leader can create an organizational persona that enables the business to do everything from securing funds or sales to generating greater trust in the brand, there is always the challenge of what happens when that individual is no longer the top ambassador.  Worse yet, what happens when that person’s individual reputation is tarnished in some way? Unfortunately, the strong linkage to the company can blemish the organization’s reputation as well. That’s why it is important to have a strong leadership team, not just a strong CEO or president. It will ensure a powerful force will be in place, even if the name of the top executive changes.

Plus, when organizational leaders combine strengths and resources, synergies occur. By inspiring a team of leaders, the CEO can create a solid organization with a strong talent pool. Leadership continuity is maintained through the team, instilling confidence both...

Corporate Responsbility in China and the New IDNs: Two Trends Set to Shake the Global South

Posted on Thursday, December 12, 2013 - 14:39

In the fast-changing technology sector, ideas go from outlandish to mainstream seemingly overnight (think smartphones, Facebook, Google, etc.).

Two unheralded trends in the corporate social responsibility and technology worlds might just be the next ideas to make that leap. On one side is the rise of Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs). These are the letters to the right of a web site name, but in this case in a language-specific script (e.g., . 世界instead of .com), and they are increasingly important as the internet gains more international users in international languages. On the other side is the seemingly disparate trend of Chinese businesses focusing more on corporate social responsibility (CSR, or  企业社会责任in Mandarin), indicating an increased responsiveness to local communities and the global marketplace. Based on the work our firm has conducted in both these fields, it’s become clear that the combination of these trends could spur fundamental changes in the way companies and consumers interact in emerging markets.

In 2014, the organization in charge of internet standards (ICANN) will manage the launch of the first of many IDNs, allowing vast numbers of non-English speakers to interact with an entirely Chinese (or Russian, Korean, Arabic, etc.) internet. The potential for...

DSM Advances Global Development in Frontier Markets Through Partnership

Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - 14:07

By Hugh Welsh, President, DSM North America

More than two billion people worldwide are currently affected by nutritional deficiencies. DSM and The World Food Program (WFP) have created a partnership that is critical to solving nutrition problems in developing nations and fighting the severe impact of debilitating hunger. The WFP is currently the largest humanitarian organization addressing global hunger. DSM, a global science-based company, active in health, nutrition, and materials is one of the world’s largest producers of micronutrients. Together, DSM and the WFP have an opportunity to make a substantial impact on the current nutrition deficiencies in emerging markets around the world.

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies account for an estimated 7.3% of the current global disease burden. More specifically, Iron, Vitamin A, and Zinc deficiencies rank among the top 10 leading causes of death due to disease. Nutrition insecurity and micronutrient deficiency impairs the mental and physical development of an average of 40-60% of infants in the developing world. These deficiencies are also debilitating to the health and energy of more than 500 million women worldwide. It is clear that hidden hunger is a global issue of extreme and rising importance. According to the Copenhagen Consensus, micronutrient supplementation and fortification are ranked as the top investments for the developing world. DSM understands that its contributions in this area are not only the...

WellPoint Foundation Brings Company Expertise and Innovation to Corporate Philanthropy

Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 - 16:56

By Lance Chrisman, Executive Director, WellPoint Foundation

When a company evaluates the role it wants to play in charitable giving and community involvement, two approaches are commonly considered. The “fund anything” approach which attempts to support a broad range of causes (often without rhyme or reason), and the “fund one cause” approach that picks a particular issue and focuses all of the company’s charitable efforts in that one area. While neither approach is wrong, the all or nothing nature of this decision may not be the most effective way for the company to utilize its broad expertise and make a meaningful difference.

As the provider of health benefits to nearly 34 million Americans, and a company committed to improving the lives of the people it serves and the health of its communities, WellPoint, Inc. has a tremendous industry experience to lend to community health efforts. Through its philanthropic arm, the WellPoint Foundation, the company and its affiliated health plans across the country work to identify the issues most in need of attention and then direct their financial support and volunteer efforts toward improving health in those areas.

Like most corporations and corporate foundations, WellPoint Foundation receives far more sponsorship requests and grant applications—...

Small Business & Environmental Innovation: Unique Challenges, New Opportunities

Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 - 11:04

Visit the Environmental Innovation Map

Large companies can have outsized impacts through environmental innovation. Mention Walmart, Shell, Coca Cola, or FedEx, and most people will have seen a story on their environmental efforts. While their reach is very different, smaller enterprises can also play an important role through environmental innovation.

Small businesses touch everyone: They employ most Americans, are critical job engines, and exist in every community. In environmental innovation, small business owners find that engaging their employees in problem solving generates savings, boosts morale, improves their brand, and often leads to new revenue. BCLC’s Environmental Innovation Map, made possible through support by Shell, features a number of small businesses who are bringing creative solutions to their business.  

One such company is the Great Lakes Brewing Company (GLBC), founded in 1988 by brothers...

BusinessDoingGood.com: A Small and Midsize Business Guide to Corporate Citizenship

Posted on Tuesday, December 3, 2013 - 09:13

I love nonprofits. 

But they aren’t the only ones who do good works.  Good is for everyone.

I’ve thought a lot about this, about the nature of good in the world – and specifically the corporate world – as I have traveled on my own professional journey. 

Over the past two decades, from my vantage point at a company that has grown from 130 people to 2,600+ during my tenure, I’ve seen corporate social responsibility (CSR) evolve around me.  At Blackbaud, Inc. (NASDAQ: BLKB) a technology company specializing in solutions for nonprofit organizations, we began with a traditional philanthropy approach, led by our founder and driven by his vision.  Today, we have not only evolved that giving, but also adopted a broader “citizenship” view.  Doing good is at the heart of who we are.

We are certainly not alone.  Many companies have come before us, leading the way in building superior CSR programs.  Starbucks, IBM, UPS, the list is long.  But, as a corporate citizenship professional, when I look out to the market for resources and guidance...

U.S. Chamber Foundation Announces Corporate Citizenship Awards Winners

Posted on Friday, November 22, 2013 - 11:42

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC) last night recognized eight companies for their accomplishments in corporate responsibility during the 14th annual Corporate Citizenship Awards. The awards program honors businesses for their significant positive impacts in communities around the world.

“The winners of the 2013 Citizens Awards illustrate what a powerful force for good business is throughout the world,” U.S. Chamber Foundation President John McKernan said. “It’s an honor to highlight these exceptional examples of corporate citizenship.”

BCLC presented awards in eight categories:

  • Best Corporate Steward: UPS – UPS’s community investments are closely tied to areas in which the company knows its capabilities in shipping and logistics and its diverse global workforce can make a difference in road safety and disaster relief and for veterans.
  • Best Commitment to Education Program: 3M – For 40 years, 3M has partnered with Saint Paul Public Schools in Saint Paul, Minn., to ignite student interest in science and help more students graduate into postsecondary STEM disciplines. From 2004 to 2011, district dropout rates decreased by half, with 67 percent of 2012 graduates pursuing postsecondary education.
  • Best Community Improvement Program: Transamerica – Urban neighborhoods in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, have been classified as “food deserts.”...

U.S. Business Community Committed to Typhoon Haiyan Response and Relief Efforts

Posted on Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - 11:12

In response to the devastating impact of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC) reported today that businesses have pledged more than $42 million towards relief efforts. The business donations represent cash, in-kind products or services, and employee and customer matching campaigns.

“We are deeply saddened by the devastation that Typhoon Haiyan has caused, and our thoughts continue to be with all of those impacted by this tragedy,” said Marc DeCourcey, executive director of BCLC. “It’s inspiring to see businesses and communities around the world rally to help those affected by the storm, and I know the business community is eager to continue supporting relief efforts in the Philippines.”

Fifteen companies have already pledged $1 million or more in resources. The companies include: Carnival Corporation; Chevron Corporation; Glencore Xstrata; HSBC Holdings; IKEA Foundation; JPMorgan Chase Foundation; Lafarge; Metrobank Foundation, Inc.; PepsiCo; Royal Caribbean International; Samsung Group; SM Group; The Coca-Cola Company; UPS; and Walmart. A full list of business donors is available on BCLC’s online Typhoon Haiyan Corporate Aid Tracker.

The business community continues to be a major partner in disaster relief and recovery in a variety of disaster settings. Since its...

Commit to Hire: How to Really Help Veterans This Veterans Day

Posted on Monday, November 11, 2013 - 17:08

For most Americans, Veterans Day is a time to reflect upon and honor the men and women who have served in the armed forces of this nation. At Hiring Our Heroes, we strive to improve the lives of these men and women year-round, but we recognize that Veterans Day presents a unique opportunity for our program. It is an opportunity to highlight the sacrifices made by the small percentage of Americans who wear the uniform and the challenges they face each and every day as they transition back to their civilian communities.  Their search for post-military employment can be especially difficult.

We were able to highlight those challenges last week as part of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Annual “Salute to Veterans.”  The event kicked-off with comments from the Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez.  I also participated in a panel discussion featuring Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. Dakota Meyer and former U.S. Representative and Army veteran Patrick Murphy.  The one consistent theme heard time and again:  we have made significant...

The Network Effect: The 2013 BCLC Corporate Responsibility Conference

Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 11:14

Jeff Lundy, PhD, Research Manager of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, opened the Business Civic Leadership Center’s Annual Corporate Responsibility Conference with a report on obesity. I wondered how this would set the tone for a conference I expected to focus on international development and engagement.  Discussions of hunger, malnutrition, and food security seemed more appropriate for this cross-sector group gathered in Washington, DC, but I shelved a passing thought of a “Fat Chance” and made the conscious decision to embrace the unique perspective the conference was attempting to promote for its attendees.

See more conference pictures

That turned out to be the right approach. The obesity report, and the following discussion, set the tone for the the whole conference.  It introduced key  themes that would be repeated again and again over the next three days in addressing  a myriad of topics: applied technology, social innovations, sustainable packaging and recycling, job-skills training, community capacity-building, leadership development, disaster response, sustainable supply-chains, environmental restoration, and even global food sourcing.