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I spent the last two weeks attending and speaking at the Net Impact and BSR conferences. As is typical at both conferences there is always too much to choose from and a lot to absorb. Since I cannot offer you a summary of each and every panel I attended/spoke at, here are some of the top line quotes heard at the conferences:

CSR: Always a Difference in Opinions

“CSR used to be about doing the right thing. Now it’s all about how it makes business sense.” – Campbell Soup’s VP for CSR Dave Stangis

“I hate the term CSR. It has slowed the movement and in many ways ensured that it is not built into systems, accounting, etc. I prefer [the term] sustainability although that’s not a big favorite either.” – Lynelle Cameron, Director of Sustainability, Autodesk

“We think CSR is good business.” – Suzanne Keel-Eckmann, National Director for Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, Deloitte

A bag of sweet potato fries at Burgerville in Portland, Oregon: Social messaging done right?

“CSR should be led by charity and employee engagement, not CSR departments.” – Meg Garlinghouse, Head of Employment Branding and Community, LinkedIn

“Our CEO still believes that he is the company’s chief sustainability officer. But he realized that we need to be more organized and structured in our efforts because there is a lot to be done.” – Bea Perez, Chief Sustainability Officer, Coca-Cola in response to Reverse Cause Marketing: Coca Cola’s Pursuits in the Middle East

The Role of Business in Social Enterprise

“We must see social problems as business opportunities.” – Carol Cone, EVP, Edelman

“I worked on Wall Street, driven by greed. Regardless of what anyone says, greed is not good. You get so immersed in the system you forget what all you can do with your life.” – Charles Kane, Former CEO and Board Member, One Laptop Per Child

“A lot of charities are beginning to worry that a lot of the problems they have been trying to solve are not going away. Business still tends to be more sustainable.” – Steve Andrews, CEO, SolarAid

“In the last few years, business has lost tremendous trust in the marketplace. That we are GOOD now rests on us.” – Ofra Strauss, Chairperson and former CEO, The Strauss Group 

Personal Responsibility

“When you know what you’re doing is helping thousands, the payback is so much more fulfilling than any number of stock options and bonuses.” – Charles Kane, Former CEO and Board Member, One Laptop Per Child

“We need to change without giving up who we are. There are no riots against business that are profitable. We need to talk with them, not talk to them.” – Ofra Strauss, Chairperson and former CEO, The Strauss Group

“The more you peel the onion, the more you realize there is to be done. You just need to be constantly excited about peeling the onion.” – Brian Dunn, CEO, Best Buy

The Role of an MBA

“No profession exists to make the practitioners rich. There is always a higher purpose.” – Gregory Unruh, Director, Lincoln Center for Ethics, Thunderbird School of Global Management

“I don’t know if its [The MBA Oath] is going to work. But it is in the right direction and symbolizes a complete shift in mentality.” – Max Anderson, President and Cofounder, The MBA Oath

“I’m waiting to see the day when a new employee tells me they attended a class in college called Change Agent 101.” – Anonymous 

Transparency

“We’re from the Midwest. We don’t advertise our initiatives. But lately there has been a shift in this thinking and our communication style. Transparency is a journey and we are in the early stages of that.” – Kate Heiny, Group Manager of Sustainability, Target

“The priority should always be why not disclose instead of why disclose.” – Chris Jochnick, Director, Oxfam America

“When you are increasingly naked, fitness is not optional.” – Quoted by yours truly during a BSR panel on hyper-transparency. Citation: Macrowikinomics

Integrated Reporting

“For us, integrated reporting starts with the thinking within the company on how they will sustain their value in the future. Integrated reporting starts with integrated thinking.” – Jessica Fries, Director, International Integrated Reporting Committee

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