Following the recent announcement of President Barack Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency that U.S. power plants must reduce their greenhouse emissions by 30% from 2005 levels by 2030, the Centre for Sustainability and Excellence delivered a roundtable discussion on “How to quantify the impact and value of your sustainability strategies” on June 2 at the Beacon Hotel in NYC.
During this event, which marks the sixth event CSE has done in NYC for the past four years, participants representing many different organizations, such as United Nations Global Compact, Ernst and Young, PwC, CINCS and Delhaize, had the opportunity to discuss many trending topics regarding the challenges corporations face in their investments on sustainability and CSR programs.
CSE would like to thank its guest speakers Mr. Bahar Gidwani, CEO of CSRHub, and Mr. Richard Parlier, Sustainability Project Integration Specialist of the United States Postal Service, who shared presentations about their corporations’ best practices, discussed the importance of return on investment on sustainability and made the evening a success.
Nikos Avlonas, CSE President, who was one of the speakers at the roundtable, mentioned, “We are excited with the opportunity to have an open discussion with sustainability professionals about one the hottest sustainability issues today, how to the measure Sustainability and CSR Strategies impact and value and be able to be one of the catalyst of change in North America.”
Corporate Social responsibility is not an elusive idea any longer; it is essential for business growth and organizations place it at the core of their daily practices. Business spend a lot of resources annually, which is further supported by a study on Sustainability and Innovation by the MIT Sloan Management Review and the Boston Consulting Group that revealed that sustainability has a permanent place on 70% of management agendas.
In one of our previous blogs we examined several misconceptions around what sustainability really is. We said that many, wrongly, think that it is about public relations, solving social inequality and philanthropy. By all means, all the above are great practices but they should not be mistaken with CSR. Restricting CSR to only these areas does not allow us to fully understand what it actually is, so a more holistic approach must be taken. As a part of an effective CSR process organizations need to fully and effectively interact with their stakeholders and engage them in a meaningful and beneficial relationship.
Benefits of CSR & Best Practices
It should come as no surprise that a strategic approach to CSR is increasingly important today, and it is associated with a lot of benefits for the companies. It can bring benefits in terms of risk management, consumer and stakeholder engagement, stronger performance and profitability and human resource management. And there are a few companies who know best how to practice CSR:
- Häagen-Dazs loves HoneyBees
The extinction of honeybees, an important part of the global food chain, is an issue of great importance to every company especially Häagen-Dazs and their all natural ice-creams. Therefore, the organization called people for action by informing them that every time they bought a carton of their ice cream they helped Häagen-Dazs ice cream fund research to save the bees. By that the organization was able to show its human side to people who were more likely to associate themselves with the organization and also help solve an important social cause.
- UPS: How Avoiding Left Turns Saved the Company $3 Million
A few years ago UPS was facing pressures to cut costs. Therefore, the company decided to rearrange their routes so that drivers turned right 90% of the time. By that the organization not only showed that they could deliver data in less time but also reduce emissions.
Body Shop: When fashion meets green
The Body Shop has always demonstrated Corporate Social Responsibility through its commitment to social causes. However, after being acquired by L’Oreal, The Body Shop was repeatedly accused of using animal testing. Despite this accusations, it hold true to its values by not practicing animal testing which resulted in being awarded a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ by the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) in Britain.
How to understand and excel in CSR
At CSE it is our role to primary role to role to help companies develop or upscale existing CSR strategies that are sustainable and can be implemented and reported on. Therefore, to better understand and learn more about sustainable practices we invite you to follow the example of Fortune 500 and beyond and join our upcoming Advanced Certified Sustainability (CSR) Practitioner Training in Toronto and New York.
To view the full course agenda visit here.
Avoid Blacking the Green
Have you ever wondered what the sentence “green is the new black” actually means? Well as black is a color reputed to match almost everything, so does green in today’s business arena, as is a color that no successful business can afford to not “wear”.. as long as you do not wear and tear! Companies being or turning green essentially refers to their internal strategies integrating sustainability principles, and thus, acting responsibly by contributing towards a sustainable development for our common good! This of course has been a result of the awareness raised about the impacts anthropogenic actions are having on our ecosystem accompanied with the just how much corporations are contributing to the “CO2 pie” (emissions). Now, it should come as no surprise that within this equation corporations own up to a large part of the CO2 pie but it should also come as no surprise that corporations simultaneously have the power to make their part of the pie more sustainable in the long run for society and the environment, whilst reaping the benefits of being a good corporate citizen.
Consequently, by taking a peek into how businesses today are communicating to their stakeholders you will quickly come to find that they are falling all over themselves to deliver the message that they are environmentally and ecologically conscious and correct! At present, some businesses are genuinely committed to making the world a better a place to live in, and hence more sustainable, but yet far too many are portraying sustainability efforts as a method of attracting potential customers, as environmentally conscious consumers are expanding tremendously ! This essentially done through corporations trying to pass off as eco-friendly, when what they are in fact doing is hiding behind their not so green footprints! Consider for instance putting an image of a forest on a bottle containing harmful chemicals. Other corporations pass off eco friendly behavior to their stakeholders through exaggerating the truth about the the percentages of their products being beneficial to the environment. Such actions at best has brought a wave of confession to consumers as to which products they can truly trust, and at worst has created the notion of green washing being a major contradiction to the expansion of sustainable development. This of course is not to say that when making an effort towards being more sustainable marketing the action is forbidden, but more acknowledging that true results are found in walking the talk opposed to talking the talk. Besides, in today’s society’s fast growing awareness and interest in Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility married with the expansion of organizations alike corporate watch dog, and Stop Green Wash which in turn keep a close eye on organizations green washing, it would be ludicrous for businesses to not wake up to the economic benefits of environmentally sustainable practices and products.
CSE, being a leader in the CSR field since 2004 and having trained more than 5,000 individuals across North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East are implementing the most advanced methodologies for professionals across sectors and industries on Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability – strategy, reporting, management and communication. If you are interested in avoiding green washing and investing in the business case of CSR , join our upcoming Certified Sustainability (CSR) Practitioner Trainings delivered worldwide!