Returns, Jobs or Charity – What is a Corporation’s Responsibility

The recent debate around Mitt Romney and the role of Bain Capital in job losses has created an important line in the sand for corporate responsibility. Steve Rattner, former ‘Car Czar’ for the Obama Administration, defended Romney in an important statement on TV. He said,

“Bain Capital’s responsibility was not to create 100,000 jobs or some other number, it was to make profits for its investors, most of whom were pension funds, endowments and foundations and it did it superbly well, acting within the rules, acting very responsibly and was a leading firm”

The important argument that Rattner makes here is …

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Facing Similar Challenges in Business and Local Government

Earlier this month I attended a workshop at Verge DC to discuss the recent Citystates paper by SustainAbility and GreenBiz and sponsored by Ford.

It was a fascinating discussion, including a number of city sustainability practitioners from across in the wider DC metropolitan area.

What struck me the most were the similarities between the challenges faced by city managers and the challenges faced in business.  Here are a few examples:

1)      Short term thinking.  Some of the city representatives referred to the challenges of planning cycles that, at best, align with the time between elections.  Of course we have similar …

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ICT in the Environment: The Connected Car

ICT in the Environment: The Connected Car from Kevin Moss on Vimeo.
ICT services impact our every day lives from how we work, to how we travel to how we make purchasing decisions for our daily needs. In this video series, I examine all of these elements from inside executive offices, to transportation systems and even teleworking in my own home.

The 6th episode in this series focuses on the connected car.  At this week’s Green Monday panel  Dr Thomas Becker of BMW described the prototype Rolls Royce Phantom EV.   The Phantom EV wasn’t at the …

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Guest Post: A Marketer’s Perspective on CSR

Neil Blakesley is a long time colleague and VP of Marketing at BT Global Services.  He was also an early supporter of my foray into social media three years ago – not something all VP’s of Marketing are comfortable with even now!  Neil recently recorded a short video interview for Shama Kabani for her Dallas TV spot “Socially Sound with Shama.”.   I spoke to him over the phone afterwards and asked him to expand on his thoughts on CSR from a marketer’s perspective for this guest post.

Well to be honest, Kevin, I could have spoken on the interview for another …

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What are the Obligations of a Global Company ?

A two page article starting on the front cover of the main section of Sunday’s New York Times addresses why the US lost out on the assembly work for Apple’s iPhone. The article raises some important questions about corporate responsibility, starting with the implied responsibility of a company to create jobs in its home country. In responding to the jobs going to China,  Betsey Stevenson, the chief economist at the US Labor Department until last September is quoted as saying

 

“Companies once felt an obligation to support American workers, even when it wasn’t the best financial choice.

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Integrated Reporting – IIRC Approach

This is the second post in series on integrated reporting

The recent discussion paper from the International Integrated Reporting Committee  (IIRC) for which comments were due on December 14th 2011 worries me. It starts with some statements with which I wholeheartedly agree…

“Integrated Reporting brings together material information about an organization’s strategy, governance, performance and prospects in a way that reflects the commercial, social and environmental context within which it operates. It provides a clear and concise representation of how an organization demonstrates stewardship and how it creates and sustains value.”

 “Integrated Reports will meet the needs of a …

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CSR: Are You Running an Old Release?

CSR: Are You Running an Old Release?

A couple of weeks back I wrote a post on the three stage journey of corporate responsibility.   We are in the midst of the holidays when make believe is at the fore. I thought I would try my hand at a make believe all in one software package for all three stages of the journey,  that would ease the lives of us practitioners. Angel investors sought for release 3.5.  Software vendors feel free to tout your wares in a comment!

Release 1.0 –Give it Away Responsibly: For proponents of the traditional mode …

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Where are you on the journey?

I have a penchant for simple models and frameworks.  In developing a presentation recently I used what I perceive as a three stage evolution of the corporate responsibility journey;  (1) how we give it away, (2) how we spend it and (3) how we make it.   The “it” of course is  money.

Stage 1; How we give it away. The traditional mode of corporate responsibility delivered through philanthropy, community investment and volunteering.  We make a profit and then we find ways to give it away for the good of society, sometimes referred to by the phrase ‘giving

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The Competencies Required for Sustainability – Three Perspectives

Last week I proposed that sustainability is analogous to economics.  The thought was triggered during the GreenGov panel that I was moderating. The panel represented the full gamut of professional organizations in the field; Ira Feldman on the board of the International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP), Valerie Patrick on the board of the Association of Climate Change Officers (ACCO),  Teri Yosie has recently completed a collaboration with  Net Impact,  and myself on the board of the Corporate Responsibility Officers Association (CROA).

The ISSP, CROA and NetImpact have all recently taken a look at the competencies required by …

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Can ICT Help Society Address Non-Communicable Diseases?

Yesterday and today, a high level meeting of the UNs 65th session in NY addressed the issue of non-communicable or lifestyle diseases. Articles about these issues appeared in an Financial Times editorial yesterday and a full page in the Washington Post Health section today.

These non-communicable diseases; cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory disease and diabetes alone account for more than half of the globes nearly 60M deaths each year. In most regions of the world that is more than HIV and malaria combined.

The four biggest causes of these deaths are tobacco use, harmful alcohol use, unhealthy diet and …

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