Please see below selected recent responsibility-related change.
- Further reading:
- The concept of Corporate Political Responsibility (CPR) gained traction in the US and beyond. CPR focuses on businesses’ external engagement on social and cultural issues, and current affairs, through public statements, advocacy, and donations. At its core, companies are encouraged to take a non-partisan, principled and systematic approach to weigh up whether and how to engage on these topics, and enhance their social and environmental sustainability by doing so. Although historically arguments against business engaging in political debates have prevailed, employees, investors and customers are increasingly calling for companies to speak out on political issues.
- Tortoise Media released the Responsibility 100 Index; a ranking of major companies on their commitment to key social, environmental and ethical objectives, using over 200 indicators from publicly available sources. The ranking is according to a ‘Walk’ score, tracking performance across 6 pillars: Equality, Climate, Good Business, Justice, Poverty and Wellbeing and Skills & Education.
The Next Seven Again principle, found in many Indigenous communities worldwide, asks individuals and organisations to examine their decisions' impact on future generations. Applying this principle to nature investment could help facilitate long-term thinking and mitigate risks that result from narrow objectives. At the heart of this approach is responsibility to future generations: what would our great-grandchildren's great, great grandchildren think of the decisions we make today?
- According to Good Business, countries such as France and Germany rely on formal regulatory systems, where businesses adapt their behaviour according to governmental action and regulation. This leaves less space for corporate responsibility, or self-regulation by these companies, who tend to wait for regulation rather than make voluntary decisions on their own. On the other hand, countries such as the UK or the US rely more heavily on signals from their customers rather than governments, and the “social licence to operate”. Responsibility, rather than regulation, often comes to fore, and reputation also plays a bigger part.
- Further reading:
- On the moral responsibility to be an informed citizen - Psyche Ideas
- How 2022 could be the springboard to a more equal, sustainable world - LinkedIn
- Responsible Business Education - Financial Times Stay or sell?
- Russia’s war shows the difficulties of nuance in responsible investing - Financial Times
- Companies are feeling increased pressure to weigh in on fraught political, social and moral issues, from voting rights in the US to human rights in China or Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in what some dub a new era of “corporate political responsibility”. The director of ethical systems at New York University Stern School of Business, sees this as a seismic shift. As evidence, she contrasted corporate reaction to two events that sparked racial justice protests: the fatal shooting in St Louis of black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer in 2014, and the murder in Minneapolis, Minnesota, of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin, a police officer, in 2020. The St Louis unrest was something she says companies “would not touch with a bargepole”, but by 2021, when Chauvin was sentenced, “you have CEOs giving statements on their opinion of the verdict of a police killing, noted the Financial Times.
- Environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues were front of mind throughout the course of the pandemic. A plethora of sustainability-related initiatives and regulations focused on stricter enforcement and monitoring of sustainability criteria signal that we cannot afford to revert to business as usual. In recent years, companies and investors have come under increasing pressure to consider the full spectrum of ESG issues, which carry more transparent and acute liabilities than ever. Additionally, the evolving consensus on corporate purpose highlights that the ‘S’ of ESG is no longer just an ethical and moral consideration, but a growing business and financial imperative, noted Chatham House.
- Tortoise released the 6th edition of the Responsibility100 Index, a ranking of the UK's FTSE 100 companies on their commitment to key social, environmental and ethical objectives such as carbon emissions, gender equality and good business practices. This edition warned that, as the pandemic puts strain on companies’ bottom lines, some companies moved backwards on issues like fair pay and environmental transparency.
- Tortoise Media launched The Responsibility100 Index, a ranking of the UK FTSE 100 companies on their contribution towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals, measuring their commitment to key social, environmental and ethical objectives such as carbon reduction, gender equality and good business practices.
- At the centre of Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophy is the idea of eternal return - the ultimate embrace of responsibility that comes from accepting the consequences, good or bad, of one’s wilful action. Embedded in it is an urgent exhortation to calibrate our actions in such a way as to make their consequences bearable, liveable with, in a hypothetical perpetuity.
- There is mounting evidence to suggest companies that behave responsibly deliver stronger long-term investment returns. As the popularity of environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies continues to rise, being seen as a good employer becomes an asset, argued the co-founder of GoodCorporation, an ethical-business consultancy.
- Tortoise Media made a prediction for the post-pandemic world: in the new geopolitical and commercial landscape, big companies and banks will find that the ethical bar has risen and that the platitudes, seminars and half-measures that characterise most “corporate social responsibility” no longer do the trick. A mural here and an apprenticeship scheme there won’t be enough to buy absolution, For a formidable take-down of the corrupt culture of corporate image-laundering, it recommended Robert Reich’s book, The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It.
- Tough talk is over for responsible business. With big issues such as climate breakdown, plastic pollution and modern slavery making headlines every day, surely the time to act is now, argues Raconteur. According to a professor of sustainable transformation at Antwerp Management School, the question is not whether companies act, but how. It matters whether their responsible action is defensive, charitable, promotional, strategic or transformative: most organisations are in the first four stages, when what is needed is transformation.
- The 2019 EY CEO Imperative Study revealed that investors and boards expect CEOs to respond to humanity’s greatest challenges - it’s the new growth imperative. To date, most CEOs have chosen to remain on the sidelines of efforts to solve global challenges, even as markets around the world continue to be disrupted by a diverse slate of issues, including protectionist economic policies, technology backlashes and climate-driven natural disasters.
- Aeon hosted a debate on whether we can be held morally responsible for our actions: one side argued that what we do and the way we are is ultimately the result of factors beyond our control, while the other countered that while there really are people, with mental disabilities, who are not able to control themselves, normal people can manage under all but the most extreme circumstances.
- Organisations thinking about implementing a corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme, should consider the following issues:
- Good practice - what solutions to CSR problems are already out there?
- Deloitte US is collaborating with the World Economic Forum and the Logistics Emergency Team is learning how leading companies are contributing to complex crisis response. Their research has highlighted that forward-thinking companies are now looking to bring their core skills and capabilities to humanitarian action and are establishing partnerships before the crises occur.
- See also a Financial Times special report on Responsible Business - Financial Times and another related report, Responsibility – Big Brand Redemption.
- McKinsey says the investment community is failing to deliver on corporate social responsibility, “Institutional investors face a moment of truth about their commitment to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors. Many have long realized that these issues—including climate change, workplace diversity, and long-standing corporate concerns such as executive compensation—can drive risks and returns. Many large institutional investors have publicly committed themselves to integrate ESG factors into their investing. The UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment have been signed by more than 1,500 investors and managers, representing nearly $60 trillion in assets under management. Yet look a little deeper, and it’s clear that many investors have struggled to convert their commitment into practice. Less than 1% of the total capital of the 15 largest US public pension funds is allocated to ESG-specific strategies. Many institutional investors continue to treat ESG as a sideshow rather than an integral part of their investing. While ESG and corporate-governance teams are commonplace, they are often held at arm’s length from core investment activities. Faced with rising stakeholder demand for meaningful action, institutions that get out in front of the growing wave will be the first to reap the benefits of sound ESG investing: better returns, lower risk, and a more sustainable world.”
- More and more firms are making a point of releasing an annual report about their social responsibility practices via their own websites or a third-party assessor, according to strategy+business. In just one example, the number of companies that documented their sustainability initiatives with the widely respected nonprofit Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) — which provides a publicly accessible and comprehensive framework for evaluating corporate responsibility activities, surged nearly five-fold between 2012 and 2015, according to GRI’s data.
- See PwC's New CEO Insights blog by Nigel Wilson, CEO of L&G: Why government and business must tackle big social issues together.
- PwC's responsible business practices - from culture and values to environmental impact and transparency - achieved a five star rating in the Business in the Community's (BITC) Corporate Responsibility Index for the second year running. BITC is the UK's leading voluntary benchmark for responsible business. PwC scored over 99% on their index of some of the country’s leading companies.
- The EY Foundation is challenging employers to do more to support disadvantaged young people into work, labelling the failure to take more targeted action as ‘socially and economically wasteful’, and saying companies should offer more paid work experience and broaden recruitment criteria. The foundation, a charity set up by EY in 2014 to help young people disadvantaged in the labour market find alternative routes into employment, education or enterprise, was responding to a recent House of Lords social mobility committee report, ‘Overlooked and left behind: improving the transition from school to work for the majority of young people’.The report found that 53% of young people (in the UK) do not follow the ‘traditional’ academic route into work. It said this majority are significantly overlooked in their transition for work by the education system, while the focus on apprenticeships is not suitable for everyone.
- Management theorist Michael Porter says business is entering a new, third stage in its relationship with society. First, there was philanthropy: Companies made money doing bad things, but then gave some of their earnings to good causes. Second, there was corporate responsibility (or minimising harm): Companies tried to do fewer bad things. And now companies are working (or should work) on actual solutions: products and services that serve social problems.
- Consulting and IT services firms were among the 131 companies recognised by Ethisphere on its 2016 World’s Most Ethical Companies list and at its Global Ethics Summit. The firms included Accenture and Capgemini. The World's Most Ethical Companies designation recognises organisations that have had a significant impact on the way business is conducted by fostering a culture of ethics and transparency at all levels. The framework attempts to portray related performance metrics in an objective, consistent and standardised way. The five weighted components are an organisation’s ethics and compliance programme (35%); corporate citizenship and responsibility (20%); culture of ethics (20%); governance (15%); and leadership, innovation and reputation (10%).
- Corporate boards have begun to form committees to focus on ethics and values as well as corporate responsibility and sustainability, as part of a move to tackle non-financial risks more effectively, according to a new survey by the UK Institute of Business Ethics (IBE) in collaboration with ICSA, the professional body for governance, and Mazars. The research showed that 55 companies in the FTSE 350 have formed such committees with published terms of reference, and that over half of them (67%) were specially charged with advising the board on ethics and values and how these can be embedded within the company. Most (69%) have an independent non executive director as chair. The research found that committees serve a number of different purposes. Broadly these range from reputational issues around corporate responsibility to compliance with non-financial regulation such as health and safety and legislation to do with bribery.
- The responsible business community spends so much time talking to itself, it is convinced it is winning the argument, but it isn't, warned the RSA. Instead of ducking the hard questions such as executive pay, tax dodging, unsustainable consumption and the sheer dysfunctionality of most massive corporate bureaucracies, it needs to own them.
- A surge in socially responsible investments to $59 trillion globally over the past decade is nudging Asian firms to change a notoriously insular management style to one that actively addresses corporate governance concerns, claimed Reuters. As earnings growth and China's economy slow, corporate executives are becoming more receptive to the investment messages from funds committed to environmental, social and governance principles.
- 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.
- Authoritative analysts believe that organisations can do best by doing good, through so-called creative capitalism - but not everyone agrees.
- 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.
- What was once a niche business has become a driving force, noted the Boston Consulting Group Responsible consumption (RC) brands - those that use organic, natural, ecological, local, or fair-trade claims to differentiate themselves- are booming, at least in Europe. Even hard discounters are catering to consumer demand with pesticide-free produce and new packaged lines.
- Mounting and sustaining social initiatives takes time, talent and resources. But increasingly, it is what investors, customers, employees and other stakeholders have come to expect and demand. Millennials - industry’s new and future customers - cast a particularly keen eye on companies’ commitment to social impact. INSEAD argued that not only established companies, but also emerging multinationals also now realise that engaging with stakeholders to solve societal issues can give them a strategic advantage by reducing the likelihood of protest and aggressive regulation.
- Boards in the UK will have to increase scrutiny of supply chains as rules come into effect compelling larger companies to certify that their suppliers are not using forced labour. The provision for transparency and supply chains in the Modern Slavery Act will apply to companies with a turnover of more than £36m. It is part of a law intended to encourage businesses in Britain to root out forced labour or human trafficking from their supply chains.
- Corporate social responsibility is getting competitive, according to the CEO of a leading brand consultancy, whose advice is, “Hurry, carve out what you want to own now.” Issues like climate change, poverty and gender inequality require urgent attention, he claimed, and those companies that focus on their values and not the bottom line gain a competitive advantage.
- PwC UK achieved 5*, the highest possible rating in the Business in the Community (BITC) Corporate Responsibility Index - the only professional services firm to do so. In addition, we were re-accredited with BITC’s Community Mark for a further three years. Both the index and the Community Mark are endorsed by government and voluntary-sector leaders and recognise companies for their leadership and excellence in community investment. BITC is part of HRH The Prince of Wales’s Responsible Business Network – a group of not-for-profit charities of which the Prince is president.
- strategy+business found that, while many corporations reduced their investments in sustainable initiatives during the recent recession, some relatively high performing firms actually increased their long-term commitment to corporate social responsibility.
- The new PwC- Save the Children report , ‘Forgotten Voices: the world of urban children in India’, found that, by 2040-50, urban India will constitute a 50% share in the total population of the country. Also, its share in India’s GDP will grow to 75% by 2030. With 37% of future adults in the country, of whom, 120 million will be living in urban spaces, mainly in slums, on and off the streets as well as in shelters, this number will only grow and is estimated to reach around 180 million by 2030. The report focuses cohesively on the needs of urban Indian children, especially the deprived children living on streets and slums, working children, orphans, among others. It looks at key issues such as urban governance, health, nutrition, water and sanitation, education, child protection and urban resilience. The report suggests practical solutions that decision makers can implement for an inclusive, child-friendly and equitable urban development.
- Accenture and its foundations have made a US$6 million contribution to Education for Employment (EFE) to help launch its Training for the Future programme by delivering online and classroom-based skills training to more than 25,000 disadvantaged youth in Morocco, Spain and Tunisia. The contribution, which includes cash and pro-bono services, will enable EFE and its local partners to secure employment for at least 3,800 of these youth. The programme, which also will launch in Argentina, Brazil and South Africa, will deliver skills training to 37,000 disadvantaged youth overall. EFE will work directly with its local affiliates in Morocco and Tunisia, and will provide coordination and expertise to local nongovernmental organisations in other countries.
- The London Business School delivered a recent TED talk on the social responsibility of business.
- Ethisphere's The World's Most Ethical Companies® designation recognises companies that truly go beyond making statements about doing business "ethically" and translate those words into action. 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. In 2015, 132 honorees were named spanning 21 countries and five continents and representing over 50 industries.
- The profit-making corporation is, should be and will remain the central institution of the modern economy, claimed a leading Financial Times commentator. But that does not mean the purpose of a profit-making corporation is to make a profit; we must breathe to live but breathing is not the purpose of life. The purpose of a corporation is to produce goods and services to meet economic and social needs, to create satisfying and rewarding employment, to earn returns for its shareholders and other investors, and to make a positive contribution to the social and physical environment in which it operates.
- In Radical Accountability, Strategy& argued that for company leaders, the risk in transparency represents a great challenge, but the rewards are great too. Transparency builds trust. Trust becomes the foundation of great teamwork and great customer relationships. For the first time in business history, companies have an opportunity to liberate their business by becoming more accountable: by letting everyone see them as they truly are.
- The Financial Times focused on the issue of corporate power without responsibility on boards, highlighting recent high-profile cases in Germany and Sweden in which, according to the FT, rather than long-termism there was corporate self-indulgence.
- PwC UK's responsible business responsible business practices achieved a five star rating in Business in the Community's (BITC) Corporate Responsibility Index. BITC is the UK's leading voluntary benchmark for responsible business. PwC scored over 99% on their index of some of the country’s leading companies – the highest rating band possible. The rating recognises the fact we created the UK’s most sustainable buildings – Embankment Place and More London, pioneered new diversity training with our Open Minds e-learn, and created an innovative social enterprise hub and venture, Brigade that is tackling homelessness.
- 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.
- Ethical Corporation claimed that its forthcoming Responsible Business Summit is Europe’s most prominent meeting place to find out where business leaders and innovators are headed around their sustainability and CSR strategy.
- Large companies are starting to realise that when it comes to introducing ethical practices into their day-to-day operations, small is still beautiful. To discuss how systems thinking can help business leaders transform their organisations, the Guardian, in association with PwC, brought together about 50 company bosses, leaders in sustainability and academics, to discuss the issue. They split into four working groups to share best practices and debate how systems thinking offers a practical way of introducing environmental and social thinking into business activities.
- 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.
- London Business School and Boston University explored the effect of the interplay between a firm’s external and internal actions on performance in the context of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Drawing from theory, they argued that external and internal CSR actions jointly contribute to the accumulation of intangible firm resources and therefore are associated with better performance. Importantly, though, they theorised that a wider gap between external and internal actions - reflecting a disconnect between “talk” and “action” by firms - negatively affects performance.
- Accenture and the Accenture Foundations awarded Amref Health Africa an additional grant of US$3 million to help the organisation enhance and scale its mobile health training programme to 3,000 community health workers in Kenya. This grant brings Accenture’s direct support to Amref Health Africa to more than US$7.3 million since 2005.
- Companies have long cited lofty mission statements as proof they have concerns beyond the bottom line, inviting recruits to come and change the world. Now, nearly every product or service seems capable of transforming humanity. The words "mission," "higher purpose," "change the world" or "changing the world" were mentioned in investor communications 3,243 times in 2014, up from 2,318 five years ago.
- 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.
- Around the world, institutional investors – including pension funds, insurance companies, philanthropic endowments, and universities – are grappling with the question of whether to divest from oil, gas, and coal companies, according to Project Syndicate. The reason, it claims, is climate change: unless fossil-fuel consumption is cut sharply – and phased out entirely by around 2070, in favour of zero-carbon energy such as solar power – the world will suffer unacceptable risks from human-induced global warming.
- The Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Trust, a private sector initiative, announced that PwC has joined leading African businesses in supporting the African Union Support for Ebola in West Africa programme. Close to 1,000 African health workers have been deployed to combat Ebola in the most affected countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. PwC will provide financial and risk management and fund administration services to the Trust.
- An HBR article argued that consumers are likely to be especially brand loyal if their deeply-held values are engaged in their purchasing. Consumer engagement and commitment is priceless: ethical brands are more likely to encourage this engagement. It asked readers to imagine their competitors have all fallen prey to pessimism about ethical consumerism, but they (the readers) know better. They know consumers have ethical motivations, and they know you can help them express those motivations. They realise that past market share doesn’t have to mean consumers aren’t hungry for the chance to do good while they spend money. By remaining optimistic, they have both made a difference in a larger sense, and found a sweet spot in the competitive landscape to grow profits and their brand.
- Grant Thornton donated US$30,950 to UNICEF UK as part of its ongoing association through the International Business Report (IBR). This takes the total donation made through the project over the past eight years to over US$360,000. Now in its 22nd year, the IBR claims to be the leading quarterly mid-market business survey in the world, providing insight into the economic and commercial issues affecting more than 10,000 businesses in over 35 economies every year. Grant Thornton makes a donation of US$2 to UNICEF UK for every completed interview.
- During a Global Clients GRP call in December 2014, the PwC Global Sustainability and Climate Change (S&CC) Leader Malcolm Preston gave an update on the S&CC network. During this call, GRPs asked about PwC's own corporate responsibility CR strategy across the network. They were interested to know this because PwC is providing sustainability services and wanted to make sure we were 'walking the talk', too. Malcolm sits on the firm's Global Corporate Responsibility Board, so was well placed to update on the firm's strategy and provide the following information in follow up.
- HBR argued that most companies have long practiced some form of corporate social and environmental responsibility with the broad goal, simply, of contributing to the well-being of the communities and society they affect and on which they depend. But there is increasing pressure to dress up CSR as a business discipline and demand that every initiative deliver business results. That is asking too much of CSR and distracts from what must be its main goal: to align a company’s social and environmental activities with its business purpose and values, so firms must refocus their CSR activities on this fundamental goal.
- The founder of the World Economic Forum argued that corporate social responsibility is not limited to how a company does business. Firms should use their core competencies to help find solutions to today’s most pressing social problems. In other words, beyond serving its own stakeholders, a company should accept its own role as a stakeholder in our collective future – a sort of quid pro quo for its licence to operate.
- In the US, Deloitte renewed its collaboration with ‘venture philanthropy’ fund New Profit. The multi-million dollar collaboration provides pro bono strategic support from Deloitte's consultants, who work with New Profit staff to support leadership teams at the 28 high-impact nonprofits currently in New Profit's portfolio.
- 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.
- Selling a good product or service is no longer enough to attract today's socially conscious shoppers, new research showed. A study by public relations and marketing firm Cone Communications and Echo Research revealed corporate social responsibility is now a reputational imperative, with more than 90% of shoppers worldwide likely to switch to brands that support a good cause, given similar price and quality. Additionally, more than 90% of the consumers surveyed are more likely to trust and be loyal to socially responsible businesses compared to companies that don't show these traits.
- 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.
- IBM Corporate Service Corps, a hybrid of professional development and service, now deploys 500 young leaders a year on team assignments in more than 30 countries in the developing world. Employees engage in two months of training while working full time, spend one month on the ground on a 6- to 12-member team tackling a social issue, and then mentor the next group for two months. So far, IBMers have completed over 1,000 projects. The initiative follows the success of another IBM programme, IBM’s On Demand Community, which was launched as an online marketplace to connect nonprofits with employees and retirees, as well as a portal offering resources to nonprofits of all kinds.
- In its 2014 Global Report, Deloitte claimed to remain at the "forefront of advancing global economic prosperity, which can produce lasting social change, improving the lives of many". It also claimed to help solve social, humanitarian, and environmental challenges through collaboration with governments, civil society, and others in the private sector.
- 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.
- The founding Executive Director for Responsible Investment at the United Nations talked to London Business School about the importance of building human capital within the companies in a portfolio, explaining how responsible investments as part of a financial management strategy can be beneficial in the long term.
- 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.
- Asking whether global companies are improving their environmental, social and governance performance, the OECD concluded that here is good reason to be optimistic, though there is much work to be done. Some 93% of the world’s largest 250 companies now publish annual corporate responsibility reports, almost 60% of which are independently audited. That means companies from sectors as diverse as financial services, information technology and consumer goods to oil, gas and mining making billions of dollars of public commitments to help solve societal challenges.
- 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.
- Accenture reported on international development and the future of corporate social change.
- The FT argued that, while there was a time when business investments in education, community initiatives, disaster relief or environmental conservation were treated as corporate philanthropy, now, as groups confront everything from resource scarcity to the threat of business interruption from social unrest, companies are beginning to recognise that these investments are an essential part of doing business. Risk management is just one compelling reason for companies to develop supply chains that have a lower carbon footprint, consume fewer natural materials and secure the support of local communities.
- According to KPMG, increased regulatory scrutiny, corporate and social responsibility (CSR) pressures, and accountability for the health and wellness of consumers, present companies with the challenge of being compliant, ethical, and socially conscious - while also maintaining competitiveness and profitability.
- New research by Nielsen found that consumers are growing more likely to use their purchasing power to support the greater good- or at least, they’re more likely to make this claim. A majority (55%) of 30,000-plus people across 60 countries surveyed said they would be willing to pay more for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact, up from 50% in 2012 and 45% in 2011.
- New research delved into the increasing engagement of high new worth individuals with philanthropy and the strategies they are adopting to better align their values, expertise and charitable activities. This often involves active engagement with a philanthropic enterprise rather than simply writing a cheque. One example is venture philanthropy which involves using business techniques, to address social ills. The vehicles can be non-governmental organisations, more traditional business ventures or social enterprises.
- According to a leading FS CIO, the Internet of Things will be a moral challenge for CIOs, as not only will it challenge the networks and technology strategies of CIOs, it will force a rethink on responsibilities, including around talent retention and strategies. Legislators in India have decided that CSR should be compulsory. A new CSR law demands that all companies create a CSR board to examine their activities and how they affect society in general. Companies will also be forced to direct 2% of their net profit to CSR activities.
- If corporations are to be sufficiently robust and successful over the coming decades, they need to ensure the resilience of the neighbourhoods in which they reside and in the extended supply chains that serve them. There are a number of different organisations that have successfully balanced the need for their business to be robust and profitable with a desire to improve conditions in the communities around them.
- A symbiotic relationship between ethics and compliance can help companies deliver shareholder value and mitigate risks. according to a Deloitte analysis, which discussed how boards can guide an organisation’s ethics and compliance efforts in light of heightened regulatory scrutiny and emerging threats.
- Deloitte launched its Humanitarian Innovation Program for 2014. Through the programme, Deloitte member firm professionals work with humanitarian organisations to co-create and implement solutions to the sector’s most pressing challenges. Humanitarian organisations actively involved in crisis response are invited to share their innovative ideas to enhance their organisations’ readiness and preparedness to respond to crises.
- Selected recent responsibility-related intelligence: Responsible Leadership from the FT; Why Corporations Fail to Do the Right Thing; HBR on Why Corporate Social Responsibility Doesn't Work; Firms’ socially responsible actions can have unintended negative consequences and CSR - moral credits.
- 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.
- Booz noted that, in most developed nations, CSR initiatives centre on issues such as environmental sustainability, alternative energy, clean technology, and social welfare. Driving these activities, more often than not, is a company’s desire to appeal to strong consumer sentiment. But in the Middle East and North Africa, CSR is becoming something fundamentally different. It is focusing less on catering to consumer attitudes, and more on addressing social and economic challenges that are hindering development, most notably the shortage of jobs.
- 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.
- The KPMG Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting provided a snapshot of current global trends in corporate responsibility (CR) reporting. The survey covere 4,100 companies in 41 countries and a deep-dive into the quality of reporting among the world’s largest 250 companies.
- IBM claimed that the concepts of philanthropy and corporate giving have evolved over the years from localised donations by individuals of great wealth to “strategic” corporate giving to today’s progressive practice of creating sustainable value across the globe. IBM itself claims to now integrate corporate citizenship with business strategy to build relationships and new leaders while addressing societal problems around the world.
- A global survey of 3,300 businesses in 44 economies found that nearly one-third now issue corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability information, either in their financial reports or in separate reports, and that a clear majority believe the information should be reported. The survey was conducted as part of the quarterly Grant Thornton International Business Report, now in its 22nd year.
- A former chair of the US President's Council of Economic Advisers, a professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley talked about why "The Business of Business is More Than Business".
- Deloitte Social Innovation Pioneers programme claims to support socially innovative businesses, providing them with a package of support to help them grow to scale and become investment-ready. In total Deloitte is investing over £1m a year in this programme which utilises the skills and capabilities of its people to support social business. It is currently working with 16 social businesses across a range of sectors, industries and regions, and the first Pioneers cohort have moved onto an Alumni programme.
- The 2013 Cone Communications/Echo Global CSR Study and conversations with global experts claims that the key question is not whether companies will engage in corporate social responsibility, but how they will create real and meaningful impact. CSR is no longer an option - it is emphatically and indisputably a must-do. Today’s consumers are savvier, more sophisticated and more connected than ever before. Cognisant of their own capacity to influence social and environmental issues, they are looking more closely at the collective impact of corporations and individuals.
- Accenture and Concern Worldwide announced that Accenture Foundations has awarded Concern an additional grant of US$3.25 million to continue its conservation farming programs in Zambia and Malawi. This grant will build on an established agri-business skills training program, which educates and assists farmers and communities in sustainable farming practices. This grant brings Accenture’s direct support of Concern to more than $4.75 million since 2010.
- 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.
- 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%.
- In Multirational multinationals, Deloitte found that a growing number of influential companies are adopting the position that business should no longer cede the solving of social problems solely to government and nonprofits. When larger societal problems are seen not as just charity but as market opportunities, then actions by business are more scalable and viable over the long term.
- 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.
- 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.