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What Happened? - Responsibility

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Please see below pre-2016 intelligence about responsibility. This is a synthesis of major recent developments at corporates, business schools, thinktanks, media, commentators, and other key influencers.

 

 

December 2015

 

  • In 'Social Saints, Fiscal Fiends', The Economist argued that the CEO school of corporate responsibility has something going for it. Such bosses are right to argue that a business’s main contribution to society is to provide jobs and income. They are also right to argue for tax harmonisation: America has only itself to blame if firms revolt against its high corporate-tax rate. But they should recognise that there is a big difference between moving to a place like Ireland because it has made a more sensible trade-off between collecting taxes and promoting business, and indulging in contortions such as the “Double Irish with a Dutch Sandwich”, whose only aim is to avoid paying taxes anywhere. They also need to recognise that there is a big difference between worrying that government is inefficient and pretending that it is irrelevant, and thus that contributing to its upkeep is unnecessary.

 

 

  • A company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity is inevitably tied to its brand perception. Speaking at Marketing’s PR Asia 2015 conference, the director of communications & government affairs for Kimberly-Clark presented a case study on how a company can go beyond corporate "green-washing" to implement truly effective CSR policies that enhance corporate reputations. The company partnered with various NGOs to increase local participation for its CSR initiatives. This helped to forge a new, profitable and more sustainable business future for both Kimberly-Clark and the communities that it has adopted as part of its CSR drive.

 

 

  • However, VW was also a global leader in CSR. Its annual report was packed full of lovingly described projects it backed and charities it supported. It was a “thought leader” on dozens of different weighty issues, and a “change agent” for improving society. Globally, it was ranked as the 11th best company in the world for its corporate social responsibility work.

 

 

 

 

November 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 2015

 

 

 

 

 

June 2015

 

 

 

 

May 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 2015

 

 

 

  • The European Union and its Member States kept their place as the world's largest aid donor in 2014. They provided more than half of the Official Development Assistance (ODA) reported last year to the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD/DAC) - see press release and fact sheet.

 

 

 

 

March 2015

 

 

  • Accenture and Capgemini were recognised along with 130 other large global companies around the world for their ethical business practices. According to Ethisphere, the World’s Most Ethical (WME) Companies designation recognises organisations that truly go beyond making statements about doing business “ethically” and translate those words into action. WME honorees not only promote ethical business standards and practices internally, they exceed legal compliance minimums and shape future industry standards by introducing best practices today - details.

 

 

 

February 2015

 

 

  • Large companies (such as, recently, HSBC) falling short of their lofty aims damages the rest, argued the Financial Times, because purpose in business is highly vulnerable to overuse, abuse, breach of corporate promise and general cynicism. But research, experience and basic common sense suggest that instilling meaning into the workplace is an important way of encouraging people to do more and better work - much more important than money, the motive for many in the upper echelons of banking and finance.

 

 

January 2015

 

 

 

 

 

December 2014

 

 

 

 

November 2014
 

 

  • In The 21st Century Business: Planning for success in a changing world, The Futures Company argued that the corporation is at a crossroads. The businesses that we have grown up with and the business models that underpin them face deep challenges. They are being reconstructed, from within and without, by pervasive technology. Their values, and the values associated with work and the workplace, are increasingly being questioned. Corporate behaviour towards society, including their customers and employees, is  increasingly under scrutiny. The financial crisis has sharpened the idea that unethical and unsustainable behaviour is an external cost that should not be paid for by the public, and that if companies draw on public services, such as roads and education, they also should make a fair contribution.

 

  • Compassion, enlightened self-interest and an innovative approach can make corporate social responsibility CSR projects a viable part of a business operation, argued INSEAD. CSR teams face formidable internal competition when chasing capital expenditure within their organisation, particularly when moving into untested markets. In the vast majority of listed companies there is an overriding view that private capital should be used to deliver maximum short-term returns to shareholders rather than funding non-core products offering long–term sustainability benefits. So to convince the board a project is a legitimate, strategic and viable option is in many cases best achieved by finding a project that has direct links to the firm’s core operations, with a business plan that headquarters can relate to; one that feeds back into the company’s normal growth matrix.

 

 

  • What is the purpose of business, asked the FT? Many executives would say their task is to maximise returns for shareholders by serving the needs of customers, perhaps with social benefits as a by-product. However, a growing number of companies believe their fundamental purpose is to serve the common good – and the way they report their activities to the outside world needs to change to reflect this function. One of these idealists is Vaude, a family-owned maker of mountain sports clothing based in southern Germany. It has 1,600 employees and aspires to become the most sustainable outdoor brand in Europe. To live its ideals more completely, Vaude is about to produce its first “common good balance sheet” in addition to a conventional balance sheet listing its assets and liabilities.

 

 

 

September 2014

 

  • Boston Consulting Group (BCG) was recognised for its pro bono work with Save the Children by Consulting magazine. BCG will receive an Excellence in Social & Community Investment Award. The firm won for its work in helping Save the Children develop a global strategy and organisation for a new entity: Save the Children International (SCI). BCG has been working with SCI since 2009 to transform it from a loose confederation of 29 member organisations into a single, integrated nonprofit. SCI is one of BCG’s five global social impact partners.

 

 

August 2014

 

  • Businesses across the world are engaged in a whole host of environmentally and socially responsible activities, according to Grant Thornton's Corporate social responsibility: beyond financials, the latest publication from its International Business Report. More than two-thirds of the 2,500 businesses they interviewed gave either time or money to a local cause over the last 12 months. Two in three improved waste management or energy efficiency. More than half gave away products or services to charity. The overwhelming majority are involved in CSR activity of one type or another. That said, businesses have a responsibility to investors, shareholders and also indirectly to the people they employ to turn a profit. But increasingly business leaders see the tangible benefits in adopting more environmentally and socially sustainable practices: two thirds cite cost management as a key driver in their sector, up from just over half when they last surveyed this topic in 2011.

 

 

 

July 2014

 

  • The question of whether corporate philanthropy actually generates business value is a perennial one. Solid empirical evidence to support the ubiquitous anecdotal argument is generally hard to come by, but earlier this year the European Corporate Governance Institute released research that attempted to fill this gap. At the surface, the findings question whether there is actually business value from corporate philanthropy, but instead of answering the question once and for all, the report supported the argument that corporate philanthropy should be strategic, rather than just the purview of the CEO or senior leadership.

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 2014

 

 

 

 

April 2014

 

  • Purpose is directly related to business confidence, according to a study from Deloitte. 82% respondents who work for an organiqation with a strong sense of purpose say that they are confident that their organisation will grow this year. That compares to 48% percent of those who did not have a strong sense of purpose, Deloitte's Core Beliefs and Culture Survey finds.

 

 

 

February 2014

 

 

January 2014

 

  • Deloitte wondered what specifically, it could offer beyond the donation of cash and goods for those in need, such as water, food, clothing and medicines?  This is the question that global Deloitte network asked during a year-long consultative process with the humanitarian sector, believing it was possible to do more.  During countless discussions, it emerged that preparedness is seen as vital to successful response, and yet it remains vastly under-invested in. When a crisis strikes humanitarian organisations’ highest priority is responding, and the resulting influx of donations is funnelled to immediate needs. Humanitarians have a desire to innovate, but not always a clear understanding of how this can best be accomplished and many are eager to understand how to work with the private sector.The Deloitte Humanitarian Innovation Program was launched in response to this feedback and to realise an opportunity to have a far greater strategic impact.

 

 

December 2013

 

 

 

 

November 2013

 

 

 

 

October 2013

 

 

 

  • EY's US head of corporate responsibility said its CR efforts are focused on education, entrepreneurship and the environment. CR has become a critical aspect of EY's talent strategy to develop future leaders, while senior leaders understand how vital it is for people to see the organisation's values in action, she said.

 

September 2013

 

  • PwC's own Breakthrough Innovation and Growth report found that the UK’s most innovative companies grew 50% faster than the least innovative over the last three years. C-suite interviews at over 200 UK companies established a firm link between revenue growth and innovation. Yet, it also found only 32% of UK companies see innovation as ‘very important’ to the success of their company compared to a global average of 43%.

 

 

August 2013

 

  • Corporate Clout 2013 : Time for Responsible Capitalism by Global Trends found that in 2012, 40 of the world's largest economic entities were public corporations, but it's a number that is down 20% since 2000. The report explored why and how the distribution of "corporate clout" is shifting rapidly, with new players and models emerging. It's not enough though to have clout: companies need to start taking responsibility for a greater role in society, commensurate with their influence and impact, according to CEOs of leading global firms.

 

July 2013

 

  • Deloitte launched its Humanitarian Innovation Program to enhance global crisis preparedness and emergency response. The new global program proposes to help address an opportunity posed by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA). According to UN OCHA research, only 3% of all global “Official Development Assistance” is directed toward disaster preparedness, even though research shows that every dollar invested in preparedness saves seven dollars in post-crisis recovery. Through this initiative the Deloitte Touché Tohmatsu Limited member firm network will offer two global pro bono projects to help humanitarian agencies improve preparation and readiness, strengthen local and international community response, sustain livelihoods, and save live - details.
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