Corporate Governance

Generation Food

What happens when opposing stakeholders discuss problems and solutions

By Richard Crespin
When I asked the nearly 100 student, non-profit, government, and business leaders gathered on the campus of UC Davis, “What stands between us and being able to nourish nine billion people?” one student answered, “We have to look at all these water-intensive crops. I mean we’re in the middle of a drought and we’re still planting almonds!” To which I suggested, “Perhaps you should talk that over with the almond grower sitting at the next table.”
Over the next few hours of our #Nourish9B SolutionLab – a joint initiative between CollaborateUp and Net Impact – we explored how we can produce more and more nutritious food with less waste and better land conservation.

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The Promise and Peril of Board Service

What obstacles you are likely to face – and how to fix them
By Ryan Scott
When we consider what it means to engage in corporate volunteerism, we can overlook one of the most effective ways to encourage employees to volunteer their time: by joining the board of a nonprofit.
Board service offers unique advantages as a form of volunteering. It allows members to be closely involved in shaping the direction of a nonprofit and contribute substantially to their organization. As a forum for professional growth, board service provides an environment where volunteers can hone leadership skills. Board service also offers rich opportunities for professional networking, and building friendships around shared passions for a cause.
But the experience can fail to deliver on high expectations. Nonprofit board members are sometimes burned out by board leaders who micromanage the members and staff to exhaustion. Or they’re bored by the board, driven away by the tedium of disengaged members whose apathy was contagious.

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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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The eBay Way

CEO John Donahoe on transformation and interconnection.

By Dirk Olin

John Donahoe has been President and CEO of eBay Inc. since March 31, 2008. UnderDonahoe's leadership, the company has become a global commerce platform and payments leader, with revenue in 2012 of $14.1 billion. Across its eBay, PayPal and eBay Enterprise platforms, the company enabled $175 billion of commerce in 2012, which represents about 18 percent of e-commerce worldwide and about 2 percent of global retail. The company also is a mobile commerce leader, with eBay mobile commerce volume of $13 billion in 2012, and PayPal mobile payments volume of $14 billion. The company is focused on enabling commerce as a partner — not a competitor — to sellers of all sizes, from entrepreneurs and small businesses, to global brands and retailers.

He  joined eBay in March 2005 as President of eBay Marketplaces, responsible for all elements of the company’s global ecommerce businesses.

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It is a Jungle Out There

The global marketplace has never witnessed an environment so fraught with peril and filled with promise.

By Dean Simone

In 2012, the forces of change that had shaped business over the previous decade coalesced to become the new normal. Globalization, the rise of emerging markets, the ever-deeper penetration of data technologies and third-party service providers, the increased influence of external stakeholders, and continued repercussions from the global recession of 2008–09 combined to produce a new environment of uncertainty and complexity, where exogenous risks could come swiftly and unexpectedly, with far-reaching ramifications.

To cope with these new market realities, senior executives began to rethink their risk attitudes and approaches. Many companies initiated business transformation efforts to position themselves for success in a fast-changing marketplace.

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Corporate Responsibility From the C-Suite

In assessing the many stakeholders affected by any CR initiative, consider a new gauge: return on impact.

By William B. Horne

The traditional view of prioritizing investments and decisions around corporate social responsibility (CSR) has changed in recent years, due to a significant shift in how companies communicate with their constituents and the public’s expectations on the way businesses operate. While companies could once focus almost exclusively on their products or services, they are now also expected to play a role in creating a positive impact through actions focused on safeguarding the welfare and interests of the society they serve. C-level executives are becoming increasingly aware of how public perception of their CSR initiatives can have a direct impact on their bottom line and are thus taking a closer look at their strategic plans in this regard.

The concept of CSR started to pick up momentum in the early 1970s, but the world has changed greatly since then.

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Context-Based Metrics

Between the relative and the absolute falls the shadow.

By Mark W. McElroy and Jo Van Engelen

As a distinct school of thought in the field of corporate sustainability management (CSM), the context-based approach gives rise to its own style of metrics that should be used in measuring and reporting sustainability performance. We call these context-based metrics, or CBMs. More familiar to practitioners in sustainability management, however, are so-called relative and absolute metrics. It is important to understand which of these two categories of metrics CBMs fall into, if any.

Starting with absolute metrics, these are perhaps the simplest form of measurement used in sustainability reporting, although they do have their problems. First, here’s a definition of absolute metrics we can use: Absolute metrics express operational performance in terms of what overall levels of performance are in specific areas of interest (e.

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A Tale Of Three Breakdowns

A horse breeder, a pharmaceutical giant, and a automaker each offer lessons on damaged brand reputation.

By Bob Vanourek and Gregg Vanourek

Today we see too many leadership failures, too many leadership breakdowns and scandals. We need leadership that can build excellent, ethical, and enduring organizations. We need triple crown leadership.

Personal leadership is necessary but not sufficient in avoiding organizational breakdowns. In today’s volatile global environment, such organizational breakdowns are fairly common. Sometimes a breakdown is a quiet affair with an orderly dissolution of assets. Other times it is a seismic crash with embarrassing headlines, prison sentences, and painful ripple effects. Sometimes an organization rises to the top of its industry and then slowly falls back in the field.
In any list of great organizations, some are likely to descend from great to grim.

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Meaty Questions

Hormel CEO Jeffrey Ettinger discusses transparency, hunger relief, and animal welfare.

By Dirk Olin

Jeffrey M. Ettinger is chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer at Minnesota-based Hormel Foods.
He joined the company in 1989 and has served in a variety of roles, including senior attorney, product manager and treasurer. In 1999, he was named president of Jennie-O Turkey Store—the firm’s largest subsidiary—and he was
appointed president of the entire operation in 2004 and CEO in 2005. Today, he oversees all functions and operations at the multinational, which most recently clocked in at $8.2 billion.

Under Ettinger, Hormel has grown through strategic acquisitions and a focus on new product innovation (part of a broader company philosophy he dubs “continuous improvement.”) The company’s common stock was added to the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index in 2009, and Hormel increased dividends for the 47th consecutive time in November 2012, despite economic and industry challenges.

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Let It Schein

Stanley Bergman, longtime CEO of Henry Schein, Inc., talks about a childhood in South Africa, dental offices in Haiti, and philanthropy in America.

By Dirk Olin

Stanley M. Bergman
is chairman and CEO of Henry Schein, Inc., the world’s largest distributor of health products and services to office-based dental, medical, and animal health practitioners. The company counts more than 15,000 employees and operations or affiliations in 25 countries. Its net sales reached a record $8.5 billion in 2011. Henry Schein is also a Fortune “Most Admired” company, ranked #1 in its industry for social responsibility, global competitiveness, quality of management, quality of products/services, and long-term investment.

Bergman has been chairman and CEO since 1989, and a director of the company since 1982. He served as executive vice president of the company from 1985 to 1989, and vice president of finance and administration for the company from 1980 to 1985.

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