Social Responsibility

In the cyber cross-hairs

Target’s data breach offers lessons for every company.

By Jack Thomas Tomarchio

The nightmare that keeps every CEO up at night became a reality for Target’s Gregg Steinhafel last month when the retail chain he heads became the victim of the second largest data breach in United States history.
Between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, 2013, Target suffered a data- breach of catastrophic proportions—one which resulted in:

  • more than 40 million credit and debit card accounts being stolen, and
  • customers’ private data being circulated and sold online in underground black markets.

Predictably, the first of what is expected to be many class- action lawsuits was soon filed in federal court in California. As a consequence of its failure to safeguard its customers’ private information, Target suffered damage to its corporate reputation, and a drop in the value of its publicly traded stock.

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A Sprint – and a marathon

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse on responsibility, long-term goal setting, and ethical culture

By Elliot Clark

The drive from the main entrance to the corporate headquarters building of Sprint in Overland Park, KS, takes several minutes. It is an immense campus, a small metropolis unto itself. A global telecommunications and mobile service provider, Sprint is one of the largest companies in the world. Like most of the world’s largest companies, headquarters is a small city.

I was there to meet Dan Hesse, the CEO of Sprint who had recently won the CR Magazine Responsible CEO Lifetime Achievement Award. I had spoken briefly with Dan prior to the awards dinner and met him during the day. I had been impressed over the phone and in person, but now I was going not only to spend time with him, but to spend time inside Sprint. Embedded in the organization, if only briefly, I wanted to gain some insight into the culture and operations.

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Investing in non-profits, through people

How pro-bono and skills-based work help nonprofits.

By Daryl Brewster, CEO, CECP

Think about all the diverse industries across the globe delivering specialized services and products to customers, whether they are other businesses (B2B) or individuals (B2C). From food to fashion to financial services, companies are contributing something to meet the needs of millions of these consumers. They apply innovations and unique skills and resources to solve challenges and address opportunities. At the heart of these skills and resources are the companies’ employees, who bring their individual talents and creativity to bear each day on the things they develop.

Now imagine if companies were uniformly encouraging employees to apply those skills to solve community needs as well. Leading companies are looking at engaging with community programs not as charity, but as an investment in society where they leverage their skills and resources— employees, intellectual property, cash—to make a difference, and even create new markets.

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What I Saw at the COMMIT!Forum

Editor's Letter

Bill Hatton, Editorial Director

I am the new editor of this magazine. The COMMIT!Forum in New York served as my introduction to the job. There was too much to recount with justice, but some highlights include:

1. The spontaneous standing ovation at the conclusion of MGM’s Inspiring Our World presentation (see more on page 8). MGM employees delivered a series of dramatized monologues, structured as, “You may see this (various stereotypes) ... but the reality is (counter-stereotypical factual background).” It no doubt reminded the audience that everyone is fighting a battle of some kind, has a backstory that includes suffering, and that how we appear on the surface is not always what is going on beneath. Everyone can identify with such struggles and the ongoing need to see people as individuals, not merely as an instantiation of a stereotypical group; thus, the enthusiastic reaction.

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Award Winners, Real Winners

When the U.S. Chamber Foundation confers its corporate citizenship honors, the point is more than congratulations.

By Richard Crespin

Kids in school. Disaster-impacted communities. Kids living in food deserts. Micro- and women-owned enterprises. People at risk of river blindness. The environment. Kids applying to college. Landfills.

These were the real winners on the evening of November 21. While the U.S. Chamber Foundation presented its Citizens Awards to an elite group of companies and NGOs, the real winners were our children, our communities, and our natural environment. Here’s a quick recap of some of the highlights from the awards ceremony.

Kids in school. For the past 40 years, 3M has partnered with Saint Paul Public Schools. They’ve worked together to make science interesting and relevant and future careers a reality for more and more kids.

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Remarkable Leaders

The 2013 CEO of the Year Award and Lifetime Achievement Award finalists.

   By The Editors

Allan Lim
Chief Executive Officer
Alpha Biofeul(s) Private Limited

Allan Lim graduated from Nanyang Technological University in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in engineering degree. Since then he has embarked on start-up projects ranging from microbial research to biodegradable plastics to a novel recycled coffee durable product. In 2005, he was awarded the Spirit of Enterprise Award for his enterprising spirit and his efforts in promoting the enterprising spirit to youth.

Chad Rosenberg
President and CEO
American Global Logistics

With more than 20 years of industry experience, Chad Rosenberg is widely renowned as an expert in international logistics.

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Name, Blame, and Shame

Why activists target corporations.

 By Bill Shireman

Why do social cause activists blame major corporations for many of the world’s most complex and intractable problems?

Part of the reason is obvious: sometimes, companies genuinely make matters worse. But often, they make them better. Yet many activists give them almost no credit for what’s good in the world, and nearly all the blame for what’s bad.

Executives often believe that activists target their companies for strictly cynical reasons. They want to raise money and accumulate power. They want to oversimplify real-world problems, and avoid the hard work of real solutions. They want to damage profits and ruin businesses. They want to destroy capitalism and replace it with a “socialist” alternative that they control.

Activist leaders sometimes accommodate them in these beliefs. But the vast majority of activists are anything but cynical, and most don’t really want to destroy capitalism, or even the company.

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Are CROs Necessary?

This is more than a thought experiment

  By LBG Research Institute

Recently, the Thought Leader Forum, a group of senior corporate social responsibility professionals organized by the LBG Research Institute, met to discuss the corporate citizenship profession
 and how it relates to corporate social responsibility, corporate responsibility leadership in a company, and career paths to corporate citizenship and CR. This white paper summarizes the group’s thoughts on just one of the questions discussed that day: Do we really need a Corporate Responsibility Officer (CRO)? What if you don’t have one?

The title of corporate responsibility officer (CRO) started popping up in the past decade. We have a Corporate Responsibility Officers Association (CROA), which does great work in the 
area of defining and advancing the work of corporate social responsibility.

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Transparency—a Status Report

Where the sustainability movement might be headed.

 By Mike Wallace

After almost four years as director for the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), I am about to end this amazing experience. At year’s done, I will be on to my next chapter in this field.I couldn’t be more proud than to have represented the concept that Drs. Massie and White created back in 1997 Accounting for Sustainability, or more honored to be able to support GRI’s expansion into the United States and Canada.

Due to an incredibly supportive North American network in conjunction with the awakening in North America as to the importance of credible sustainability reporting, GRI reporting has more than doubled since we opened offices here in the fall of 2010.

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Foundation Formation

eBay’s Head of Social Innovation gives up the goods.

By Dirk Olin

Lauren Moore runs global Social Innovation for eBay Inc., which includes oversight of the company’s giving activities. Part of Starbucks’ first CR team before joining eBay she had a background in the environmental community and community affairs. She recently answered a few more granular questions about eBay’s CR initiatives.

How do you bring the compliance side of CR to your workforce?
Each year, we have comprehensive compliance training requirements, which go to our inboxes. You receive different modules depending on your level or responsibility or reach within company—in areas such as ethics, diversity, sexual harassment. And you receive a lot of emails reminding you if you haven’t done it yet. And it comes up throughout the year. Both outsourced and tailored, they’re made very specific for us.

What about your environmental footprint?
Carbon and energy receive the most focus on that front.

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