Vol. 5 No. 2 – March/April 2014

How much does the earth pay to keep you in business?

When green eyeshades meet green business goals, look for some surprises

By Bill Hatton

An environmental profit & loss (EP&L) statement is a new tool used for measuring the environmental impact of doing business in all its forms. But like a lot of calculations that seem abstract at first, these numbers are very concrete in how they play out in the real world.

Case in point: Procter & Gamble Co. has faced environmental- group protests at its Cincinnati headquarters; Greenpeace and other groups complained that P&G’s palm-oil suppliers in Indonesia were tearing up rainforest, and destroying habitats for orangutans and tigers. P&G had already insisted its suppliers comply with Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RPSO) standards to certify they were using “sustainable” palm oil practices.
The protests and attendant publicity (e.

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5 years after financial meltdown: What still hasn’t changed?

Too big to fail becomes too big to regulate


By Larry Doyle

Excerpt is from In Bed with Wall Street by Larry Doyle. Copyright © 2014 by the author and reprinted by permission of Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd.

Dodd Frank also gives regulators a variety of mechanisms they can use to channel political policy through the dominant institutions. The partnership works in both directions: special treatment for the Wall Street giants, new political policy levers for the government.

—David Skeel, S. Samuel Arsht Professor of Corporate Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School, The New Financial Deal: Understanding the Dodd-Frank Act and Its (Unintended) Consequences.

After 2008, the number of brokerage houses on Wall Street significantly diminished. No longer did the names Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Wachovia, Countrywide, Washington Mutual, and Merrill Lynch represent single- standing entities.

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Opening doors for youths

Opening doors for youths


Help for young people struggling to find jobs

About 74 million youths worldwide are looking for jobs and can’t find one—and that’s just one part of a larger youth-unemployment story: 290 million 15- to 24-year- olds are neither working nor going to school, according to the International Labour Organization, a United Nations agency. That’s a lot of lives and careers on hold.


What can companies do to help? One effort from Hilton Worldwide might serve as an example. Hilton has committed to helping one million young people prepare for the workforce in the next five years, by 2019. (That’s Hilton’s 100th anniversary.) Its plan, called “Open Doors,” includes some approaches that other companies can consider in their own programs.

Background


Hilton Worldwide has more than 300,000 employees in over 4,000 locations.

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7 years at GRI

7 years at GRI –
how successful have these been?
By Marjella Alma

It was seven years ago that I first set foot in GRI’s Amsterdam offices in the Netherlands.

A week previous to that, I had taken the train from Groningen (my university town - try pronouncing that!), hoping to get the job. It had been quite difficult to convince my professors that this was “the right move” as this idea of CSR was new (read: unknown). CSR was not integrated in the theories of International Relations and Law that I was studying. Once I got the internship, I informed them that I was going to work on making CSR mainstream; or at least make reporting on CSR mainstream. It seemed a very necessary cause.

At the time (I’m still talking about 2007), the European Union had just given up its efforts to create a European Multi- Stakeholder forum (EMS) on CSR.

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Restoring corporate trust: 4 strategies

... and which C-level leader can best execute each one

By Daryl Brewster, CEO, CECP

Corporate structure dictates the creation of a C-suite of executive staff on whom the CEO counts every day to handle specific issues and keep him or her informed. Corporate societal engagement (CSE) professionals can help expand these traditional senior leadership-CEO relationships to include community investment in their reporting and strategic planning. Societal engagement can be a way to achieve senior leadership goals, such as sales, employee engagement and hiring, sustainability, and revenue, while also making the world a better place.

Another by-product of integrating societal engagement goals and metrics throughout the entire business plan is the restoration of corporate trust. When stakeholders see that a company is clear about its values and commitment to overall sustainability, the business and the community benefit.

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Is failing fast the best way to collaborate?

Some tools to boost your ability to partner effectively

By Richard Crespin

Fail fast. Fail forward. That’s the latest advice from Silicon Valley’s startups. But if you work in a large institution, “fail” is a four letter word. Even if your corporate culture respects smart failure, when you collaborate with partners from the public or civil sector, their cultures may not. We can, though, adapt these startup techniques to form more effective public- private-civil partnerships by doing three things: start with data, recruit strange bedfellows, and co-create.

Start with data. Problems that need public-private-civil collaboration are messy. They don’t have easy-to-understand causes and no one party can solve them on their own. But we crave simplicity, so attempts to solve these problems usually devolve into a witch-hunt or a search for silver bullets.

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Supply chain preparedness—up, down and sideways: Are you ready?

Supply chain preparedness—up, down and sideways: Are you ready?
By Mike Wallace

If you’ve been developing survey fatigue because of the proliferation of ratings and rankings, you haven’t seen anything yet. 2014 has seen a record number of shareholder resolutions surface on topics surrounding sustainability, such as environmental, social impacts and corporate-governance performance.


The demand for sustainability performance information has dramatically increased on large multinational corporations, but this is also creating an interesting, yet predictable, ripple effect. Not only are these companies increasingly reporting their own performance, but they are asking suppliers to do the same. Suppliers, in turn, do the same with their suppliers, spreading this idea to all corners of the economy.

Large institutional buyers such as federal, state and local governments, state universities, non-profit healthcare providers are also increasingly assessing their own sustainability performance, which inevitably leads them
to their suppliers.

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Just how sound is shareholder-value primacy?

Rethinking shareholder and company value

By R. Paul Herman and Srdana Pokrajac

The debate around shareholder-value primacy heated up at the end of February when a representative from conservative think tank National Center for Public Policy Research (NPCCR) asked the Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) CEO Tim Cook to commit to act only for the benefit of shareholder return on investment (ROI), expressing concern that Apple’s investments in renewable energy might jeopardize company and shareholder value.


NCPPR questioned the soundness of Apple’s membership in the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), which supports sustainability initiatives and encourages its members to apply such views in their business operations.

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