A year ago today, over 1,100 Bangladeshi garment workers lost their lives when, despite prior warnings, the building in which they were working collapsed. Over 2,500 more were injured in the disaster, some crippled for life.The victims of the Rana Plaza factory collapse, most of them young women, were part of a global supply chain that brings affordable garments to markets around the world. This was not the first event of its kind in Bangladesh, and Bangladesh is not the only country where industrial disasters have occurred.
HP announced this week that thousands of entrepreneurs around the world have already received microloans from its employees since the launch of Matter to a Million, the Hewlett-Packard Company Foundation’s partnership with Kiva, in February. In announcing the partnership, HP said it is called “Matter to a Million” because the goal is to help one million entrepreneurs achieve their dreams.
Practically Green, the engagement platform for sustainability and responsibility programs, this week announced it is rebranding as WeSpire. The company also debuted its proprietary ROI calculator, which will allow customers to more accurately measure the impact and savings of each individual project deployed.WeSpire helps companies engage people in sustainability and responsibility initiatives with persuasive technology that builds awareness, drives behavior change and now more accurately measures business results. Practically Green’s evolution to WeSpire reflects the growing scope of sustainability and as a result, the growing scope of its technology.
Terracycle has been making it easy for people and businesses throughout North America to reduce consumer product waste through its dozens of “Brigades” that collect previously non-recyclable or hard to recycle waste — everything from Brita filters and CLIF bar wrappers to binders, cell phones and shoes — since 2007. Now the company’s new Zero Waste boxes are helping tackle miscellaneous discarded items in factories, such as earplugs and hairnets.
Christine Bader, author of The Evolution of a Corporate Idealist: When Girl Meets Oil (Bibliomotion, March 2014), worked for BP for nearly a decade managing the social impacts of some of the company’s largest projects in the developing world. We asked her about the complexities of being a corporate change agent and other challenges surrounding corporate idealism. Anna Lui: Who was this book primarily written for? Did you have a corporate management audience in mind, or the increasingly skeptical/cynical American public?
If you’ve ever thought of dropping a book on your boss’s desk, in the hopes of sparking a Ray Anderson-type conversion, here’s a tip. Don’t use the new IPCC report: It’s gloomy, terrifying and a muddle.Try this instead: Andrew Winston’s business transformation book for the “new normal” of climate change-fueled disruption. It’s called The Big Pivot.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a report today that says the effects of climate change are already occurring on all continents and across the oceans and the world, in many cases, is ill-prepared for risks from a changing climate. The report also asserts that there are opportunities to respond to such risks, though the risks will be difficult to manage as warming continues to increase.
For too long, sustainability executives have been focused on external stakeholders — selling their company’s story in order to build reputation and fill polished social responsibility reports.Now, according to a recent MIT Sloan Management Review article by George Mason University’s Gregory Unruh, sustainability managers have had enough. They’re turning their gaze inward, to the functional managers and line employees who control the management tools — budget, staffing, incentives, etc. — to make change happen.
Political deadlock in Washington might be stifling any hope of a national carbon program, but it isn’t preventing companies from establishing their own initiatives. Take Microsoft, which has implemented a carbon fee program aimed at incorporating the cost of carbon pollution, both internal and external, into the financial structure of the company.First implemented at the beginning of the 2013 fiscal year (July 1, 2012), Microsoft’s Carbon Fee Program is a financial model that puts an incremental fee on the carbon emissions associated with the company’s operations.
Sony Pictures’ upcoming blockbuster The Amazing Spider-Man 2 weaves an exciting web of action onscreen, combined with environmental consciousness and responsibility behind the screen. According to the studio, the physical production of the film, hailed as “the most eco-friendly blockbuster in the history of the studio” by Hannah Minghella, president of Production at Sony Pictures, was entirely carbon-neutral, thanks to attention to a variety of pertinent and easily modifiable details.
Because sustainability impacts occur in the hands of decision makers and front-line employees across an organization, a successful approach to sustainability requires that managing or acting sustainably be a job function for every employee, every day. This means everyone is responsible and no one is exempt from managing and acting with sustainability in mind.
When I was a director of a financial institution in the 1990s, we struggled in vain to get top executives to pay attention to the Board’s sustainability priorities. To no avail. Then we stumbled upon the idea of rewarding the CEO for long-term sustainability performance. The result? We saw a dramatic improvement in the company’s sustainability performance from then on (financial performance, too!). Once we realized the impact of this simple measure, the board quickly embedded the principle in its compensation philosophy, which, in turn, spread the concept throughout the management ranks.Investor scrutiny of “pay for breathing” practices shows results
What would happen if your company ceased to exist? Would journalists write headlines heralding your past achievements, or would their stories simply add you to a list of bygones? Would analysts express disappointment or would they point to indicators that made your death predictable? Would employees wonder how it could have ended, or would they have known it was inevitable? Would customers mourn your passing, or would the demise of your brand go unnoticed?
In part one of our review of Andrew Savitz’s book Talent, Transformation, and the Triple Bottom Line, we explored why human resource managers should be involved in a brand’s sustainability initiatives. Now, we’ll look at how companies can leverage HR to achieve sustainable growth throughout the entire workforce lifecycle, starting from employee selection all the way to retirement.
Once considered strange bedfellows, sustainability and human resource management are being increasingly recognized as an ideal match. Andrew Savitz’s book Talent, Transformation, and the Triple Bottom Line: How Companies Can Leverage Human Resources to Achieve Sustainable Growth compellingly demonstrates why HR leaders are uniquely well-positioned to aid in sustainability efforts and why they need to be included in any brand’s successful transition to embedded sustainability. Here are a few of Savitz’s reasons why:
Less than a year ago at Sustainable Brands ‘13, leading brand innovators from around the world came together in San Diego for the seventh year to address some of their biggest sustainability challenges. These innovators realize that no brand is an island and many challenges they face are shared by their peers, competitors, suppliers and customers. In order to support shared learning and collaboration beyond the conference itself, members of the SB advisory board designed a new structure — the SB Collaboratory — to provide a forum for these professionals to come together to share experiences, ask questions, learn from each other and brainstorm a path forward.
Last year, I posted a blog on 2degrees about the Think Big program, and how we have helped people from across our business (Telefonica UK, O2 and partners) to get involved with Think Big, directly delivering sustainability benefits.
I love Rube Goldberg Machines — those inefficient systems, full of convoluted twists and turns that use chain reactions to complete simple tasks.In one of my favorite examples, a tipped milk bottle releases a sword, which cuts a rope that drops a guillotine, which releases a battering ram to swing a door that wields a grass sickle while disturbing a hawk, which drops a boot that stomps on the head of an octopus, whose tentacles squeeze an orange to produce a single glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. These cartoons can give us a good laugh, but to model a business in this gratuitously complicated way would be akin to planning to fail.
Last year, Campbell Soup was ranked by media and investment research company Corporate Knights as one of the world’s most sustainable companies, with key initiatives that reduced water consumption by 13 billion liters, cut 280,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and constructed a 24-hectare, 10 mega-watt solar field.But alongside saving and yielding resources, Campbell knows that creating a work environment that encourages innovation, rewards results and embodies its values is a key strategy for maximizing shareholder value.As a result, one of its targets is to achieve 100 percent employee engagement in CSR and sustainability by 2020.
Cross-Posted from Leadership.
Almost 100 percent of companies have a corporate citizenship budget today, up from just 81 percent in 2010, according to a new report from the Carroll School of Management Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College.The Profile of the Practice 2013 explores how the environmental, social and governance (ESG) dimensions of business — corporate citizenship — are managed in today’s business world, and how these practices have evolved since the last report in 2010. It is based on a survey of 231 companies that provided data on their corporate citizenship strategies, operational structures and business practices.