Vol. 6 No 6 – September/October 2015

Looking forward to COMMIT!

allie By Allie Williams Each year, the COMMIT!Forum provides elite CR practitioners at leading companies an opportunity to come together to network, engage in learning, and explore new ideas. For the CRA, COMMIT! gives the association an opportunity to highlight its role in educating leaders to use CR practices effectively and in the service of good business. And for me, I get an opportunity to meet some new friends, connect with old ones, and share the best practices the CRA has uncovered during the year. Let me share two examples of ideas we’ll be exploring at COMMIT!:
  1. Through our Thought Leadership Councils (TLCs), we examine issues related to survey fatigue. We look at the methodologies of different research firms, and then our Ratings & Rankings Council works on addressing and overcoming challenges related to the stresses of being buried in reporting—while staying relevant in a challenging CR environment.
  2. As it relates to diversity and inclusion, we’re working to create a culture .

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One billion new entrepreneurs?

billionentrepreneurs Microfinance brings impact opportunities and new markets for corporations By Meghna Tare and R. Paul Herman If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand data,” Paul Hawken wrote in his book Ecology of Commerce. “But if you meet people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse.” According to the World Bank, 500 million people living in poverty could benefit from a small business loan and only 1/3 of the world’s population has access to any kind of bank account. Microfinance – which provides access to capital, including loans and insurance – brings a tangible path out of poverty to global citizens worldwide, especially women. More than 90% of loans go to women entrepreneurs, whose businesses relate to food, clothing, telecom and more. Microfinance loans generally have a payback rate of up to 98%, a much higher repayment rate than US credit card borrowers.

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Do you understand the ‘freight footprint’?

footprint Reducing it is crucial to leading a sustainable supply chain By Karl Simon It’s hard not to notice the 18-wheelers with which we share the roads on our work commutes and family trips. We drive alongside these big-rigs often on our way to the store to buy the very products these trucks are delivering. Trucking and freight transportation is vital to our communities and a cornerstone of our economy, bringing us the food we eat and the clothes we wear. Without our consciously thinking how, the goods we need reach us every day – reliably, conveniently and cost-effectively. Our reliance upon this critical economic sector is perhaps invisible to many, but not to business leaders. Business depends on efficient transportation supply chains, especially in key industries such as retail, manufacturing, consumer products and food and beverage. Smart executives recognize that freight transportation – via truck, rail, air or marine cargo – is a key strategic area for CR managers and decision makers.

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CEO’s Letter: The business of doing good

clark Digging deeper into Ecolab By Elliot H. Clark, CEO Earlier this year, we published a cover story interview with Ecolab CEO Doug Baker. I had occasion to visit Ecolab for the article, and now I would like to follow up with more details about the work of Ecolab itself. First, this is an organization that embodies the concept of doing well by doing good. Their business is, in short, to make every company a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable operation. What company would not want that description? The oldest and core business of Ecolab is chemical production for sanitation and health. You may have seen their dispensers in office building restrooms or be peripherally aware of their existence—their products tend to “sit in the background,” but have a crucial role in keeping customers and employees healthy. This is a company that is the leading supplier of sanitation products to the food, hospitality and healthcare industry. And they are innovators. In years gone by, Ecolab would ship its products worldwide using 55-gallon drums.

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10 Great Ideas from 2014 COMMIT!Forum

Screen Shot 2015-09-25 at 3.16.23 PM Here are some of the top insights from our last COMMIT!Forum—a taste of what’s likely to come in the 2015 Forum By the Editors Bring your best ideas to the 2015 COMMIT!Forum. If it’s anything like the previous ones we’ve had, the ideas and insights should be coming fast. While we couldn’t be everywhere last year, and your mileage may vary, here (in descending order) is a sample of compelling thoughts shared from the stage during the 2014 event:
  1. Manage CR like any other business issue: Goals, measurements, accountability
Dan Hesse earned the 2013 CR Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award. Dan had been CEO of Sprint at the time, but his tenure had ended in August 2014. Dan returned to New York for our October 2014 dinner to pass the Lifetime Achievement Award to Stuart Thorn, CEO of Southwire, Carrollton, GA. Dan’s key insight, explained at greater length in a January/February 2014 CEO Interview in CR Magazine, was to address corporate responsibility “like any other business issue”: Set goals, meet regularly, measure it “relentlessly,” and have accountability for every element of the plan.

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Intel’s diversity plan: Five pillars of cultural change

intel2 How the semi-conductor manufacturer is trying to transform itself and its industry By Bill Hatton You may recall Intel’s Jan. 15 announcement of aggressive diversity & inclusion goals, and similarly heard that Intel has issued its six-month progress report on how it’s doing in its diversity-in-technology program for the first half of 2015. Intel has laid all its information out there, and because of that, we can see in detail that Intel has met is first hurdle for its goal to change its corporate culture. intel2 Background: In January, Intel committed $300 million to “reengineer the face of technology.” Goal: Achieve “full representation of women and underrepresented minorities” in its U.S. workforce by 2020, meaning a workforce whose demographic characteristics match the characters of the U.

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Corporate immunology: Why companies seem to reject change

By Richard Crespin Companies, like all organisms, are lazy and defensive. More scientifically stated, companies try to protect the organism by responding to external stimulus with the most efficient use of energy. That is predictable, rationale, and effective. People and organizations don’t fear change. They fear loss. When something new appears in the environment – potential changes in regulation or legislation, new activist demands, or changes in customer perception – companies don’t fear the change. They fear these changes in the environment may cause them to lose profits, market share, or brand goodwill. Therefore, when something new appears, they react defensively. As illustrated in the accompanying chart, they deploy their corporate immune system to attack the stimuli and determine out its loss-making potential. They also use this system to determine the lowest possible level of response, thereby maximizing energy efficiency. No person, organism, or organization wants to expend energy without purpose.

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Put down the pack, pick up the patch

cvs A look into CVS’s decision to stop selling tobacco. By Bill Hatton CVS snuffed out the smokes a year ago. How has the worked out from a business perspective and a social change perspective? Recent releases from the company offer an answer: Business has taken the expected hit, but CVS says the decision is still worth the cost because the chain’s decision has caused people to stop lighting up. “We know that more than two-thirds of smokers want to quit – and that half of smokers try to quit each 
year. We also know that cigarette purchases are often spontaneous. And so we reasoned that removing a convenient location to buy cigarettes could decrease overall tobacco use,” CVS Health’s Chief Medical Officer Troyen A. Brennan, M.D., M.P.H., said in a statement. “This new data demonstrates that CVS Health’s decision to stop selling tobacco did indeed have a real public health impact.” Business impact First, the business end: CVS’ front-store (merchandise sales) dropped eight percent in the second quarter of this year.

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Employee engagement up a level, or even two

shutterstock_308402729 By Stephen Jordan and Steve Rochlin As we have discussed in previous articles, stakeholder- relationship management (SRM) is dramatically rising in importance, and an under-utilized weapon in this arsenal is employee engagement. Two shifts have caused the rise of importance of SRM. The first is that the underpinnings of valuation have changed. Thirty years ago, two-thirds of the value of most publicly traded companies was derived from their tangible assets
– their plant, property, equipment, products, and people. Today, two-thirds of their value comes from their intangible assets – their brand and reputation, their goodwill, human capital and intellectual property. The second shift has to do with the proliferation of stakeholders and their channels of communication. Thirty years ago, the four television networks were dominant. There was no Internet. There were only 300,000 non-profits registered with the IRS. Today, there are well over 500 channels, social media has exploded, and there are now over 1.

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2015 Sustainable Buyer’s Guide: Most Responsible Companies by Sector

cr industry sector The most transparent large-cap companies By The Editors This is CR Magazine’s annual set of “Industry Sector Best Corporate Citizens” lists. It serves as a buyer’s guide for establishing that your supply chain/value chain is comprised of the most responsible, sustainable and transparent companies—and this guide helps ensure you are creating shared value when strategic opportunities arise. This list is the Top 12 in 10 industry categories, and they are listed in alphabetical order. The actual order of results—the 10 individual industry winners as well as the remainder in the order each company finished—will be announced during the COMMIT!Forum. We congratulate all the companies on this list. For these compilations, we use the same methodology as the “100 Best Corporate Citizens List,” with one additional data slice. The Best Corporate Citizens database comprises publicly available data from Russell 1000 companies collected and analyzed by IW Financial, a Portland, Maine- based financial analysis firm serving the environment, social, and governance (ESG) investment community.

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