Events, Green, green drinks, green living, Net Impact, net impact 2011, pazzo, Portland, Social Enterprise, Sustainability, sustainability, sustainable business
30 Sunday Oct 2011
28 Friday Oct 2011
21 Wednesday Sep 2011
2degrees, aman singh, aman singh das, brand management, corporate social responsibility, CSR, diageo, Events, Green, Mark Serwinowski, marketing, metavu, PR, roberta barbieri, Social Media, social media, social media and sustainability, Stakeholder Engagement, supply chain, Sustainability, sustainability, Uncategorized
I was recently invited by U.K.-based 2degrees (an online community of over 16,000 sustainability professionals) to participate in their inaugural Sustainability Quarterly in New York City. It was a great panel (co panelists: Mark Serwinowski from Metavu and Roberta Barbieri from Diageo) and my role was to discuss the increasing importance of social media. Not only did I have an interesting task, considering most in the audience did not have a Twitter or Facebook account, they also had some outstanding questions for me.
Take a look:
If you are in the New York area, I highly recommend attending their next quarterly on September 27, 2011. Their working groups methodology and nuts and bolts approach is effective, engaging and immensely productive.
You won’t be disappointed.
13 Tuesday Sep 2011
aman singh, aman singh das, Aneel Karnani, BP, brand management, Brand Management, Business, business strategy, Campbell Soup, CEO Network, Commitforum, corporate citizenship, corporate social responsibility, CSR, CSR reporting, CSR strategy, Dave Stangis, Ethics, ethics and compliance, Events, Fenton, Gerry Sullivan, Green, green jobs, Leadership, Management, Paul Herman, risk management, shared value, social enterprise, Social Impact, social responsibility, Social Responsibility, Starbucks, Sustainability, sustainability, sustainable business
Corporate Social Responsibility isn’t about giving money away and adopting the latest cause of activists. CSR and sustainability are approaches to business operation and execution that build employee engagement, improve environmental performance, create positive social impact, enable operational efficiency, reduce cost, foster innovation, strengthen relationships with customers and consumers and ultimately…create business advantage.
That was Dave Stangis, VP for Corporate Responsibility with Campbell Soup Company responding to University of Michigan Professor Aneel Karnani’s infamous editorial in The Wall Street Journal, “The Case Against Corporate Social Responsibility.”
Then, the argument was “capitalism versus corporate social responsibility, CSR versus profits, and where an idea like CSR fits into a business’ main objective, which is to make profits for its shareholders.”
Despite numerous debates [Fenton’s BIG CSR debate] and as many editorials and reports [Why There Is a Case for Corporate Social Responsibility], the inequity of the idea — or the perception that being responsible will cost a company money and therefore is an expense business doesn’t need — prevails.
But the actual essence of this debate no one can seem to pinpoint. Are we fighting over semantics or strategy?
Is it the misperception that CSR is a cost, a tagged on responsibility, and therefore, unnecessary for companies? Or that CSR is completely estranged from the notions of capitalism as Professor Karnani believes — and is, in fact, the wrong argument?
Since his controversial editorial, Karnani of course has continued to incite criticism for what many call an “extremely shortsighted and narrow view.”
Now, the associate professor of management and strategy for Michigan’s Ross School of Business is headed to New York City to debate his argument in real-time on the occasion of the CR COMMIT! Forum 2011, organized by Corporate Responsibility Magazine and NYSE Euronext [Details below].
Fashioned as an Oxford-style debate [DEBATE: RESOLVED that when companies expend resources on corporate responsibility and sustainability they destroy economic value], Karnani will be joined by Gerry Sullivan, president of the VICE fund, on the pro-markets side.
On the pro-sustainability side will be Paul Herman, CEO of HIP Investor and Dr. Vinay Nair, founding partner of Ada Investments and adjunct associate professor of finance and economics at Columbia Business School.
In a sneak peek, I talked to three of the debaters [Dr. Nair couldn’t make it] on the essence of their arguments as well as: How does each of them define CSR?
Take a read:
Gerry Sullivan from VICE funds believes in the power of capitalism. His funds select well performing stocks of tobacco, alcohol, gaming and weapons companies because they believe that, “Vice industries tend to thrive regardless of the economy as a whole.” Anyone reminded of the root of the financial collapse?
“I believe in capitalism because it ensures that products and services coming out are tested on the profit mandate and ultimately are good processes because they come through the interaction and the ability to gain profit,” he said.
Fair enough. Historically, companies who do well tend to share more.
“My biggest fear of CSR is that people want to make more of it than it really is. A company’s ability to employ better people and deploy profits is the real goal. Everything else is settled by the market,” he continued.
But clearly there is a differentiator between companies that invest in their community and immediate environment over the long-term and those that focus on short-term yields?
Affirmative, says Paul Herman.
Citing the ever quotable example of BP, he said, “When you look at their track record, BP was not a good corporate citizen and lost 40% of shareholder value in just a few months post the oil spill. Companies are not prepared for the volatility of climate change and its effect on cash flows and natural resources.”
Further, “Research from Wharton School and other academics has shown measurably that companies that help solve social and environmental problems can enjoy a higher shareholder and portfolio value,” he said.
“This decreases risk for business and increases value,” he added.
Because it had begun to sound like a battle between two followers of capitalism with opposite operational ideologies, I asked Karnani to step in.
“Companies can maximize profits and social enterprise at the same time, which is why capitalism works well. This is where Paul makes a good argument. Of course companies should do all this,” he said.
“But we don’t need CSR to make this argument. It’s as simple as ‘make the money, help employees.’” he added.
Here is where the caveat comes in however, he said. “This isn’t always true. When markets fail, we cannot appeal to companies to sacrifice profits for CSR and it is naive of anyone to think that all the stakeholders are always aligned in their interests. If this were true, we wouldn’t need the study of economics,” he argued.
His solution? Going back to what he had argued in the WSJ editorial last year: Government regulation.
And this is where my problem with the debate starts: How can government regulate behavioral change, cultural perceptions, and a deteriorating environment? Or are we now talking of CSR as a program, an initiative, a fundraising for charity opportunity?
If so, was Karnani suggesting the route the Indian government took recently by “mandating 2.5% of net operating profits must be spent on CSR” by all publicly traded companies?
Perhaps, although we won’t know till the live debate at the COMMIT! Forum.
Clearly, the next question: How are these men defining corporate social responsibility? Intentionally or not, I had hit the nail on its head.
According to Sullivan, “CSR is embedded into green and green hasn’t generated green for most companies.” Also blaming the government for supporting “and pumping a ton of money into green jobs,” which many say has been a failed effort at reviving the economy, Sullivan continued:
The internet bubble taught us that having pool tables and kegs doesn’t make the companies money. If the jury is still out on whether good companies will do good things, I say they’re smart enough to treat their employees well. You don’t need CSR for that.”
“I would like the companies I invest in to not be socially responsible but responsible to their shareholders and producing products that the government can use to generate revenue. I certainly hope that these companies think highly of their employees but I’m less inclined to think that they would give up profits over socially responsible activities.
For Paul, the question isn’t about green or management. “You start by asking yourself what social or environmental problem you are solving. Companies who are doing well have a core mission of improving the world in some way and making money while doing so.”
Citing the example of banks, he explained, “Banks were started to help people grow their income and wealth and became more integrated in their communities.”
“Starbucks in the U.S. spends more on the health care of its employees than the coffee beans because they support a better quality of life for employees and a higher labor standard.”
The argument, at least for Herman, isn’t about the validity of CSR anymore. “It’s about generating top-line growth and bottom-line profits. That’s why employees and investor relations teams are key in solving this paradigm,” he concluded.
“CSR is a very confused notion. If you just mean businesses doing good for society, then capitalism is actually good [for society]. If CSR goes beyond ‘making money,’ then it’s not about ‘making money.’ When a company does something socially useful and loses money over it, that’s CSR. And definitionally, CSR loses money,” he concluded.
Confused? Irate? Redeemed?
Want to attend the COMMIT!Forum? Register here or connect with me on Twitter @AmanSinghCSR for a special discount code. The Forum begins on September 26, 2011, at the Javits Center in New York City and offers a full two-day agenda complete with a CSR careers symposium, keynotes and workshops.
And if you cannot make it, stay tuned here for more coverage.
24 Wednesday Aug 2011
aman singh, aman singh das, Apple, brand management, brands with purpose, BSR Conference, Business, Carol Cone, cause marketing, CEO Network, consumer education, consumerism, corporate social responsibility, CSR, Edelman, Good Purpose Study, Green, In Good Company, Leadership, Management, Matthew Bishop, Performance with Purpose, Steve Jobs, Sustainability, sustainability, sustainable business, sustainable technology, technology, Work culture
As we slowly recover from the stupor of the not completely unexpected news that Steve Jobs has stepped down as Apple’s CEO, here’s a post from recent months that’s worth a retake.
Context: At Business for Social Responsibility’s (BSR) annual conference last year, Edelman’s Managing Director for Corporate Citizenship Carol Cone released the 2010 Good Purpose Study with a dramatic declaration: “Cause marketing is dead.”
The main overarching finding of the study, as regular readers will recall, was this:
87 percent of consumers worldwide believe that business needs to equate at least equal weight on society’s interests as on business interests.
Accompanying Cone at the release were panelists from Levi Strauss, PepsiCo and a personal favorite: The Economist‘s Matthew Bishop, who amid the hype and hoopla of the report, quietly asked: “Are we really going to stop buying Apple because of its crappy environmental policies?”
An excerpt, originally published on Vault’s CSR blog: In Good Company:
That controversial statement is how Cone opened the panel, adding, “That [cause marketing] world is way over. Purpose has replaced cause marketing and branding.” Companies aren’t building marketing plans around a cause anymore, she argued. Rather, “they are infusing their very strategy and business model with purposeful corporate citizenship.”
Picking up where Cone left off, the always-entertaining Matthew Bishop began with a prediction: “If we continue the current road toward demanding transparency and corporate social responsibility, within the next five to 10 years, we will begin to see corporate board meetings being live streamed to select people.”
Chuckling about the ambitiousness of his own statement, he went on to note, “Likewise, the real question is how much of this data [in the Good Purpose study] is picking up on aspirations rather than real choices [of consumers].”
Alleging that PepsiCo’s latest mantra of “Performance with Purpose” was indeed a verification of this shift from cause marketing to purposeful corporate citizenship at companies, Communications Director for PepsiCo Americas Beverages Melisa Tezanos gave high points to CEO Indra Nooyi for pushing for a company-wide cultural change that today drives all their business functions.
[READ: Pepsi Takes Performance with Purpose to Heart: An Interview with Chief Personnel Officer Cynthia Trudell]
“However, Nooyi is completely unapologetic about giving ‘performance’ as much importance as the ‘purpose’ part and she makes no bones about it,” said Tezanos, adding that this helps everyone across the company stay committed to a culture of profitability with purpose. Explaining the drivers behind PepsiCo’s highly successful Refresh project, she further stated, “For millennials, social responsibility is huge. We’ve seen through research again and again that their purchase intent goes up significantly when the brand is associated with a good cause.”
And finally, referring to the findings of the Edelman study—and Cone’s earlier comment, she said, “Marketing used to be blamed for being short-termism. Today, marketers are the biggest defenders of long-termism.”
Bringing the conversation back to a level plain field, Bishop concluded with a sobering thought, “But what is real and what is fake with purpose? Will Pepsi ever move beyond the heart of its products, i.e., increasing obesity? Are we really going to stop buying Apple [products] because they have crappy environmental policies?”
Just some food for thought as we go on a whirlwind ride with the media in coming days on the history, the present, and the future of America’s favorite company, Apple. Don’t forget to add your perspective by leaving a comment or connecting with me @AmanSinghCSR.
And if you haven’t already, share your opinion on whether social media engagement make better brands or more effective leaders by taking this new BRANDfog survey on social media and leadership.
More on Edelman’s Good Purpose study: Encompassing 7,259 respondents in 13 countries, the study was conducted by consulting firm StrategyOne with the objective of analyzing whether—and how much—purpose plays into purchase decisions worldwide, and further, how these transform into consumer activism via social media.
10 Wednesday Aug 2011
Posted CSR, Guest Authorin
Accenture, business, CEO Network, consulting, convergence economy, corporate accountability, corporate social entrepreneurship, corporate social responsibility, crisis management, CSR, CSR strategy, ethics and compliance, future of nonprofits, Gib Bulloch, Green, leadership, management, Nonprofits, risk management, social enterprise, social entrepreneurship, Stakeholder Engagement, supply chain, Sustainability, sustainability, sustainable business, UN Millenium Development goals, water, Work culture
If ever we needed proof that conventional development approaches are failing to address poverty, disease and malnutrition, the 10 year checkpoint for the UN’s Millennium Development Goals provided it.
The shortfalls in achievement in parts of Africa and South Asia cruelly expose the limits of our current efforts. Debate has recently turned to how business, governments and NGOs can work together in ways that align commercial self-interest with societal value. But the emergence of a ‘convergence economy‘ will disrupt incumbent development providers and ask many questions of businesses.
The good news is that the struggle against seemingly intractable problems such as malaria, drought and extreme poverty coincides with a time when global companies are looking for new markets. It’s no surprise, therefore, that NGOs and the private sector are increasingly working together. But all too often this collaboration is for one-off projects and conducted at arm’s length.
Business provides funds and NGOs deliver solutions. This may give business a license to operate in new territories, but it misses a large opportunity to transform communities for the long-term.
It is based on a merging of issues: Water, sanitation, education and disease, for instance, can only be addressed effectively together. It recognizes that the interests of NGOS do not run counter to those of business. And this results in a convergence of solutions, where it no longer matters whose logo is on the product or service that is improving the welfare of communities.
We are all aware of how leading brands are supporting local communities and farmers, but beyond ethical supply chains and community based business practices, some businesses will have to consider more radical transformations of their operations.
We can expect to see hybrid organizations that genuinely bring together NGOs and businesses in newly formed entities that have joint and flexible value chains at their heart. Danone’s collaboration with Grameen in Bangladesh illustrates this and has resulted in entirely new products to combat infant malnutrition. In some cases, we can expect the private sector to receive grants rather than NGOs.
The ‘convergence economy’ therefore requires businesses to create new business and operating models in local markets and to identify where they may have the best capabilities to ‘touch’ local communities in place of or in partnership with traditional aid providers. These new businesses or subsidiaries may be in joint partnerships with NGOs and other players.
For solutions to be sustainable, they will need to feed back local innovations into the broader business to maximize commercial benefit. To maintain their commitment, they will have to persuade shareholders that these commitments with longer term pay back periods are essential for future growth.
According to our survey with the United Nations Global Compact of 766 CEOs, 27 percent of CEOs saw NGOs as key stakeholders in areas of sustainability in 2007. That figure fell to just 15% in 2010.
NGOs will still occupy a vital position in development—indeed they must, as they possess the local knowledge and knowhow, but they will see their role changing.
NGOs will act as coordinators, not just providers.
They will attract investment finance as well as seeking grants. They will support free markets as a tool for development. This means adopting new capabilities and, to some extent, a new cultural outlook. In the same way private sector companies are used to disaggregating their businesses and outsourcing non-core operations, NGOs will have to redesign their structure and purpose.
They will need a venture capital mentality to create conditions for investment.
The convergence of development and commercial enterprise is not therefore merely about ethical supply chains or profit seekers embracing a broader definition of value. It is about a far deeper and more fluid operational collaboration across sectors. As multinationals enter new markets, they will have to redesign their models and assist NGOS to do the same.
Then, what could be seen as a marriage of convenience today can become a more committed and productive long-term relationship in the future.
–By Gib Bulloch, Executive Director, Accenture Development Partnerships
02 Tuesday Aug 2011
Posted CSR, CSR reportingin
Accountability, aman singh, aman singh das, Apple, consumer education, Consumerism, consumerism, corporate social responsibility, cradle to cradle, CSR, CSR communications, CSR reporting, Dell, Ethics, ethics and compliance, Green, human rights, Jeff Swartz, Leadership, management, Mark Newton, marketing, Motorola, product lifecycle, Social Impact, Social Media, social media, supply chain, Sustainability, sustainability, Timberland CSR communications portal, Timberland VF merger, transparency, VF, Work culture
When one of the country’s few purpose-based and values-driven company announces new sustainability goals, chances are you won’t be as excited as you would be if it was BP, for instance.
Because we expect ambitious and aggressive goals from leaders, and at Timberland, this expectation is part of everyone’s job.
Before the boot maker announced its new set of revised sustainability goals earlier this week, I caught up with Timberland’s new Vice President for CSR Mark Newton on his new role, the goals, as well as their latest efforts at stakeholder engagement: Timberland’s new Communications Portal.
Newton, who has spent his entire career working on sustainability at electronics giants like Motorola, Apple, and most recently Dell, understands that the road ahead will be rocky as Timberland completes its merger with VF. VF owns several outdoor brands like The NorthFace, Wrangler, Jansport and Nautica.
We started with the new 2015 goals. What’s new about them?
“Focus,” said Newton. “Moving forward it is very important that we create focus for our companies, including a commitment to innovate from cradle to cradle.”
Set in four broad categories of Climate, Product, Factories and Service; the goals are ambitious and aggressive, if not new or radically life-changing. I asked Newton the purpose of each category.
Climate: “This is a topical focus for us if not so much a functional one. But we’re not saying we’re going to be singularly focused on climate change but that this affects our customers and decisions and therefore, we must equip them with decisions and the right products.”
Product: “At some point we all want to start creating innovations that have a zero footprint. The idea is to move toward a vision of a closed loop product lifecycle. You can see where we are and where we want to go. It is directionally correct.”
Factories: “We have an obligation that is not just transactional to our suppliers, employees and other stakeholders. The whole idea of sustainability is to stay in business. In perpetuity, we cannot do that without treating our employees well and scaling our business properly.”
Service: “Timberland was founded on the idea of commerce and justice, of giving back and creating value. We offer our employees 40 hours to volunteer every year. Today we are asking what the impact of that workforce is. Where are we going with this, how do we prioritize our efforts and do it well?”
What underlines all of these goals and their success, however, is engaging and changing consumer behavior.
Earlier this year, at the Annual GreenBiz conference, Timberland CEO Jeff Swartz said that sometimes companies have to lead consumers by taking a stand on what is right. “You cannot always wait for consumer demand to dictate your decisions,” he said.
Now with Timberland becoming a part of the VF family, are dynamics shifting? Will the merger bring a renewed and united effort in the apparel industry to shift consumer behavior or lead to inertia and inaction?
I put the question to Newton, who while new in his role, is a veteran in the consumer products industry. “We are having several conversations around this. We are Timberland and we will always be that. This is the reason people are interested in EarthKeepers and we will continue to move the needle,” he said.
What about Swartz’s inspiring declaration? Newton offered Timberland’s EarthKeepers product line as an example:
“The ultimate goal of every company that is working on sustainability is to be able to drive top line growth because of its sustainability efforts. It’s very rare to see top line growth associated with these things, many companies are running leaner and end up staying within compliance. At Timberland, our EarthKeepers product line is actually doing that with double-digit growth in the first quarter.”
With skepticism already high in the market, there is a fine line between selling more units and ensuring responsible consumerism. EarthKeepers seems to be clearly bucking the trend and providing a new, profitable way of doing business sustainably.
Was this growth the result of consumer education, eco labels, or increased communication?
“Authenticity. We’re finding success because it is authentic. We are intentionally focused on products that are environmentally friendly and socially conscious. And we are committed to continually communicating that. We’re not waiting for everything to become perfect, we’re putting it out there and calibrating it as it evolves,” he said.
Examples? Newton offered the eco-index, which Timberland was instrumental in creating and pushing out. “We are promoting the index so we can create real change and movement. That’s exciting and offers us a chance to drive real, calculable change,” he added.
What VF brings to the table then is scale. “VF has been a partner for years on making the process much more efficient. Now the merger will allow us to collectively drive things that Timberland alone simply cannot do. This bigger opportunity is huge for us,” he emphasized, adding, “It’s also not just forward-looking things and what we can do upstream. VF has a very efficient process in place because of their brands. We have had limited impact there but now we can have much more.”
With Timberland already being aggressively visible and vocal in the consumer marketplace, why did Newton and team feel the need to launch a new CSR communications portal?
“We’re segmenting the conversations on our website around products and around topics so everyone has a better sense of clarity. Even though our authenticity ensures that sustainability conversations become natural in all parts of our business and you don’t have to go to the CSR portal to have a CSR conversation, we felt that different stakeholders have different perspectives. You can still go to the products portal and have the same conversation as you would on the CSR portal, because the intentional design, how we conduct business with suppliers and community issues are woven into the product and the product description.”
Why then is the new portal necessary if sustainability is so intricately embedded into the work culture at Timberland?
“We are having conversations with a very vast and diverse spectrum of people, from wholesalers and retailers to direct consumers. They all come with very different demands and perspectives and we want to offer them the opportunity to engage in the language they understand best,” he explained.
Fully integrated with social media tools, the portal is designed for consumers looking for details on green products, interesting stories and much more. Not only can you go to the redesigned portal and discuss Timberland products, you can also discuss the team’s CSR efforts, join ongoing conversations through their Bootmakers blog, and chime in on more topical discussions around the Green index and climate change.
Admittedly, many companies continue to struggle with this balance between preserving the granular stuff and promoting more general conversations around products.
For Timberland, the answer was to lead in both.
“People can go granular as they want or stay as generalist as they’d like. What’s different about the portal is that we are not starting conversations by discussing one of our pillars or metrics but focusing on stories that matter and then getting to the things that are underneath those stories; this marks a fundamental shift for our website,” Newton added.
Being a communications geek, I can definitely attest to Newton’s excitement about this new portal. The ability to throw open your business practices and product lifecycle to your stakeholders takes gumption and a resolute belief in transparency.
The Timberland team knows that this throws the door open to endless questions and scrutiny but Swart’z recruits are used to that and know that open engagement is the only way to maintain authenticity and empower their stakeholders toward sustainability and a zero impact footprint.
This is mission critical for Timberland.
As Newton put it, “Regardless of what happens post-merger, we are all in this together. Our values are integrated into all of us and everyone who works here. Jeff Swartz might be the leader but you can expect to hear the same things from all of us.”
This is Timberland’s — and VF’s — opportunity to drive the apparel industry toward a more sustainable future. The 2015 goals are the means to an end, a future that VF and Timberland can now together impact much more powerfully.
Comments? Leave a comment, email me or connect @AmanSinghCSR.
29 Friday Jul 2011
Posted CSR reporting, HRin
Accountability, aman singh das, Best Buy, conflict minerals, consumer education, Consumerism, corporate accountability, corporate social responsibility, CSR, CSR reporting, CSR strategy, diversity, diversity and inclusion, employee engagement, ESG, ethics and compliance, Events, fair trade, Green, GRI, HR, human resources, human rights, inclusion, Leadership, leadership, management, marketing, PR, risk management, shared value, Social Media, social media, supply chain, Sustainability, sustainability, Sustainability Report, technology, transparency, VIDEO
Last week I was at Best Buy headquarters in Minneapolis to moderate a live webinar with its CSR and sustainability executives. Joining me: Mary Capozzi, senior director of CSR, Leo Raudys, senior director of environmental sustainability and services compliance, and Hamlin Metzger, senior manager of corporate responsibility.
The agenda: To discuss Best Buy’s annual Sustainability Report and offer a live audience on Livestream and Twitter the opportunity to ask questions in real-time.
My job: To question, dig and examine, while moderating questions between the panel and the audience. About 20 minutes into the webinar, which is archived below — well worth a listen whether you are a sustainability nut, a tree hugger, a nonprofit exec, a job seeker or simply an electronics user — questions started streaming in.
From conflict minerals to employee education, every question was fair game. While @Gchesman asked whether being a well-known company affects the level and degree of time and money spent on CSR and sustainability, @Davidcoethica wanted to know how Best Buy can better balance its role as a promoter of consumption of products against a sustainability ethos, and Robin Cangie wondered how Best Buy can help us all become more responsible consumers?
The conversation, thanks in part to an active and engaged audience, and wonderfully diverse questions, was invigorating, informative and challenging.
Barring the repeated mentions of their recycling efforts — sorry Leo, its a pet peeve — which to be fair is a huge and important undertaking for the global electronics retailer, the panelists were clear, comprehensive in their responses and unapologetically honest about their challenges: That there is a ton of work ahead and that they hadn’t figured it all out yet.
But as David Connor wrote earlier this week, when you’re a global player like Best Buy, expectations are higher as well. Did Best Buy live up to the expectations of CSR activists? Perhaps not.
Flip the coin though for a second.
Did they go on the defensive when I asked them why their retention rates were remarkable (74%) but the diversity of their recruits (12% African-American, 14% Hispanic; 180,000 employees) was quite underwhelming? No.
Did they dodge repeated questions about educating their supply chain, influencing consumer decisions, or the recently drafted UN Guiding Principals on Human Rights? No.
Bottom-line: Capozzi and team did not have all the answers but they didn’t pretend to either.
And that’s where, as an independent journalist, they get points from me for an attempt, however small, at open transparency, willingness to be accountable, and daring to do something new.
Remember the 11 Challenges for Corporate Sustainability? Well, a significant number of those relate to fear. For the Best Buy team, this webinar was a successful exercise in effectively addressing their own fears.
And that is where they just won one for their team of blue shirts.
Posted CSR, CSR reporting, HR, Uncategorizedin
Accountability, aman singh, aman singh das, Career advice, CSR, CSR blogger, CSR reporting, Ethics, Events, Green, HR, In Good Company, Job search, Jobs in CSR, Leadership, Recruitment, Social Media, social media, Sustainability, sustainability, Uncategorized, Work culture
*Updated July, 2014
Most recently the Editorial Director at CSRwire, a digital media platform for the latest news, views and research on CSR and sustainability. Along with leading content distribution, social media strategy and CSR/sustainability reporting services for CSRwire members, I also led Talkback, CSRwire’s Commentary section, with over 250 contributors and increased traffic 35% – 50% year to year.
The channel featured several influencers and thought leaders – John Elkington, Hazel Henderson, Wayne Visser – as well as authors – Frances Moore Lappé, Bob Willard, Carol Sanford – researchers, activists and CSR/sustainability professionals – AMD’s Tim Mohin, Campbell Soup’s Dave Stangis, Sustainability leader Peter Graf, John Edelman – and served as a platform to push the needle on critical topics, learn from each other and constantly crowdsource new ideas, partnerships and best practices.
While at CSRwire, I’ve had the pleasure of working with numerous Fortune 500 companies as well as the country’s leading nonprofits and academic institutions on creating and implementing communication strategies focused on stakeholder engagement and behavior change, including Unilever, Verizon, Aramark, SAP, Campbell Soup, Nestle Waters North America, McDonald’s, General Mills, HP, Mars, Avon, Sodexo, EarthShare, Points of Light and others.
Our Stakeholder Engagement Campaigns – including live Twitter chats and webinars as well as content series and multimedia – generated millions of impressions, hundreds of participants and provided our members with critical feedback, important partnerships and a pulse of their stakeholders’ concerns.
I’ve also been an active journalist for almost 15 years, including stints at The Wall Street Journal, The Villager, Tehelka.com and Vault.com, where I created, designed and managed the recruitment industry’s first CSR channel aimed exclusively at engaging, debating and discussing corporate social responsibility, sustainable (and unsustainable) business practices, responsible (and irresponsible) leadership, diversity and the lack of it, the role of workplace culture in our lives, social entrepreneurship, the newly-minted term ‘intrapreneurship’ and much, much more.
Skepticism is second nature to me and I’m most comfortable asking [mostly the right] questions, facilitating dialogues, editing copious pages of text, refining even the most academic articles into easy-to-read blogs and thrive on the opportunities extended by a new world of social media and access to organizations and change makers.
This is my space – to question, analyze and discuss.
I’ll examine the latest CSR report and debate how we’re faring in our pursuit of materiality and creating a new economy built on wellbeing and shared value. No question is small enough, no development unrelated. And no topic unworthy.
From careers in CSR to the future of GRI reporting, from analyzing the do(s) and don’t(s) of sustainability to the latest in impact investing and our search for materiality; from social media etiquette to transparency in this new hyper-connected world, from work/life balance to gender and age discrimination, from effective communication strategies to the immensely irritating term “greenwashing”; and much much, more, join me for a promising and thought-provoking ride.
Journalism about foundations, nonprofits and their impact
I have opinions. I am from Africa. I live here now. I blog.
Connecting the dots between Business, Society & the Environment
Connecting the dots between Business, Society & the Environment
Connecting the dots between Business, Society & the Environment