sustainability

Conscious Commerce Predictions: Accelerating Transition to a Circular Economy

Our turbulent political climate, world disasters and unprecedented events is fueling businesses, individuals to collaborate on tackling key challenges facing the planet and threats to humanity.  

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By 2050 there will be 9.7 billion people on the planet, half of them will be in water-stressed regions, requiring 50 percent more energy. 

While progress has been made in support of the Sustainability Development (SDG’s) goals, gaps ensue mitigating climate change’s disruptions on peoples lives and economies, the circular economy, a $4.5 trillion opportunity, according to Accenture, is the new driver for innovation across industries, product lifecycles and global supply chains.

While attention on plastic waste, including bans on plastic bags and straws, is advocating sustainability, more effective programs are needed to address resource scarcity and climate threats, respond to societal pressure to preserve our planet for future generations. 

This transition requires companies, retailers, and consumers to adopt a systemic approach to developing new models that use less natural resources, tackle climate change, generate more economic growth and influence buying patterns. 

With escalating concerns about pollution, habitat loss and exploitation of natural resources, businesses are under pressure from investors, civil society and consumers to tackle these challenges.

A recap of the top realities we face:

Oceans: Nearly half of the ocean’s marine populations have declined over the last 45 years. About 13 million tones of plastic leak into our oceans every year, harming biodiversity, economies and health.  By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish if we keep producing (and failing to properly dispose of) plastics at predicted rates, plastics in the ocean will outweigh fish pound for pound in 2050, according to a report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and World Economic Forum. 

Wildlife Species:  In just 20 years African elephants could be gone.  Despite the ivory ban in 1989, elephants continue to be slaughtered with only half the number of elephants left. Approximately 100 African elephants are killed each day by poachers seeking ivory leaving only 430,000 remaining. Elephants are a critical species as they create and maintain the ecosystems in which they live and for other plant and animal species to also survive.

Waste: Businesses are the largest producers of hardware waste and recyclables, with a study finding that £40 billion worth of hardware materials are in the bin. Consumers are discarding usable devices to get the latest new gadget or technology. The amount of annual waste is expected to increase globally to 51 million tons a year due to the digital economy. 

Forests: Warmer temperatures and changing precipitation patterns are driving forests northward, to higher elevation. Changing forest health and range has implications far beyond what types of trees will succeed. Trees are a major backbone of ecosystems that birds and other wildlife rely on for survival. If there is such an abrupt change in the natural landscape, the wildlife, the human systems, and the economies that rely on those systems will be challenged to keep pace with the rate of change.

Global Warming:  Global emissions are reaching record levels and show no sign of peaking. The last four years were the four hottest on record, and winter temperatures in the Arctic have risen by 3°C since 1990. Sea levels are rising, coral reefs are dying, and we are starting to see the life-threatening impact of climate change on health, through air pollution, heat waves and risks to food security. 

Reputation Dynamics Predictions:

What will be key to success for a circular economy for the long-term will be ‘inclusiveness’ towards devising holistic approaches to embrace key social and environmental trends:  

Growth of Consumer Power and Activism:  Recent research by consultancy firm Deloitte revealed over 80 percent of Millennials across Australia, Canada, China, India, the UK and the US find it important for companies to behave ethically and take steps to diminish their environmental impact. Consumers aged 25-35 are projected to spend 150 billion US dollars on sustainable goods by 2021.

Disaster Relief and Recovery: With the increasing number of natural disasters, corporations, emergence of mission-critical foundations and nonprofits are re-thinking approaches to disaster relief and recovery efforts. While many organizations will continue to provide immediate relief to victims of natural disasters through cash grants and product donations, companies are taking a more pro-active approach to restoring and building resilient communities for the long-term, such as affordable housing, trees and parks, mass transport and urban infrastructure; and resilience for the urban poor.

Growth of Sustainability Incentives: As corporations determine metrics, suppliers are incentivized to be more sustainable. For example Project Gigaton is a Walmart initiative to avoid one billion metric tons (a gigaton) of greenhouse gases from the global value chain by 2030. Suppliers can take their sustainability efforts to the next level through goal setting and receive credits. 

Urbanization: Nearly 70 percent of the world’s population (6.7 billion), are projected to live in urban areas. This calls for new innovative designs for cities and living spaces to include water resource protection, renewable energy, food is grown locally, supporting diverse cultures, population migration patterns and carbon-neutral infrastructures. 

Plant a Tree: Urban forests are dynamic ecosystems that provide critical benefits to people and wildlife. Urban forests help to filter air and water, control storm water, conserve energy, and provide shade. By reducing noise and providing places to recreate, urban forests strengthen social cohesion, spur community revitalization, and add economic value to our communities. American Forests, the oldest conservation organization in the US, is dedicated to protecting and restoring healthy forest ecosystems with a goal to plant a further 3 million trees.

Conclusion: A strong business case is a priority for companies looking to adopt effective circular economy practices. With financial incentives for businesses to shift to 100% renewable energy, adopting the circular model represents environmental conservation as an economic opportunity while restoring and building resilient communities for the long-term. 

It will transform our relationships as consumers, our buying habits, selection of clothes, food, utilities and choice of materials. 

However, what is fundamental to success is to treat our materials as precious resources, convene more alliances, work across multiple industry sectors, break down silos, and enforce action on a united front.   

It’s that Simple. Plant a Tree Today: www.americanforests.org

By: Samantha Taylor - Founder of Reputation Dynamics 

Since 2005, Reputation Dynamics (RD) has been committed to addressing social, environmental and human justice issues. RD mobilizes corporations, NGOs/civil society and academia to devise share-valued approaches and develop inclusive partnerships.

I look forward to connecting with peers who are making the world a better place, advancing the Sustainable Development Goals. Please contact me at:  

sam@reputation-dynamics.com

Emerging Market Spotlight: Improving Health and Livelihoods in Africa

A recent Wall Street Journal article titled, U.S. Companies Race to Catch Up in Africa, addressed the issues American companies are facing expanding and selling more products in Africa, a market predicted to grow in the coming decade. According to McKinsey & Co, 220 million Africans will join the middle class as consumers within five years. The Wall Street Journal article states:

“U.S. companies' game of catch-up shows the perils of waking up late to the next big frontier market, Africa. The continent's economy is forecast to grow to $2.6 trillion in 2020 from $1.6 trillion in 2008, fueled by booms in mining, agriculture and development of ports, roads and other infrastructure, according to McKinsey Global Institute. The middle class is growing and total household spending now exceeds that of India.”

While the article features many of the challenges Africa presents, (a multitude of regional logistics and laws, changing governments and difficult environment for supply chain development) the article does not address solutions towards aligning profits with purpose.

Often termed base-of-the-pyramid (BOP) markets, these markets represent the 4 billion people who live in poverty and a potential customer base for corporations. However, approaches are fragmented and vulnerable communities are too often considered ‘problem children.’ Corporations continue to be challenged by how to properly access, invest and operate in these untapped markets.

No matter how large the company or brand, the lack of on-the-ground relationships, understanding about local laws and customs, implications of a weak governance system, and limited local capacity for building partnerships, can undermine authenticity of business and social engagement.

To succeed in Africa, companies need to adopt different approaches and properly navigate the economic, social and political circumstances of these communities.

Social intelligence is at the nexus where companies can look to make up for “waking up late” to the African market. While China may have a better financial foothold on Africa, this is in large part due to U.S. hesitation to grant trade terms to countries that are failing to adequately support human rights, market-based economies, and the rule of law - scruples which China has notably lacked in doing countries in Africa. By demonstrating long-term corporate social responsibility programs and investment in their African stakeholders, U.S. companies can win over the competition and prosper in the continent.

Companies also have the opportunity to extend current social purpose initiatives to improve the health and livelihoods of populations impacted by poor health and malnutrition, lack of access to safe, drinking water:

  • Nearly 1 billion people lack access to safe water
  • Every 20 seconds, a child dies from a water-related disease
  • Maternal Health: More than 350,000 women die annually from complications during pregnancy or childbirth, almost all of them — 99 per cent — in developing countries.

Companies can learn from their peers, exchange best practices and knowledge sharing in the interests of collaborative action. For example:

P&G created the Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program aligned with their products to solve the problems facing many communities due to the lack of access to clean drinking water. The program works with more than 100 partners in 60 countries (many in Africa) to hand out PUR packets, a water purifying technology developed by P&G and the Center for Disease Control – the product has saved more than 16,000 lives.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters ensures a healthy and prosperous supply chain, from coffee-growing communities in Latin America, Indonesia, and Africa, to manufacturing operations in China. GMCR focuses on the food security for farmers and their families especially during times of drought. GMCR and The Coffee Trust debuted, After the Harvest: Fighting Hunger in the Coffeelands, a documentary about food insecurity in coffee communities.

The Power of Nonprofits

Properly align with nonprofits/NGOs that specialize in key sectors such as healthcare, education, nutrition and economic development. They have the expertise and knowledge in the field, understand the local customs and social intelligence. A couple of non-profit examples include:

InterAction, the largest alliance of more than 190 US-based international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), is leading a collaborative dialogue between U.S. businesses and its members. The new InterAction Business Councils’ mission is to decrease poverty, promote social and economic development via inclusive partnership development between the corporate and NGO sectors.

Indego Africa attacks systemic poverty by delivering access to export markets and job skills to African women in Rwanda by partnering with artistic cooperatives to produce contemporary crafts for export around the world. that poverty in Africa. So far, Indego has partnered with more than 250 women in Rwanda working for five for profit cooperatives.

Not a ‘One size fits all’ Approach

If U.S. Corporations want sustainable results in Africa, they need to ensure their policies and programs include the following considerations:

  • Align the local market community assets and benefits with their business – rather than business interpreting the interests of the community;
  • Recognize the social value and considerable assets such as the people, local customs and resources;
  • Promote more ethical, responsible and sustainable business policies;
  • Change traditional norms and behavior by influencing the development of new lifestyles among poor consumers including new products and services;
  • Expand on the networks and usability of the goods/services already owned;
  • Design and co-create models from within the communities to include leadership, capacity and infrastructure development.

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.

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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

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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In Honor of World Water Day, Reputation Dynamics and Elevate Destinations Partner on Kenya: Water 2010

KenyamapJuly 10 - 20, 2010

Registration Deadline: April 15 View full itinerary

5% of Trip Cost to be Donated to NGO Partner Organizations

As citizens and companies are becoming increasingly aware, we are facing a global water crisis, which is consigning large segments of humanity to lives of poverty, vulnerability and insecurity.

In fact, the United Nations estimates that by 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population will face periodic and often severe water shortages.

The UNDP Human Development Report argues that the scarcity at the heart of the global water crisis is rooted in power, poverty and inequality, not in physical availability of water.

In partnership with Elevate Destinations, Reputation Dynamics is offering an exciting opportunity for your company stakeholders (employees, customers, business partners) to understand the importance of water, as well as consider Kenya as an extension to your sustainability initiatives. Through conversations with local and international water experts, policy makers and NGO representatives, as well as project site visits, you will learn first-hand the significance of water for human, environmental and economic prosperity. 

Trip Overview:  Travelers will receive a comprehensive overview of the most important water-related challenges facing people in Kenya, and explore some of the innovative and effective solutions that have been suggested in response.

Participants will explore issues of environment, biodiversity, droughts, floods, transboundary water resources, sanitation and health, agriculture and fisheries, pastoralism, and other areas through a combination of activities: conversations with local experts, participation in daily activities, project visits, and tourism.

Paul Faeth, President of the coalition group Global Water Challenge based in Washington DC, will lead the tour.  Local experts will also accompany the group and add their own particular perspective on the issues of each region.

This trip is the first in a series of theme-based travel opportunities for global citizens wishing to understand and impact urgent issues.

Highlights:

  • Nairobi: Learn about water distribution and sanitation in informal urban settlements
  • Lake Victoria:  Explore the importance of integrated and transboundary water management for sustainable growth and development
  • Northern Kenya:Learn about the devastating effects of the recent drought in Samburuland, and examine ongoing mitigation strategies.
  • Maasai Mara:  Understand how deforestation has affected local communities, wildlife and the ecosystem

Partner organizations include Florida International University (FIU), Global Water Challenge; KickStart; the Lake Victoria Region Local Authorities Cooperation (LVRLAC); the Kenyan NGO Maji na Ufanisi (Water and Development); the Ol Malo Trust; and the WWF, among others.

More information:

View full itinerary

For more information and to register for the trip, please contact Sam Taylor at sam@elevatedestinations.com. Tel. +1 212 979 6092

Why is water important?

  • Water has always played a key role in economic development, and economic development has always been accompanied by water development.
  • Investment in water management has been repaid through livelihood security and reductions in health risks, vulnerability and ultimately poverty.
  • Water contributes to poverty alleviation in many ways – through sanitation services, water supply, affordable food and enhanced resilience of poor communities faced with disease, climate shocks and environmental degradation.
  • Water of the right quality can improve health through better sanitation and hygiene and, when applied at the right time, can enhance the productivity of land, labor and other productive inputs. In addition, healthy freshwater ecosystems provide multiple goods and services essential to life and livelihood.
  • Water and sanitation are among the most powerful preventive medicines available to governments to reduce infectious disease. Investment in this area is to killer diseases like diarrhea what immunization is to measles – a life saver.
  • Unclean water and poor sanitation have claimed more lives over the past century than any other cause.

Source: UNDP Human Development Report 2006; UN World Water Development Report 3

About Elevate Destinations: Founded in 2005, Elevate Destinations is a leading global sustainable travel company offering customized adventures to travelers seeking to explore and impact the environmental, socio-cultural and economic conditions of the places they visit. Elevate Destinations offers travel to Africa, India, Latin America and Southeast Asia, and organizes donor trips for both profit and non-profit organizations. Every Elevate Destinations trip benefits environmental preservation and community development.

Posted by Sam Taylor

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"Corporate Social Responsibility's Role on Improving Women's Lives Around the World" - WebSeminar

webInternational Women’s Day Web Seminar: March 8, 2010 -- 11-12:30 pm EST Corporate social responsibility (CSR), sustainability and 'Going Green' has emerged as a new management paradigm for safeguarding a company’s brand reputation, engaging employees, maintaining customers and driving revenue.  Our leadership in the 21st century is increasingly being defined by innovative approaches that integrate sustainability and profitability. 

Sam Taylor, founder of Reputation Dynamics, will be joined by representatives from Royal Dutch Shell, General Mills and Unilever Bangladesh Limited who will discuss their Corporate Social Responsibility programs and how it is impacting women all 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.

Through CSR, companies are empowering women in communities around the world to fulfill their potential by reducing poverty 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.

Empowering women is a critical component of CSR initiatives and ‘How’ an organization can best develop and incorporate initiatives into their core, everyday business practices.

In honor of International Women’s Day, we will be  exploring how some top companies are changing the world by empowering women, learn more about their innovative programs, and how they are having a global impact on women by engaging in conscious commerce. 

The WebSeminar will be moderated by an early pioneer in corporate social responsibility, Samantha Taylor, Founder of Reputation Dynamics, and will feature presenters Josefine van Zanten, Vice President, Diversity & Inclusion from Royal Dutch Shell; Ellen Goldberg Luger, Executive Director, General Mills Foundation and Vice President, General Mills and Sabin Rahman, Internal Communications Manager, Unilever Bangladesh Limited.

Sponsors: PricewaterhouseCoopers.

For sponsorship and non-member registration information, email: sponsorship@workingmother.com

Additional information about Working Mother Media and WebSeminar: www.workingmothermediainc.com

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POWER TO THE PEOPLE: Reflections from Diversity Best Practices: Global Best Practices Session 2010.

DiversityThe recent Diversity Best Practices session, hosted by The New York Times, convened 300 corporate diversity and inclusion leaders followed by a joint report out with CEOs.  This interactive forum featured three core topics including  implementing global gender strategies, developing innovative solutions for engaging people with disabilities, along with utilizing CSR as a vehicle for maximizing diversity and inclusion results.  Corporations have significant opportunities to address some pressing issues and implications for conducting business in today’s marketplace including:

  • How powerful social and economic change can be enabled when girls and women have the opportunity to participate in their society. Women perform 66 percent of the world’s work and produce 50 percent of the food, while earning 10 percent of the income and owning 1 percent of the property.
  • Aligning Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as integral component of key business and talent strategies.
  • Devising innovative strategies for people with disabilities.  There are 610 million individuals with disabilities worldwide and 386 million of working age with approximately 80% living in developing countries.

Following are some key takeaways and perspectives on the advantages of CSR, diversity and workforce inclusion.

Despite lay-offs and cost cutting, attracting and retaining talent remains top priority for global leaders in 2010.

A new study revealed that only 45% of Americans are satisfied with their work – even in an economy where some feel lucky just to be employed.  Job satisfaction in 2009 hit the lowest ever recorded by the Conference Board research group in the 22 years they have been studying US workers.

The new war for talent is creating greater consequences for corporations’ reputation management, enforcing culture change, transformation and reenergizing of their brands, particularly the employee brand.

Fellow CSR panelists included Peter Lamberta, Manager, Office of Global Diversity and Inclusion, Whirlpool Corporation and Orlando D. Ashford, Senior Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer, Marsh and McLennan Companies (MMC).  Sharing perspectives about their initiatives and best practices for developing the employee value proposition, they provided the following comments.

”It is critically important to develop and promote the next generation of leaders that will enable the company to grow and gain competitive advantage”  - Peter Lamberta.

Orlando Ashford highlighted in his presentation:

(1997) “War for Talent:” – “The most important corporate resource over the next 20 years will be TALENT: smart, sophisticated business people are technologically literate, globally astute, and operationally agile. And even as the demand for them goes up, the supply of it will be going down.” Source: 1997 War for Talent – McKinsey & Co.

“Understanding employee concerns is the foundation for creating the right infrastructure and developing deeper intellectual capital to conduct business in today’s marketplace” - Orlando Ashford.

Diversity and Implications for CSR…

Diversity is increasingly becoming a key factor for attracting talent and creating teams that can perform to their full potential.

The ‘Business Case’ for diversity states that in a global marketplace a company that employs a diverse workforce (men and women, people of many generations, racially diverse backgrounds, LGBT) is better able to understand marketplace demographics, able to sell more products and services, and thrive than a company that has more limited employee demographics.

CSR is increasingly becoming a branding imperative, strategic tool to deliver diversity and inclusion results, as well as source of leadership, growth and competitive advantage.  

The key is not longer “Why” it is needed, but rather “How” can a company best align diversity with CSR into business strategy, customer relationships and sustain a diverse global workforce. 

Consumers and employees continue to advocate for their favorite brands to address pressing global concerns such as climate change, poverty, economic development, healthcare and mobilize more impactful community development programs. They are the advocates for change.

Meanwhile, a major new talent incentive is creating CSR and diversity champions.   Employees are seeking to work for an organization with a reputation for being environmentally friendly, caring about their workforce and a great place to work.

And, they are asking for and want to become more involved with philanthropic, workplace and community development initiatives. 

95% - CEOs report that businesses must address social and environmental pressures of society and employees will drive companies’ efforts to address sustainability.  Source:  McKinsey & Co/MIT Sloan Management Review.

Furthermore, in reviewing employees performance evaluations and development plans, companies are considering community involvement as a major performance competency and compensation criteria.

This, in turn, is creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce and key driver of bottom-line growth and corporate reputation.

Yet, according to research uncovered by Climb The Green Ladder:  Make Your Company and Career More Sustainable, Wiley, only 1 in 10 employees feel they have the training and resources to help their firm become more sustainable – so training and employment engagement programs are critical to ensure well trained staff and inclusion.

We cannot underestimate the role and power of employees for storytelling, experiential marketing, stakeholder engagement and creating loyal brand champions.

Leaders of global organizations must increase diversity in the workplace and align with conducting business in a sustainable and socially-conscious manner.

They need to make it front and center of the business case for the long term, a critical component for talent acquisition, growth and innovation to thrive in today’s complex marketplace.

**

Sam Taylor

Diversity Best Practices - www.diversitybestpractices.com

For further information about CSR education, training and advocacy contact (212) 979 6092.

Reputation Dynamics Founder - Sam Taylor - Participating at Diversity Best Practices: CEO Symposium on February 9

DiversityLearn How to Sustain and Build Global Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives throughout Business. Hosted by the New York Times Company.

Diversity Best Practices specializes in facilitating discussions on diversity and inclusion among the most powerful leaders of corporate America.  Now in its fourth year, Diversity Best Practices' Global Best Practice Session offers its members a full day of research insights, best practice case studies and interactive discussion structured around three provocative topics:

  • Implementing Global Gender Strategies: Utilizing Metrics and Accountability for Driving Gender Equality
  • The Workforce and Long-term Implications: Innovative Strategies for People with Disabilities
  • *Corporate Social Responsibility: The Vehicle to Deliver Diversity and Inclusion Results

Featured Speakers:

Janet Robinson, CEO, New York Times

Dr. Rohini Anand, Global Chief Diversity Officer, Sodexo 

Panel Details:

*Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR):  A Vehicle to Deliver Diversity and Inclusion Results

Sam Taylor, Founder, Reputation Dynamics

Peter Lambert, Manager, Office of Global Diversity and Inclusion, Whirlpool Corporation

Orlando D. Ashford, Senior Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer, Marsh and McLennan Companies (MMC)

Leaders of global organizations are aligning CSR as an integral component of key business and talent strategies, leveraging their positioning to not only grow but also to sustain a diverse global workforce. No longer is CSR viewed as a “nice thing to do” but rather as a key strategic tool in creating a diverse and inclusive workforce.  

Stanford University surveyed 800 MBA students from eleven leading North American and European business schools and found that 94% would accept a lower salary - an average of 14 percent lower to work for a firm with a reputation for being environmentally friendly, caring about employees and about outside stakeholders such as the community.

Furthermore, in reviewing employees’ performance evaluations and development plans companies are considering community involvement as a performance competency and compensation criteria. How can CSR be utilized as a tool to drive market share and brand loyalty? How can CSR increases employee engagement? What’s being done to shrink the gaps and take steps forward?

For further information - http://www.diversitybestpractices.com/events/194

Stay tuned for Sam Taylor’s next blog posting – perspectives on utilizing corporate social responsibility to deliver diversity and inclusion results.

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