The executive director of the Arby’s Foundation talks ‘opportunity’—and how an effective corporate responsibility platform speaks to every stakeholder. By Allie Williams Arby’s is more than just sandwiches. The Arby’s Foundation was founded in 1986 as a way for the company to give back to the communities it serves. It has donated more than $80 million to various charitable causes across the country, and since 2011 has focused its mission to ending childhood hunger in America—contributing nearly $25 million to hunger relief organizations in the U.S. Chris Fuller, executive director of the Arby’s Foundation, discusses what drives CR at the company and how the future of its philanthropy looks “PurposeFULL.” Allie Williams: As a practitioner, how does telling the CR story feel different from everyday sales and marketing? Chris Fuller: The key is to create a level of consistency where the story may be different, but your voice is the same.
How companies can create a strategic advantage by implementing CR with key stakeholders. By Suhas Apte And Jagdish N. Sheth Achieving a lasting, sustainable, competitive advantage through sustainability itself requires both consistent and persistent efforts on the part of every business and industry. As its respective market performance bars are constantly raised, an organization’s efforts will need to go far beyond just upgrading to energy-efficient light bulbs or recycling office paper, for example. To fully embrace sustainability as a competitive advantage, businesses must create transformative change in traditional approaches and practices. A business must embed sustainability into its corporate culture—its own DNA—and strategically invest in new and innovative processes, practices, and systems. Only those company leaders that embrace sustainability in a holistic, transformative, and balanced way—so as to engage and energize stakeholders—will be able to deliver triple-bottom-line benefits to the businesses.
Supply chain lessons learned from the challenge of the 'cage-free' trend. Nick Anderson In late 2015, a small group of food companies declared they would transition to using exclusively cage-free eggs by 2025. This type of announcement was not a new for food companies, but it did set off a snowball effect of animal welfare policy changes and commitments throughout the food industry. Today, nearly every major food company, restaurant, and food retail business has some form of cage-free egg policy. Many factors contributed to this significant and rapid industry shift, but a few of them were key: increasing consumer interest in farm animal welfare practices; companies’ willingness to commit to changes to build or protect their brand image; and, perhaps most importantly, consumers reacting positively to the term “cage-free.” Let’s face it: cage-free sounds wonderful. Of course consumers don’t want chickens locked up in cages. Who doesn’t prefer freedom to the alternative? The chickens, most likely.
Scott Tew, director of the Ingersoll Rand Center for Energy Efficiency & Sustainability, discusses the evolving role of CR at the organization. By Allie Williams As a global company, Ingersoll Rand is responsible for meeting the needs of stakeholders everywhere. This means operating as a responsible company is a critical business objective. Scott Tew, director of the Ingersoll Rand Center for Energy Efficiency & Sustainability and business strategy, talks about how the organization is telling its CR story while pushing ahead—and leading the way—toward its 2020 goals. Allie Williams: As a practitioner, how does telling the CR story feel different from everyday sales and marketing? Scott Tew: Telling the corporate responsibility [story] does not feel all at that different than talking about sales and marketing because it is woven into all that we do.
Politics have overtaken our everyday lives in 2017. You can’t turn on the news or go online without seeing headlines about new executive orders, different legislation, and overturned regulations. Try as I might to stay away from opinion-based writing, I feel it’s time to speak out on some issues I see developing today. Lately, some individuals have been questioning science itself; for example, there is a lot of discussion and debate on whether climate change is “real” or not. According to NASA, the EPA, and multiple other government and environmental agencies, it is. Facts are important; I am glad I am a journalist employed at a publication that prides itself on providing timely, fact-based articles from experts in the field. And our field is extremely important right now. Corporate responsibility is essential for all businesses to operate ethically today, period. CR is comprised of multiple topics that all intertwine, including the environment, employee relations, human rights, corporate governance, finance, and philanthropy.
For the 18th year, Corporate Responsibility Magazine is publishing the 100 Best Corporate Citizens List. In my Jewish faith, 18 is a mystical number. The letters used to represent the numbers one and eight also spell the word “life.” In some respects, as I reflect on the importance of measuring corporate responsibility, the list does promote life. Life in our communities, life for our planet, fairness for investors, and respect and well-being for employees and neighbors are all part of the outcomes from responsible corporate behavior. I am often asked what the significance of the ranking is. We are the only ranking or rating of CR behavior that is not dependent on self-reported data. We get clarifications and allow companies to review their data files, but we do not let them add to the trove of over 260,000 data points that we collect on the entire Russell 1000. Being free of self-reported data makes this listing free from accusations of conflict of interest or tempting corporate officers to paint a rosier picture than their actual behaviors warrant.
Schneider Electric’s SVP of energy and sustainability services talks responsible reporting and the importance of transparency. By Steve Wilhite As a company that specializes in global energy management and automation—offering building and energy management systems, security controls, analytics, electrical utilities and renewables, industrial automation solutions, and data centers—Schneider Electric knows the importance of having a sustainable energy supply. One of its current goals is to build an ecosystem that helps customers reduce their own energy consumption by 30 percent through active energy efficiency and sustainability solutions. The company also helps its clients navigate their entire reporting process by determining the right framework to meet their goals, implementing productivity tools, and analyzing and verifying sustainability data—and 64 percent of their clients received an A or A- in this year’s CDP scores as a result.
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Non-profit CEO Terri Ludwig unlocks potential in underserved areas through impact investments. by Elliot Clark Prioritizing corporate responsibility can mean creating hiring diversity initiatives or reducing a company's carbon footprint, but for some, it radically reshapes the way they do business. Case in point: Terri Ludwig. This financial aficionado and president and CEO of Enterprise Community Partners decided to use her Wall Street smarts to give back to underprivileged communities through investments in low-income housing. As a result of her efforts, she won the 2015 Responsible CEO of the Year Award at the COMMIT! Forum in October 2015. Here, she discusses the reality of poverty in America, her 15 years in the community investment market, and what she's doing to reach her goal of housing 1 million low-income families by 2020. Elliot Clark: You started life in southern Illinois but now you're in the Big Apple. And you went from investment banking, which is usually perceived as sort of a heartless business in many respects, to low income housing community investment.
By The EditorsOur annual spotlight on the best of the best providers and practitioners in corporate responsibility. While strong leadership is an essential trait for executives in corporate responsibility, demonstrating this attribute while performing important tasks, practicing sustainable habits, contributing to the company's bottom line, and driving others to perform exceptionally is worth acknowledgement. CR Magazine honors those who demonstrate a superior dedication to CR that is evident in every aspect of their daily lives. The CR Superstar is someone who lives and breathes sustainability and encourages everyone around them to participate in creating a better business environment. This is our annual list of outstanding CR thought leaders—successful individuals who were nominated by their industry peers, CR Magazine staff, and the Corporate Responsibility Association for their groundbreaking ideas, high-level thinking, and impressive leadership.
The role and responsibility of companies, communicators, and citizens, according to Starbucks. By Corey duBrowa Today, more than ever, customers care about a brand's actions and what that brand stands for. Edelman's 2016 Trust Barometer found that 50 percent of respondents have lost trust in businesses because of their lack of contributions to "society's greater good," and 62 percent of earned brand respondents said they will not buy from a brand that fails to meet its societal obligations. It's clear that corporate responsibility initiatives can no longer be second tier priorities; they must be core to the business. Starbucks chairman and CEO, Howard Schultz, posed the following question at the company's annual meeting of shareholders last year: "What is the role and responsibility of a public, for-profit company?" At this year's meeting, he asked a new question: "What is the role and responsibility of all of us, as citizens?" Schultz often speaks about the importance of "leading through the lens of humanity.
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