Q2 2012 green trophy

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

Defining the Social Purpose of Business
This article published by Forbes 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 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.

2. Sustainability 2.0
Let’s think back to the birth of the World Wide Web. It began with websites and static content, with little person-to-person interaction. Then, a short time later, we had Web 2.0.  A more progressive, engaging, and interactive form of the web as we knew it before because collaboration, sharing, and integration led to a better, more useful, and more innovative Internet experience. An article recently published by Deloitte Review equates this progression to the prevalence of sustainability in business as a way of driving innovation and growth. As more and more companies are looking to sustainability as a core business strategy, the same collaboration and integration that helped to create the dynamic World Wide Web as we know it today is also helping businesses enhance revenue, margins and brand value. The article claims, “Organizations with a broader, more strategic plan for sustainability will not only drive innovation across their enterprise—including transforming key processes—but may also influence what their customers want and how their suppliers operate.” According to Deloitte, sustainability-driven innovation is the new frontier—however large corporations must take a long, hard look at their operations to enhance their sustainability strategy.

3. Social Responsibility, Beer & Aliens: Journey to Becoming the Best Beer Company in a Better World
Nowadays, it’s not only a necessity to participate in CSR efforts; it’s a huge business risk not to participate. When you’re a company like Anheuser-Busch, its difficult to determine where your social purpose lies, and just how to enhance this aspect of your business. CSRwire published an interview with Anheuser-Busch’s Global VP for Beer and Better world, Carol Clark. With a title as ironic as this, it goes without saying that we were intrigued by the company’s CSR strategies as defined in their 2011 Global Citizenship Report titled Connecting for a Better World. The interview offers deep insights into the company’s environmental, social, and community development goals. The core of their CSR initiative? To promote responsible drinking, reduce their impact on the environment by reducing water usage, and supporting prevention efforts, such as encouraging the use of designated drivers, and educating children on the dangers of underage drinking. Clark says of the company’s initiative, “We strive to create a culture that encourages responsibility and accountability, and that applies to our work on social responsibility as well.” Interviews such as this give us insight into the many ways that CSR can help the community at large, and a company’s brand value.

4. 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 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, this means the 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.

5. 2012 Corporate Philanthropy Summit
Since the CSR field is always evolving and absolutely necessary for large corporations to participate in to enhance revenue, brand value, employee engagement, (and the list continues), its important to stay in the know as new strategies and insights present themselves. The 2012 Corporate Philanthropy Summit which takes place in New York City from June 5-6 will feature corporate CEOs and thought leaders in the field of CSR who will lead panels and present new research in CSR by providing lessons on leadership, opportunities for philanthropy, trends, and increasing impact and value. Luckily, if you aren’t in the New York area to attend and gain valuable insights, video highlights and summary reports will be provided after the summit on the CorporatePhilanthropy.org website.