This is a continuation of a post on Waggener Edstrom’s corporate citizenship report.
Between employee engagement programs through volunteering and tracking the company’s global carbon footprint, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide (WE) seeks creative ways to highlight the impact it’s having on the world.
Over the past five years, WE has created a corporate citizenship report. I interviewed Rhian Rotz, Director of Corporate Citizenship at WE, about the latest report and the company’s overall corporate social responsibility strategy.
AM: Whether it’s carbon emission tracking or company growth, WE’s report emphasizes the resulting impact from its work. What gains does the company see from tracking impact?
RR: Expectations of businesses have changed as [business/social venture partnerships] are increasing and converging. Business has a role in solving and contributing to solutions of the world problems…
Waggener Edstrom Worldwide (WE), a leading digital branding agency, is dedicated to helping its clients with corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies. In turn, the company is transparent about its own learnings around CSR reporting.
Over the past five years, WE has provided clients, employees, and consumers with a corporate citizenship report. I interviewed Rhian Rotz, Director of Corporate Citizenship at WE, about the latest report and the company’s overall CSR strategy.
AM: Why did Waggener Edstrom (WE) Worldwide create this report?
RR: Corporate citizenship represents how WE aggregates its commitment to making a positive and sustainable social, environmental and economic impact through our services, employees, management of operations and contributions to society.
If you’ve ever downloaded one of our eGuides**, you’ve likely received an email asking for more information about your company’s dedication to employee engagement and cause.
Carlo Epps of GreenMouse Recycling—an e-waste recycling company based in Silicon Valley—responded to that note, sharing his company’s dedication to cause.
Check out our conversation below.
AM: From where did GreenMouse Recycling’s charitable spirit emanate?
CE: Our President, Evelyn O’Donnell, began GreenMouse with the vision of creating [a business] opportunity for her developmentally disabled daughter Briana.
As the business grew, the vision…began to evolve into a way of giving back and creating solidarity within the community. What began as a company created for the purpose of creating a job has now become a company that’s purpose is to create jobs for at-risk people from all different segments of the population.
Jay Baer’s Youtility posits marketing should be ‘about help not hype.’
Instead of the now-antiquated push marketing (Think: Buy our stuff! We’re the best! Listen to what brilliant things we have to say!), Baer argues the collaborative economy and nature of social media leaves consumers wanting help from companies, not more marketing speak.
Here's the first of three highlights from the book, which all marketers—especially cause marketing professionals—should take to heart:
1) Simplicity is underrated. Marcus Sheridan’s (AKA “The Sales Lion”) pool business went from fledgling to thriving in part due to doing something almost stupidly simple: Answering his potential customers’ questions.
By answering literally every question he could think of around the pool decision-making, purchasing, and installation process, Sheridan then crafted a series of FAQ blog posts. This allowed potential customers the opportunity to self-serve. Because of this, he knew that when someone contacted him about a pool, they were truly a qualified lead.
We're pleased to announce our new expert guest blogger series! First up, Julie Urlaub, Managing Partner of the Taiga Company.
By Julie Urlaub | @TaigaCompany
Sometimes, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is like playing telephone.
Witnessed from a high level, a company's CSR plan may embrace all the right frameworks, include the buzzwords, and authentically and credibly embrace sustainability initiatives. However, witnessed from the employee level, all that vision (and jargon!) may be lost.
In addition to executive management playing a critical role in the success of a company, business sustainability requires leadership and communication across the entire organization. While management may ultimately carry the responsibility of CSR results, employees have a part to play in the definition and implementation of these programs.
What are your employees saying about your organization? Are they equipped with information and engaged in your company’s corporate social responsibility programs to passionately communicate the message you would like the world to hear?
Does it even matter?
Soon-to-be college graduates Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez learned how gourmet mushrooms could be grown out of recycled coffee grounds. The idea – intriguing if nothing else – made them think: Should they forgo stable careers in the banking world for innovative entrepreneurship in the…mushroom world?
As you might have guessed, the answer is yes.
If you can believe it, initial interest from Whole Foods and Chez Panisse, along with a grant from their university, gave them the courage to create Back to the Roots—turning Arora and Velez into “full time urban mushroom farmers”.
Their mission is simple: To make food personal again through the passionate development of tools that educate and inspire, one family at a time.
As are their values: Hustle. Passion. Family. Universal Happiness.
Sodexo is a massive global quality of life services company, reaching 75 million people on a daily basis. In spite of its size, Sodexo is committed to the local communities it touches, keeping its 425,000 employees engaged, communicating those core CSR values, and giving back.
I was able to learn more about how such a big company communicates its CSR values, through an interview with Neil Barrett, Sodexo’s Group VP of Sustainable Development. All italicized text is that of Mr. Barrett’s.
Sodexo’s Better Tomorrow Plan is structured around four pillars and sets out 18 defined commitments.
This structure governs who we are, what we do and how we engage with our clients, consumers, suppliers, and communities, in fact all of our stakeholders in order to be a responsible company.
But that is a lot of initiatives to remember, so in order to share them with the general public, we looked for common themes and came up with those four communications priorities, based on what our research said people cared about most...
The four macro themes of Sodexo’s CSR communications are:
1) A responsible employer: Our commitments as an employer talk about who we are as a company, with our commitments to diversity and inclusion, health and safety, human rights and developing our employees.
Sodexo is a global quality of life services company, reaching 75 million people on a daily basis. In spite of its size, Sodexo is committed to the local communities it touches and keeping its nearly half a million employees engaged in its mission and values..
Through an interview with Neil Barrett, Sodexo’s Group VP of Sustainable Development, I was able to learn more about how such a big company can be so personal. All italicized text is that of Mr. Barrett’s.
On being a local, global company:
The importance of being local, and recognizing the local impacts we have, is essential to our business. We have operations on 34,000 sites, ranging from one or two people to teams with several hundred employees. Those employees, 97 percent of whom are from the community in which they are working, are our direct connection to that community. The lives they touch every day – at work and during their non-working hours are in their local community.
By Allison McGuire
Much of corporate social responsibility work is done via coalitions, partnerships, and councils. The Global Sourcing Council (GSC) is a perfect example of how individuals, businesses, trade organizations, governmental agencies, nonprofits, and academics can come together to exchange ideas and share best practices. The GSC’s mission is,
“to discuss and define sustainable and responsible practices in global sourcing and supply chain management; and to encourage progressive economic growth leading to increased trade, investment and social good, all with an aim to increase knowledge, deepen trade relations and broaden commercial and cultural ties among nations.”
In short, the GSC is a nonprofit with an educational mission that advocates for corporate social responsibility in sourcing practices.
I was able to track down Wanda Lopuch, Ph.D., a past Chair of GSC’s Board and the Chair of its 3S Awards (more on that later) to answer some questions about the GSC.
AM: What does “global sourcing” mean?
WL: With the borders disappearing around the world, businesses are working with partners from all over the globe. Global sourcing refers to the ability of individuals, corporations and organizations to seek out partners from all corners of the world to aid in their business operations.
AM: Let’s say I’m a company that wants to do good in a global context. I’m looking for advice on how to establish my socially responsible global sourcing—how do I get started?
WL: The GSC Board and GSC community is made up of established industry leaders in sustainable sourcing. Reach out to board and community members around the world to brainstorm, address questions, toss around ideas, seek advice, and coaching. Be bold and persistent in presenting your vision for profit with purpose. Make GSC the first point of contact for any company wishing to establish a socially responsible global business.
AM: You have an awards ceremony coming up! What does the “3S” stand for, and why create an awards event around it?
WL: 3S stands for Sustainable and Socially Responsible Sourcing. The GSC decided to award companies and individuals who can see the difference between doing business and creating business-- sustainable business that empowers local economies without damage, but actually providing long-term values to communities or the environment. GSC's 3S Awards (Sustainable and Socially Responsible Sourcing awards) recognize exceptional achievements in the global sourcing marketplace by individuals and organizations who exhibit a combination of positive social and economic leadership. The awards bring to the forefront individuals, start-ups, and companies (e.g. suppliers, buyers and advisory organizations) that have worked to innovate, implement and improve communities and the environment through Sustainable and Socially responsible Sourcing practices.
By Kate Olsen
Last week on this blog, I discussed Patagonia’s lessons on corporate sustainability, including the company’s focus on reusing, recycling and repurposing its products via a call to action to customers to be a part of the ‘use less’ movement. It appears Coca-Cola is taking a page from the Patagonia playbook. In a bold move, Coca-Cola and musician Will.i.am are starting a line of high-end clothing and gear called Ekocycle. The line will feature recycled products and appeal to Millennials and Conscious Consumers (often one and the same).
Ekocycle will partner with a variety of big-name designers (Dr. Dre/Beats) to sell items including bicycles, shoes, handbags, glasses etc… All Ekocycle products will have labeling to inform consumers about how many recycled bottles or cans went into the product.
While Ekocycle won’t singlehandedly eliminate waste from consumer packaging (bottles and cans), it will communicate a message to younger consumers about green consumerism. Cause Affinity Platforms like Ekocycle, Product (RED) and others do more to raise the level of consciousness about important social issues than they raise profits through sales of cause-branded products, but they are a vital component of the cause marketing continuum.
A brand launch like Ekocycle is all the more remarkable when it has a major consumer brand backing the effort. Coca-Cola has invested much time, thought, innovation and money into its corporate responsibility strategy. While the biggest environmental impact a corporate giant like Coca-Cola can make is in amending core business practices to green the supply chain (which Coca-Cola does), it is refreshing to see a big brand invest in niche ideas and engage consumers in a conversation about our collective impact.
I look forward to seeing how Ekocycle leverages the star power of Will.i.am and the digital marketing savvy of Coca-Cola to (re)start the recycled revolution.