Business Ethics

CEO’s Letter: The Least Responsible Industry of the Year

elliot-clark By Elliot Clark Usually if I wanted to discuss bad behavior, I would single out a specific company for some egregious action, but I cannot distinguish one company as more villainous than the others in the industry that earns the "least responsible" prize this year. What do you think the position of Corporate Responsibility Magazine would be if a company consistently tried to sell a product that is not what they claim it is? I think we would be pretty outraged. And we are outraged, but the industry we need to decry is our own. I am embarrassed to be part of the media. To be clear: this is my opinion. I will not be offering opinion-based copy as impartial journalistic fact. But, I may be the last of a dying breed. To be fair, maybe I am giving the media too much credit. In the most recent (2016) Gallup poll of U.S. consumers, only 24 percent believe the media is not biased, and only 32 percent trust the media. I spoke about my concerns at the COMMITIForum on Oct. 18. This year, the media successfully diverted and distracted from—and disregarded even—the basic rules of journalism.

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Opinion: Leading for Trust

OPINION - Leading for Trust
Why elevating organizational trust is important for your company and how to do it
Why elevating organizational trust is important for your company and how to do it.
By Barbara Brooks Kimmel
Recently, I sat quietly as a Fortune 500 CEO told me there were no "trust issues" in his organization. After all, the company's quarterly earnings were increasing, and international expansion was on target; what more could shareholders want? But I remained skeptical because I had done my homework. The company's Glassdoor employee ratings were low: it scored significantly below average in Trust Across America's FACTS® Framework compared to its peers, and the company had just paid a multi-million-dollar fine for bribery. In this age of growing transparency, how could this CEO believe, let alone say, that there were no trust issues? Organizational trustworthiness, core values, and simple workplace culture are nothing more than reflections of decisions made by leadership to drive not only shareholder, but also all stakeholder relationships—and the higher the trust, the stronger these relationships become.

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CR Roundup WWF offers framework for improving corporate water management policies

CR Roundup: WWF offers framework for improving corporate water management policies

By Bill Hatton

If you are looking for a quick framework to assess and/ or determine if your water-management program is on track, consider one offered by Lindsey Bass of World Wildlife Fund’s corporate water stewardship program for the U.S. She spoke on a panel on water management at Sustainable Brands in San Diego.

“[A] lot of people, when they talk about water stewardship, don’t think about the WWF,” said Lindsey Bass. “We’re known for panda and species conservation. So many are surprised to learn that we actually do quite a bit in looking at market transformation and how do we engage and mobilize the private sector to embark on a journey to create more sustainable water resource management? That’s really a direct reflection of the fact that, while we are a species conservation organization, we have to address the most pressing threats and drivers on the [places] that we care about.

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How to recruit and retain Millennial Workers

Hasbro’s triple-bottom line approach

By Kathrin Belliveau

At Hasbro, creativity and integrity are not only two of our key corporate values but also critical to executing our mission of “Creating the World’s Best Play Experiences.” Our Hasbro brand portfolio is the growth engine; the fuel that drives this engine is our people.

As Millennials increasingly represent a greater percentage of today’s workforce, we know that they fully expect companies to respond to pressing social and environmental issues. These 18-26-year-olds are not just demanding greater action—they are forging a transformational re-evaluation of what corporate social responsibility (CSR) means.

Employee, Consumer, Citizen
Millennials’ push towards deeper CSR does not come without a personal stake. They want to actively participate in the change they wish to see in the world, in partnership with business.

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Free is very expensive

Pricing nature’s services reduces business risk and benefits society

By Meghna Tare and R. Paul Herman
When you breathe the air, smell the flowers, or pluck a fish from the ocean, the price is free.
Yet nature’s services, evolved over 4.5 billion years, are priceless. No MasterCard needed to benefit from earth, bees, and oceans – priced less than they are worth. In fact, what nature provides is worth at least twice the value of what is counted as revenue and Gross Domestic Product. That is right, for every revenue dollar of your company and our economy, Nature has granted at least twice the value of the top-line.
Back in 1997, a team of scientists estimated the value provided by 16 environmental ecosystems, from forests and trees cleaning the air as Earth’s lungs, to bees fertilizing flowers across gardens and farms.

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The Future of Moneyball Management May Be Rooted in CR

The Future of Moneyball Management May Be Rooted in CR
By Stephen Jordan and Steve Rochlin
The basic goal of every financial investor is to identify “alpha” investing opportunities. Alpha is gained when an investment generates a higher rate of return than its risk profile would suggest that it generate. Historically, alpha has often been linked to technology breakthroughs, new discoveries, superior insight, and better management practices. Our thesis is that some investors will find alpha by applying “Moneyball” techniques to what used to be seen as the domain of corporate responsibility managers – sustainability and social capital.
The great legends of business management – Frederick Taylor, Ben Graham, Peter Drucker, and Edward Deming all tended to focus on “black boxes” -- aspects of business that were seen as mysteries or unruly or difficult to understand, and they were able to successfully analyze them and give them structure and create processes to replicate successful practices around them.

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What Makes a Leader?

Some thoughts on the CVS decision
By Bill Hatton
CR Roundup

Each fall at our annual COMMIT!Forum, Corporate Responsibility Magazine recognizes CEOs who have put themselves at personal and professional risk (Please see CEOs of the Year, P. 10).

All took risky decisions: Stuart Thorn of Southwire started a high school for at-risk students. Rakesh Sachdev of Sigma-Aldrich invested heavily in local STEM education. J.P. Bilbrey of Hershey created a new product overseas to save starving children. And Douglas Baker of Ecolab made a risky acquisition.

But perhaps most famously was the case of Larry Merlo of CVS Healthcare, who won a 2014 CEO of the Year award largely for his choice to eliminate tobacco sales. That decision meant losing between one and two percent of total sales—but it made sense within the logic of CVS’ business strategy of creating a company based on improving others’ health. It was a big business risk, fraught with potential pitfalls.

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Human Capitalism

Your company’s balance sheet is incomplete until people are valued as financial assets
By R. Paul Herman
What is your organization’s most important asset?
CEOs often respond that the organization’s people are its greatest asset. But if this is true, where are people accounted for in the financial statements?
Today, people are generally classified as expenses on the income statement and liabilities on the balance sheet— not as an investable asset. Thus, when CEOs seek to increase profit, they cut costs—like people—rather than investing in assets—like people—that can appreciate.
“The most valuable assets of a 20th-century company were its production equipment,” said management guru Peter Drucker in 1999.

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Trading in sales management for potato peelers

How Clean the World’s recycling program began

By Bill Hatton

Shawn Seipler, Executive Director and Co-founder of Clean the World Shawn Seipler, grew up in central Florida and used to organize the local kids for lawn maintenance, plus as an excellent athlete, he used to pick the smaller kids as his teammates “so they’d have an opportunity to win.” His favorite hero was Robin Hood. He likes the underdog ...

As an adult, he worked his way up to global sales manager of an e-commerce company (one later purchased by Google), and that meant he’d be on the road a lot. With a wife and four children at home, he wanted to try to spend more time with them. Meanwhile, in a hotel one evening in Minnesota, he got to wondering about hotel soap. He called the front desk and asked what does the hotel staff do with the soap? They throw it out, the desk clerk explained.

He researched and found that about a million soap bars a day go into landfills, because as anyone who stays in hotels knows, guests rarely use a complete bar of soap – and they can’t allow another guest to use what’s left.

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Commit to a sustainable workforce and supply chain

The C-suite and CR/sustainability pros come together to share best ideas.

By the Editors

In this special section, we offer highlights of the 2014 COMMIT!Forum held Oct. 8-9 in New York. More than 50 expert speakers in 25 sessions, nearly 20 CEOs, and hundreds of corporate responsibility and sustainability professionals all joined together to network, learn and share their insights into what the most responsible companies are doing. The discussions focused on building sustainable workforces and supply chains, among other things.

You can see the excitement and engagement among the participants in the following pages, and then delve into several in-depth features that present some of the strongest ideas offered at COMMIT! These features include:

• A one-on-one interview with CVS Health CEO Larry Merlo.
• Highlights of a panel discussion among four responsible CEOs: J.

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