First 100 Days in Office

Alphabetsoup2 A CR leader under fire and the alphabet soup of standards organizations By the Editors He’s the new chief executive and his 100-day anniversary was fast approaching. Many miles from the familiar trappings of his hometown, he has uprooted his family and inherited all the successes—as well as the baggage—of preceding administrations. Yet despite having more power and influence than other world leaders, critics abound. No, this is not a story about the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Rather, the man experiencing a tumultuous honeymoon as CEO of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is Tim Mohin. Hired by the GRI’s board late last year, the longtime corporate responsibility practitioner and his wife moved from Austin, Texas, to the independent standards organization’s headquarters in Amsterdam in January. Comparisons to the Donald Trump election have been coming ever since. “I have yet to sign any executive orders,” Mohin chuckled during an interview at the annual conference of Ceres, the NGO that launched GRI in 1997.

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The ESG Factor: How non-financial performance reporting can build investor confidence

JohnDeRose headshot By John DeRose In the last three years, there has been an expanding role of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors in the decision-making of investors worldwide[1], according to Ernst & Young’s third Tomorrow’s Investment rules survey. At the crux of this year’s discussion was a simple question: “Is investor appetite for more integrated, predictable and strategic ESG disclosure being met by businesses?” This was a natural choice given how meaningful ESG analysis has become for institutional investors and the companies they follow. Consider a few of the recent headlines. In November 2016, Bloomberg Media declared, “Larry Fink Wants Companies to Talk More About the Future.”[2] In this case, the head of the world’s largest investment manager wrote to the CEOs of the S&P 500 companies and Europe’s largest corporations to extol the virtues of strong ESG performance and its effect on valuation.

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Value Added: What corporate foundations can do to enhance their philanthropic agenda

Jennifer Levine Hartz By Jennifer Levine Hartz Though corporate giving is a small percentage of all philanthropic monies given to non-profits in the U.S., it has an outsized opportunity to drive societal improvement and influence the hearts and minds of their stakeholders and the nation. (The organization Giving USA reports that about 5 percent of all philanthropy comes from companies each year.) Corporate and business owner foundations complement the work of annual social responsibility budgets. Foundations donate to non-profits to increase capacity and address targeted community needs. Corporate budgets focus on employee engagement in civic leadership, hands-on volunteering, and skills-based service, as well as involving others outside of the company. Enabling others to contribute is not a substitute for direct investments, and companies know that. Increasingly, corporations seek to extend “philanthropic leverage.” This means using their products, services and other assets to inspire all stakeholders—employees, customers, vendors, elected officials, investors and media—to become involved with specific charities or issues.

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Building a Greener World

Building  a Greener World

Four best practices leading companies can implement to improve their sustainable construction strategy. Four best practices leading companies can implement to improve their sustainable construction strategy. By Marta Chmielowicz In a society that is increasingly aware of the importance of sustainability, “green” building is quickly becoming a top priority. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, buildings are the largest consumers of energy worldwide, accounting for nearly 40 percent of total U.S. energy use and carbon dioxide emissions. Given this vast impact, it is no surprise that responsible building practices have seen such rapid growth, with a 2016 Dodge Data & Analytics study reporting that demand for green buildings continues to double every three years. “Green building is evolving to become the new normal,” says Curt Radkin, senior vice president and sustainability strategist at Wells Fargo Corporate Properties Group. “It is becoming a part of consumers’ baseline expectations and will eventually not be seen as a differentiator, but a requirement.

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Responsible Construction

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A business’ commitment to CR starts within its own walls. Here are the top sustainable headquarters serving as prime examples of green construction.

By The Editors

Companies today are looking to improve their sustainability track records in every way possible, including the structures in which they operate. Building in accordance with specific environmental standards allows corporations to position themselves as CR leaders. The following is a list of organizations that best represent responsible construction. This list was compiled from editorial research and nominations that were vetted by CR Magazine staff.

Click here to view the 2017 Most Sustainable Corporate Headquarters list.

Alternative Plans

Leading power providers are doing better business by utilizing clean energy.
By Christa Elliott
Once confined to the realm of idealistic buzzwords, the phrase “alternative energy” has evolved into a concrete and actionable business objective for major companies around the globe. This is especially true for utility companies—which were some of the first to answer the call for renewable resource use— because of product nature and the sheer scale of environmental impact. Despite the costs and long-term, strategic planning involved in providing sustainable energy, companies that make the right investments will find clean energy initiatives help get consumers interested in their brand, illustrate a commitment to the world in which they operate, and even improve the bottom line. Continue reading →

The Meat of CR

064288a 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.

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Embedding Sustainability

Screen Shot 2017-04-18 at 1.37.23 PM 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.

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What Came First: The Chicken Or The Egg?

What Came First: The Chicken Or The Egg? 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.

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Going Beyond the Product

2b72c36 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.

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