Lessons learned from international corporate volunteering programs
By Bill Hatton
What’s working in international corporate volunteering (ICV)?
We put that question to PYXERA Global, a Washington, DC-based non-profit firm that helps companies set up global pro-bono programs. The key trend: These programs are getting more popular with companies, and are very popular with employees. In 2013, 6,000 participants took place in an ICV program; in 2014, that figure has increased to 9,000, according to PYXERA’s 2014 benchmarking survey. (PYXERA surveyed 26 of 39 companies with known global pro-bono programs.)
As you can imagine, setting up and managing a program requires a heavy investment in time and effort – it’s a classic Big Project, and needs to be thought through from beginning to end, with a feedback loop to apply lessons learned to future projects.
IBM team recommended legal changes in Kenya – and got them
Global pro-bono team went outside comfort zone
David Sloan, an IBM software expert based in the Washington, D.C. area, went to Kenya in 2011. David’s team consisted of 12 IBMers from nine countries, with backgrounds including consulting, project management, sales, finance, recruiting, engineering and marketing. The team was deployed to Nairobi, Kenya, but spent the majority of its time based in Nyeri, an agricultural town based three hours outside the capital.
There were three key objectives during the deployment, divided among the three teams. David’s team worked to develop a legal and regulatory framework for e-government in Kenya. A second team provided recommendations for development and retention of technology specialist within the country. A third team provided strategic advice for how the postal system could be become more competitive, such as offering financial services to citizens.
Foundation President Patrick Gaston leverages his company’s global reach for global impact.
By Dirk Olin
Patrick Gaston is President of The Western Union Foundation, where he leads a global philanthropic strategy, including employee engagement, grant making and strategic initiatives that support education as a pathway to economic opportunity.
Immediately prior to joining Western Union, Gaston served as president and CEO of Gastal Networks LLC, a management consulting firm assisting organizations in building results-driven corporate responsibility and philanthropic strategies. Before that, he served as a senior advisor to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, and he previously served as president of the Verizon Foundation, one of the 15 largest corporate foundations in America.
Gaston also serves on a number of national non-profit boards, including the NAACP Board of Trustees.
Western Union CEO Hikmet Ersek on educational access and clean money.
By Dirk Olin
Hikmet Ersek is the president and chief executive officer of The Western Union Company, a Fortune 500-ranked global leader in payment services. Ersek has executive management responsibility for a global financial services network spread across 200 countries and territories and an iconic,160-year-old brand. The company today counts employees from more than 100 countries working in 300 offices around the world.
During Ersek’s tenure as CEO, which began in 2010, Western Union has steadily diversified its business mix. Besides growing its retail money-transfer business to more than 520,000 worldwide “agent locations,” the company has expanded into electronic and mobile channels, added a global cross-border business that serves small- and medium- sized enterprises (SMEs), and broadened its financial services product line to include stored-value cards and e-wallets.
Multinational commerce requires fluency in more than one ethical system.
By Keld Jensen
“Relativity applies to physics, not ethics.” —Albert Einstein
It’s quite possible that when Einstein first made this statement he intended to refer only to personal ethics. At the time he said it, most people probably would have agreed that the principle applied to business as well. However, times have changed. As businesses operate in an increasingly globalized world, ethical conduct is certainly not an absolute standard.
In some cases, the parameters for making ethical decisions are simple. Business owners should not pocket cash from the register, practice tax evasion, or deceive customers by selling shoddy products. Business people should operate transparently and with complete integrity toward their employees, vendors, strategic partners, and customers.
Intel constructs powerful agenda for new initiatives
By Danielle Lee
Despite lofty positions on various best-of corporate responsibility and sustainability rankings, including the No. 1 slot on CRO’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens 2008 list, chip maker Intel—led in its CR efforts by Dave Stangis, its Director of Corporate Responsibility—believes its efforts are still a work in progress.
These planned improvements come at a time when various antitrust lawsuits against the company and an anti-competition investigation recently launched by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reach critical mass.
A Hallmark for Intel
Stangis appreciates how far Intel has come and where it needs to go. With 12 years at the Santa Clara, Calif., technology firm, beginning in an environmental, health and safety capacity, Stangis discussed Intel’s corporate responsibility accomplishments, challenges and priorities.
Russian businesses offer some Soviet-era employee services as well as sound environmental programs as they globalize
By Vera Kurochkina
If you ask American experts what they know about Russian CSR activities, the majority would probably answer “nothing.” This is not particularly surprising. And if the same question is asked in the European Union, which is geographically closer to Russia, the answer would still be the same. This is unsatisfactory and the following discussion is one of the steps toward informing people about Russia’s CSR expertise and how the country’s businesses are integrating into the global process of developing new CSR standards and practices.
Russian companies are becoming high-profile players in the global market. Despite the liquidity crisis, which began in the middle of last year and has disrupted the world’s economy, 2007 was a record year for IPOs in Russia, according to communications consultancy PBN Company in its “IPO Pioneers” survey.
By Danielle Lee
The World Bank Institute released its annual “Worldwide Governance Indicators,” which measures governance practices across six categories in 212 countries.
The report found “significant improvement” in governance practices among a range of countries based on the six categories of evaluation used. These categories included: voice and accountability, which measured the government participation and freedom of expression of the country’s citizens; political stability and absence of violence; government effectiveness; regulatory quality, which measured the government’s ability to formulate and implement policies to promote private sector development; rule of law, which measured the confidence agents have and the extent to which they abide by society’s rules; and control of corruption.
Africa showed specific improvement in different categories in the countries of Kenya, Niger, Sierra Leone, Algeria, Liberia, Angola Libya, Rwanda and Sierra Leone, with the countries of Cote d’Ivoire and Zimbabwe lagging in these areas.
The second Global Compact Leaders Summit revealed strides in responsible business performance and introduced new environmental mandates.
By Danielle Lee
Responsible business practices—with an emphasis on environmental issues—were at the forefront of the second U.N. Global Compact Leaders Summit June 5-6 in Geneva Switzerland, as embodied in both new initiatives and recent study findings.
The audience of more than one thousand CEOs and global leaders put two large ecological initiatives in motion when chief executives of 153 companies urged the government to agree on climate market measurements to replace the Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012. And, significantly, the leadership of six corporations launched a more immediate “CEO Water Mandate.”
The six companies—Coca-Cola, Levi Strauss, Lackeby Water Group, Nestle S.A., SABMiller and Suez—introduced this mandate as a call to action for their peers to address the impending global water crisis through better supply chain water management.
Recent federal inquiries and discussions at the Australian Stock Exchange are raising the profile of corporate social responsibility in Australia.
By Andrew Beatty
Australia has recently experienced an upsurge of interest in corporate social responsibility. Many of the biggest Australian corporations (including banks such as Westpac, mining houses such as BHP Billiton and construction and development companies like Lend Lease) are already at the global forefront of corporate responsibility in their industry sectors. An increasing number of companies are publishing sustainability reports and, of those that are publishing, many are using the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) new G3 Guidelines as a template.
With one of the world’s largest per capita pension fund sectors, and therefore highest rates of share ownership (in part brought about by the compulsory 9 percent superannuation levy on all employers), most Australians and the institutions that manage their superannuation funds are interested in the performance of the companies that they own: informed shareholders want to know not just what dividends they are likely to be paid but also how they are derived.
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