Posts Tagged ‘CSR’

On January 31, 1865 the U.S. House of Representatives passed the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. It abolished slavery in America with the statement that read; “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude…shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” Prior to that time, Britain abolished slavery throughout the British Empire with the Slavery Abolition Act 1833 and the French colonies abolished it in 1848.

In the 21st Century, with focus on brand reputation and transparency, we are beginning to recognize injustices and social issues that have been ignored for decades or centuries. Ethical values of any corporation becomes the drivers for all employees. And if the corporation extends beyond the territorial boundaries of their corporate headquarters, what those values mean need to clearly be communicated and embraced in host country affiliates, too.

Unfortunately, many companies are still accepting these practices through their supply chains. The acceptance of slavery, child labor and other labor issues are becoming visible to organizations as Apple, HP and Cisco.  However, some of these multinational corporations are beginning to enact policies of change while other contemporary companies are still ignoring controversies relating to employee grievances or treatment solely for economic purpose, not humanitarian.

As the article indicates: “Obtaining reliable estimates of the extent of the problem of modern slavery is only the first step in eradicating it. Modern slavery will only end after the systematic causes and consequences of the problem are dealt with. First, victims must be identified and get the support they need to leave their situation. Criminal justice mechanisms need to be reinforced and coordinated to successfully prosecute perpetrators. Global supply chains need to be carefully monitored to avoid labor abuses by contractors and subcontractors.

Through its global surveys, Gallup will continue to partner with Walk Free in its mission to give a voice to the millions of people enslaved around the world.”


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“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
~ Chinese Proverb

Decisions to align executive packages to objectives is not a new idea. However, to illustrate how some companies are seriously taking Sustainability, forward-thinking corporations are doing just that. In January 2014, more than 1600 global business leaders attended Davos 2014 World Economic Forum in Switzerland. The hot topic, ‘doing business the right way’.

A kick-off panel introduced a new and radical strategy on executive packages and aligning efforts to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Panel members included PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi and Pricewaterhouse chairman Dennis Nally, both are considered global leaders in promoting Sustainability.

Today, some 269 company’s in the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index are considering implementing some Sustainability measures relating to environmental and social issues. Two examples are: Intel, computer chip maker maker, and Alcoa one of the largest producer of aluminum.

“For sustainable solutions you have to have a responsible private sector,” says Stephan Tanda, top executive of Royal DSM NV(a Dutch-headquartered life and materials science company). “But it’s also good business. We are not philanthropists. We absolutely believe that Sustainability is good for business, otherwise we wouldn’t have that in there.”

To read more about incentives that affect executive behavior, read how the incentives are taken seriously: http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20140122-the-big-payback


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Owners, Executive and other Leaders are investigating a global world concerned about Sustainability, that type of understanding can be difficult to obtain. In early December 2013, I published my second book entitled “Building a Bridge to Benefits”. If you are interested in reading about the book or want to purchase copies today, here is the link to CreateSpace, an Amazon company, go to: Building a Bridge to Benefits –  Password: book2013  Discount: A37ZVRKK

Contact information and Services
A Certified Sustainability and Quality consultancy
•    Sustainability and Quality Consulting
•    Sustainability and Quality Workshops
•    Sustainability and Quality Speaking Engagements

Jarvis Business Solutions, LLC

Toll Free: (888) 743-3128
Email: Ralph.Jarvis@JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
Web site: http://www.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com

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“He who is fixed to a star does not change his mind.” ~Leonardo Da Vinci

Today’s businesses face a constantly changing landscape that will force closer collaboration between businesses and their community through Sustainability initiatives. Solid partnership between business and community groups will not happen overnight. There are too many changes in strategy, culture, organization and processes. Yet it is a critical shift beyond just environmental considerations to become a key contributor to the value of the community. For those Sustainable Developed strategies, stakeholders must take an active part in strategic planning and day-to-day execution.

Companies will continue to be under pressure to generate value in the Sustainability portfolio that pays the way to operational efficiencies, growth and innovation to increase a competitive advantage. This is only be realized to strong integration that places business value at the center. Collaborative customer centric strategies, supported by Sustainable Develop strategies chosen for the return it will provide, will become the rule rather than the exception. Sustainability will be the model for business in the 21st-century.

The road to these new Business models and strategies is not an easily journey. But neither can it be avoided. Companies that began taking the first steps towards strengthening their business with Sustainability solutions, Business partnerships and move strategically towards tomorrow’s more flexible strategies will be favorably positioned for continued success and growth. Sustainability is an evolutionary process and builds on previous stages of development:

• First, Sustainability is a new mindset and focuses on awareness how resources are used, wastes created and compliance with regulations.

• Second, understanding leads to elimination of waste. This conviction will be a key driver, encouraging optimization of processes as an underpinning to successful Sustainability, reaping costs savings and increased productivity.

• Third, leverage your Sustainability effort to differentiate your products. Build a closer relationship with existing Customers to address their needs and differentiate new products for new customers.

• Fourth, interleave Sustainability throughout your corporate strategies (Operations, IT, Marketing etc) and create a comprehensive single “Sustainability strategy” for both external and internal communities.

• Fifth, promote and refine your aspirational strategies for philanthropy (e.g., breast cancer, military vet programs, diseases, etc), restoration (e.g., wetlands, reforestations, etc.), other social and environmental issues. For those efforts will reflect on your brand image, but remind yourself that continued optimization is ongoing for a Sustainable enterprise, not a one time goal.


The 21st century will be Renaissance of Sustainability, it will be the convergence of science, engineering, art and understanding of nature.


Building a bridge to benefits thumbnail

Owners, Executive and other Leaders are investigating a global world concerned about Sustainability, that type of understanding can be difficult to obtain. In early December 2013, I published my second book entitled “Building a Bridge to Benefits”. If you are interested in reading about the book or want to purchase copies today, here is the link to CreateSpace, an Amazon company, go to: https://www.createspace.com/4532590

Contact information and Services
A Certified Sustainability and Quality consultancy
•    Sustainability and Quality Consulting
•    Sustainability and Quality Workshops
•    Sustainability and Quality Speaking Engagements

Jarvis Business Solutions, LLC

Toll Free: (888) 743-3128
Email: Ralph.Jarvis@JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
Web site: http://www.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com

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“The greatest ignorance is to reject something you know nothing about”

Geoffrey Moore published a landmark book in 1991, entitled “Crossing the Chasm”. The theme of the book focused on marketing and selling technical and disruptive products to mainstream customers. In a very real sense, his perception of disruptive products being brought into the marketplace is aligned with similar efforts a company would go through implementing Sustainability principles.

Everyone who includes and aligns principles of Sustainability into their strategic planning and business model will have performance and profitability consequences.  Regarding Sustainability, “Innovators” and “Early Adopters” are clear winners in the marketplace by refining their processes, eliminating waste in their production and products and engaging Customer and Suppliers who also are like-minded. From Moore’s book, technical companies considered “Early Majority” businesses were also rewarded.

Why are major corporations engaging in Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility? What do they see that other corporations do not? These are leadership segments that Geoffrey Moore called the “Innovators” and “Early Adopters”. Their leadership differentiates their companies and products through Sustainability. They are the industry leaders and by being first, permit them to mold their industry. They are the companies who have quickly recognized the value of Sustainability. These leaders find it easy to understand the concepts, appreciate the benefits, and relate benefits to other opportunities. These leaders recognize that pragmatic Sustainability “makes good business sense” and “is the right thing to do”.

I ran across this article and found it is a great perspective of tangible benefits. Why would reading this be important? Simply, there is complete misunderstanding to the value of Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility. Read The Cart Goes After The Horse. Okay, Which One Is The Horse?

Good business leadership will recognize the need for change and probably already recognizes the value of Sustainability today. But their competition, the ones who believe CSR is only window dressing, will be the laggards. Their destiny is already known.

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“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress.
Working together is success.” ~ Henry Ford

Learning how to adopt Sustainability principles to produce a corporation’s awareness of resource consumption like carbon, water, and electricity in order to run their businesses in compliance with existing laws and regulations is based on “lessons learned”.

Sustainability promotes awareness.
Awareness promotes learning and values.
Learning promotes forward thinking to anticipate the future.

If trends continue, Sustainability will be the new competitive tool for business in the 21st Century. It is an internal, external, and a forward facing conviction that embeds and integrates disruptive business practices and technology. Internally, it coordinates your Core Assets that are based on common values. Externally, it addresses externalities and builds outside relationships with those entities. As for forward facing facet, Sustainability always interacts in a dynamic environmental, economic and social environs. Last, but critical to success, is the evolution of innovation that is designed to fit you business needs. It should continue to adapt and provide services to produce products wanted by your customers and address marketplace opportunities based on Sustainability.

If ethical decision making is not part of your due diligence analysis, it should be. For it can be the bridge from your corporate values to the actual “go-no go” decision for a variety of projects and initiatives. It can help steer efforts into avenues that could otherwise be overlooked. Addressing Sustainability and Stewardship in context of approving funding would help ensure your strategic directions are met and align with other business constraints (i.e., ROI, cost reduction, new product development, etc.).

Understanding ethical standards, consequences in violating standards, and the impact on your core assets can have a positive effect on your corporate culture was implemented and enforced prudently. This regarding those values, can have an  underlying  perception that those values are not genuine. Regular discussion, execution for ethical issues in applying those issues and business cases are helpful in ensuring sustainable development and stewardship.

This is an excerpt of my new book “Building a Bridge to Benefits”. Publication date is scheduled for November 2013 and is planned to be available on Amazon. More to come …
Jarvis Business Solutions, LLC
Contact Information
Email: Ralph.Jarvis@JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
Blog: http://horizons.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
Web site: http://www.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/corporatesocialresponsibility/

Lead Smart, Endless Opportunities when Sustainability is driven by Lean Six Sigma

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“Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.”~ Stephen F. Covey

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a framework and encompasses not only what companies do with their profits, but also how they make them, effectively. It does not replace your Strategic Planning system, rather it should be integrated into your existing one to address new business opportunities. It goes beyond philanthropy and compliance and addresses how companies manage their economic, social, and environmental ramifications. CSR also addresses relationships in all key spheres of influence: corporate values, the workplace, the marketplace, the supply chain, the community, and the public policy realm.

CSR is a coordinated and structured approach for business, government and non-profit transformation. It is not a marketing campaign on a “green” product. It is not only a facility’s managers duty, process or procedure. It is not only a Public Relations, Human Resource or Procurement job. It is not only about philanthropy for non-profit organizations. It is not only about community involvement like building a playground for your local park. Rather it is a framework that focuses a lens on the tangible benefits that can be garnered from Sustainability and how company’s work within the sphere of the community. Businesses responsibilities and their roles, throughout the industrialized world, have seen a sharp escalation in the social roles corporations are expected to play.

CSR is also a long-term commitment based on an honest strategic effort, results, best practices and driven by transparency to the public. It is interwoven with business strategies and engages with external organizations. It is about measurable transformation, internally and externally, that extracts tangible benefits. Sustainability is more than platitudes and recycling efforts, for recycling is a beginning. It should be able to show financial benefits directly relating to waste reduction, conservation, improvement of internal processes and engagement with externalities (i.e., NGOs, Governments, Customers, Suppliers, etc.).

This is an excerpt of my new book “Building a Bridge to Benefits”. Publication date is scheduled for November 2013 and is planned to be available on Amazon. More to come …
Jarvis Business Solutions, LLC
Contact Information
Email: Ralph.Jarvis@JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
Blog: http://horizons.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
Web site: http://www.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/corporatesocialresponsibility/

Lead Smart, Endless Opportunities when Sustainability is driven by Lean Six Sigma

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Your leadership provides the vision for the future and enlisting employee-led procedures, processes and effective innovation for now and the future. Leading your people by empowering them with skills and knowledge is a critical success factor for transformation.

“”There should be a focus on integrated reporting of CSR and financial results, which could bring about an alignment of Sustainability with economic performance.”  ~ Fulvio Conti, Enel S.p.A.

CEOs see Sustainability shifting from a choice to a corporate priority. Sustainability leadership and culture embeds CSR into how employees and executives think about strategy and execution. Recent economic downturn raised importance of sustainability as an issue for top management to 80 percent[1].

[1] Aman Singh, New Survey: CEOs See Sustainability Shifting From Choice To Corporate Priority, Forbes,6/23/2010


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A recent political cartoon depicted Obama sitting in a chair. He is swamped by a pack of dogs, eager to receive his affection. The cartoon entitled “vicious media watch dogs” encapsulated the media industry’s criticism in biased reporting. Obviously these “vicious media watch dogs” are diverted from their mission, but we should put this in contrast with what has recently happened to executives at BBC and the decision by the Australian Broadcast Corporation to publicly post its transparency and Sustainability intentions clearly on their website.

Public Perception of Bias

Now, fewer Americans closely follow political news than in previous election years due to a perception of bias.[i] Sixty percent of Americans perceive a political bias, almost 4 to 1. With 47% those surveyed saying the media are too liberal and 13% saying they are too conservative. Similar results were report by Gallup in the preceding year.

Americans are clearly down on the news media this election year, with a record-high six in 10 expressing little or no trust in the mass media’s ability to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly. This likely reflects the continuation of the trend seen in recent years, combined with the increased negativity toward the media that election years tend to bring. This is particularly consequential at a time when Americans need to rely on the media to learn about the platforms and perspectives of the two candidates vying to lead the country for the next four years.

Independents and Republicans drive this year’s decline in media trust. The 31% and 26%, respectively, who express a great deal or fair amount of trust are record lows and are down significantly from last year. Republicans’ level of trust this year is similar to what they expressed in the fall of 2008, implying that they are especially critical of election coverage.

On a broad level, Americans’ high level of distrust in the media poses a challenge to democracy and to creating a fully engaged citizenry. Media sources must clearly do more to earn the trust of Americans, the majority of whom see the media as biased one way or the other. At the same time, there is an opportunity for others outside the “mass media” to serve as information sources that Americans do trust.[ii]

Media Distrust of Transparency

News organizations cultivate a reputation for demanding transparency, whether by suing for access to government documents, dispatching camera crews to the doorsteps of recalcitrant politicians, or editorializing in favor of open government.

But now many of the country’s biggest media companies, which own dozens of newspapers and TV news operations, are flexing their muscle in Washington in a fight against a government initiative to increase transparency of political spending.

The corporate owners or sister companies of some of the biggest names in journalism — NBC News, ABC News, Fox News, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Politico, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and dozens of local TV news outlets — are lobbying against a Federal Communications Commission measure that would require broadcasters to post political ad data on the Internet.

… political ad data is public by law but is not widely accessible because it is currently kept only in paper files at individual stations. The FCC has proposed fixing that by requiring broadcasters to post on the Internet details of political ad purchases including the identity of the buyer and the price. [iii]

Television stations by law must offer political candidates the lowest rates on ads. Broadcasters have argued that by making this information available online and not just at stations, it would hurt their ability to negotiate with other advertisers.

Advocates for the online disclosure rule have countered that the political ad information is already public by law and the measure would simply make the existing disclosure rules relevant for the Internet age. They have also pointed out that keeping paper files in electronic form should actually be more efficient for stations.[iv]

Guarding Trust and Brand

Although U.S. media seems to ignore transparency principles, executive commitment across the Atlantic is taking transparency seriously. Because of poor news investigation, BBC is taking transparency to heart by making executive changes.

Last week, George Entwistle, the director general of the BBC, was forced to resign after a wave of public criticism. In late 2011, Entwistle was the head of BBC television, and thus ultimately responsible for airing the tributes to Jimmy Savile. He had died in 2011 and allegedly sexually abused a number of underage female teens. Again, on November 12, two more editors were forced to step down at BBC as the investigation continued to report about allegations of sexual abuse against longtime star Jimmy Savile. [v]

BBC Trust chairman Chris Patten said on Sunday confidence had to be restored if the publicly funded corporation was to withstand pressure from rivals, especially Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, which would try to take advantage of the turmoil. “If you’re saying, ‘Does the BBC need a thorough structural radical overhaul?’, then absolutely it does, and that is what we will have to do,” Patten, a one-time senior figure in Prime Minister David Cameron‘s Conservative Party and the last British governor of Hong Kong, told BBC television.[vi]

Does Transparency Exist for the U.S. Media?

Full transparency is a litmus test for leadership’s commitment. Are transparency principles actually recognized by U.S. media corporations? If these executives are not supporting transparency, then the support for Sustainability is definitively in question. On the other hand, if the executives are supporting transparency, are media companies being influenced by external organizations that affect their decision-making, affecting business strategies or compromising ethical standards? Here are other issues that could abrogate transparency:

  • Do special interest groups drive media companies?
  • Does government regulations over campaign laws limit freedom of speech?
  • Are media companies politically engaged for one side over another and simultaneously taking revenues from both sides?

Conflict of interests is often investigated by news media regarding government legislation and business dealings. Results are breaking news worthy stories, possible convictions and perhaps new legislation that address the abuse. How is conflict of interests addressed within contemporary media companies? From a brand viewpoint, this would be risk to brand. Here are a few questions that recognize the impact on their customers, political affiliation or overlooking risks to brand:

  • Are media companies addressing their audience’s need for information to make educated decisions, such as voting?
  • Is there conflict of interests in balancing information from media companies with alignment to political parties?
  • Are media companies empowered by their audiences or do they manipulate them?
  • Are freelance writers held to the same level of quality and reliability than their staff journalists?
  • Are editors verifying content before publishing and are they effectively executing due diligence?

Unbiased fact checking that is nonpartisan, by nature, by balancing reporting objectively would improve media’s standing. In this case there is a prime example: The League of Women Voters use a standard of “neither supporting nor opposing candidates or political parties at any level of government, but always working on vital issues of concern to members and the public.”

  • Do media companies embrace similar standards as the League for Women Voters?
  • Do media companies report on self-censorship?
  • Should media companies be held accountable for its perceived bias or keep ignoring it?
  • How do media companies exercise the right to freedom of expression for the individual?
  • As a media company, does it reflect cultural diversity through content for the entire population or is it selective?

Media and Sustainability

Australian Broadcast Corporation is a good example of applied transparency outlining their Sustainability initiative, goals and sharing those details with the public. Taken directly from their web, they define Corporate Responsibility as:

The ABC is committed to Corporate Social Responsibility and aims to deliver content with integrity, diligence and transparency and acts in the interests of the Australian community. This responsibility ensures the ABC focuses on the impacts of its decisions and business activities on society, the marketplace, and the environment. The ABC is committed to fulfilling its objectives across all business and broadcasting activities in a manner that is ethical, financially responsible, manages its impact on the environment and people, and is beneficial to the community.[vii]

In addition, ABC approaches Sustainability with general accepted tools for reporting their progress, the GRI:

The ABC utilizes the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework in the preparation of its Sustainability Report. GRI’s Sustainability Reporting Framework provides a common language for companies and organizations to measure and report their Sustainability performance. The framework relies on key reporting principles of transparency, inclusiveness, stakeholder engagement and materiality.[viii]

In contrast, most American media corporations emphasize “green” initiatives and banal slogans like “generalize their concern for the planet”, “that strives to use its power and reach for the public good”, “has earned the distinction of being a public trust”, “while identifying opportunities for energy savings and innovation”. Most American media corporations do not document transparency or indicate usage in their annual Sustainability Reports or websites. Why is transparency not given visibility?

Is GRI the answer?

As a mechanism for promoting integrity and accountability, Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI’s) project is both worthwhile and timely. The discussion to be had is not about the legitimacy of GRI’s objectives but the practicalities of how these are to be accomplished.

It is difficult to see us arriving at a commonly accepted definition of what it means for a media company to be environmentally, socially and financially sustainable. But if anyone can come close to such a compromise, it is bound to be the GRI.[ix]

The Media Supplement’s additional commentaries and Performance Indicators, developed especially for the sector, capture the issues that matter most for media organizations:

  • Ownership structure
  • Transparency on decision making processes and public policy
  • Editorial independence
  • Financial assistance and advertising revenues from governments and non-government sources
  • Freedom of expression
  • Approaches to the creation and dissemination of content
  • Use of paper and inks [x]

Does the GRI ensure transparency or Sustainability? No, it is only a tool for those companies truly committed to Sustainability. However, adopting this tool is a part of your best practices and is based on fact gathering in your organization. Dr. Peter Drucker once said, “what gets measured gets done.” When a company publicly discloses Sustainability data and goals, measures its progress, then its much more likely to attain those goals.

Transparency, a Lens to Sustainability

Transparency is a lens to examine the core values of an organization. It is insight to corporate mores. Are there barriers and reluctance to publicly share and be transparent? Is it corruption, is it ashamed of poor business practices, or does it have a poor business reputation in the community? In contrast, is it open, is it responsible, is it engaged with the community and clearly listens to its constituents? What transparency should be:

  • Executive Commitment is a long-term journey with Transparency, Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility. It is a leadership role and resolves redefinition of their organization to create an environment that weaves new principles into their corporate culture.
  • Accountability is ownership of responsibility, including a sense of fairness.
  • Ethics is doing the right thing for the right reason. There are many definitions as to what ethics encompasses:

the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation;
decisions, choices, and actions we make that reflect and enact our values;
a set of moral principles or values;
a theory or system of moral values; and/or
a guiding philosophy.[xi]


The U.S. media appears to broadcast a “green” initiative in their organizations without true transparency. A strategy that ignores transparency is reminiscent of the old TV commercial; “where’s the beef?” It appears to be “green” in name only without sharing transparency strategies, objectives or data.

Sustainability is not an expendable marketing campaign; rather it’s a refection of benefits established with honest strategic effort, results, and best practices. It must be imprinted into your corporate culture, it should be a long-term commitment and be transparent to the public. It must be interwoven with business strategies. It must engage and build relationships  with external organizations. Sustainability is about measurable transformation, internally and externally. Sustainability is more than platitudes and recycling efforts. It should be able to show financial benefits directly relating to waste reduction, conservation, improvement of internal processes and engagement with external publics (i.e., NGOs, Governments, Customers, Suppliers, etc.).

Consider the consequences. If they do not change and continue building risk to their brand that could have a financial impact, address the issue and establish self-governing principles or risk government regulations that could have political ramifications, as well. Will American media industry choose self-censorship and turn to using transparency to demonstrate accountability and commitment to fair reporting, regardless of complexity or will it continue to erode trust and foster a perceived agenda that is biased? Are U.S. media companies approaching distrust by betting against public backlash?

Look at the well thought out approach in Britain and Australia. In Britain, the decision will rest on the benefits garnered by BBC’s courage to change course for the right reasons. They acknowledge that the hard earned trust of the public is fundamental to British citizen’s presumption to encapsulate integrity in daily news broadcasts. It also shows that ABC has spent considerable time in understanding Sustainability and publicly sharing their strategies. Both BBC and ABC demonstrate clear examples of commitment and responsibility driven by Sustainability.

So, will U.S. media recognize benefits of presumption of transparency like their media cousins, or will it be business as usual, based on continued distrust and potential for public backlash?

[i] Lymari Morales, U.S. Distrust in Media Hits New High, Gallup, September 21, 2012; Retrieved: 10 Nov 2012
[ii] Lymari Morales, Ibid.; Retrieved: 10 Nov 2012
[iii] Justin Elliott, Big Media Lobbies Against Transparency, ProPublica, Apr 23, 2012; Retrieved: 10 Nov 2012
[iv] Justin Elliott, Ibid., Apr 23, 2012
[v] Peter Jukes, Two More Resign as Savile Fallout Continues at the BBC, The Daily Beast, 12 Nov 2012
[vi] Michael Holden and Kate Holton, BBC Head Says Broadcaster Must Reform Or Die, Reuters, Nov 12, 2012
[vii] Australian Broadcast Corporation, http://www.abc.net.au/, Retrieved: 16 November 2012
[viii] ABC, Ibid., 16, November 2012
[ix] Christian Toennesen, Can the Global Reporting Initiative help restore faith in the media, The Guardian, guardian.co.uk, July 2011
[x] Global Reporting Initiative, http://www.globalreporting.org; GRI provides sector guidance for the media industry, enabling media companies to measure and report their sustainability performance. Retrieved: 10 Nov 2012
[xi] From “Creating a Workable Company Code of Conduct,” 2003, Ethics Resource Center

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In the globalised world, issues such as demographic change, global poverty, environmental degradation or developing a skilled workforce for the knowledge-based economy become increasingly intertwined and extend across national borders and industrial sectors. Tackling them effectively requires joint action from companies, governments, stakeholders and the civil society. Faced with today’s complex environmental and socio-economic challenges, progressive companies are gearing up for a CSR approach focused on cooperation and innovation.

Through active engagement in Enterprise 2020, many enterprises and stakeholders are able to lead on collaborative projects and in doing so, develop though leadership and practical tools for companies and their stakeholders. In this respect, under the umbrella of Enterprise 2020, CSR Europe has prioritised six focus topics for the period 2011-2013. 

1. Supply Chain and Human Rights

Key EU and international frameworks have prioritized human rights and responsible supply chains for businesses – and particularly European and European-based companies. Despite the business sensitivities around human rights and supply chain issues, companies need to take a proactive approach to address the risks and opportunities of CSR and human rights in their operations.

2. Health and Wellbeing

Health literacy activities in the business context create value not only for employees, but also for businesses. By investing in a health- friendly work environment, businesses can increase employee well- being and productivity, thus reducing absences and lowering costs. Businesses play an important role not only as employers, but also as advocates for health in society. Technology and social networking can raise awareness and health literacy of employees and society as a whole, fostering a healthier lifestyle for all.

3. Ageing and Demographic Change

The European population is shrinking and ageing at the same time. The number of those older than 55 years is steadily growing, while all younger age groups are shrinking:

  • Fertility rates in most EU member states have remained below replacement levels developed countries over the past 30 years.
  • Individuals aged 50 and over already represent 20%. The number of people over 60 years will increase by 2 million every year.
  • Eurostat predicts a possible labour supply shortage of 15% by 2050, which represents an unemployment gap of 35 million people.

In light of these demographic changes, it is crucial for business, policy makers, and society at large to radically change their entrenched ways of thinking.

4. ESG Disclosure and Reporting

Research continually shows that CEOs and investors regard valuation of non-financial performance as a crucial issue. However, companies are slow to integrate non-financial performance (NFP) measurements into mainstream business strategy internally and to communicate it externally; and investors are slow to incorporate non-financial indicators into valuation models. ESG factors are nevertheless seen as key drivers of NFP and they contribute to the company’s ESG strategy.

5. Financial Education

Across Europe people are unable to save enough money for their retirement as countries face an unprecedented pension’s gap. Two financially vulnerable groups that stand out are young adults and pre-retirees. In several European countries, state retirement ages are being increased while provisions of defined benefit pensions are being decreased. This is also leading to more individualised pension decisions.

 6. Base of the Pyramid

Many companies are seeking to create new business models and partnerships which aim to alleviate poverty and deliver economic results through ‘Base of the Pyramid’ strategies. However, there is scope for better understand how to successfully develop and maintain effective cross-sector and multi-stakeholder approaches that partner with BoP groups in a mutually inclusive value chain.

To read more about other Enterprise 2020 projects, driven by CSR Europe’s members and national partners, please click here.


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Originally published on http://www.triplepundit.com.One of the main issues that came up at the Responsible Business Summit was sustainability reporting. Even with all the progress we have seen so far, reporting continues to be one of the most challenging issues for CSR executives. Still, just like CSR, reporting becomes more focused, strategic and smart, and there’s even a continuous search after its business value. The journey of sustainability reporting is still a long one, but listening to the CSR executives in the summit it became clear to me that companies now understand the significance of reporting more than ever and try to figure out how to utilize it in the best way possible. More …

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