Guest Post: Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting

As our Americas president Kim McMann mentioned in her guest post, we recently joined, and made our commitment to, the Clinton Global Initiative.  Like me, you may have wondered what the CGI Annual Meeting is like. Other than the named member and select VIPs, the only other attendees are volunteers.  Bernie Shaw, a long time  BT colleague, has volunteered at the CGI Annual Meeting for a couple of years and kindly agreed to share her perspective on the event in this guest post.

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Two weeks ago I volunteered at the CGI annual meeting in New York and it can only …

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Guest Post: Kim McMann, President BT US & Canada – CSR Is Good For Business

Kim McMann joined BT as President of both the US and Canada region and our newly formed Consumer Packaged Goods vertical in November 2010. In this blog post she shares some thoughts about how she is approaching CSR in her role.

I joined BT because of our leadership in providing networked IT services globally, in an exciting market that is growing and changing rapidly – not to mention our strong portfolio of offerings and a leadership team that is committed to service excellence.   But I was also proud to join a company with such a strong CSR and sustainability reputation …

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Q&A with Co-Founder of One Economy

As many of my readers know, BT has formed a strategic community investment partnership with One Economy with a focus on digital inclusion in the community.  I have  written and posted about this partnership on several occasions.  In March of this year, One Economy launched the Net Connectors platform, which is one of the outcomes of our collaboration.  Shortly following the launch of the platform, in August they announced a video challenge competition.  I took the opportunity to sit down with one of the co-founders of One Economy, David Saunier to discuss our partnership and the competition.

Q: David,

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Digital Inclusion – A Community Investment Partnership With One Economy

I write often about the importance of embedding CR principles into the way we operate our businesses. But when it comes to philanthropy, I like to say that how we make our money is much more important than how we give it away.  But community investment can be one of the bread and butter tools of CR, if we can find ways to align our community investment with our business imperatives and make it engaging for employees.

In the partnership with One Economy that I describe on this video, BT tries to do that in the USA;  it is focused …

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Taking CSR Back a Decade?

I just read a piece in the MIT Sloan Management Review titled “Does Social Responsibility Help Protect a Company’s Reputation?”

It seems to put CSR back into the realms of spending money on good causes simply to build good will for an organization. Coming from the MIT Sloan Review this is a worrying context.

As I read it, the piece implies that corporate responsibility is about spending money to build a good reputation with the intention that this will help insure against loss of customers when something goes wrong.

This is a transparently cynical activity if put under the guise of …

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Philanthropy as compensation and carbon offsets

On Friday I posted some thoughts about the role of philanthropy in corporate responsibility and left one idea to consider separately. Does philanthropy have a role to play as a form of compensation.

It is the case that much of our human activity and associated consumption has a net negative impact on the environment. The nature of business also means that in order to meet a greater social need, there can be a real or perceived negative impact on the local community in whose back yard an operation is carried out. In this situation there is perhaps a role for …

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The Role of Philanthropy in Corporate Responsibility

As regular readers of my blog may have divined, I have struggled with the role of philanthropy and even volunteering within corporate responsibility. When I say this, I hear sharp intakes of breath from not only my fellow practitioners but I am sure from many wonderful non-profits who depend on corporate funding for some of their critically required activities.

I don’t underestimate the importance and value of the money and the services community investment enables.  But, I believe that how companies both make and spend our money has a far bigger impact on society and the environment than how we …

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Marketing, Manipulation or Corporate Citizenship? Part 2 – Philanthropy

As I said in an earlier post  I absolutely believe that a core sweet spot for CR is identifying the intersection between doing good and making money. But there are boundaries. 

I bought a book at a bookstore recently. While paying I was asked if I wanted to buy an additional book and donate it to children at a local family shelter. I agreed, but afterwards, I felt manipulated. The book was sold to me at full price with no donation to charity of the additional profit made by the company. Granted a child benefited from an additional book, but …

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It’s How You Make It That Really Counts

The last couple of days, the news has been full of reports that approaching 40 US billionaires have pledged to give away at least half of their wealth. I welcome the news that continues and perhaps even expands a great tradition.

But lets ensure the focus on giving money away doesn’t overshadow the importance of how money is made. Each dollar in these fortunes represents but a tiny fraction of many hundreds, thousands or perhaps even millions of dollars of investment decisions, product and marketing decisions, R&D decisions, lobbying and advertising decisions, made or influenced by the donors during their …

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Quite a Scheme

This post was originally published on BT Inside Out blog.

‘Two nations separated by a common language’ (George Bernard Shaw).  I frequently hear that quoted in reference to the British/American divide. As a dual citizen who has spent more than half my working life here, I see both similarities and differences all the time. And I think we can learn from both.

BT recently launched a program that allocates a proportion of our community investment resources to partnerships outside of the UK.

In the US we have settled on a partnership with One Economy.

One Economy is focused on …

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