--The tragic events and incompetence of the last eight years of Bush Administration will drive a new direction--
"A major course correction will prevail under the new leadership of Barack Obama with sustainable development providing the foundation for hope, change and opportunity for our future generations,” according to Sam Taylor, Founder of Reputation Dynamics.

The reckless financial deregulation and fragmentation of our economic infrastructure has undermined Americans’ confidence and trust which has impacted ‘business as usual,’ role and sense of community - as we once knew it.

  • A major part of the US recovery will be driven via a nationwide social, business and community rebuilding mobilization. Sustainable development and social responsibility will provide the basis for infrastructure redevelopment upon which to reinvigorate economic development and confidence.
  • The financial crisis and resultant impact on reputation and business performance, is forcing companies to further embrace sustainable program development and integration throughout their organizations.
  • While addressing climate change and environmental issues remain a priority, companies and individuals need to mitigate some fundamental global social and humanitarian issues – poverty, hunger and disease – in conjunction with Obama’s plans to retool the social contract with the poor, the uninsured and unemployed.
  • Continue to redefine the case and impact for sustainable development among key stakeholders, ensuring the proper alignment and positioning of the value proposition in a fragmented economic environment.
  • Enhance and leverage the increasingly more popular Web 2.0 tools and social networking platforms to enhance people connections, accountability and transparency.

Philanthropic Giving: It’s No Longer about Just Giving a Check

According to a recent LBG Research Institute survey, corporations’ anticipate no change or, in fact, an increase in charitable giving for 2009. Although 42% of corporations and 37% of corporate foundations surveyed say their charitable giving budgets will decrease in 2009, the Institute predicts that the overall decrease will be far less than the 12.1% drop in 2001 reported by Giving USA 2002.

In fact, 80 percent of corporations report that their giving will be more strategic next year, directed at causes in need, with greater impact and efficiency at work.


Environmental -- 24%
Basic Needs (food, clothing, shelter) -- 23%
Education/literacy -- 16%
Health -- 14%
Social Services -- 12%
Arts and Culture -- 4%

Conclusions for 2009:

  • 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: Continue to 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 such as poverty, food and shelter.
  • Stakeholder Mobilization and Impact: Continue to harness the power of key stakeholders and their opinions, embrace them in community mobilization, growing influence and power of social networking platforms.

To be sure, our economy and ongoing disturbing worldwide events are unnerving, but finding solutions to these problems will entail greater support, creative innovation, and collaboration from businesses, government, NGOs/non-profits, community and academia.

Under our new administration, never will our current generation be more challenged and yet can prevail in the face of adversity and respective individual contribution(s) to ensure the course direction that the Obama administration so urgently represents.

By Sam Taylor. Source: LBG Research Institute


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


With tumultuous financial markets, a terrifying real estate crisis, and the U.S. Presidential election dominating the news, trust and confidence is now at an all time low – especially among consumers and investors.

While the financial crisis is forcing policy-makers to rethink an overhaul of (and in some cases, return to) market regulation and oversight to benefit the U.S. economy and mitigate risk, businesses are cutting costs and laying people off.

It's rough out there. Peoples’ life savings are evaporating as they watch the very executives who engineered this crisis walk way with Golden Parachutes. Government and Corporate America can no longer ignore the grass roots movement of everyday citizens rejecting the hypocrisies of our existing structure. Ignoring health care, the environment, and education can no longer be accepted.

While we don’t know how long this economic fallout will endure, we can be certain that at the end a new social consciousness will prevail. The public at large is realizing that government and corporations have not been effectively self-policing.

Who Will Watch the Watchers Themselves?

Another key lesson to be learned from the recent failure of several prominent financial institutions is the realization that organizations still fail to embrace the power of practicing corporate responsibility (CR).

The Wall Street crisis is fundamentally changing the way society views sustainability and it is an opportunity for businesses to reshape the sustainability agenda to their advantage.

Meanwhile, social, economic and environmental concerns still rest on the frontlines and are not to be overlooked in the context of new crises that will continue to emerge today and tomorrow. In particular, global climate change remains a permanent threat and Africans’ life spans continue to decline owing largely to AIDS, 60% of whose worldwide victims are African. Not to mention the increasing number of people in the US infected and impacted by HIV/AIDS.

Never has there been a greater ‘Call to Action’ and opportunity for businesses to re-examine their sustainability agendas, maintain a long term focus and continue to realize the benefits amidst the current economic and political changes.

They need to reflect the interests of those who have stakes in their business and realize the consequences of overlooking them. For example:

Investors: Where art thou profit?
Employees: Need to be empowered and motivated
Taxpayers: Who will now foot the bill for the bailouts
Community Power: Build, connect and align with key relationships – globally and locally
Customers: Expect transparency and accountability to support and demonstrate their favorite brands/products responsible business and social practices


  • Businesses must continue to address key sustainability issues like energy, climate change, disease and human rights concerns
  • Boost their voluntary and philanthropic efforts top-to-bottom and with participation from their employees
  • Maintain their reputations and boost trust by key stakeholders – especially consumers and investors
  • Embrace new tools and technologies that can assist businesses to establish connected communities, better focus their philanthropic activities for employee opportunity and motivation
  • As the giving season approaches, gain consensus from stakeholders about causes in need, align cause-related marketing and charitable contributions
  • Collaborate and establish partnerships with fiscally healthy non-profits/NGOs that that have the necessary resources and depth of knowledge to develop community-driven campaigns

CEOs need to stop worrying about the next quarterly report, their own compensation packages and spend more time creating a culture of responsible practices and conduct.

In conclusion, navigating this crisis effectively underscores the importance of building a truly sustainable economy for the long term – that not only requires leadership from government, but from businesses, consumers and ‘society at large.’

More later....

Sam Taylor



Online giving and community building-

Africa – The Force of Change

As I have said, the first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself…Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, but humility.’ Nelson Mandela

The energy and enthusiasm about Africa was running high at the first US-Africa Tourism Seminar on 2/27 developed by The Corporate Council on Africa and Africa Travel Association. While Africa has its fair share of political, economic and humanitarian challenges, the continent is poised to be a major travel destination and location for investment and business exploration.

In conjunction with the ‘Greening’ of the travel industry, Experiential Tourism, a growing sector beyond ‘sun-and-sand tourism,’ is expected to grow to 25% of the world’s travel market within six years - $473.6 billion a year.

As Gregg Truman, vice president of marketing for South African Airways pointed out, Africa commands only 2.4% of global travel market share, with only 64 million people taking trips to Africa.

With a new breed of ‘sustainable tourists’ seeking culturally authentic travel experiences that protect the environment and integrity of the destination, VolunTourism and travel philanthropy opportunities are on the rise. Africa is rich for its natural resources, tourism and wildlife, dancing and music – among others.
Opportunities for ‘Doing Good in Africa’:

Corporations and individuals have abundant opportunities to make a difference by addressing causes in need and making a personal connection with African communities. Some suggestions include:

  • Engage in ongoing education for the public about the realities and opportunities
  • Encourage family and stakeholder visits to see communities with causes in need
  • Align with NGO/non-profits to help mitigate extreme poverty, disease, threats to wildlife and tourism, and infant mortality
  • Provide benefits and incentives for local businesses, workforce, products and services
  • Donate funds and/or volunteer in communities

A special thanks to my fellow panelists’ on Experiential Tourism, their engaging presentations and fascinating work. Sean Barlow - Afropop Worldwide, El Hadji Aziz Gueye – Senegal Tourist Office, Lelei LeLaulu - Counterpart International, Dr. Lawrence Martin - Stony Brook University, Sharr Prohaska - New York University, Kevin J. Wright - World Religious Travel Association.

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

Fast-Tracking Kenya’s Recovery….

It seems just like yesterday when my mother and I were driving to our home outside of Nairobi barely making the curfew deadline. Our heads were slightly ducked behind the car windscreen as my mother revved the accelerator past the security checkpoint.

In 1982, my family witnessed the devastating effects to a country and its people of a Kenyan coup d’etat attempt, which failed to overthrow President Daniel arap Moi’s government. On August 1, a group of soldiers from the Kenya Air Force took over the local radio station and announced they had overthrown the government. Sending Nairobi into utter chaos, about 145 people were killed and losses from widespread looting and destruction of property amounted to $111 million. My family was forced to hide out at home ‘on rations.’

Some parallels can be made between the ‘Hours of Chaos’ in 1982 and recent events surrounding President Mwai Kibaki’s disputed re-election, violence and deaths.

Of note, the poorest living in the slums of Nairobi and in rural areas, had all too little to lose in the violence and life for Kenyans once again more difficult.

The Kenya Presidential Elections of December 2007, are potentially the most damaging episode to national unity since the assassination of Tom Mboya in July 1969.

While there is celebration among select supporters for President Kibaki, the fear gripping the country is almost unprecedented in its 44 years of independence - as the Government and ODM continue to differ over the way forward for a peaceful settlement to the political crisis.

And, this is such bad timing for Kenya…..

Considered one of the most beautiful and more prosperous regions of Africa, Kenya has an estimated GDP growth of 6.7 percent and its unique landscapes, natural world and wildlife attractions brings in $900 million in tourism a year.

Kenya’s economy has been devastated by the violence and its reputation as a stable haven tarnished in a matter of weeks. As of 1/7, the economy was reported to have lost approximately $1 billion as a result of the post-election violence.

Some Perspective…

Kenya’s transition from dictatorship to democracy continues to be a tumultuous journey owing to its deeply rooted history in the political economies of colonialism, neocolonialism and neoliberalism. The country is further tainted by ongoing corruption and scandals under the rule of former dictators’ such as President Daniel arap Moi.

The first Kibaki government was elected in 2002 on a strong anti-corruption platform at a time when the country wanted a transparent government, justice brought to former corrupt officials and focus on economic development. While new corruption scandals occurred, the Kibaki administration delivered on the economy – jumping from 0.6% in 2002 to 6.1% in 2006. Despite its economy, Kenya still has some serious social issues and extreme poverty.

In 2006, the government unveiled Kenya Vision 2030, a development blueprint to turn Kenya into a newly industrialized ‘middle income country providing high quality of life for all its citizens by the year 2030.’

Kenya needs fast-track solutions to restore social harmony and aid recovery:

  • Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga enter negotiations to find quick resolution to end violence and restore peace to its people
  • More British and international intervention to help a humanitarian crisis
  • Contending parties agree to a binding independent and monitored investigation of the election results
  • Establish stronger anti-corruption platforms, transparent and accountable legal/government systems
  • A new parliament should be called into session with the new post of Prime Minister directly answerable to Parliament
  • Restore tourism and confidence
  • Corporations and NGOs/non-profits should align social, economic and environmental responsibility programs with causes in need

The country’s economy will continue to lose hard-won ground if the political situation is not resolved quickly.


Sustainable Business Growing in Importance and so is the Link to Reputation – Do You Know Yours?

The 'Call to Action' messages and marketplace research continues to echo in the growing corporate responsibility community – corporate – academia – non-profit - NGOs……..

At a Social Enterprise Conference at Columbia Business School last Friday, a headline message presented at a keynote address by Patrick Cescau - President Group Chief Executive of Unilever - following a special tribute to Anita Roddick of The Body Shop:

“Corporations of the future will not survive unless they adopt and support social innovation and sustainable development objectives”

An advocate of ‘Doing Well by Doing Good’ and Recipient of the 2007 Botwinick Prize in Business Ethics, Unilever has demonstrated commitment to its social and environmental sustainability initiatives via its alliances with The Rain Forest Alliance and World Food Programme –

That same week, Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) announced the results of a survey in conjunction with their annual conference in San Francisco where more than 330 participants were polled out of 1350 leaders from 50 countries in attendance - Key highlights included:

  • 82 percent – private sector executives, NGOs and policymakers around the world say they will make corporate social responsibility a core business strategy in the next five years
  • 47 percent said a core reason for focusing on sustainable business is consumer behavior and concerns about reputation
  • 31 percent said energy efficiency and renewable energy are at the heart of their corporate climate change effort
  • 69 percent said China is the country that will most influence the evolution of corporate responsibility in the next five years

Corporate responsibility is climbing higher and higher on the business and public agenda…..

So, what is the fundamental next step to properly create the CR road map?

We, at Reputation Dynamics, suggest a brand reputation analysis and stakeholder evaluation to provide the strategic foundation for the development of a sustainable, long-term program.

How ‘Doing Good in Society’ Increases Competitive Business Edge - Audio Presentation

Companies ‘license to operate’ obligations have changed dramatically due to world events and the globalization of our economy.

The headlines are dominated with news about everyone trying to be green, product quality and safety, corporate reputations and performance. With recent books such as ‘Giving’ by Bill Clinton, and ‘The Triple Bottom Line', co-authored by Andrew Savitz and Karl Weber corporations key stakeholders’ are more educated than ever about the contributions and impact of corporations on society, economy and the environment.

Companies are now expected to be good corporate citizens not only by their shareholders and government regulators, but by their customers.

However, doubt still lingers in the business and financial community about justifying ‘Doing Good in Society’ and the point of sustainability. The fundamental challenge for them is whether it distracts from core business focus areas, provides long term growth and returns to investors.

The tide is turning for the naysayers.........

A recent national survey conducted by Grant Thornton among 500 business executives uncovered that 77 percent said they expected corporate responsibility initiatives to have a major impact on their business strategies over the next several years. Furthermore, the three greatest benefits of enacting CSR are: improves public opinion and customer relations, as well as attracts/retains talent. For survey results, go to - Corporate responsibility becoming integral to business strategy.

We invite you to listen to our audio presentation that provides a perspective on how and why corporate social responsibility (CSR), is becoming an increasingly critical component of reputation management and competitive business edge.

The CRO Conference Addressing 'Operationalization' of Sustainability on September 12

The CRO has a stellar line up of speakers and timely topics at a one-day fall conference to be held at the Union League Club in Chicago tomorrow.

Topics will cover stakeholder engagement, supply chain, and alignment of CSR with the bottom line. Also, they will address two major trends facing corporate social responsibility officers, in the growing $32 billion CR industry; the expansion from merely defense in the face of regulatory challenges to offensive functions, or making sustainability efforts operational.

Featuring keynote speaker Murray Martin, CEO of Pitney Bowes, the conference will also include a special multi-level company session with a board member, marketing communications expert and manufacturing executive from a global corporation discussing their global sustainability efforts—from board room to execution.

A panel featuring Susan Graff, Principal of ERS along with the CEOs of Baxter Healthcare and Interface Group will share learning’s about setting and surpassing sustainable practice benchmarks.

The CRO is a membership media platform for corporate practitioners, professional service providers and non-profit influencers' in corporate responsibility. Example members include IBM, Avon, Starbucks, Intel, Pepsi, and Harvard.

For more information -

UN Permanent Forum - Indigenous Entrepreneurship

Aveda and its Partners Discuss the Opportunities and Challenges - A DIALOGUE FOR THE FUTURE

The open forum held at the United Nations Headquarters, on May 23, spotlights the development of five indigenous business projects, focusing on land rights and natural resources in partnership with international businesses and non-governmental organizations (NGO’s). Speakers will present challenges and opportunities in these partnerships, and explore new paths to sustainable development that respect land rights and natural resources as the key to the survival of indigenous peoples. Panelists include: Dominique Conseil, president of Aveda, Veneranda Xochitl Juarez-Varela from Café La Selva, Mexico, Manuel Quezada IX from Community Tours Sian Ka’an, Mexico, Ole Petenya Y. Shani from the Shompole Community Trust in Kenya, Dr. Richard Walley of the Nyoongar people in Australia and Tashka Yawanawá, Chief of the Yawanawa tribe in Brazil. This event is an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of three communities recognized by the Equator Prize: Café La Selva, Community Tours Sian Ka'an from Mexico, and the Shompole Community Trust from Kenya.
Info -

Reputation Dynamics will report back on this event and learning's about sustainable development.