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.


  • 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 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



Despite the economic turmoil, invigorating the global economy by advancing sustainable business practices was top of the agenda at last month’s Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) Conference.

The conference convened representatives from NGOs, academia, government and global leaders from corporations such as GE Capital, IKEA and Levi Strauss & Co, among others.

In fact, a "BSR/Cone 2008 Corporate Responsibility in a New World Survey" of 424 conference participants uncovered that more than two-thirds of the business leaders say that more responsible business practices could have lessened, or even prevented, the current economic downturn.

In parallel, the historic presidential election comes at a time of change, hope and opportunity for America which can be further embraced via sustainability opportunities.

This, in turn, will cause significant change in the business and policy environment requiring enhanced leadership from government, legislators, consumers and businesses. President-elect Obama recently announced intensifying his work on a stimulus plan that would dole out roughly a half trillion dollars to include ‘green’ projects, from home weatherization to renewable energy.

Water conservation, human rights, access to affordable healthcare, climate change and environmental issues continue to dominate top global concerns. Cause alignment and philanthropy are increasingly being linked to value in the sustainability evolution.

We cannot afford to delay or ignore pressing world issues…

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

In the midst of jolting world events, continued cost-cutting and job losses, corporations are taking a renewed approach to sustainability and embracing the opportunities as they consider it the right thing to do.

In particular, they are reaffirming their commitment by ensuring proper integration of their programs and alignment throughout their business and operations, including:

  • Supply chain
  • Transparancy and accountability
  • Community – global to local
  • Public policy/advocacy
  • Employee performance

Back to the People’

Meanwhile, a cultural paradigm shift is also taking place. Companies and the ‘public at large’ are seeking deeper and more meaningful connections, embracing community spirit and giving as a way to demonstrate concern and individual action.

In a low trust environment, driving sustainability and its success is routed in its people, connections and regaining their confidence.

Sustainability is advancing to another level by which to engage deeper connections with key stakeholders and address social problems they most care about - particularly human rights and social justice issues.

Opportunities for America’s Volunteer Sector

In conjunction with this paradigm shift, the role and need for volunteers in America is at an all time high and poised for future growth.

According to the Volunteering in America report released by the Corporation for National and Community Service, nearly 61 million Americans volunteered in their communities in 2007 giving 8.1 billion hours of service worth more than $158 billion to America’s communities.

Community service has never been stronger, as businesses are forced to commit to their sustainability programs, colleges adopt service-learning, and our new political leaders embrace citizen service.

Establishing volunteering programs and opportunities is a powerful way to empower and motivate employees/consumers.

GE Capital: CEO, Jeffrey Immelt, reiterated that ‘while responsibility programs need to be strategic and a long term commitment towards being competitive and generating profit, it is critical to run a company with trust, proper compliance, regulation and transparency. In order to achieve this, it is critical to engage people, align with culture and values.’

Some key conclusions:

  • Regain Trust and Confidence: Restore trust in the private sector by a demonstrated commitment to sustainability and help the business community regain the trust of consumers and investors – for the long term
  • Commitment to Causes: Gain consensus on what causes mean the most to key stakeholders and continued focus on addressing key issues such as energy, human rights and disease
  • Embrace Community Spirit: Above and beyond the trend of matching employee’s charitable giving, embrace volunteering to motivate and empower employees
  • Re-evaluate Philanthropic Activities: As the year-end approaches, assess charitable contributions, accountability and impact in the community. Consider causes that can be supported deep in the communities, beyond ‘giving a check’ and aligned with stakeholders

And most importantly……………..

Stay on track

In a spiraling economy, companies and their non-profit/NGO partners need stay on the sustainability track, advance responsible business and social practices to protect and make our world a better place.

By Samantha Taylor.

-The BSR/Cone survey fact sheet can be located at
-The Volunteering in America report can be located at

BROADWAY THEATRE PROJECT (BTP) – Musical Theatre Arts Education for Kids

I am presently engaged in my yearly pilgrimage to help out with BTP’s musical theatre arts education program in Florida which runs from July 6-27. More than 200 talented students from 28 states, as well as Canada, England and American Samoa attend an intensive curriculum to properly prepare them for a professional career in performing arts.

As a prior student of The Guildhall School of Music and Drama programs, I am an avid supporter and believer of the critically important role that musical theatre arts can play in helping young men and women learn, gain confidence and succeed in life. Education in performing arts provides a foundation to tap creativity, enthusiasm and vivid imaginations – applicable to whatever career path we follow. It is important to support and fund these training programs.

Special guests include Patrick Wilson, Ashley Brown, Ben Vereen, Terrance Mann and Christopher D’Amboise, among others.

BTP apprentices will participate in work shopping numbers from shows currently in development including:

The Imagine Project - by Terrence Mann and Christopher D'Amboise. A performance piece will be created using historical songs from culture-changing artists who have transformed and transcended generations. This original work, created at BTP, will tell a moving story to the Beatles songs “Imagine” and “Because.” Mr. Mann began work on this concept with the National Dance Institute.

Havana - by Frank Wildhorn. Apprentices will work with Mr. Wildhorn, as well as artistic director Debra McWaters, on staging numbers from the show Havana. Vocalists will be featured as well as dance with a Latin flair.


The July 2008 session culminates in a show that showcases the talents of all apprentices consisting of original works created by the BTP faculty and apprentices. The show will be held on July 26 at 3 and 8 pm in the Ferguson Hall at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased through the TBPAC box office, 813-229-7827, or through Ticketmaster.

Founded in 1991, the non-profit Broadway Theatre Project is a prestigious musical theatre arts education program for high school and college students. Under the artistic direction of Debra McWaters, students attend an intensive three-week training program focused on acting, dancing and singing, as well as the critical life skills necessary to work in the professional world of entertainment.

For more information, support and make a donation to this terrific training program –

Photo: Sam Taylor with Ben Vereen.

Reputation Dynamics Joins United Nations Global Compact

Reputation Dynamics today announced that it has signed the United Nations Global Compact, reinforcing the company’s commitment to help companies advance their corporate social responsibility agendas among key stakeholders (employees, customers, board members, investors and suppliers).

Established in 2000, the Global Compact, the world’s largest voluntary corporate citizenship initiative, brings together nearly 3,700 companies from more than 120 countries to advance ten universal principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environmental sustainability and anti-corruption. Through the power of collective action, the Global Compact seeks to promote responsible corporate citizenship and integrate these ten principles in business strategies and operations around the world so that business can be part of the solution to the challenges of globalization and sustainable development.

Joining the Global Compact is an extension to Reputation Dynamics corporate responsibility advisory services and current initiatives such as Conscious Commerce - an innovative business model and methodology to help companies properly align and market stakeholder-driven programs - and it’s strategic alliance with Elevate Destinations providing corporations with opportunities to visit destinations where they have business and/or philanthropic interests (

Additionally, Reputation Dynamics engages in education and advocacy by providing perspectives to help companies align ‘Doing Good in Society’ with competitive business edge via this popular blog.

"We are proud to be supporting the organization’s 10 principles and its efforts to advance corporate citizenship and challenge business to take a responsible leadership position," said Samantha Taylor, Founder of Reputation Dynamics. “This is well-aligned with our core values and corporate vision."

More information about the Compact can be found at

The Tide Has Turned: 2008 Conscious Commerce Predictions by Sam Taylor, Founder of Reputation Dynamics

Social Purpose Alignment is a Strategic Imperative for Making a Profit

In 2007, the business case for corporate responsibility (CR) was accepted in the business community,” according to Sam Taylor.

Key Corporate Responsibility Milestones in 2007:

  • Companies ‘License to Operate’ obligations were forced to change due to world events, regulatory issues, compliance and environmental concerns
  • Companies acknowledge that initiatives will have a major impact on business strategies over the next few years
  • Growth of more evidenced-based research tracking the value and impact from multiple functions including brand, stakeholder relations, customer behaviors and reputation
  • Increasing number of newly created executive positions
  • Growth of dedicated resources and services including sustainability development firms, environmental, news services, academics and influencers’
  • A plethora of social entrepreneurs, for and not-for-profit/NGO companies have provided concrete evidence that while striving to make a profit, they can make a difference
  • Growth of multiple investment vehicles such as alternative energy mutual funds
  • Philanthropic contributions polled among 136 large corporations by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy’s ‘Giving in Numbers’ research found that the median dollar value of contributions increased from $29.5 million in 2005 to $32.6 million in 2006
  • Cause-related marketing is a $1.44 billion business

Predictions for 2008:

Step up to the New Rules of Reputation Management: Social innovation, sustainable development, trust and transparency are the new currency for tomorrow’s companies doing business.

Evaluate and Measure Program Impact: Assess current initiatives, stakeholder relationships and impact in the community. Use this platform to design and implement sustainable programs aligned with business objectives, as well as determine benchmarks for results measurement.

Employee and Customers Want Businesses to Invest in Communities they Touch: While health, safety, price and quality are top-of-mind for conscious consumers, they want companies to meet their personal goals and positively impact society.

Philanthropy is an Integral Part of Doing Business: CEOs and their companies need to continue to invest strongly in their communities, responding to the growing expectations of employees, customers and other stakeholders.

Move the Needle on Social Issues: There are plenty of causes out there that need support both at home and in emerging markets. Some critical causes in need include HIV/Aids, TB and malaria, poverty, infant mortality, wildlife preservation and protecting indigenous peoples.

Unleash the Power of NGOs for Greater Good: Align more aggressively with non-profit social actors – NGOs, (UN Agencies, development agencies). Companies have a timely opportunity to collaborate with some competent NGOs who are already in the trenches addressing key causes.

Stakeholder Liaisons: Harness the power of key stakeholders and communicate with them regularly on and offline. Solicit the knowledge and opinions of customers and employees. It is a powerful tool to track and influence patterns of behavior, and, don’t forget tomorrow’s leaders – the younger generation and their social networking habits.

Please Sir, Can I have Some More?

The fact of the matter is that there are still more than two million New York City residents across the five boroughs at risk of hunger. Despite the city’s emergency food programs (EFP’s) – approximately 900 soup kitchens and food pantries in New York - providing food to half of them, there is still a dire food shortage.

A couple of other statistics:
  • Approximately 500,000 city residents are eligible but not receiving food stamps, many of whom may be turning to EFPs instead. Less than one-half (46 percent) of all EFP participant households are enrolled in the federal Food Stamp Program.
  • Of all EFP participant households, about one-third (34 percent) choose between food and housing, about one-third (34 percent) choose between food and utilities, and more than one-fifth (22 percent) choose between food and medical care.

I bring you attention to The Food Bank’s NYC upcoming hunger awareness Go Orange campaign taking place on October 15-19. The campaign is calling upon all New Yorkers’ to do what they can do to help raise funds for the holiday season and the goal is to raise one million meals.

This year, city landmarks, media partners, corporations, musicians, restaurants, supermarkets, retail stores and more are Going Orange throughout the city to help raise these funds and awareness for hunger relief. New York’s skyline will also Go Orange including its most famous landmarks and towers such as The Empire State Building.

For further information about how to participate and take action:

A little Orange anyone?

Source: Hunger Safety Net 2004, Hunger in America

Not-for-Profit Spotlight - Broadway Theatre Project

Broadway Theatre Project, founded in 1991, is a musical theatre arts education program for high school and college students. Each year BTP, under the artistic direction of Debra McWaters, selects 180 aspiring young actors, dancers and singers by audition, from around the world, to attend an intensive three-week program every July at the University of South Florida. Master classes have been taught by stars such as Julie Andrews, Ben Vereen, Jeff Goldblum, and Patrick Wilson among others. For further information and sponsorship of this years program go to

Navigating the 'CSR Buzz' for Reputation Advantage

Advancing society's interests is influencing investment decisions globally due to the increasing power of consumers and employees advocating for their favorite brands to be more transparent and accountable for their business operations.

Against the backdrop of our lowest trust environment ever, caused by a polarized political climate, disturbing world events, untrustworthy social and business practices, companies are being further impacted in an already challenging operating environment - creating a 'show and prove it' to me marketplace among key stakeholders.

In fact, according to research conducted by Gallup International, 62% of people around the world do not trust large national or global companies to operate in society's interest.

As a result, CEO's and their management teams are being increasingly bombarded with multiple issues that need to be addressed such as compliance, governance, environmental responsibility, diversity, responsibility-driven marketing, as well as accountability for their charitable contributions. All in conjunction with providing healthier returns for investors.

With e-marketing and 'Word-of-Mouth' marketing further driving stakeholder empowerment and demand for greater transparency, companies need to engage with their social purpose as both a necessity and business opportunity.

'Conscious Commerce,' now a $31.7 billion services market, is the evolution of a management paradigm for CEO's and their management teams to help safeguard a company's reputation and business operations. Also, it is a vital extension to the corporate agenda.

Early adopters such as Patagonia and Microsoft, who created and implemented sustaining programs, have enjoyed positive results and well deserved acknowledgement. While other companies have been quick to postpone costs and and/or are flocking to the cause with fragmented approaches that can lead to consequences down the road.

From the outset, it is critical to identify and prioritize social issues that matter the most to stakeholders. Then, properly align them with a company's reputation management and performance.

Companies that implement sustaining, long-term programs will mitigate reputation risk and harm to its business, people and the environment. Also, they will win back stakeholder trust and loyalty, boost performance and competitive edge.