From Responsibility to Strategy: Paving A Path to Prosperity

According to a recent report, economic and environmental systems are on a collision course, where a halting recovery from the global recession is impeding action towards addressing long-term environmental challenges such as climate change. Even worse, a vicious cycle is being set in motion, in which the failure to tackle the environmental challenges places economic assets in even greater future jeopardy from extreme weather events fueled by changing climatic conditions.

While the concept of this intersection of economic and environmental stewardship is old hat for people in the corporate responsibility and sustainability community, the specter of fiscal liabilities from increasingly extreme weather events is bringing a new dose of reality to the CFOs and other leaders in business and government.

Nations and households around the globe continue to recover from the global economic recession of 2008. At the same time, you don’t have to look far in today’s headlines to see evidence that extreme weather costs money.

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Is Your Sustainability Report in the GRI Global Reporting Database?

Governance & Accountability Institute is issuing a final call for organizations headquartered in the USA, UK and The Republic Ireland to submit their sustainability reports published during calendar year 2012. Organizations have until March 15th, 2013 to submit their reports for inclusion in the official GRI Global Reporting database.

The G&A Institute is the exclusive Data Partner for the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) in the US, UK, and Ireland. In this role, the G&A Institute monitors for, receives from companies, and actively searches for all sustainability reports issued by an organization headquartered in these territories. Once identified the Institute analyzes these reports for about 50 important data points. The information is shared with the Global GRI in Amsterdam for inclusion in their Global Sustainability Database for public good, and some additional data points are collected for the internal purposes of the Institute’s internal research, communications and consulting purposes.

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2013 Global Conference on Sustainability and Reporting Announced

There are just four months to go until the Global Conference on Sustainability and Reporting kicks-off at the RAI Convention Centre in Amsterdam. The theme of this year’s Conference is Information – Integration – Innovation. Attendees will hear from leaders from business, government, finance, accountancy, civil society, labor and academia about the latest sustainability challenges, and how we can all best work together to ensure a sustainable global economy.

This month we hear first-hand from the GRI Conference team about the ins-and-outs of planning this big event, and what lies ahead in the last few months before the doors open on 22 May.

“The GRI Conference is the must-attend sustainability event of 2013,” says Marjolein Baghuis, Director Marketing & Communications at GRI. “The entire global economy needs to move towards a more sustainable future, and to ensure this shift, collaboration is needed. The Conference will provide the perfect platform for organizations and individuals to come together to share values and best practices.

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Hurricane Sandy Response Commitment Campaign

Corporate Responsibility Magazine, in coordination with the US Chamber's Business Civic Leadership Center, is encouraging the American private sector to make public commitments to providing relief from Hurricane Sandy.

Companies can submit announcements about their initiatives—and updates in the coming weeks—through the BCLC's Hurricane Sandy Corporate Aid Tracker by clickinghere. Companies can also clickhere to see other commitments already made.

The editors ofCR Magazinewill be following these commitments onwww.

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A Gold Medal for Corporate Philanthropy

Hershey Foods Teams with Former Olympian Carl Lewis to Teach Kids Fitness and Moderation

By Elliot Clark

I wrote a column a few weeks ago about corporate fitness and wellness programs. I decried the lack of planning “responsible” companies were directing at the health of their employees in the area of wellness. Shortly after the article ran I received a call from a Hershey’s representative about programs they were running to instill healthy values in kids. The spokesperson for the program was none other than Carl Lewis, the great Olympian who was voted the “Olympian of the Century” for the Twentieth Century by none other than the International Olympic Committee.

I arranged the interview because I wanted to hear about the Hershey’s Track and Field Program which just concluded this past weekend.

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The Science of Business

Few business leaders know science. Some have fragmentary knowledge, of course. I’ve discussed the biology of taste with General Mills CEO Ken Powell. And Sun Microsystems co-founder Vinod Khosla, today a leader in venture capital formation for clean technology firms, can wax academic on the chemical physics behind a photovoltaic cell’s conversion of solar radiation. But most captains of industry possess the scientific acumen of the average high school student—at best.

It’s quite understandable. We live in an age (or is it the norm from now on?) of extreme specialization. We do not live in Benjamin Franklin’s world—where a word class generalist could make a profound impact by dabbling across a variety of disciplines—science, publishing, diplomacy, commerce, social entrepreneurship.

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Doing Well By Doing Good

Debbie Bolla, Managing and Online Editor

 Responsible CEO awards wrap up theCommit!Forum

CR Magazine unveiled the winners of the Responsible CEO of the Year awards last night.  10 CEOs were nominated for their vision, discipline and boldness.  Get the scoop on the nominees here.

And the winners are:

Right Vs. Right

Getting ethical at the Commit!Forum

Debbie Bolla, Managing and Online Editor

Getting ethical at the Commit!Forum

Ethics. Most would argue that ethics is a question of right vs wrong. But Rush Kidder of Global Ethics challenged attendees of the Commit!Forum to think of it differently. Tougher ethics cases are often a question of right vs right.

But first let's define the often undefinable term ethics. Kidder says it's based on 5 core values: honesty, responsibility, respect, fairness, and compassion. And lacking just one of these core values can make you unethical.

Now back to right vs right. With this conundrum comes 4 dilemma paradigms:

Truth vs loyalty

Individual vs community

Short term vs long term

Justice vs mercy

But when you look at these dilemmas, it can be a DILEMMA to argue which side trumps the other.

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Sustainable Schools

Debbie Bolla, Managing and Online Editor

 Using CSR to create the leaders of tomorrow at theCommit!Forum

The numbers don't line up. 63 percent of American jobs require post secondary education while only 41 percent earn bachelor’s degree. Half of US companies can’t find qualified employees. We have a skills problem not a jobs problem says IBM's VP and President of Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs Stan Litow.

The school system isn't working. IBM felt it was time for a new model and developed P-Tech, a

mastery model, grades 9 through 14, in central Brooklyn. Students graduate with an associates degree in computer systems technology or electromechanical engineering technology.

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Ideas Executed

Debbie Bolla, Managing and Online Editor

Becoming transparent, making a difference at theCommit!Forum

When people hear the brand-name Clorox, they are most likely to think of bleach. Bleach doesn't necessarily conjure up an image of sustainability. So the organization asked themselves, are we green? In response, they launched  the first new brand in 20 years, Green Works. It's an all-natural cleaning product says Director of Corporate Communications Aileen Zerrudo. Getting into the all-natural game made them then ask, what does natural even mean? In the journey of answering that question, the company became more transparent. The company launched its product ingredient communication program, explaining the ingredients in their products.

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