reputation dynamics

Conscious Commerce: Realities of “Years of Living Dangerously”

images Protection of Forests: Critical For Future Generations

Deforestation is an increasing contributor to global warming and environmental change impacting the health and well-being of the most rural communities. To be sure, the transformation of forested lands by human actions and the removal of trees without sufficient reforestation is one of the greatest drivers of biodiversity destruction, conflict, loss of habitat and wildlife species, and poverty.

‘Realities at a Glance’

  • We are losing 137 plant, animal and insect species every single day due to rainforest deforestation, which equates to 50,000 species a year.
  • Regions such as Indonesia lost more than 6 million hectares of its primary forest -- an area the size of England -- from 2000 to 2012.*
  • About one half of the forests that covered the Earth are gone with only 40 billion hectares remaining today.
  • There are fewer than 300,000 chimpanzees remaining in the wild.
  • Only about 22% of the world's original forest cover remains "intact" – contained in three areas: the Canadian and Alaskan boreal forest, the boreal forest of Russia, and the tropical forest of the northwestern Amazon Basin and the Guyana Shield.**

In addition to the sourcing of paper and palm oil from forests, the impact of human behaviors continues to be profound. Forests are cleared, degraded and fragmented by timber harvest, conversion to agriculture, road-building, fires and in a myriad of other ways. The effort to use and subdue the forest has been a constant theme in the transformation of the earth, across societies and cultures, and is a major source of humanitarian conflict.

‘The Wake Up Call’

Deforestation has important implications for life on this planet. Forests are the foundation of the global ecological system, the lungs of our planet and crucial for the future sustainability and survival of generations.

Increasing population growth combined with poverty forces local communities to use forest resources in unsustainable ways in order to meet their basic needs such as food and water, as well as income generation for farmers and their families.

Meanwhile, with the quest for Africa’s natural resources at an all-time high including palm oil production, competition is rising for the global demand for forest and extractive industry products. Africa also lost 3.4 million hectares of its forested area between 2000 and 2010.***

Moving Beyond ‘Profits with Purpose’

The protection of forests, ecosystems and wildlife species can no longer be solved in isolation and requires more integrated approaches to address the complex challenges and interrelated links with poverty. This includes protecting farmers and their communities to ensure provision of food, shelter, health and skills training.

With the quest for new markets and customers, experts from multiple sectors – corporations, NGOs, fair trade and forestry experts - need to convene on shared value approaches for future ‘Years of Living in Prosperity’ in a globalized economy.

While an increasing number of corporations have committed to using sustainable palm oil and protecting forests, at the most fundamental level, consumers need to be educated about responsible purchasing options, integrity of ingredients and be included into the ‘Call to Action’ to preserve the planet’s natural resources. With the acceptance of corporate responsibility continuing to drive brand reputation and purchasing habits among consumers, behavior changes are needed to influence more responsible purchasing decisions.

Breaking down the systemic barriers to poverty is essential to preserving forests and protecting ecosystems to ensure the provision of basics human needs such as food and water, while developing responsible goods and services in the marketplace.

Traditional models of giving are continuing to evolve with the new sustainability imperative. This will ensure integration across multiple disciplines in the supply chain, while creating programs and product development strategies. These models will align giving at the heart of ‘People Connection’ while protecting families and communities.

In Conclusion: Corporations, supported by NGOs and governments, have profound shared values and our society cannot mitigate pressing social, economic and environmental issues without adapting to the realities of our planet and enlisting support from conscious-driven consumers.

By: Samantha Taylor – Founder of Reputation Dynamics.

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Sources:

  • Years of Living Dangerously: Showtime documentary series about the human impact on climate change
  • *Scientists: Belinda Arunarwati Margono, Fred Stolle: Nature Climate Change
  • **World Resources Institute
  • ***FAO Global Resources Assessment 2010

Conscious Commerce: Business and Social Innovation Trends for 2014

Rwanda

*Eradicating Poverty and Protection of Farming Communities Imperative for Improving Livelihoods*

The integration of ‘Doing Good in Society,’ new approaches and practices continues to evolve, becoming further embedded in business and throughout the supply chain,  raising the bar on industry performance and consumer loyalty.

In fact, according to a recent study, Profile of the Practice 2013, by the Carroll School of Management Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College, above-average industry performers are more likely to have a formal corporate citizenship department, led at the executive level, with higher budgets for corporate citizenship and charitable giving.  Today, almost 60% of companies now have an executive leading corporate citizenship - a 74% increase over 2010.

However, the companies that will be the most successful industry performers and maintain consumer loyalty will be those who have a hybrid approach to protecting the planet providing benefits to business and improving the lives of people in rural communities.

With increasing volatility of climate change, world disasters and emerging markets, fueling radical change in business and community response models, it is imperative to close the gap between consumer expectations and perceptions about corporate responsibility impacts to transform brands, manage reputations and motivate talent.

A recap of the top issues and realities we face:

Widening Gap between Poverty and Inequality:  Rates are high in the US and around the world with 46.5 million in the US and approximately 413 million in Africa.   These populations fail to meet their most basic needs with shortages of food, clean water and lack of access to proper education.     

 Vulnerable Children: There are more than 151 million orphans and vulnerable youth worldwide who are in need of a loving family and a prosperous future.

Climate Change: Increasing drought, flooding, and changing climatic patterns are at the route of hunger and poverty.  Deforestation is undermining the livelihoods of millions of people, requiring radical changes in farming practices and crop management.

Food Security and Agriculture:  The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that nearly 870 million people of the 7.1 billion people in the world, mostly living in developing countries, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2010-2012. This is due to not having enough land to grow, or income to purchase enough food.

Key predictions for 2014: Our ‘Knowledge-Driven’ Economy is Driving Market-Sector Relevance

Despite contributions from the private and public sectors, the social, cultural and environmental circumstances of populations in under-served markets remain complex and unsustainable requiring new approaches and investments to address poverty at the fundamental level.

Breaking down the systemic challenges of poverty is essential to protecting ecosystems to ensure the consistent provision of human needs such as food, health, shelter and education, while developing responsible goods and services in the marketplace.

The New Dynamics of Philanthropy:  Traditional models of giving are changing to motivate innovative change, ensure integration across multiple disciplines, supply chain, new market access and product development strategies. These models will increasingly align giving at the heart of ‘People Connection’ and protecting families.

Investment in Rural Communities: More correlation and alignment between trade, new and existing market access is the focus of community investment.  The co-creation of programs at the community-level with businesses, government and nonprofits aligned based on the market-sector needs of the economy is essential for growth and development:

  • Public-Private Partnerships: Community approaches are raising the bar on more inclusive partnerships to improve livelihoods and represents considerable benefits including co-creation of  community-driven and locally-owned models, provision of education, human needs, skills training and job creation;
  • Focus on Farming Communities and Agriculture:  A million ton cocoa shortage is anticipated by 2020 so supporting cocoa farmers in Africa and small-holder farming communities is key especially during times of drought;
  • Creating Jobs in the Supply Chain:  Investing in small- to mid- size companies in the supply chain to create jobs in rural communities;
  • NGOs: Aligning with NGOs to develop new standards for community measurement and impact.  Non-profits need help diversifying funding sources beyond individual donors, become less reliant on government funding, and seeking long-term partnerships and higher funding ranges with corporations.

Spotlight on Africa: More than 220 million Africans will join the middle class as consumers within five years, presenting opportunities to develop and sell more products and services.  Africa is the world’s fastest growing region after emerging Asia and fostering new approaches for development challenges, while providing opportunities to life millions out of poverty.

Story Telling: Companies must improve how they share, advocate and demonstrate their CSR commitments, inform and enlist participation from the public at large with authenticity and transparency.

In Conclusion: Corporations, supported by NGOs and governments, have profound shared values and our society cannot mitigate pressing social, economic and environmental issues without adapting to our knowledge-driven economy and increasing demands from conscious-driven consumers.

By: Samantha Taylor - Founder of Reputation Dynamics

It takes a Village to Raise A Child: A field report from Rwanda

DSCN1329In memory of Anne Heyman and acknowledgement of her contributions providing a future for Rwanda's children. May the legacy of her work continue to help orphans and vulnerable youth around the world. During the summer, I was fortunate enough to visit a community youth village in Rwanda on assignment for a client – Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village.  Not only an inspirational experience, it was educational and underscores the value of ‘Seeing is Believing’ as we tackle our complex global social, economic and humanitarian issues.

It was also no coincidence that I was preparing for new beginnings in my own life. I realized that nothing compares to what orphaned and vulnerable children have to suffer.  The reality is that there are still more than 151 million orphans and vulnerable youth worldwide who are in need of a loving family and prosperous future.

I invite you to read about my trip and learn more about Agahazo Shalom Youth Village (ASYV), a unique residential community and high school located in Rwanda, which is home to 500 vulnerable youth, many of whom were orphaned during and in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide.

DSCN1306Upon arrival at Agahazo-Shalom’s magnificent 144-acre campus with commanding views of a vast, lush green valley, one of the students who greeted me looked me straight in the eyes.

Piercing my heart and soul. I was struck by the confidence and vitality of these youth going about their activities around the village.

Founded and mostly funded by Anne Heyman and Seth Merrin in 2008, this remarkable community model has been developed based on ‘Restoring the Rhythm of Life,’ by providing a safe, structured environment in which they can heal and thrive.

Agahozo-Shalom means ‘a place to dry one’s tears in peace.’ It is indeed a place of peace and tranquility along with more than 100 species of birds.

The mission of the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village is to enable orphaned and vulnerable youth to realize their maximum potential by providing them with a safe and secure living environment, health care, education and necessary life skills.

Anne and her Founders built everything from scratch. They bought the land, they built the houses and dining room, imported vehicles and equipment, established a health clinic, installed a water pump and IT services, hired local staff, built a farm – all major accomplishments in less than five years.   This is marked by the famous mango tree which is home to many visitors and meetings.

DSCN1284My visit coincided with the first ASYV Alumni event and celebration for the 103 of 118 students, just six months after graduating from Agahozo-Shalom, who journeyed from all parts of Rwanda to gather, present art, music and words of reflection in anticipation of their future and jobs.

Rwanda, home to the famous silverback gorillas, is an attractive destination for future economic and social investment in Africa.  However, out of Rwanda’s total population of 11.5 million people, 25% are orphaned and vulnerable children. The lingering trauma of the 1994 genocide, which took nearly 1 million lives, still leaves many youth with little hope for a prosperous future.

DSCN1410Rwandan citizens struggle to achieve an adequate quality of life with 76% living on less than a dollar a day and 70% of university graduates are unemployed.

The village includes a state-of-the-art school, residential facilities, a health clinic, a farm, sports fields, an art and science center and Amphitheatre.  The vast dining hall serves these kids and staff three meals a day from the kitchen.  DSCN1336Interacting with these kids in the dining hall signifies community, camaraderie and celebration.  They have discos on Friday nights and on Sunday mornings you can join them in Gospel singing and worship.  Music is everywhere in the village and if not in dining hall, the students listen to radios.  Where ever I went with Anne around the campus, the students flock to ‘Grandma’ full of thanks, hope and praise for a chance of a future.  And ‘Village Time’ always brought special surprises and talents of the youth in performance art under the magical African sky in the Lily Safra Amphitheatre.

We are reminded of the power of art and music to help with trauma and healing.

At 5.30 am, amongst the shrilling birds, I wake to hear the kids playing the drums to start another day in the rhythm of life.

These kids, selected from districts around Rwanda, come from challenging circumstances, living on or making a living from the street, had no food or shelter, suffer abuse and conflict.

DSCN1433DSCN1296After a full day of school, meals, sports and electives the day concludes with reflection and family time in one of the communal houses of 16 students headed by nurturing family mums.  I heard a moving story from one of the students and his personal circumstances.

I took drugs to forget about my problems, spent nights crying because I did not have money for clothes, did not love anyone and had no hope. When I came to ASYV, I thought it was a dream. I started to reconstruct myself and over time I gained respect, helped others, developed hope, and envisioned my future’

Kigali Genocide Memorial Museum

A trip to the museum tells the history of Rwanda leading up to the genocide and catalogues the 1994 massacre with personal testimonials, photographs and videos.  There is also a small room dedicated to children, innocent victims of the genocide which are just heart wrenching.

I hung out with the kids one night at the art center to do some beading on a pen.  I was not able to complete it as the electricity went out and left to retrieve my torch light.  Towards the end of my trip, a select group of students wanted to see me before I left, they presented me with a couple of gifts…the finished beaded pen and a bracelet.

Anne Hayman’s belief in and commitment to these youth is summed up in a remark she made at the Alumni event.

“We wanted to teach you how to be thinkers. You have already exceeded our expectations and I know that for all of you it is just going to continue to get better”

The Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village represents a model that can be replicated to enable vulnerable youth around the world to become responsible citizens and have a prosperous future.

We invite your support of ASYV’s upcoming end of year campaign to ensure the provision of food, health, shelter and education programs for the 500 youth.

To support this terrific nonprofit, further information can be found at – www.asyv.org.

A video link of Reputation Dynamics journey with Anne Heyman  to Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village can be found at - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hg3KP4SZk0s

Posted by Sam Taylor

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Employee Engagement 2.0: Business and Social Purpose

execunet              

 

Date: Thursday, December 12, 2013: 1.00 – 2.00 ET   Format: Webinar presented by Sam Taylor

The most successful organizations now must be driven by purpose as much as by profit. They also recognize that increasingly social purpose is becoming a critical component in terms of motivating, recruiting and retaining talent.

In this presentation, Sam Taylor, Founder and CEO of Reputation Dynamics, provides perspectives on how to align “Doing Good in Society” with business strategy, competitive edge and employee engagement. Topics covered include:

  • Why companies with a social purpose perform better
  • The role of social purpose in employee engagement
  • Case studies of how to drive a company with social purpose
  • Practical advice on how to seek out “do good” companies to work for, and more

This presentation is for any business leader who wants to gain insight into the far-reaching benefits of corporate social responsibility; for company Chief Talent Officers who care about retaining their best workers; and for any executive seeking a new opportunity with a company that has a strong social commitment.

We hope that you will be able to join us, for further information and to sign up, please visit – www.execunet.com

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A Salute to Women of Vision: Gloria Awards

MSFoundationGloriaMsFoundationDebCox Last night was a celebration of women and their contributions to fight for global justice at the Ms. Foundation for Women's 40th Anniversary co-hosted by Gloria Steinem and Anika Rahman. 

An inspiring list of honorees included:

  • Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton - champion of economic justice for women
  • Saru Jayaraman - co-founder of Restaurant Opportunities Center United -workers rights and standards of equality
  • Kierra Johnson - Executive Director of  Choice USA - reproductive justice activist
  • Sunny Clifford - an Oglala Lakota from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota - access to emergency contraception
  • Lauren Embre - The Embrey Family Foundation - improving her community and the lives of women and girls worldwide
  • Diane von Furstenberg, founder of DVF Studio - mentor to women leaders and entreprenuers
  • Melinda Wolfe - Bloomberg L.P., diversity and professional development

The event hailed attendees from a variety of sectors including nonprofit, academic, foundations and representatives from the entertainment world including Canadian R&B singer-songwriter - Deborah Cox, American actor, dancer and singer - Ben Vereen and television host - Tom Murro.

There is still so much more to be done mobilizing the collective power of women to mitigate pressing world issues:

-American women still earn an average of 25% less than men

-Birth control and basic services are still controversial

-Every day, at least 800 women die while giving life and, unlike other global health challenges, most pregnancy and childbirth complicatoins can be prevented

The Ms.Foundation for Women fights to eliminate barriers for all women.  More information - www.forwomen.org.

Posted by Sam Taylor

Jeff Corwin’s Wild Adventures Launches at the Franklin Park and Stone Zoos, Boston

JCCWe are excited to announce the launch of ‘Jeff Corwin’s Wild Adventures' for families and their kids. JeffCorwinConnect, Inc. (JCC) co-founder, Emmy Award-wining TV host and wildlife biologist Jeff Corwin has launched his pioneering interactive audio tours - ‘Jeff Corwin’s Wild Adventures’ - at two of the most prestigious zoos in New England – Franklin Park and Stone Zoos. Over 680,000 visitors of all ages will have the opportunity to go on a “Wild Adventure” with Jeff as their personal guide and to learn about the different animals residing at the Zoos. The audio tours will focus on the challenges these endangered species face today, and encourage visitors to get involved with conservation programs at the Zoos.

JeffCorwinConnect has partnered with French company Orpheo Inc to develop and provide the latest cutting edge technology for this program which was designed for visitors of all ages. The audio tours are offered on iPod Touch devices that have a custom app, which is interactive and allows visitors to plot their own trails while being able to track which exhibits they have already seen. The app also greatly reduces the need for using paper maps and is eco-friendly by design. Visitors also get to hear the calls (sounds) and see images with close ups of the animals on the devices. This ensures that visitors experience beyond what is visible or heard when at the Zoos.

JeffCorwinConnect is a wildlife-nature focused, global trans-media edutainment company that develops branded mobile, digital and consumer products, creating online and onsite experiences, for kids and families.

Please contact us regarding partnership and sponsorship opportunities to advocate for and protect our endangered species.

Conscious Commerce: Business and Social Innovation Trends for 2013: 'Raising the Bar on Private-Public Partnerships'

Earth boy - AfricaWhile corporate responsibility and sustainability (CR) continues to fuel radical change in business and philanthropic models, reputation management and employee engagement, CR alone is not enough to mitigate pressing social issues and consequences of climate change. Despite contributions from the private and public sector, the social, cultural and environmental circumstances of populations in under-developed markets remain complex and unsustainable.   A recap of the daunting realities we face include:

  • Water: Nearly 800 million people lack dependable access to clean water and about 2.5 billion people lack access to modern sanitation, putting them at risk of disease;
  • Hunger: About 1 billion people across the globe go to bed hungry every night, 200 million of them are children;
  • Education: 60 million children are deprived of access to education;
  • Blindness: 45 million blind and 135 million visually impaired people live around the world, of which 90 percent live in under-developed countries; 
  • Poverty: 61 percent of Africa’s one billion people live on less than $2 a day;  
  • Climate Change: Driven by fossil fuel use and deforestation, is undermining the livelihoods of millions of people.

Meanwhile, corporations are continuing to explore growth, investment and social impact opportunities overseas including China, Asia and now Africa is the new spotlight. These markets represent the four billion people who live in poverty and potential customers for new products and services.

Africa is Rising: Africa is the world’s fastest growing region after emerging Asia with Africans expected to number 2 billion by 2050.  By 2020, more than half of African households are projected to have discretionary income: 85m-130m. This economic expansion is fostering new approaches for development challenges while providing the opportunity to lift millions out of poverty. The Obama administration recently launched a ‘Doing Business in Africa’ initiative to promote economic growth, trade and investment in Africa.

The Power of NGOs: NGOs have become increasingly influential in world affairs, and the World Bank estimates that more than 15 percent of total overseas development aid is channeled through NGOs.  They are the new leaders for the conscious movement representing broad public interest, expertise in the field, tackling complex social and environmental issues.  NGOs are developing new standards for community change and impact, have the connections with local governments and businesses to change policies.  Non-profits are diversifying funding sources, becoming less reliant on government funding, and seeking long-term partnerships with corporations.

The Role of Public-Private Partnerships: Corporations continue to be challenged by developing solutions for sustainable, long term change to scale.  Further dedication of resources toward more inclusive private and public partnerships is critical for improving livelihoods and represents considerable benefits for both parties including co-designing community-driven and owned models, building quality programs, skills training and job creation.

The collective power of partnerships’ are fundamental to properly understanding and navigating the economic, social and political circumstances of our most vulnerable communities in need.

Corporations, supported by NGOs and governments, have profound shared values and our society cannot progress, break new ground, or mitigate our pressing world issues without greater collaboration.

By Samantha Taylor

The Nature Conservancy - Advancing Sustainable Conservation in Africa

BetterTNC_logo-4e664ce4196a3Reputation Dynamics is excited to work with The Nature Conservancy on corporate marketing and social responsibility development to support awareness, growth and development of their programs in Africa. Since the 2006 launch of the Africa program, TNC has been protecting land, freshwater and marine ecosystems in key African regions including, Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia and Mozambique.    With the population of Africa expected to double by 2050, there will be greater demands for energy, food and water which will pose challenges that need to be addressed to ensure the resilience of the continent's natural resources, alleviate poverty and improve the quality of life for underserved communities.

For more information - http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/africa/index.htm.

Helen Keller International - Preventing Blindness and Reducing Malnutrition

HKIReputation Dynamics is excited to work with Helen Keller International on corporate development.  Founded in 1915 by Helen Keller and George Kessler, Helen Keller International (HKI) is among the oldest international NGOs (non-governmental organizations) devoted to preventing blindness and reducing malnutrition in the world. HKI currently work in 22 countries: 13 in Africa, 8 in Asia-Pacific, and the United States.  HKI's mission is to save the sight and lives of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.  HKI combats the causes and consequences of blindness and malnutrition by establishing programs based on evidence and research in vision, health and nutrition.  For example, HKI's Vitamin A supplementation programs have helped save the sight and lives of nearly 100 million children in Africa.

For more information - www.hki.org - and please contact me if you would like further information about this terrific nonprofits work led by CEO, Kathy Spahn.

Reputation Dynamics Charity: Give The Gift of Water: Samburu Trust

A community of up to 2,000 can benefit from a single waterhole, built by local labor for $25,000. Help us reach our $25,000 fund raising goal to construct one reservoir. We have raised $10,000 so far.

Please Give Now:

donate

Key Issues In Northwestern Kenya: 70% of children will remain illiterate without access to school 51% of the population suffer from blinding trachoma 82% of women walk over 30 minutes for drinking and household water  In Kenya only 38% of the rural population has easy access to safe water
The Water Challenge
The Water Challenge Video
Ol Malo Lodge www.olmalo.com

Samburu trust

www.samburutrust.org

On January 16, 2012 our group climbed Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, the highest peak on the continent of Africa, and the tallest free standing mountain on earth to fundraise for a water reservoir for the Samburu people and wildlife in Northern Kenya. We then visited the Ol Malo project and founding director of the Samburu Trust, Julia Francombe, to learn more about her incredible work for the Samburu people who have been severely impacted by Kenya's drought. I invite you to read more about a nonprofit dedicated to working with the Samburu people to secure their land, its wildlife and shared future.

I was extremely fortunate to spend an impressionable part of my childhood growing up in Kenya, East Africa which continues to have a profound impact on my life, work and spiritual journey. At the age of 10, I remember staring at the magnificent ice cap of Kilimanjaro while on regular family safaris in the Amboselli Game Reserve and longing to climb it. It had a lot more snow then and, due to climate change, today its ice cap is forecast to disappear entirely within 20 years.

With the increasing spotlight on Africa for business and community development, I longed to return to Kenya despite fear and trepidation that my treasured memories would be shattered. I decided that it was important to go back with a social purpose which is how "Climb Kilimanjaro for Water" was created.

Along with fellow trip organizer Christine Barker, it was important to select a cause that was tangible and could have impact among a plethora of initiatives addressing social and humanitarian issues in Africa. We selected water as a priority concern.

My associate Dominique Callimanopulos at Elevate Destinations introduced us to Julia Francombe, daughter of Colin and Rocky Francombe, who own a private ranch called Ol Malo in the North Western region of Kenya. Julia created the Samburu Trust in 2000, in response to Kenya experiencing the worst drought in living memory which has impacted the health and livelihoods of the Samburu people.

The Samburu, quite distinct from the Masai, are semi-nomadic pastoralists who herd mainly cattle but also keep sheep, goats and camels. The name they use for themselves is Lokop or Loikop, a term that implies to them as "owners of the land" ("lo" refers to ownership, "nkop" is land). The Samburu move with their herds of cattle, sheep and goats in search of pasture and water.

After a fairly smooth flight from Nairobi to Liosaba we embarked on an extremely rocky and bumpy hour and a half road trip to Ol Malo.  We were greeted by Rocky Francombe and an absolutely breath taking view of Kenya's Northern Frontier District from the edge of a rugged escarpment where Ol Malo sits on the end of the Laipikia Plateau.

Built, owned and managed by Colin and Rocky Francombe, with the help of the Samburu people, Ol Malo is built out of natural local materials sculpted into a luxury lodge along the edge of a rocky hillside. Slated pathways wind down to four private rock and olive wood cottages. Every attention has been paid to detail, privacy and value of self reflection in the dreamy backdrop of the African plains. About 20 or so elephant were taking water from a reservoir in the distance while the adopted family pet Kudu strolled in to join us for our buffet lunch.

While Julia was in transit from Nanyuki, Colin had arranged for us to visit a local Samburu settlement known as a manyatta. A manyatta may consist of only one family, a man and his wife/wives. Each woman has her own house, which she builds with the help of other women out of local materials, such as sticks, mud and cow dung. Large ritual settlements, known as lorora, may consist of 20 or more families. Settlements comprise housing two or three families, with 5-6 houses built in a circle with an open space in the middle. The circle is surrounded by an acacia thorn bush fence and the center of the village keeps animal pens safe from predators.

They are people both proud and protective of their culture and the ancestral lands to which it binds them. Their settlements are positioned in areas of beauty, while they also give great attention to their physical appearance, color and adornment.The Samburu, wearing Shukkas wrapped around their waists, arrange their hair into elaborate plaits and wear hand crafted beaded jewelry which is produced by the women.

We were in for a treat as the male Samburu warriors performed their traditional dance with considerable vertical leaps, encouraged by the cries of other warriors, while the young Samburu women watched from the side lines joining in with their rhythmic chanting as appropriate. The chants and dances signify the blessing of cattle, preparation for war and victory in a hunt.

When I was living in Kenya, it was very difficult and oftentimes not allowed to take pictures or video of the Masai or Samburu. We were careful to ask permission and they were absolutely fascinated by the cameras often giggling at pictures of themselves and actually encouraging us to take more.

We were invited inside into a dark and smoky manyatta and sat next to a fire, while our guide Luya explained the process for preparing a staple diet of milk and blood which was being mixed in a gourd by one of the Samburu wives.  Curious children would pop in bringing more sticks for the fire and reach out to hold our hands, accompanied by chickens.

Sitting in the warmth of the fire of the Francombe's intimate living room, Julia arrived with her daughter and dogs, Cindy and Foxy right behind her.  A courageous, fearless leader and visionary, it is of course no co-incidence that Julia climbed Kilimanjaro at the age of 14 and spent the nights in caves.

Julia and her family have developed a remarkable charity, the Samburu Trust, working in an area of approximately 1 million acres whose path follows the migratory people and wildlife within the Waso ecosystem, representing a troubled community of 26,400 people with considerable issues to address.

The 2000 drought resulted in the Samburu people of Northern Kenya losing 80% of their livestock. As herds recovered, they were hit by successive droughts in 2006 and 2009. Changing weather patterns, over-saturation of livestock and land mismanagement have triggered repeated emergencies of food security, poverty and tribal conflict.

Woken by a most dazzling sun rise and three rare Stone Partridge birds on the window sill, Julia took us on a tour to show us the priority project areas, reservoirs and school settlements. Little did we know that we would be put to a water challenge later on in the day.

As we drove into the trust area, several Samburu women were sitting around the property making jewelry out of the beadwork - another business set up under the Samburu Trust. Ol Malo designs produces beadwork that supports the Samburu directly.

Today, the trust runs several programs including educating children through a network of nomadic schools, eradicating trachoma, improving general health, protecting wildlife and providing sustainable water for the livestock, wildlife and people who are an integral part of the ecosystem.

Julia took us to the first ever location for a reservoir - Matasia.

"This was the first group of Samburu women I got to know, Cheeky Dermaris, Mama Biaso. I spent days with them at home and was shocked by the distance they had walked to get water. The women would walk 3-4 hours every two days to get unclean, polluted water," said Julia.

Julia took action and built the first reservoir - Matasia Reservoir - which has been a great success, providing water for more than 10,000 head of cattle during the drought. The water lasts for up to 3 months.

Julia's close association with the Samburu has enabled the Trust make a continuous and accurate assessment of theneeds of the people, its culture, wildlife and the environment through the creation of dedicated programs.  She has also been able to achieve this with the help of her Samburu Manager - Munytaki Liokitop.

"I have made some mistakes and tried to push projects. My vision is that the projects are designed by the Samburu for the Samburu - we work hand in hand with them. Our plan for 100 years and beyond our lifetime" said Julia.

We had the honor of being invited to have tea in her managers Manyatta, meet one of his wives, Kiliwas, who just had a baby girl and mingled with children who have trachoma. Julia is spending a lot of time providing education about trachoma and how to prevent it which continues to be a great challenge.

We were then escorted to another dam next to a water troff surrounded by cattle, where Christine and I were tasked with our water challenge - carrying water from the reservoir to the car and over a brick wall.  Despite our mountain fitness, it was a challenge to say the least.  After about 10 minutes, we could not carry the potable container any further and were humbled by how heavy a container of water was - 20 litres. It is Julia's goal to reduce the time carrying water from 3 hours to half an hour.

In addition to the reservoirs, Julia has created two schools, Ol Malo and Kalwalash, with two teachers per school where 50 children attend per school and plans to build more. These schools are very unique in that they are owned and run by the tribal elders - following the Kenyan curriculum - they also include song and dance, are earthy and organic.

"Our vision was to have a Naitengen - translated means an area where knowledge is passed - knowledge to read, knowledge of the land and water, the cattle, culture and wildlife in which the Samburu people live," said Julia.

On an early morning horseback ride, I got to see the children participate in a dance before start of school. These lucky children get to go to school and learn the value of water, including washing their hands and faces.

Julia had a little surprise for us at the the end of the day, she showed us the exact location for the new reservoir that we are fund raising for - to be built to the left of the big rock.

"New Site: Ol Donyo Lotim"

Julia has a very aggressive 10 year plan and many compelling programs to support her dream and vision. The provision of water is essential for success. There are plans to build 120 open water reservoirs over a ten year period, thereby providing clean water within a 30 minute walk of every Samburu homestead. Open water reservoirs are a sustainable water supply, preventing erosion and providing people, their livestock and wildlife access to safe, clean water.

Now that's an added incentive and satisfaction that my memories of Kenya were not shattered but sharpened by its beauty, cultural diversity and soul that has something to teach us all.

By Sam Taylor

sam@reputation-dynamics.com

212 979 6092

Long way to go: Banks slow to embrace CSR for reputation recovery

CSR Best Logo The financial services sector has undoubtedly had much to contend with in recent years. Following the collapse of Goldman Sachs in September 2008, growth stumbled to a halt and the banks became whipping boys for the media and politicians - perhaps not totally undeservedly - for their role in the financial crisis.

Today, rebuilding stakeholder trust combined with enforcing stricter financial regulations are top priorities for all banks.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has emerged as a critical tool for organizations to protect reputation, empower employees and rebuild trust with its stakeholders. Multiple industries are continuing to embrace the benefits of CSR, but the financial services sector is still lagging behind.

A committed CSR policy acts as a self-regulating mechanism enabling a business to monitor and ensure it is compliant with the rule of law, adopting ethical standards and ensuring transparency.

The 2012 100 Best Corporate Citizens List (http://www.thecro.com), recently published by Corporate Responsibility Magazine, provides an index of top corporate citizens ranked on seven categories to determine the annual ranking – employee relations, human rights, climate change, philanthropy, governance, environmental and financial performance.

This year's list was topped by global pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb, while the technology sector was well represented with IBM, Microsoft and Intel taking the next three spots. The top ten also included companies as diverse as Accenture, Campbell Soup and Nike.

However, not only were there no banks in the top ten, there were none in the top 50. The highest ranked financial services company, ranked 56, was JP Morgan Chase & Co. Only two others made the top 100, Wells Fargo (80) and State Street Corp (83).

This illustrates how the financial services industry has been slow to embrace CSR and recognize the benefits it can bring. Banks have traditionally placed greater emphasis on compliance and issues posing a 'direct risk' including being held liable for polluting the environment.

The industry has only recently begun to appreciate the importance of more 'indirect risks', such as reputation and the responsibility of banks related to lending activities (client's solvency/continuity or collateral). Risk management is no longer just about the potential financial risks, but increasingly the environmental and social consequences of lending money to clients with dubious sustainability performances. With everything that the financial services sector has endured in recent years perhaps it isn't surprising that CSR hasn't been top of mind in the boardrooms of many financial institutions but that is a mistake that banks simply can't afford to continue to make.

A notable company is Bank of America, which updated it core values and operating principals after adopting a CSR approach. The company published it first CSR report last year and its progress was recently recognized with a PR News award. The report details its socially responsible initiatives, which are now part of the bank's overall strategy. These include:

  • Funding solar power and energy efficiency programs
  • Supporting the revitalization of neighborhoods across the US
  • Lending and investing in small businesses that are the backbone of the economy
  • Encouraging employees to volunteer over a million hours in nonprofits and community organizations
  • Funding innovative arts and culture organizations

"The progress reflected in this report demonstrates our commitment to creating opportunities that help the economy move forward through responsible business practices, lending, investing and charitable giving," said Anne Finucane, Bank of America's global strategy and marketing officer.

While Bank of America represents how CSR is starting to make an impact in the financial services sector, the Best Corporate Citizens List demonstrates how the industry as a whole needs to step up to the plate. CSR is an important opportunity for banks to take responsibility for their actions and positively impact stakeholder groups.

If the banking sector is to truly succeed in rebuilding its battered reputation there needs to be a more serious commitment to becoming socially responsible and engaging with the key issues that stakeholders demand. Is your company doing enough?

Posted by Sam Taylor.

Champion Clean Water Campaign: ‘One Village at a Time’

Sponsor a safe water station in India or Ghana

Wish you could do something about the world water crisis, where you could clearly SEE your impact? You can.

Safe Water Network's Champion Clean Water Campaign is a practical way for a company's employees to help the billion people around the world without access to safe, affordable water. It is a customized corporate social responsibility or employee engagement program that is making real impact in communities in need.

Children celebrating the launch of a safe water station in India

Your Support Counts: Whether you have an existing social responsibility program or are launching a new philanthropic initiative, the Champion Clean Water Campaign complements traditional employee giving and corporate matching gift campaigns. We will customize the Campaign to meet your requirements including:

  • Creation of educational materials about water, sanitation and health for employee awareness and sign‐up.
  • Opportunities to build awareness, visibility and recognition for your customers and other stakeholders.
  • Customized workplace giving events to mark key milestones of the water station development and impact on the community.
  • Alignment with Safe Water Network's collaborative network of partners, water sector leaders and technical experts.

Champion Clean Water, One Village at a Time

We've provided almost a quarter of a million people safe, affordable water, and with your support, we will reach many more. We offer several options ranging from a single village for $25,000, up to $250,000 for a cluster of villages that would include a "service depot" of supplies and ongoing support. Pledges above $50,000 receive a customized employee engagement package.

To learn more about the Champion Clean Water Campaign and life‐changing work of Safe Water Network, please contact: engagement@safewaternetwork.org.

How the Champion Clean Water Campaign Works

Pledge* Your organization can help Safe Water Network to assess, engage, build, launch, manage and ultimately transfer ownership and operation of a water station to a village of roughly 5,000 people.
Monitor Every step of the way, your employees will see their impact on the community. Regular field updates (twitter feeds, dedicated web pages, blogs) will report on progress and how clean water is making a difference: improving livelihoods, easing the burden on women, improving children's health…
Results We work with the village as a genuine partner to ensure long‐term success: on‐the‐job training and support, standardization of operating procedures, manuals and tool kits…Demand generation activities help improve efficiencies and educational programming improves health and hygiene practices.
Impact As an advocate, your participation adds to the collective knowledge of Safe Water Network because every step at every site is monitored, evaluated and documented to refine our approach and quantify results to make the human right of safe water available to all.

By Sam Taylor

Disaster Relief Employee Volunteering - Field Report from Haiti and Update on Japan Plans

We are taking this opportunity to provide you with an update on the significant progress being made by Elevate Destinations Disaster Relief Programs.  In addition to completing another successful Haiti trip, Elevate Destinations won a prestigious honor from National Geographic Traveler and is planning a volunteer relief initiative in Japan.

Haiti – Report from the Field: In March 2011, the Elevate Haiti trip was an unequivocal success.  Volunteers from all over the United States were able to:

  • Raise over $10,000 for the St. Joseph’s Family and the rebuilding of their homes for orphaned and ex-slave children.
  • Bond and play with the kids, sharing extraordinary moments filled with laughter and music.
  • Contribute to amazing progress on the construction of both the Port-au-Prince Home and the Jacmel Community Center extension.
  • Show solidarity with Haitians during their rebuilding phase.
  • Support the employment of over 20 Haitian workers hired for the rebuilding process.

We invite you to review the report and “Before & After” pictures from Urgent Service Travel Director, Andrea Atkinson. “The first time I was in Haiti was in May 2010. It was 4 months after the earthquake. It had been 4 months since St. Joseph's School for Boys had been ravaged and Bill, the director, had fallen from the 7th story to the ground below, saved from being crushed by the rubble only by the strength of a sturdy tree that held it back”. Read the full report from Haiti here.

However, there is still more to be done.  Ongoing funding, volunteers, and support are crucial to the completion of the new orphanage – which will benefit more children than in the 28 years prior combined. The building will be completed in 2013.  Until then, we have a monumental but achievable task ahead.

Disaster Response in the Gulf: Our trip to the Gulf to help with restoring marine habitats after the BP Oil Spill is being planned for next year. Our partnership with non-profit, Ocean Foundation, is developing and expanding as we learn of additional needs in the region caused by the recent tornadoes. A custom trip is possible upon request.

Disaster Relief Plans for Japan: Elevate Destinations is saddened by the tragedy that continues to grip Japan and is moved by the amazing interest in volunteering in the country. Elevate Destinations is working to secure effective partnerships with non-profits in Japan, so that when the country is ready for second response disaster relief, we are ready to mobilize. We are focusing again on the needs of the many children orphaned by the earthquake and tsunami to help them rebuild their lives.  We expect to offer a volunteer trip late this year or early in 2012.

National Geographic Traveler Award: The trip "Elevate Haiti: Jacmel Community School Volunteer Build-Out," has been selected as one of National Geographic Traveler magazine’s 2011 “50 Tours of a Lifetime,” and is featured in the May/June 2011 issue - Read the article online

About Elevate Destinations Disaster Relief Programs: Elevate Destinations is a social enterprise with expertise in travel organizing and humanitarian issues. Elevate’s staff has extensive knowledge of international sustainability development issues to ensure that each service opportunity is economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable for the long-term. Elevate Destinations custom designs extraordinary individual, group, and family trips, donating a percentage of profits to the protection of natural resources and community development in destination countries. These programs provide communities with funding, resources, and human capital, enabling concerned citizens to engage in urgent service and life-changing experiential learning. Additional information about the sponsorship benefits and costs is available at http://www.elevatedestinations.com/urgentservicesponsor.html

Elevate Destinations and Reputation Dynamics has partnered together to help corporations combine corporate contributions with first hand employee participation, maximizing positive impact for employee engagement and the communities that are most affected.  Please contact us to explore how we can help you design signature programs worldwide, tailored to your company's strategic giving interests.

Sam Taylor

Disaster Relief Employee Volunteering and Sponsorship Opportunities - Haiti and the Gulf

Commitment to disaster response and relief programs is an increasing priority for corporate responsibility and community development programs. This is due to the frequency and severity of natural disasters that have occurred in the United States and around the world. In just the past five years, we have witnessed catastrophes such as Hurricane Katrina, the Haiti Earthquake and the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill.  In addition to donating money and resources, employee volunteer programs represent significant benefits and opportunities for corporations.  In addition to providing financial donations and in-kind support, employee volunteer programs enable companies to cultivate more personal links to the community by sharing human talent with organizations in need.

Elevate Destinations is offering disaster relief employee volunteering and/or sponsorship opportunities in Haiti and the Gulf.  Their programs provide communities with funding, resources and human capital, enabling concerned citizens to engage in urgent service and life-changing experiential learning.

Upcoming Trips:

Elevate Haiti: Jacmel Community School Volunteer Build-out March 20 - April 3, 2011; 
August 14 - 28, 2011; and November 20December 4, 2011.

Port-au-Prince Boy’s Home Rebuild March 20 - 28, 2011; August 14 - 22, 2011; and November 2027, 2011 Non-profit Partner: St. Joseph’s Family

Elevate the Gulf: April 22 - April 30, 2011 Non-profit Partner: The Ocean Foundation

There are opportunities to be involved in several ways:

  • Sponsor a volunteer trip. By supporting a volunteer trip as a Single Trip SponsorSeries Sponsor or a Top Sponsor, you support a local community project as well as a group of volunteers already committed to hands-on disaster relief. You commit to the recovery of a community in need by providing needed resources to the project and offsetting the costs that devoted volunteers take on to participate.
  • Send employee volunteers. When you support your employees’ desires to engage in volunteer experiences, you not only commit to disaster relief, but also commit to building a team of loyal and dedicated employees. You have the opportunity to send one or more of your employees on the trip of the lifetime as a Single Trip SponsorSeries Sponsor or a Top Sponsor.

Additional information about the sponsorship benefits and costs is attached, along with a linkhttp://www.elevatedestinations.com/urgentservicesponsor.html.

Elevate Destinations is a social enterprise with expertise in travel organizing and humanitarian issues. Elevate’s staff have extensive knowledge of international sustainability development issues to ensure that each service opportunity is economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable for the long-term. Elevate Destinations custom designs extraordinary individual, group,and family trips, donating a percentage of profits to the protection of natural resources and community development in destination countries (www.elevatedestinations.com).

Elevate Destinations Press and Recognition:

Travel + Leisure – November 2010 “Best Life-changing Trips” Haiti: Help Heal A Nation Los Angeles Times – June 2010  “Haiti: Volunteer vacations to help rebuild quake areas”

For further information, please contact me at sam@reputation-dynamics.com

elevatechildren

Conscious Commerce: Business and Social Innovation Trends for 2011

Despite a difficult economic environment and companies cutting costs throughout their businesses, corporate responsibility (CR) remained a priority in 2010, and in fact, corporations are expanding their commitments - especially aligning business with social innovation in emerging markets around the world.

CR is continuing to add a new dimension to the business strategy providing market, product and community growth opportunities. CEOs and boardrooms are recognizing the benefits of being a responsible citizen including enhanced reputation, stakeholder engagement, business performance, as well as restoring trust.

However, there's a need for a more holistic approach toward mitigating pressing issues, such as, inclusive partnership development that further aligns and mobilizes action among businesses, governments and civil society - for deeper community impact.

Topline trends and considerations for 2011...

CR spending on the rise: According to a poll conducted by Business for Social Responsibility among 377 professionals among BSR member companies, nearly all (94 percent) of the respondents said that their companies plan to maintain or increase their budgets for CSR/sustainability programs 2011.Source: "BSR/GlobeScan State of Sustainable Business Poll 2010"

Top social concerns: Top issues include disaster relief, agriculture and food security, workers rights, healthcare, nutrition and climate change. Women and youth are a key focus. A couple of interesting initiatives include:

  • 1000 Days: Change a Life, Change the Future supports international experts and advocates working to improve early nutrition. Each year, 3.5 million mothers and children under five die as a result of malnutrition. Several organizations have come together to ensure that children and families get a healthy start to life including InterAction, Bread of the World, Concern, Save the Children, World Vision and the Hunger Project. For more information -http://www.thousanddays.org/
  • International Year of the Youth: In an effort to harness the energy and initiative of our next generation in overcoming the challenges facing humankind, the United Nations proclaimed an International Year of Youth which started on 12 August 2010. Under the theme 'Dialogue and Mutual Understanding,' the Year aims to encourage understanding across generations and promote the ideals of peace and respect for human rights. For more information: http://social.un.org/youthyear/index.htm

Emerging markets spotlight: There is increasing investor interest in Africa, one of the world's largest emerging markets with one billion consumers. Consumer spending rose at a compounded annual rate of 16% to 2008 from 2005, according to McKinsey & Co. The firm estimates that about 220 million Africans will join the middle class as consumers within five years. Business-driven partnerships are addressing Africa's development challenges in new and innovative ways.

Inclusive partnerships: Forge deeper partnerships with non-profit social and environmental actors - NGOs, (UN Agencies, development agencies and civil society organizations). Proper evaluation, alignment and collaboration within the NGO community is critical for business and social impact, and represents considerable benefits for both parties. These include building quality programs and capacity, access to new markets/talent, donor acquisition and product innovation. For a vetted list of NGOs that adhere to a set of ethics and compliance standards, check out - www.interaction.org.

Employee volunteering: Employee volunteer programs continue to be on the rise and represent significant benefits for corporations.  In addition to providing financial donations and in-kind support, employee volunteer programs enable companies to motivate employees and cultivate more personal associations to communities. For further information about opportunities in Haiti and The Gulf, please contact Sam at sam@reputation-dynamics.com.

Demonstration and accountability: Measurement is becoming increasingly important to corporate boards and shareholders who expect to be educated about the value of CSR in advancing ROI. Corporations need to share more information about their initiatives to key stakeholders and demonstrate impact. A growing roster of companies are participating in the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Social Accountability International (SAI), and other networks with accountability and transparency standards.

Corporations have the opportunity to 'Turn it up a notch' by continuing to align business strategy for future development and growth - creating solutions that benefit communities and corporate bottom lines. In conclusion, it is critical to:

  • Ensure that social issues are embedded into the business strategy and throughout the supply chain
  • Understand the marketplace context, customs, culture and social issues
  • Properly identify and align with competent non-profits/NGOs that specialize in key sectors such as healthcare, education and nutrition
  • Develop grass-roots programs in their local communities
  • Further retain and attract talent via development of employee engagement and volunteering programs
  • Mobilize action among businesses, government and civil society
  • Report and demonstrate social progress

By Sam Taylor

8th Annual Youth Assembly at the United Nations

friendshipThe MDG Executive Sessions for Young Professionals -Thursday & Friday, January 20 & 21, 2011 Location: United Nations Headquarters, New York City

The MDG Executive Sessions is a two-day forum providing an opportunity to network with young working professionals, UN representatives, and corporate leaders at the United Nations.  Young Professionals from around the world will participate in panel discussions and case study think tanks about corporate social responsibility, social enterprise development, and capacity building strategies to realize the 8 United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  The Annual Youth Assembly at the United Nations demonstrates what committed, global youth leaders can and have accomplished in support of the MDGs.

Friendship Ambassadors Foundation has partnered with the International Youth Council on the Youth Assembly at the United Nations

Sam Taylor of Reputation Dynamics will be moderating a panel on behalf of The Friendship Ambassadors Foundation on Friday, January 21st.

A Corporate Perspective on Social Responsibility

The Global Compact and PepsiCo: A Report from the Field

Daniel Bena, Director of Sustainable Development for PepsiCo

Samantha Taylor, In Conversation                 

Program Highlights: 

  • Opening & Closing Ceremonies featuring Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Enterprise Leaders and UN Agency Officials
  • A presentation about a major new, masters’ level social enterprise scholarship program at NYU, by the Reynolds Foundation
  • The announcement of 15 scholarships to Tangshan University in China. The dissemination of these scholarships will be to the world’s poorest and most talented youth. A plan to identify and adjudicate these scholarships will be a subject for discussion and development during the YA
  • An overview of MDG successes and challenges by UNDP staff
  • Two days of intensive meetings and workshops featuring Harvard case study method reviews of actual MDG programming by corporate CSR and SE leaders, NGO field workers, and UN staff
  • Special Conference Reception and optional networking Weekend in New York City: Attend the Executive Sessions – and then stay on to enjoy the City with other YA delegates, all weekend long

Delegate Profile:

  • Young professionals, ages 22-26, interested in achieving MDG success
  • Youth leaders engaged in UN studies, ages 16-21
  • Members of the International Youth Council and other youth organizations focused on the Millennium Development Goals
  • Faculty and media seeking an active role in mentoring or chronicling youth led development toward the success of the MDGs
  • University-age youth seeking a leadership position during the Youth Assembly next August, especially prospective YA summer interns

Friendship Ambassadors Foundation (FAF) is a nonprofit, tax exempt, 501(c)3 organization that provides meaningful cultural exchange opportunities by promoting peace through the performing arts. It directs and organizes the Youth Assembly at the United Nations on an annual basis. This year, FAF will finance the Youth Assembly and present a special performing arts event as well as offer general background support.  For more information -  http://faf.org/

Navigating the New Frontier - Emerging Markets: Implications for Aligning Social Change with Business ROI

Emergingmarkets As multinational companies continue to explore growth opportunities in an economic downturn, emerging economies are dominating the strategic agenda and boardroom discussions. 

The economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) are projected to account for over 55 percent of worldwide GDP by 2020.  The number of multinational companies that are based in BRIC countries more than doubled from 27 in 2005 to 58 in 2009.  Whether a corporation is targeting a BRIC, Africa, or other emerging market business growth opportunity, they are also being forced to re-consider their social investments.

This is further fueling competition among organizations who are seeking the benefits of investing overseas, as well as the increasing evolvement of the relationship between business and social impact.

Despite the naysayers and ongoing responses to the recent Wall Street Journal article (The Case Against CSR-8/23), Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability is continuing to evolve as a strategic imperative for safeguarding a company’s brand reputation, engaging employees, driving revenue and sparking innovation.  

According to a study conducted by the UN Global Compact and Accenture,  93 percent of corporate CEOs say that sustainability will be critical to the future success of their companies including the following business actions over the next five years:

  • Shaping consumer tastes to build a stronger market for sustainable products;
  • Training management, employees and the next generation of leaders to deal with sustainability issues;
  • Communicating with investors to create a better understanding of the impact of sustainability.

Among the survey’s additional findings, Education and climate change were identified by respondents as the ‘big issues’ they face, with resource scarcity and health starting to appear on the horizon.  Education was identified by 72 percent of the respondents as the most important development issue for the future success of their business, followed by climate change at 66 percent. 

The War for Talent Continues…

Our economic situation is also impacting productivity and creating talent shortages both in the US and abroad. Despite lay-offs and cost cutting, attracting and retaining talent remains a top challenge for global leaders as our new generation of leaders’ are flexible enough to work in different cultures.  Education systems in some developed nations, including the US, are struggling to create the talent pool needed for productivity gains and companies are challenged filling technical positions.

Corporations are poised to maximize their bottom-line growth by properly aligning business strategy with creating meaningful social impact. 

77 percent of CEOs state that embedding social engagement into business strategy is the most important action to take to prepare for 2020. Source: Pathways to Sustainable Value Creation: McKinsey.

The Wall Street Journal featured an analysis of the 30 companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and found that those with a large portion of revenue abroad are expected to fare better than those dependent on the US economy. Global players such as 3M, McDonald's, Coca-Cola and Hewlett Packard are cited among those poised to reap the benefits of investing overseas in fast-growing economies like China and Brazil. Source: WSJ: 9/8 -Divided by Two-Track Economy.

In this ‘low trust’ marketplace, multinational corporations have the opportunity to take a greater leadership role  addressing and providing solutions to some of society’s most pressing social issues.  For example:

The Impact of the Economy on Poverty: Despite the progress made with respect to the fight against extreme poverty between 1990-2005, (during that period, the number of people living on less than $1.25 a day decreased from 1.8 billion to 1.4 billion), in 2009 an around 55-90 million more people were estimated to be living in extreme poverty as a result of the economic crisis. Source: UN Millennium Development Goals Report 2009.

The State of Water: Some 1.1 billion in people in developing countries have inadequate access to water, and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation.

Poverty in India: According to a new Oxford University study, 55 percent of India’s population of 1.1 billion, or 645 million people, are living in poverty. Using a newly-developed index, the study found that about one-third of the world’s poor live in India.

Child Malnutrition in India: More than 1.5 million children in India are estimated to suffer from malnourishment and 43 percent of children under five years of age are underweight, according to the latest UNWFP report.

Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission in South Africa: A high number of babies, around 70,000, are born with HIV every year, reflecting poor prevention of mother to child transmission.  HIV and AIDS is one of the main contributors to South Africa’s infant mortality rate, which increased significantly between 1990 (44 deaths per 1000 infants) and 2008 (48 per 1000), when other regions of the world saw decreases.

Local to Global..

To prepare for, properly operate and invest in emerging markets it is critical for an organization to:

-Understand the marketplace context, customs, culture and social issues

-Properly identify and align with nonprofits/NGOs that specialize in key sectors such as healthcare, education, nutrition and economic development

-Develop grass-roots programs that impact their local communities

-Further retain and attract talent under the halo of our ‘War for Talent' via development of employee engagement programs

-Engage and build relationships with critical stakeholders

-Develop partnerships that mobilizes action among businesses, government, civil society and community

-Report social progress and impact - integral to business performance and ROI

It is critical to evaluate and focus on the social issues that are integral to their business, products and services.  Ensure that these social issues are embedded into the business strategy and throughout the supply chain.  Also, devise social engagement strategies that are aligned with corporate marketing activities, community development initiatives, foundation giving, employee giving/volunteering programs, product and resource donations.

Corporations have the opportunity to ‘turn it up a notch’ by reworking their business strategy for future development and growth – capitalizing on creating solutions that truly benefit communities and corporate bottom lines. 

Emerging-market leaders prevail.

**

By Sam Taylor, Founder of Reputation Dynamics and Senior Advisor to the nonprofit Synergos Institute. For more than 20 years, Synergos has created innovative solutions to address poverty and advance social equity in emerging markets around the world.

Resources/Links:

The Synergos Institute - www.synergos.org

The Wall Street Journal - http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704855104575470202726780746.html

Accenture and UN Compact Study - http://www.unglobalcompact.org/news/42-06-22-2010

UN Global Compact Leaders Summit

UNCompactMtgBUILDING A NEW ERA OF SUSTAINABILITY - JUNE 24-25 - NEW YORK Chaired by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit 2010 will provide the platform for organizations to convene, collaborate and commit to building a new era of sustainability – an era where environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues are deeply integrated into business based on both material and ethical rationales. At the Summit, leaders will collectively tackle priority areas that are central to corporate leadership today and essential for the transformation to sustainable markets and the achievement of societal goals. With over 1,000 global leaders in attendance, this triennial Summit will be the most important UN-business event ever held.

The Summit will be divided into three parts:

Part I: Setting the Sustainability Agenda

Corporate responsibility has always been defined by and evolved within the broader context of politics, power and technological change, and responded to the call for the greater good. A confluence of factors – notably the financial crisis and climate change – has finally pushed this agenda towards a tipping point. It is now widely understood that our globalized marketplace requires a stronger ethical orientation, better caretaking of the common good, and more comprehensive management of risks.

Part II: Leading the Change

Corporate sustainability leadership today calls for a sophisticated and comprehensive approach to integrating ESG issues across the organization – from the Board, down through the organization and subsidiaries, and out into the supply chain. It requires connecting sustainability issues and actions – moving beyond silos – and meaningfully reporting progress and impacts. Corporate leadership today also calls for responsible engagement in public policy spheres.

Part III: Achieving Development

2010 will mark a decade since world leaders committed to reduce extreme poverty and set out the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to be achieved by 2015. Much remains to be done – especially with negative impacts from climate change, food crises and the global economic downturn turning back advances. Poverty is a profound threat to global security, interdependence and building strong markets. Business can and must strengthen its role in finding strategic and effective solutions to combat global poverty, hunger and disease.

Reputation Dynamics will be attending this event and will report back.

Further information can be located at:  http://www.leaderssummit2010.org/

Sam Taylor

Embracing the Power of Women on the Front Lines of Community Change

womenAs the ‘War for Talent’ continues, women are being increasingly recognized and actively participating in building stronger economies, more stable societies and achieving goals for economic development around the world. Women perform 66 percent of the world’s work, and produce 50 percent of the food, yet earn only 10 percent of the income and own 1 percent of the property.

Today, empowering women to take action is a critical component of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and community development initiatives.  Through CSR, organizations are mobilizing women to fulfill their potential by reducing poverty, fighting social justice and driving economic growth. They are providing women with access to healthcare, job training, technology advancement and education while boosting their confidence and encouraging them to make social change.

According to World Bank statistics, 53 million more people could fall into $2 a day in poverty as a result of the global economic slump – or up to 100 million more people according to the UN Millennium Campaign.

Top line Trends on Women:

  • Women are increasingly becoming advocates and addressing key issues such as poverty, the environment, healthcare, education and arts/culture
  • Women are playing a prominent role in their households and communities when it comes to philanthropy
  • Women in the U.S. give an average 3.5% of their wealth to charity
  • The volunteer rate of women was 30.1 percent in 2009 – Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Taking a leadership position determining the future and value of charitable giving for the next generation – creating family charitable legacy

Snap shot on key issues women are addressing....

Zimbabwe         - Empowering Girls 
Kenya                  - Accessing water 
Cambodia          - Thwarting sex traffickers 
India                    - Taking schools to children
USA                       - Creating leaders  

Paradigm Shift: Women CSR Champions:  This, in turn, is effecting a major shift forcing culture change, transformation of organizations, community and workplace development programs.  Our leadership is continuing to be defined by innovative approaches that integrate sustainability into business operations, create a stronger workforce and build more impactful community development programs.

The following organizations’ are having a global impact on women by engaging in conscious commerce initiatives:

General Mills - Join My Village: Last fall, General Mills and CARE launched an initiative entitled ‘Join My Village,’ an innovative online community that is fighting poverty in Malawi through the empowerment of women and girls.  General Mills will donate up to $500,000 to increase economic and educational opportunities for women and girls in approximately 75 villages in Malawi, one of the poorest countries in Africa.  Through several activities such as telling a friend about Join My Village, or joining a village team – $1 will go to General Mills and will go to CARE’s poverty fighting programs in the Malawi villages.  Additionally, General Mills will match personal contributions dollar-for-dollar for up to $50 per donor, $15,000 per village or $150,000. Further information can be located at http://www.joinmyvillage.com/

Global Sister.org: A project of The Sisterhood is Global Institute (SIGI), is a global communications network and unique online social networking space, enabling women and organizations to collaborate, organize, and advance top-of-mind concerns such as violence against women, health and trafficking.  This is a virtual learning environment for women’s organizations to share and teach social organizing tools and techniques.  Further information can be located at http://www.globalsister.org/.

Unilever: Unilever has a number of programs that enable women to be progressively brought into the mainstream of economic activities to bolster development. The Fair & Lovely Foundation was set-up as a social initiative by Unilever Bangladesh Limited under its leading skin care brand Fair & Lovely. The mission of the Foundation is to "Encourage economic empowerment of Bangladeshi women through information and resources in the areas of Education, Career and Enterprise." The foundation provides scholarships that allow women to attend school and obtain degrees in fields such as engineering, commerce, science and medicine. Further information can be located at http://www.unilever.com.bd/sustainability/women-empowerment/FALfoundation.aspx.

The key is no longer ‘Why’ it is needed, but rather ‘How’ an organization is empowering women, developing and incorporating initiatives into core, everyday business and community development programs.

It is critical for an organization to treat and develop their own workforce well to be credible as they advocate for addressing pressing global concerns, impact and transparency of their programs.  Women’s career development programs are an important platform and link to CSR, as well as creating a global community of women citizens.  Through such programs, women are not only improving their economic potential but giving back to their communities through active participation and demonstrated impact.

And, they have the right and opportunity to earn more than 10 percent of the income and own 1 percent of the property.

Organizations have a timely opportunity to empower and galvanize a global grassroots level movement among women who are hungry to change pressing global concerns.

Sam Taylor

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CMOs Convene to Address ROI, Profits with Purpose, and Leading the Company Growth Agenda

cmoclubThe CMO Club Hosts Summit in New York on April 21-22

Special Panel on CSR and Cause-Marketing

Leading marketers will be sharing world class marketing practices within their businesses and how to drive the growth agenda through these economic times.  To provide a forum for CMOs to share their perspectives for the constantly evolving marketing landscape, The CMO Club, an exclusive organization for CMOs will host a Thought Leadership Summit - “The World’s Best CMO Conversations” from April 21-22 in New York City. Information: http://www.thecmoclubsummit.com.

The Summit, which will host more than 75 Chief Marketing Officers representing both Fortune 500 and mid-size companies, will feature a series of sessions and workshops designed and lead by CMOs.  Sessions will include - ROI: “Achieving Real Returns from Changing Traditional Media and Social Media” - Innovation: “How to Deliver Real Innovation” - and - Profits with Purpose: “Cause Marketing that Benefits Everyone.” 

Featured companies will include Gail Galuppo from Western Union, Jeffrey Hayzlett from Kodak, Steve Liguori from General Electric, Terri Graham from Jack in the Box, Barbara Goodstein from AXA Equitable, Babs Rangaliah from Unilever, Thomas Moradpour from PepsiCo, Tracy Dolgin from YES Network, Guido Sciascia from Barilla Foods, Neil Popplewell from Novartis, Morgan Johnson from JetBlue, among others.

The summit will also feature a special session on aligning profits with purpose:

Giving Back: Real Insights for Cause Marketing that Benefits Everyone” - 4:305:30 pm, Wednesday, April 21

This session will provide practical insights on how to use the power of cause marketing to benefit and engage key stakeholders. The traditional philanthropic‐based approach of cause marketing has fundamentally changed adopting a new strategic model to properly align profits with purpose.  Topics to include: 

  • Creating a lasting emotional connection with consumers
  • Demonstrating the social and financial benefits of your campaign
  • Lessons learned from successful cause marketing campaigns
  • Avoiding common pitfalls such as “Green Washing” and mission‐drift
  • Choosing the right non‐profit partners and create the most value
  • Enhancing your employee brand via cause marketing
  • Developing effective social media strategies

Featured Panelists: 

  • Mark Bonchek (Moderator), Executive Director, Qindred Foundation
  • Renata Black, Director, 7 Bar Foundation - Case Study: Fusion Beauty (http://www.fusionbeauty.com/kissaway.html)
  • Samantha (Sam) Taylor, Founder, Reputation Dynamics/Conscious Commerce
  • Peter Land, Senior Vice President, PepsiCo

Heads of Marketing, CSR and Sustainability interested in attending the Summit can visit www.thecmoclubsummit.com or contact Pete Krainik at pete.krainik@thecmoclub.comTo learn more about The CMO Club please visit www.thecmoclub.com.

Posted by advisory and founding member of The CMO Club, Sam Taylor.

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