Invup Participates in A Billion + Change

Published July 20, 2012 by oliviadufour

We were honored to be part of the A Billion + Change event at the beautiful Eisenhower Executive Office Building on June 27th, right near the White House. Pro bono (or skills-based service) is indeed huge and growing!  The guests list was wonderful as well as the location. Some of the guests included Senator Mark Warner, Honorary Chairman of A Billion + Change,  Michelle Nunn, CEO of Points of Light, Joe Echevarria, CEO, of Deloitte LLP, Moderated by Jean Case, CEO of The Case Foundation.  Many representatives of companies were there, including Toyota, PepsiCo and HP.

The goal of the event was to “shine the national spotlight on corporate engagement in skills-based volunteering, and [show] how the private sector can achieve high-impact, transformative social change through skills-based service.”  Within the past year, they were able to get more than 200 companies to pledge an estimated $1.8 billion and nearly 12 million hours of time and talent to nonprofits. The value of pro-bono compared to traditional volunteering is 500 percent more!

During the event, we were impressed to learn that pro-bono work is actually part of the evaluation process at Deloitte and by a number of socially responsiblity initiatives at IBM.

Also, the Chairman of the marketing agency, GolinHarris, explained that they pioneered the CSR concept with their client McDonalds and the Ronald McDonald Foundation. The business case for pro-bono was clearly depicted – it increases employee engagement and improves skills and leadership of employees.  It is part of the solution to the job crisis and to many of our most serious problems at companies.

Their goal for 2013 is to have 500 companies pledge their time and skills. Click here to take part of this amazing movement. Do it, now!

 

CSR and Employee Engagement Round Up

Published July 17, 2012 by oliviadufour

People having skills and knowledge in philanthropic initiatives are obviously in demand as Indiana University is launching the nation’s first School of Philanthropy. The school is already offering degrees in philanthropic studies for both undergraduates and graduates through the School of Liberal Arts.  The students learn about non-profit management, human motivations of financial donors, creating programs that create social change and history of philanthropy.

While they may not have the resources to provide millions of dollars in donated time, small businesses can play an important role in pro boon work and corporate social responsibilities, especially since firms with less than 20 employees make up 89 percent of US employers. They can use their experiences in wearing multiple hats by helping nonprofits develop new strategies and organization design.  Sometimes even a few hours of assistance in marketing, technology and operations can truly go in a long way.  Read more about how small business can help nonprofit.

Social good is truly a viral and contagious activity.  When one does something kind for another person, the person who received assistant will offer help to another person and the cycle repeats. Even if one person who doesn’t receive assistance, sees someone else taking a random act of kindness, that person will still often take action to help another.  An article lists examples of how some random act of kindness can grow exponentially.

Responsible Company: Microsoft

Published July 11, 2012 by oliviadufour

Microsoft has a very extensive corporate social responsibility program, as their report is 80 pages long and they have a wide range of commitments.  Microsoft has a mission “To help people and businesses around the world realize their full potential.”  The company has been working with partners to use their technology to solve a range of social issues.  They work with public and private sectors to find ways technology can help solve some of the challenges in today’s society.  They help strengthen local economies by supporting IT infrastructure, workforce development, innovation, research, and access to technology.  They provide affordable and accessible technology for “those at the bottom and middle of the economic pyramid.”

Microsoft has been known for improving the quality of education around the world by using their skills to serve local needs.  The company is helping overcome the global shortage of well-trained teachers and provide students the skills in critical science technology, technology, engineering, and math.  In order to meet the needs, the company is using the internet to provide greater access to better education opportunities and providing technology tools for teachers to use in their curriculum. Microsoft set a gaol in 2003 to reach 250 million students and teachers in 115 countries or regions through Partners in Learning by 2013 and they are certainly on track to reach the goal.  So far, since 2003, they have reached almost 2010 million students and teachers in 120 countries.

The company helps thousands of nonprofits obtain greater access to technologies to achieve their missions.  In the past year, Microsoft donated more than $844 million in software to nonprofits in 113 countries and regions. Since 1998, the company has donated more than $3.9 billion in software.  Microsoft offers many ways to train people to use the technology, which includes hosting more than 100 NCO Connection Days, holding webinars, and working with Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) to train 100 nonprofit leaders to manage information technology.

As the company saw the challenges of handling natural disasters, as workers lack in technology skills to find and keep employment and people struggle in dealing with communication, Microsoft has achieved their goal in developing and implementing cloud solutions to assist disaster response while also helping businesses recover more quickly.  The cloud solutions has already been used in Japan’s natural disaster in 2011.  As the company continues to meet the needs of disaster relief, they are also partnering with relief agencies and government and utilizing social media to bring in global donations and awareness.

Microsoft is taking an initiative to use gaming as a teaching tool.  In the past year, the company launched Kinect for Xbox360.  Teachers around the world are using Kinect to assist in stimulating students’ language literacy, numeracy development, and physical fitness.  “One school principal in South Africa observed that students focus so intensely on the games that they overcome their inhibitions and learn more easily.

These are just the glimpses of Microsoft’s amazing corporate social responsibility program.  You can read more about their corporate social responsibility by clicking here.

CSR and Employee Engagement Round Up

Published July 3, 2012 by goodify

Forbes confirm our beliefs that corporate social responsibility is not only important for marketing, but also for recruiting. A large number of millenials are indeed expecting companies to offer more than just a paycheck – a place where they can make an impact.  The article also points out that because CSR has become such a commonplace that the public is no longer paying attention to companies’ initiatives.  So, companies are needing to find new strategies to ensure that the public does not forget about what companies are doing to be socially responsible.

Big or small, every amount of donation adds up. Bolder Giving, an organization that helps people that are new to giving or looking to give more, advises that in order to get into the habit of giving and being motivated, individuals need to start giving today and start slowly.

“Having a career with purpose starts with a realization that there is something fundamentally wrong with society or that there are particular gaps in the way specific social issues are being addressed,” says  Paul Klein. The writer goes into details about what it takes to have a career that involves in changing the world and the fact that it can be done while working for a corporation.

Responsible Company: The Body Shop

Published June 27, 2012 by oliviadufour

When going on the Body Shop home page, their CSR information is readily found by clicking on “Values & Campaigns” on top of the page next to the logo. Their “Values & Campaigns” section is so overwhelmed with information that it is evident that the Body Shop is concerned about being responsible and is very upfront with their consumers.

The Body Shop was founded by Anita Riddick in 1976 in England on a strong model of being socially responsible, long before the concept of CSR became the norm, as the goal was to be a natural, environmentally minded cosmetics shop.

The company is one of the first cosmetic company to introduce fair trade ingredients to their industry.  The Body Shop calls this initiative “Community Trade,” which means that they purchase ingredients and other products from marginalized communities to give them the opportunity to have access to the global market and provide fair income.  The company is providing over 25,000 underprivileged farmers and producers access to the global market.

Blue corn from the US, cactus mitts from Mexico, organic bergamot oil and organic olive oil from Italy, and organic babassu oil and organic soya oil from Brazil are all examples of natural ingredients the Body Shop uses from all over the world.  They obtain their ingredients from small farms such as El Guabo in Ecuador where they get bananas that supermarkets won’t buy because they’re in the wrong shape and size.

Click here to see their interactive page on ingredients that are used in their products. Their interactive page is so detailed with information explaining from where the ingredients exactly originated.

The Body Shop has a strong policy not to allow their cosmetic products be tested on animals and even insist their suppliers not to test their ingredients on animals for cosmetic purposes too.

The company also ensure and verify that its supply chain has no forced labor and child labor and has a document providing the details.

The Body Shop even has a global volunteering policy for their employees, giving at least three paid volunteering days a year.  They work with charities that help people with learning difficulties and support the rights of children around the world.

Click here to read more details about their extraordinary CSR program.

Why CSR is more than just about being responsible?

Published June 21, 2012 by goodify

Jason Clay, vice-president of World Wildlife Fund (WWF), presented brilliant strategic plans at a TED Talk in 2010 to convince mega corporations to go sustainable. He identified the top 15 commodities that pose the biggest threats to the places that have the top biodiversity because of deforestation, water use, over-fishing, soil loss, and pesticide use. Then he identified the top 100 companies that consumed at least 25 percent of the top commodities, which includes, Coca Cola, McDonald’s, Kraft, Starbucks, Walmart, Gap, and Nestle. At that time, he got 20 companies to sign an agreement and had more on the way.

I loved how Clay said that it’s not just about conserving our planet, but also to help companies stay in business in the future. When companies rely on resources that could possibly be gone in the future, companies could go out of business or completely change their products:

[Mars doesn’t] want to be an I.P. company; they want to be a chocolate company, but they want to be a chocolate company forever.

Cocoa beans, the main ingredient used to make Mars’ chocolate, come from cacao trees that are found commonly in the equator zone, in hot, rainy tropical areas.  Thus, this case certainly argues the need to conserve plants in order to continue to produce Mars’ chocolate and Nestle’s chocolate.  Who would miss Nestle’s Toll House chocolate chip cookies should if cacao trees become extinct?  What about Hershey’s chocolate bars too?

Coffee originates from coffee beans that are grown on coffee trees.  Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Nestle certainly need to conserve coffee trees in order to continue earn profit from coffee.  There would be no Cocoa Cola if sugarcane gets wiped out.  Nestle and Starbucks would without any doubt be out of business too, as sugar is one of their biggest resources.  Many products from Gap, Walmart, and Ikea come from cotton plants.

Watch the video from TED.com to hear the details on his strategic plan:

After watching the video, I searched to see where WWF is today in working with companies to go sustainable.  As of September 2011, WWF got three more of top 100 companies to sign an agreement and was in discussion with 44 more companies.[1. Click here]

 

CSR and Employee Engagement Round Up

Published June 18, 2012 by goodify

A teenage patient who was severely burned healed faster by connecting with other patients, nurses, doctors and other hospital staff members. After Britt healed, he took his experiences further by reaching out to students who were having a hard time fitting in and needed a friend. Britt came to realization that “connecting is a fundamental driver of engagement,” and it brings in sense of satisfaction, purpose and fulfillment.    His case explains well the importance of employees needing to connect with people so they can become more engaged in their work and even perform their tasks better.

Corporate social responsibility is become more than just about marketing.  Many business leaders are indeed becoming more concerned about impacting their society and environment.  One company is even finding that by being socially responsible, they are also saving money.  As consumers are becoming more concerned about companies’ social responsibilities, as consumers are being educated about it through internet.  Read more about why being socially responsible is no longer an option for companies.

Myths about CSR are being spread. Examples millenials only care about salaries and benefits, investors only care about return of investment (ROI), and being responsible is only about giving to local charities.  Peter Downing, co-founder and managing partner at FutureSpark debunks the myths.

As companies’ budgets have become limited, companies became more strategic with their charitable efforts in order to be able to do more with less money. Companies are giving larger gifts to fewer causes. Matching gifts and “dollars for doers” are on the rise. Overseas profits are being donated to international organizations.

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