Author Archives: Megan Amrich

Combatting Fake News: Advice for Brands

brandw By Dave Armon While Congress examines the impact of fake news on the 2016 election, corporate executives are partnering with media watchdogs so they are better prepared for the day a hoax targets their brands. The News Integrity Initiative, freshly funded with $14 million to combat fake news, is preparing to create an early warning network by linking together newsrooms with NGOs and corporate social media “war rooms” so misinformation campaigns can be identified earlier and quickly revealed to affected audiences. “Tech brings incredible opportunity to connect each other to do amazing things; but there are bad actors,” said Jeff Jarvis, director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the CUNY J-School and executive committee member of the News Integrity Initiative, whose funders include Facebook, Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund and the Ford Foundation. Companies that find themselves in the crosshairs of sudden, high-volume social media attacks should take a deep breath before jumping into the fray, says Leah Gerstner, vice president of public affairs for American Express.

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COMMIT!Forum 2017 – A Look Back

COMMIT!Forum emcees (L-R) Icema Gibbs, Aman Singh, and Kari Niedfeldt-Thomas This October, CSR and sustainability professionals from across the world gathered at the MGM National Harbor in Maryland for COMMIT!Forum: Brands Taking Stands. For two days, attendees networked, shared best practices and tools, engaged in healthy debate and celebrated success. Thank you to everyone who helped make COMMIT!Forum such a memorable event - the sponsors, presenters, moderators, planners, staff, attendees, media, and more. A special note of gratitude goes to the three emcees for the event (pictured above), who kept the agenda moving forward while providing keen insight throughout each day: Aman Singh, Editor in Chief & Head of Content, Futerra; Icema Gibbs, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, JetBlue; and Kari Niedfeldt-Thomas, Global Corporate Strategy Consultant. Whether you were unable to participate or attended and want to relive the excitement, we've compiled a selection of COMMIT!Forum coverage for CR Magazine readers.

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Congratulations to the 2017 Responsible CEO of the Year Award Winners!

commit forum_A9_02861 On October 12, CR Magazine recognized the winners of the 10th annual Responsible CEO of the Year awards. These awards are presented to CEOs that visibly exceed standards in the areas of employee relations, environmental impact, sustainability, human rights, philanthropy and corporate responsibility practices. The 2017 award winners were honored at CR Magazine’s Responsible CEO of the Year Awards Dinner, which took place at the COMMIT!Forum at MGM National Harbor, just outside Washington, D.C.. All award winners were nominated by fellow members of the CR community and selected by an independent judging panel comprised of previous winners and other industry leaders Here is a look at this year's honorees (in alphabetical order): CEO of the Year, Municipal/Nonprofit - Anthony Haines, President and CEO, Toronto Hydro Corporation Continue reading →

CR Magazine – Fall/Winter 2017 Issue Now Available

FallWinter The latest issue of Corporate Responsibility Magazine has arrived, featuring over 40 pages of CSR success stories, best practices, commentaries, rankings, reports and more. This issue's cover story examines the 170-year history of WGL, an institution first founded to light the new Capitol in Washington, DC. Today, the company is constantly innovating its energy sources to bring affordable, sustainable energy to its customers. Additional highlights of the issue include:

Corporate Responsibility Practitioner Roundup: Whirlpool Corporation

The Zera Food Recycler from Whirlpool Corporation's innovation incubator WLabs While in Detroit for Sustainable Brands, CR Magazine spoke with Ron Voglewede, Global Sustainability Director, Whirlpool Corporation. Ron is also on the Board of Directors at the Alliance for Water Efficiency. CRMag: As a practitioner, how does telling the CR story feel different from everyday sales & marketing? Ron Voglewede: It gives us an ability to talk about the why, not just the what. It is truly a forum to bring to life our continued focus on delivering on what matters and to show our continued progress and building better lives and communities, in addition to products that deliver a better quality of life for people around the globe. CRMag: How has your understanding of CR's value proposition — both within your company or sector and as a general matter — evolved over time? RV: At Whirlpool Corporation, we believe in an authentic approach to everything we do.

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WGL Looks Ahead to Efficient, Sustainable Energy

Lighting a Washington Gas lamp, ca. 1940 By Leon Kaye Few institutions in the nation’s capital are older than WGL Holdings. Its history dates back to 1848, the same year the Washington Monument’s construction began and 15 years before the U.S. Capitol’s iconic dome was completed. In fact, one of the company’s first projects (when it was known as Washington Gas) was to build a power plant that could reliably source and deliver gas necessary to light the Capitol’s dome. In addition, one of the chartered company’s most important missions was to ensure D.C.’s streets were safely lit at night. A decade after its founding, the company boasted 30 miles of gas mains, 500 street lights and 1,700 customers. No one talked about “sustainability” or “energy efficiency” during the mid-nineteenth century, though Washington Gas had already become adept at procuring natural gas and coal at a competitive price – necessary to accommodate the rapidly-growing city and crucial when the country lurched into the Civil War.

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Apparel Companies Unite to Measure and Improve Sustainability

Donated-photo-from-adidas-shoe By Alexandra Rosas It’s hard to imagine two brands more different  than Walmart and Patagonia, yet in 2009 they aligned their unique strengths and issued a call to the industry. In an invitation to some of the world’s largest retailers, then Walmart chief merchandising officer, John Fleming, and Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard proposed an industry collaboration unlike any attempted before. The idea was to join competitors together to develop an index to measure the environmental impact of their products. The benefits, if the idea was successful and didn’t implode before it even got off the ground, would not only be at the individual company level, but would transform the industry. With some very determined leaders willing to prioritize progress over risk, the first meeting of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) in 2010 included Patagonia, Walmart, Target, Gap, Kohl’s, Levi’s, Nike, JCPenney, Esquel, H&M, Hanes, Li & Fung, Marks & Spencer, The Otto Group, Continue reading →

Business Leaders Respond With Action and Activism

E2 business leaders meet with former EPA director Gina McCarthy (right of center, gray suit) in Washington, D.C. By Jan Lee In June, after months of debate and tense speculation, President Donald Trump did something that would have unprecedented impact in the U.S. business community: He announced he would be pulling the United States' support for the Paris Accord. Years of negotiations with international counterparts to bring about consensus on how global warming could be slowed across the planet received what many thought at the time was a fatal blow. Without U.S. support of a protocol to restrict environmental temperature, many feared, businesses would be reluctant to follow the recommendations of the UN, which included limiting carbon emissions. But they were wrong. Within days, business leaders across the country had marshaled their own intuitive response to the president's decision, harnessing a bounty of data that proved that Trump was not only incorrect in the reasons he gave for pulling out, but even more notably, that his administration was acting against the interests of U.

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Ben & Jerry’s Brings Social Change Through Ice Cream and Advocacy

Ben & Jerry’s launched its successful campaign flavor Empower Mint in North Carolina, to promote social justice and voting rights. Few brands are as famous for their social activism than Ben & Jerry's. The Vermont ice cream maker with global revenues of more than $1.2 billion (2015) is as much known for its social conscience as for its creamy, irresistible ice cream flavors. Pick a flavor and chances are you'll walk away with more than just a good feeling in your tummy: You'll feel you're making a statement. The carefully-chosen names of flavors like Empower Mint and Fossil Fuel ice cream help to send a message to consumers about Ben & Jerry's values. A mint ice cream with a name that subtly reminds its fans about the importance of social justice and voting rights gets attention. And so does a rich concoction of fudge dinosaurs and chocolate ribbon when it becomes a conversation starter for why Alaska's arctic wilderness shouldn't be drilled. And in each of these advocacy efforts, says Chris Miller, Ben & Jerry's activism manager, there's another, more visible message: that it is important to support nonprofits like the NAACP, whichContinue reading →

Renewing a Brand Through Renewable Energy

WGL-renewable-energy-wind-solar By Tina Casey The rooftop solar market has exploded in recent years, enabling individual homeowners and small businesses to claim their turf in the transition to renewable energy. However, rooftop solar is just one of a growing number of opportunities for electricity customers to wean themselves from fossil fuels. The Washington, D.C.-based energy-holding company WGL (formerly Washington Gas Light) is a case in point. WGL has 170-year-old roots as a natural gas provider, but it is rapidly transitioning into renewables and other sustainability initiatives.

Versatility is the key to clean energy

WGL's long experience in natural gas has provided its corporate culture with a window into the versatility of non-coal fuels. When WGL started up in 1848, street lighting was the primary market for natural gas. Though lighting faded out of the picture after the electric light bulb was invented, gas eventually beat out coal in other sectors including heating and cooling for homes and other buildings, cooking, numerous industrial processes, electricity generation, and vehicle fuel (in the form of compressed natural gas).

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