2012 green trophy

The “Best Content” series brings you a handful of the most thought-provoking and informative articles and webinars related to corporate social responsibility published over the last year, broken down into bite-size pieces for your convenience.

1. Lessons Learned in Promoting CSR
There’s no better way to gain insight into a field as widely practiced, and scrutinized, as CSR than by asking the key executives in charge of such corporate programs about their dos and don’t’s. This article from Corporate Responsibility Magazine lists the lessons learned from experts in the field. What is the best way to promote CSR achievements in order to maximize impact for the company? Being candid and straight-forward, as well as keeping track of progress made are just a few of the critical points mentioned in this informative and well-researched list. Read the list.

2. Transforming Lives is Good for Business
This article from March 2012 published by the Forbes’ CSR Blog was written as a result of an earlier piece regarding responsible practices for mining companies, and discusses the ways in which CSR can evolve to have greater business and social impact. The ideas explained in this list are relevant for all CSR programs, stressing the importance of social change, not always putting the business side first, planning and implementing effective strategic approaches, and evaluating the outcome—these are just some of the ways companies can be more impactful when it comes to CSR efforts. Read the article.

3. Realized Worth: Employee Volunteering & Workplace Giving
Companies engage in many different CSR activities, however an effective and popular way of promoting CSR internally is by engaging employees in volunteerism. This article from Realized Worth published in May outlines the ways in which companies can design and implement effective and exceptional volunteer programs. According to the article there are 3 stages in the volunteer process: tourist, traveler, guide. In other words, employees make a natural progression from investigation and curiosity, to meaningful discovery, to alignment and internalization. Critical to the success of volunteer programs is recognizing at which stage a volunteer is at in this journey, and how to treat them based on their level of engagement and commitment. This article provides a step by step guide on how to recognize this evolution of the volunteer and how best help employees go from curious spectators, to involved and invested supporters. Read the article.

4. The Opportunity of Giving Back: A Consideration for Employee Happiness
In July, Technorati published this article examining employee satisfaction, not as it relates to bonuses and stock options, but rather an increasing need among employees to be a part of a larger cause, a need which will only continue to grow in 2013. Employees are increasingly as concerned with “deeper emotional resonances” as they are with monetary rewards as the economy and environment continues to pose real concerns for the future. A Net Impact survey polled students; 45% said that they would take a 15% pay cut in order to work for an organization that made a social or environmental impact. How do companies respond to this and allow their employees to have a higher level of engagement?

5. Exploring the Convergence of Cause Marketing & CSR
This webinar from VolunteerMatch published in September discusses the difference between cause marketing and CSR. Specifically, how the two terms are distinctly different, what each terms means today and how they are applied within the context of an organization. The webinar features accomplished guest speakers including, Dave Stangis, Vice President of Public Affairs and Corporate Responsibility for Campbell Soup Company. Insights shared include latest research in the field, as well as the speakers’ experience in helping to bring social good to some of the world’s top companies. View the webinar.

6. Defining the Social Purpose of Business
This article published by Forbes in May attempts to define the social purpose of business through seven overarching ideas. These ideas are based upon a series of interviews and inquiries, stemming from one central issue—how exactly do businesses define the central social purpose that drives the operations of CSR as a whole? Some businesses are deeply committed to their CSR efforts, while others seem to be going through the motions without much investment. By asking seven different business leaders how they define their company’s social purpose, we gain valuable insight into how each company approaches their CSR efforts; it’s always through the lens of the business leader, rather than staunch philanthropist. With this in mind, we know that CSR is an ever growing and changing field, however we can gain a more concrete understanding of the professional’s perspective on the always necessary, but not always supported, CSR initiative. Read the article.

7. Webinar: Does CSR Increase Shareholder Value?
This webinar from early December 2012 published by CSRWire begs the question, do CSR efforts increase shareholder value? This webinar features expert speakers Chad Spitler, Managing Director and COO of BlackRock, Paul Griffin, Professor of Management, of the University of California, Davis, among others discussing the viability of CSR not only as a way of accomplishing corporate governance but also as a measurable way to increase shareholder value and profits. As CSR efforts continue to grow among top companies, more and more executives are beginning to understand the range of long term benefits these initiatives have. Listen to the webinar.

8. Why Leadership and CSR Are Tightly Aligned
This article from the Huffington Post published in May discusses the often overlooked but vitally important co-existence of leadership and CSR. The relationship between the two is critical in helping companies make an impact with their CSR initiatives as well as drive shareholder value- a notion that will surely take precedence in 2013. The article lists detailed initiatives that can help companies to reinforce leadership as means of making CSR programs impactful including the creation of an ethical culture, treating stakeholders well, and importance of balancing short and long-term initiatives. Read the article.