Vol. 8 No. 4 – July/August 2017

Business Leaders Respond With Action and Activism

E2 business leaders meet with former EPA director Gina McCarthy (right of center, gray suit) in Washington, D.C. By Jan Lee In June, after months of debate and tense speculation, President Donald Trump did something that would have unprecedented impact in the U.S. business community: He announced he would be pulling the United States' support for the Paris Accord. Years of negotiations with international counterparts to bring about consensus on how global warming could be slowed across the planet received what many thought at the time was a fatal blow. Without U.S. support of a protocol to restrict environmental temperature, many feared, businesses would be reluctant to follow the recommendations of the UN, which included limiting carbon emissions. But they were wrong. Within days, business leaders across the country had marshaled their own intuitive response to the president's decision, harnessing a bounty of data that proved that Trump was not only incorrect in the reasons he gave for pulling out, but even more notably, that his administration was acting against the interests of U.

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Ben & Jerry’s Brings Social Change Through Ice Cream and Advocacy

Ben & Jerry’s launched its successful campaign flavor Empower Mint in North Carolina, to promote social justice and voting rights. Few brands are as famous for their social activism than Ben & Jerry's. The Vermont ice cream maker with global revenues of more than $1.2 billion (2015) is as much known for its social conscience as for its creamy, irresistible ice cream flavors. Pick a flavor and chances are you'll walk away with more than just a good feeling in your tummy: You'll feel you're making a statement. The carefully-chosen names of flavors like Empower Mint and Fossil Fuel ice cream help to send a message to consumers about Ben & Jerry's values. A mint ice cream with a name that subtly reminds its fans about the importance of social justice and voting rights gets attention. And so does a rich concoction of fudge dinosaurs and chocolate ribbon when it becomes a conversation starter for why Alaska's arctic wilderness shouldn't be drilled. And in each of these advocacy efforts, says Chris Miller, Ben & Jerry's activism manager, there's another, more visible message: that it is important to support nonprofits like the NAACP, whichContinue reading →

Renewing a Brand Through Renewable Energy

WGL-renewable-energy-wind-solar By Tina Casey The rooftop solar market has exploded in recent years, enabling individual homeowners and small businesses to claim their turf in the transition to renewable energy. However, rooftop solar is just one of a growing number of opportunities for electricity customers to wean themselves from fossil fuels. The Washington, D.C.-based energy-holding company WGL (formerly Washington Gas Light) is a case in point. WGL has 170-year-old roots as a natural gas provider, but it is rapidly transitioning into renewables and other sustainability initiatives.

Versatility is the key to clean energy

WGL's long experience in natural gas has provided its corporate culture with a window into the versatility of non-coal fuels. When WGL started up in 1848, street lighting was the primary market for natural gas. Though lighting faded out of the picture after the electric light bulb was invented, gas eventually beat out coal in other sectors including heating and cooling for homes and other buildings, cooking, numerous industrial processes, electricity generation, and vehicle fuel (in the form of compressed natural gas).

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For Campbell’s, Brand Value Means Customer Engagement

Campbell Soup Company's headquarters in Camden, N.J. By Leon Kaye For several years, corporate social responsibility (CSR) advocates have suggested that companies will lag on solving their environmental and social challenges, putting them at risk - unless CSR is integrated into the company instead of cast aside in a silo. To that end, Campbell Soup Company is one firm that stands out for making CSR critical to both its overall strategy and brand value. Almost 150 years old, the $8 billion food giant has witnessed plenty of change recently, both internally and externally. Campbell’s CEO, Denise Morrison, changed an old-fashioned food processing company into a more nimble and innovative operation. She has pushed the company to be more responsive to consumers’ needs while encouraging employees to step out of their comfort zones and take risks.

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Companies and CEOs Increasingly Speaking Out on Social Issues

When companies take a public stance on social matters, their influence extends far beyond the typical corporate boundaries. By Daryl Brewster When it comes to companies speaking out publicly on social issues, events in North Carolina, Indiana, Baltimore, and several Executive Orders drew significant attention from business leaders over the last 12 months. When companies take a position, reactions from consumers can cause whiplash. While some companies advocate forcefully, others don’t, and any approach is subject to public challenge. In an increasingly polarized environment, it’s likely a company will both gain and lose brand supporters, and the loudest advocates or detractors will use social media as their bullhorn. To better equip corporate leaders with strategies on how to respond to social issues, CECP asked members of our corporate coalition to weigh in on how attention received by other companies is affecting their company strategy for speaking out on a social issue.

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How to Align Your Citizenship Strategy with the UN Sustainable Development Goals

UN_SDG_Logo Care about brands taking stands? Join Terracycle CEO Tom Szaky to talk diaper recycling, Leidos CEO Roger Krone on the corporate response to the opioid epidemic, and more at the 2017 Commit!Forum in Washington DC this October.  By  Mandy Ryan, Managing Director at Changing Our World Have you been tasked with addressing how your company supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? Are you hoping to connect and align your corporate citizenship efforts to a shared global strategy to put your activities in context and amplify your impact? It’s been about two years since the SDGs – a set of 17 goals such as No Poverty (#1), Quality Education (#4), and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (#16) and 169 associated targets – were adopted as a part of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

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Helping the Honey Bee: General Mills Works to Protect Pollinators

pollinator-habitat COMMIT!Forum will convene hundreds of corporate social responsibility leaders and CEOs from CR Magazine’s annual 100 Best Corporate Citizens ranking.  The event includes a pre-conference workshop on integrated CSR and sustainability reporting from BrownFlynn.  Emcees for COMMIT!Forum include Aman Singh, editor in chief of Futerra, and Icema Gibbs, head of CSR at Jetblue Airways. More information here By Jim Witkin Could you do your job if you were kicked out your house, had no food, and under constant attack by parasites and poisons? Not likely. But this is what life is like for many species of birds, bees and other insects who pollinate our crops and help grow one-third of the global food supply. The numbers are not pretty.

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5 Research Studies on ‘Brands Taking Stands’ Trend

lgbtq flag stand COMMIT!Forum will convene hundreds of corporate social responsibility leaders and CEOs from CR Magazine’s annual 100 Best Corporate Citizens ranking.  The event includes a pre-conference workshop on integrated CSR and sustainability reporting from BrownFlynn.  Emcees for COMMIT!Forum include Aman Singh, editor in chief of Futerra, and Icema Gibbs, head of CSR at Jetblue Airways. By Dave Armon With 50 Fortune 500 companies and more than 400 small businesses voicing opposition to a proposed Texas bathroom law, the phenomenon of brands taking stands shows no sign of abating. But there was a pause, immediately after U.S. President Donald Trump was inaugurated, when large companies showed signs of retrenchment from publicly advocating for progressive policies on environmental, social and governance issues, according to a poll from the nonprofit CEO-led coalition Continue reading →

C-Suite Support Plays Integral Role in Corporate Social Responsibility

Alexander Mann Solutions employees are given one paid day a year to volunteer in their community. To gain practical skills for sustainability management, join us at the COMMIT! Forum in DC October 11-12 2017 A company's corporate social responsibility (CSR) program says a lot about its business values. In today's business world, companies are judged not just by the quality of products and services they offer but how willing they are to invest in the communities they call home, and how engaged both their workforce is in demonstrating those values. And as one international corporation has discovered, corporate leadership engagement is often critical to ensuring a vibrant and successful CSR strategy. Alexander Mann Solutions, which was founded by Rosaleen Blair in 1996, is considered a global leader in talent acquisition and management.

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Time for Media Trainers to Start Sweating

4775027305_6fc0b26d10_o By Dave Armon For corporate responsibility professionals who want to show the positive impact of their work, video is often the medium of choice. But hold off on powdering your CEO’s nose and firing up the teleprompter. Authenticity suffers when those appearing on camera look like they’ve just completed Media Training 101, says Vern Oakley, a veteran filmmaker who founded Tribe Pictures in 1986. Oakley will lead a session aimed at helping CSR and sustainability pros tell better stories using video during COMMIT!Forum, Oct. 11-12. “While media training prepares you for some specific situations, it can suck all the authenticity out of you and leave nothing but a corporate taking head,” warns Oakley in his new book, Leadership in Focus. “It teaches people to pivot, to avoid, to squirm, and to dodge. Media training helps people go on Fox News or sit with Charlie Rose or get in a good quip at the debate, but what happens in media training is the total opposite of what it takes to be you on camera.

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