How To Monetize Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Reporting

With three-quarters of S&P 500 companies creating corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports, most major businesses recognize it is a “must-do” communications strategy. However, the return on this sometimes significant investment is falling short. New research shows only 17 percent of Americans said they have read a CSR report in the last 12 months, according to the 2015 Cone Communications/Ebiquity Global CSR […]

Three Ways To Judge The Impact of Big Brands

Many of us buy products such as Kit Kats and Coca-Cola, but don’t associate them with our separate concerns about poverty and wellbeing. Now a range of tools are available to help bridge that gap.

From initiatives using consumer pressure to tackle complex social issues to tools that aim to encourage investors to put their money into companies with a positive […]

Bridging the Gap Between Health and Environmental Sustainability

The World Health Organization defines the environment, as it relates to health, as “all the physical, chemical, and biological factors external to a person, and all the related behaviors.” Our environment consists of the nature that surrounds us, the air we breathe, our access to clean water. However, as human beings spend increasingly more time indoors – whether at home or […]

How Verizon Buying AOL Subverts An Open Internet

US telecommunication companies were up in arms in February after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made net neutrality the law of the land by classifying broadband internet as a utility, seeming to ensure there would be no pay-to-play fast lanes.

Not so fast. As Verizon’s planned acquisition of AOL reminds us, there’s another way to cash in on giving certain content […]

Water-Bottling Operations Spark Protests Amid California Drought

Hundreds of protesters gathered in front of two Nestle bottling plants in California on Wednesday to deliver petitions demanding the company stop bottling operations in the drought-stricken state.

The petitions – carrying more than 500,000 signatures – were accepted by Nestle staff members at both the Sacramento and Los Angeles bottling plants, protesters said, as residents and activists chanted slogans like “Our […]

Four Banks Plead Guilty To Foreign Exchange Collusion, UBS Pleads Guilty To Wire Fraud

Five banks will pay the Department of Justice nearly $3 billion in fines and penalties for their manipulation of U.S. dollar and Euro exchange rates, which the DoJ characterized as occurring “almost every day for five years” through private chat rooms, benefiting their trading positions but harming countless consumers and investors around the world. Separately, the Federal Reserve said on […]

Philanthropy Starts After Profits Are Tallied

Foundations are the new Birkin bags. Everyone who is anyone has one. Giving is now chic. Far from being in denial about it, many wealthy people fret over rising inequality these days, in public and in private.

When they do, giving invariably comes up — whether traditional charity, multiple-bottom-line investing or corporate social responsibility.

What is less fashionable to talk about is […]

Apple Partnering with WWF on Chinese Forests

Apple is following through on its commitment to sustainability with a new partnership announced today between the company and the World Wildlife Fund. The deal will put the WWF in charge of managing as much as 1 million acres of forest in China as Apple works to achieve a net zero impact on the environment for all of the virgin […]

How Corporate Social Responsibility Is Moving From Optional To Mandatory

“Sustainability for a business today is not a nice-to-do thing,” said Arif Naqvi, founder and group chief executive of the Abraaj Group. “It’s a have-to-do thing. Naqvi, a key participant in the 2015 Oslo Business for Peace Summit and keynote speaker at the subsequent Business for Peace Award Ceremony, described a
new, urgent corporate pragmatism that goes beyond idealism or kind […]

New Social Media Platform Facilitates Consumer Citizenship

Silicon Valley start-up Scalechange has announced a suite of programs and services aimed at connecting socially conscious consumers with the causes they care about.

Scalechange, founded in 2014 provides digital marketing, crowdfunding and fund development services to mission-driven businesses such as B-Corps and nonprofits. In addition to providing services to the causes they care about, the team is creating innovative new […]

Is Good Corporate Citizenship Also Good for the Bottom Line?

Our latest Freakonomics Radio on Marketplace podcast is called “Is Good Corporate Citizenship Also Good for the Bottom Line?”

 
The short answer: yes. That’s the finding of Robert G. Eccles, Ioannis Ioannou and George Serafeim from their recent paper “The Impact of a Corporate Culture of Sustainability on Corporate Behavior and Performance” :

“We show that there is significant variation in future […]

Shareholder Activism: Storming The Corporate Castle

These are strange days indeed for shareholder activism. By some measures it’s experiencing a surge. Progressive groups have used the strategy since the early 1970s, but the past few years have seen an increase in its frequency, sophistication and success.

 

In December, for example, the defense contractor Northrop Grumman announced that it would immediately end its membership in the American Legislative […]

Redefining Sustainability

Sustainability must be reframed as an opportunity if it is to take hold.

We’ve heard the word sustainability a lot lately. Climate change scientists warn countries and companies of the dangers of current levels of carbon emissions. Board directors are being called upon to be more transparent and punish bad behaviour. NGOs and social groups want companies to earn a licence […]

The Traits of Socially Innovative Companies

In this article adapted from their new book, Jerry Davis and
Chris White explore what makes some companies more fertile for social
innovation — that is, the ongoing (rather than one-off) initiatives that
have positive social impact while promoting the core mission of a
business. While there are some factors that make social innovation more
likely than not — such as intrapreneurs who will champion them — […]

Op-Ed: “The Inhuman Relations Awards”

It’s not often that I am moved to present the less-than coveted Inhuman Relations Award to companies who establish a new low in employee abuse.

I understand that there’s a never-ending tug-of-war between working folks who feel overworked and underappreciated and management which considers its employees a temporary nuisance, to be replaced much as you would change the oil in your […]

Removing Human Antibiotics from American Chicken

Tyson Foods Inc. has joined what’s becoming a growing list of food companies in the U.S. that are revising existing products in the wake of escalating health concerns. The Springdale, Ark.-based meat-producing giant announced on April 28 that it plans to halt the use of human antibiotics from its broiler chicken production. Tyson’s goal is for its U.S. broiler flocks […]

The Evolution of Corporate Citizenship in The States

Large corporations do not enjoy a good reputation with the public. A recent study by the University of Massachusetts Lowell and the Boston Herald found that 71 percent of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of big business.

We read about BP’s disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and about the scandals at Wall Street brokerage firms. But beyond the […]

JetBlue Releases “The Blue Review”

JetBlue Airways (Nasdaq: JBLU) today released its seventh responsibility report – The Blue Review: Environmental, Social and Business Responsibility – outlining progress the airline made in 2014. This report highlights major developments made by the airline in 2014, including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from 1.65 to 1.54 metric tons CO2e per 1,000 revenue ton miles from 2013 to 2014, a […]

Net Neutrality Will Strengthen Corporate Social Responsibility

According to a 2012 Internet Society survey, 83 percent of people consider Internet access a basic human right. The Federal Communications Commission (F.C.C.) has now approved the net neutrality rules, which classify broadband Internet service as a utility. The objective behind this landmark move is to preserve the Internet’s role as a “core of free expression and democratic principles,” according […]

Will Corporate Social Responsibility Adapt or Die?

Peter Bakker, president of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, described the demise of CSR in his talk at the Sustainability Science Congress in Copenhagen. However, his key argument was that leading companies are going beyond CSR by integrating sustainability into everything they do. Witness Nike’s Considered Design and Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan. In short, the old-school concept of sustainability […]