CSR News

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.


Microsoft: Nurturing Communities Through Citizenship Programs

Posted on Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 14:17

Through its Citizenship efforts, Microsoft has the opportunity to help build and nurture communities in the more than 100 countries/regions around the world where it has a presence. The company is focused on addressing an “opportunity divide” among young people around the world—a gap between those who have the access, skills, and opportunities to be successful and those who do not. Through a company- wide initiative we are partnering with governments, nonprofit organizations, and businesses around the world to empower youth to imagine and realize their full potential by connecting them with greater opportunities for education, employment, and entrepreneurship.

Microsoft has worked alongside nonprofits, governments, and other businesses to provide relevant, affordable, and accessible technology for those at the bottom and middle of the economic pyramid. These efforts have served millions of people and will continue to serve millions more as this work evolves to meet the needs of people around the world and includes areas such as cloud services and mobile technology.

Through partnerships, technology innovations, people, and resources Microsoft is proud to help solve societal challenges and create economic opportunities on both a global and a local scale.

Aside from high-demand low-cost consumer products, most businesses have...

America’s Private Sector: Advancing Economic Security and Stability around the World

Posted on Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 09:48

The number of women-owned businesses in the US has increased by 59% since 1997, according to American Express. That amounts to more than $1 trillion in revenue and employment of more than 8 million. But American women aren’t the only ones leading the charge on owning businesses and contributing to their economies. Women in some of the world’s most volatile regions are increasingly launching and growing their own businesses, including women who have been part of the Goldman Sachs  10,000 Women initiative, that for the past five years has invested heavily in the future of women business owners from over 40 countries around the world.

Global Communities has partnered with 10,000 Women since 2008 to bring the program to hard-working women business-owners of small and medium-sized enterprises(SMEs) in Liberia, as the country recovers from more than a decade of civil war.  Now in its fifth year, the program is showing incredible...

Food for Thought on Food and Farming II: Europe, Asia, the World

Posted on Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 09:20

Our prior blog took us on a tour of innovations in sustainable food and farming in the U.S.  Here the foodies’ tour continues with what’s new in these regards in Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world.

In June, we were off to Bilbao, Spain to meet with colleagues and companies that comprise the Global Network on Corporate Citizenship.  There we discussed the growing numbers of social innovations in business and increased corporate partnering with other businesses and NGOs.  We also visited Mondragon, the fabled €15 billion confederation of worker cooperatives in the Basque region that weathered the global recession through aggressive exporting, overseas expansion, and shared sacrifices among member companies. 

In preparation for the meeting, we perused Unilever’s newly issued 2012 Sustainable Living Plan Progress Report where it announced that some 36% of its raw materials were “sustainably sourced.”  So why is this a big deal?

Chief Procurement Officer Marc Engel explains: “Climate change, water scarcity, unsustainable farming practices, and rising populations all threaten agricultural supplies and food security. Half of the raw materials Unilever buys are from the farming and forestry industries, so ensuring a secure supply of these materials is a major business issue. However, sustainable sourcing is not only about managing business risks, it also presents an opportunity for growth...

“Made in America” Has Broad Appeal at Variety of Levels

Posted on Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 09:13

U.S. Mart, a retailer based in Venice, Florida, celebrated Labor Day by supporting U.S. veterans and manufacturers. The company, which only sells American-made products, donated 20% of that day’s profits to the local American Legion.

Over that same holiday weekend, retailers, including Best Buy, Kiehl’s, Omaha Steaks, Walmart, Ball and Buck, All American Clothing, and OTTE, recognized the American worker by offering special deals on American-made products.

Through Walmart’s involvement, this marketing campaign became linked to a two-day summit in Orlando, which focused on the “Made in America” concept. Here, U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, eight governors, officials from three dozen states, and 500 businesses discussed how the United States could grow its manufacturing base to create American jobs.

Like any campaign, “Made in America” will take time to reach its goal. But in the interim, organizations supporting American-made or locally grown products have the opportunity to gain public goodwill.

For companies supporting this cause, a strategic internal communication campaign can educate employees on the important role they play in America’s economy, help instill pride in workplace performance, encourage associates to support U.S. commerce by purchasing...

A Year Later: Business Dedicated to Long-Term Hurricane Sandy Relief

Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 - 12:06

The one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy is coming up next week, on October 29.  On that day, you will be hearing many stories about the “Superstorm,” ranging from heartfelt stories of perseverance to tragic stories of loss to criticisms of a slower than expected recovery. 

Watch Our Business Reponse to Hurricane Sandy Playlists
Features 11 Companies Dedicated to the Long-Term Recovery of Communities Impacted by Hurricane Sandy

I have been working at BCLC for six years, and disasters have been a part (sometimes much more than a part) of my work for all of that time.  One thing that I have learned is that they call them disasters for a reason.  There has never been a perfect relief or recovery, and as long as humans are running things, there never will be.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t do better.  A few years ago, I wrote a whitepaper on what a successful disaster recovery looks like and I think that many of those same lessons still apply today. 

One thing has changed a lot in the six years I have been at BCLC – businesses today are more...

A New “Grand Strategy” for Sustainability

Posted on Thursday, October 24, 2013 - 14:10

“Sustainability is not a stinking green movement!” Retired Marine Colonel Mark “Puck” Mykleby kicked off his panel session at last week’s GreenBiz VERGE conference at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco.

At the core of his passion for sustainability is the idea that for the United States to remain secure and to prosper in the 21st century, we must move beyond the status quo and adopt a new strategy, with sustainability at its core.

Mykleby works as a Senior Fellow with the New America Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank and public policy institute headquartered in Washington, D.C. The New America Foundation asserts business as usual is no longer an option, that the current system is unsustainable. Three billion people are expected to enter the middle class in the next 20 years, resulting in a 300% increase in resource consumption. This will put unprecedented strains on our natural resources, including energy, water, food, and strategic minerals. In addition, high commodity prices, lack of resilient infrastructures, critical systems, and supply chains all pose significant challenges around the world.

Sounds pretty depressing right? The good news is the...