Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Six Ways to Turn Your Corporate Philanthropy Efforts into a Long-Term Project


A single day of volunteer service can be exciting, moving, impactful, and inspiring for a company's employees. But after a year or two of the ‘one and done’ volunteer events, many corporate employees hunger for more. To develop an enduring philanthropic relationship, multiple points of connection are needed. 

Here are six ways to move your corporate philanthropy into a long-term function, and create more meaningful bonds between employees and the non-profits the company supports. 

1.     Find the right partner. Your employees want to help solve societal problems, but they may differ on how to prioritize which to work on. Survey your employees to find out what impact they most want to make on the community, or otherwise make sure they understand why the company chooses to support its select non-profits. If there’s a broad spectrum of interests, find a non-profit that serves many different needs. Or focus on improving a certain community, rather than a specific issue area. Employee input into the partnership begets ownership, which ultimately begets connection.

2.     Variety is the spice of life. Offer your employees an a la carte menu of ways to engage with your community partners. Offering multiple ways to participate will increase the likelihood everyone in the office will find something that suits their interest, availability, and style.

3.     Calendar it in. Connecting with a non-profit and its mission takes deliberate planning. Brainstorm at the beginning of your partnership, and then put together a calendar of events that can be shared with your employees. You may even want to target different departments of the company based on when their workload is less hectic.

4.      Just ask. Not only is it harder to turn someone down when you ask them in person, it’s also flattering to be personally requested to attend an event. Email is perfect for getting people information about a volunteer or fundraising opportunity, but it’s also easy to ignore. Assemble a team of enthusiastic staff members who will take the time to go from desk to desk, or make a few phone calls, to get people engaged.

5.     Communicate. If your employees help with a volunteer event or fundraiser, but never hear the impact of their work, they will lose interest. Companies and employees need to talk to each other. Find out what they liked (and didn’t like) about their experience so you can continue to fine-tune your relationship with your nonprofit partner. Then share data and stories about the event so people know their efforts matter.

6.     Motivate yourselves and one another. People respond well to having more than one reason to commit to spending our time in a certain way. Provide an incentive, add music or costumes, or make it a competition.

-Stacey Rago, Executive Director, Chicago Charity Challenge

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Top 10 Reasons to Attend the COMMIT!Forum

Thinking about attending the COMMIT!Forum? This annual event continues to showcase current, timely sessions on hot topics and provides information that the CR professional, as well as the CEO, needs to know. Here we list the top 10 reasons you should attend:

10. A Great New Venue

This year, the COMMIT!Forum takes place at the Westin Times Square - right in the heart of New York City. The beautiful venue provides the perfect backdrop for communicating, sharing, and learning.

9. An Exclusive Workshop with MGM Resorts International

Rey Bouknight, director of corporate communications, and Clark Dumont, senior vice president of Corporate Communications, share MGM's innovative practices in this interesting and informative session.

8. Understanding the Impact of Reputation Session

Beth Rusert, senior vice president & partner at Standing Partnership, discusses real-world comparisons of effective and ineffective reputational risk, and offers five steps for reputational risk mitigation during this session.

7. Your Own Content

The COMMIT!Forum will feature “Issue Tables” that allow you to discuss, debate, and share knowledge on the most relevant issues in the field of corporate responsibility with your peers.

6. CR Magazine's 100 Best Sector List Announcement

CR Magazine's VP of Research, Larry Basinait will announce the 100 Best Sector List. This year was our 17th annual ranking of transparency, accountability, and business performance.

5. The COMMIT!Forum Marketplace

The COMMIT!Forum Marketplace is an area that shows emerging trends in the fields of corporate responsibility and sustainability. THRIVE Farmers coffee is available as you listen and learn from participants.

4. One-on-One CEO Interview

CR Magazine CEO Elliot Clark will host a lively discussion with one of the top CEOs at a large corporation on running a business, sustainability, challenges, and best practices.

3. An Exciting CEO Panel

Shared Responsibility: An Exclusive CEO Panel will offer attendees the opportunity to hear C-level thought leaders share their experiences on topics such as pioneering leadership for environmental stewardship, employee engagement, visionary governance, and more.

2. The Annual Responsible CEO of the Year Awards

CR Magazine’s Responsible CEO of the Year Awards is the highlight of the event. This special dinner and awards ceremony celebrates CEOs who are dedicated to corporate responsibility. The winners will be announced during the anticipated evening. (Admission to the awards dinner requires an additional ticket.)

.....and the top reason to attend the COMMIT!Forum is:

1. A Fantastic Opportunity for Networking

The COMMIT!Forum allows unparalleled networking opportunities for all attendees. You will be able to engage with C-suite executives, CEOs, corporate communication professionals, and CR professionals during the entire forum. Join your colleagues as you discuss important topics like how to run a business more responsibly; how to simultaneously be more sustainable and profitable; how to manage your brand; and how to build a sustainable workforce and supply chain. Responsible companies buy from other responsible companies at our event. Don't miss out!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

COMMIT!Forum is Coming Up Fast!


Pictured are the 2015 CEO of the Year nominees.
Only 75 days until the COMMIT!Forum! We at CR Magazine invite you to stay tuned to this blog as we feature weekly posts on the exciting sessions and networking opportunities that the forum will provide.

There will be a great lineup of speakers and presentations that will offer excellent learning opportunities. The 2016 event takes place Oct. 18–19 at the Westin New York in New York City.

Mosaic will offer a special session on the company’s latest innovations in mining, manufacturing, supply chain, and product development during the event. We will feature a post on Mosaic's presentation, and others like it, in the coming weeks.

The second day of the forum will also include the Responsible CEO of the Year Awards Dinner - an event dedicated to honoring those who make a commitment to corporate responsibility. Join us on Oct. 19 as we announce the winner.

This year’s nominees include:
• Emanuel Chirico, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, PVH Corp.
• John Crowe, President and CEO of Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed Corporations, Saint-Gobain
• Sury Kant, President North America, UK and Europe, Tata Consultancy Services
• Mike Lawrie, Chairman, President and CEO, CSC
• Robert Moritz, US Chairman and Senior Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers
• Richard Noll, Chairman and CEO, HanesBrands
• Christine Perich, CEO, New Belgium Brewing
• Richard Shadyac, President and CEO, ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
• David Steiner, President and CEO, Waste Management
• John Strangfeld, Chairman and CEO, Prudential Financial, Inc.
• Mark Wilson, Group Chief Executive Officer, Aviva

Check our website, www.commitforum.com, as we update the schedule and session information. More information will be posted shortly.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Lifecycle Assessment Strategies at AIAG's CR Summit


Moving the needle from theory to practice was at the heart of AIAG’s 2016 Corporate Responsibility Summit, which took place April 27-28, 2016, at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Mich. Speakers addressed a variety of CR topics, providing the latest information to help participants build a business case for sustainability.

Here are some highlights from a presentation on lightweight constructions and tires.

Lightweight Constructions

iPoint Systems’ Andreas Schiffleitner and Pirelli Tire’s Maureen Kline talked to attendees in a breakout session about approaches to life-cycle assessment in the supply chain, focusing on lightweight constructions and tires.

Schiffleitner said that vehicle weight has increased with each generation as a result of addressing the need for greater quality, safety, and added features. This is what is propelling the trend to lightweight strategies, particularly in Europe where companies are looking for multi-material or hybrid designs. 

“The trend is all about assessing the environmental impact of a product and its sub-parts,” he said.

Of course, designing with an LCA approach is important, but ultimately, it depends on where the vehicle is at the end of its life. “That problem is being addressed through better recycling processes that are now coming to market,” Schiffleitner said. “That’s where we are headed now.”

Kline joked that while suppliers are focused on life-cycle assessment “because the OEMs want us to.” There is actually a long list of reasons to put your resources there, including cost reduction, product improvement, and even shipping decisions based on LCA. “Pirelli uses sustainability as a competitive advantage,” she said.

Pirelli considers the social impact of LCA, using tools internally to map all the way through the manufacturing stage to end of life," she explained. 

 “We’re trying to set some science-based goals. We now have a sustainability report integrated into our annual report. It’s important to investors.”

Kline said that even though very few tires are going to landfills now — because they are being used as fuel and in rubberized asphalt — Pirelli is looking to plants and synthetic alternatives to rubber. 

“Dealers say customers are starting to ask for more environmentally friendly tires,” she said. “Up until now, the perception has been that not many people care, so why bother? Now, Pirelli is measuring everything and going back to the supplier and saying, ‘Can you lower this level of x, y, or z?’”

Watch for more tips and strategies in AIAG's July newsletter. Members can access all the presentations from this year’s Corporate Responsibility Summit online at www.aiag.org.

-Carla Kalogeridis, AIAG enews editor

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Three Months to COMMIT!

Only three months to go until the COMMIT!Forum, and we at CR Magazine are getting excited.

There will be new discussions and panels on important CSR topics; plenary sessions dedicated to important issues; and the chance to network with many decision makers at top companies. The event will take place Oct. 18-19 at the Westin Times Square, New York City.

Each year, COMMIT!Forum attracts:
  • C-suite executives;
  • Leaders in communications;
  • CR and Sustainability professionals;
  • Foundation heads; and
  • Non-profit executives.
These professionals come together to discuss:
  • How to run business more responsibly;
  • How to prioritize;
  • How to simultaneously be more sustainable and profitable;
  • How to manage brand risk;
  • How to build a sustainable workforce; and
  • How to build a sustainable supply chain.
Visit www.commitforum.com for more information on this event.

Monday, June 27, 2016

A Question of Loyalty - How to Leverage Loyalty Programs to Supercharge Corporate Responsibility

Mark Caduc
David Clemmons

By Mark Caduc and David Clemmons

As corporate responsibility becomes more mature as a practice, and better integrated into the day to day business of most companies, the expectations of CR leaders for greater impact and accountability are rising. Initiatives like the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) are helping to standardize CR reporting, but a big question remains. Is better reporting enough?

Purpose-driven companies, particularly those with consumer-facing brands are missing a golden opportunity to increase both the visibility and the impact of their CR efforts, while changing the fundamental relationship with their best customers.

Enter the loyalty program

Loyalty programs are pervasive in today’s consumption-driven economy. Buy a dozen donuts, bagels or croissants and get the 13th free (except, perhaps, for some unwanted calories). Worry not though, your local gym has the answer to that – a free-month when you get a friend to sign up for a new membership.

Credit cards, airlines, hotels, travel websites – all let you earn points. The motivation to spend is linked to the benefits of spending (the rewards). And oh the things we’ll do for free stuff – discounts, cash back, trips, stays, coffee.

Are traditional loyalty programs outdated?

Two problems with loyalty programs are differentiation and value perception. According to a 2015 loyalty census by Colloquy, there are an average of 29 loyalty program memberships for every American household, but only 12 of those are active[1]. To make matters worse, about a third ($16 billion) of the $48 billion worth of loyalty points earned each year in the U.S. are never used.[2] There are now so many loyalty programs that it is hard for consumers to differentiate one from another and to see the value of those programs. Loyalty occurs not when points are earned, but when they are redeemed. It is only then that a company fulfills its promise to give back something of value to the customer in return for their repeat business. By this standard, many loyalty programs are failing to deliver on one of their primary purposes – to create loyal customers.  

What is the link to CR?

Imagine if those $16 billion per year in unused loyalty points could be used to fund CR projects instead. 

The Internet and social media have created a new, more demanding breed of consumer. The modern consumer actually has three very distinct personalities which at any time manifest themselves to a greater or lesser degree. We call these “Materialistic Me”, “Social Me” and “Altruistic Me”.

As each of us have become social media stars in our own version of the online fame game, loyalty programs that merely reward their customers with stuff for themselves “Materialistic Me” will not satisfy the desires of a generation born into a society where recognition is measured in terms of followers, friends, thumbs ups, likes, and re-tweets – the emerging “Social Me”.

Social Me is a global citizen, visible and accessible to all. It is the global personification of oneself online, which challenges traditional egocentric and ethnocentric models. It represents the emergence of a self that, at the very least, considers people other than oneself, immediate family, and close personal friends. Typical loyalty programs are only just beginning to tap into this world-centric self.

Working with their loyalty marketing departments, CR executives should consider devising projects that further their CR objectives, funded by loyalty points. Social media could be used to encourage collaboration and networking, while game elements (e.g., badges, levels, leaderboards) could provide recognition and status for “Social Me”.

Beyond Social Me (which still seeks personal rewards), there is a third me, the “Altruistic Me” who is more concerned with what can it do for others. Altruistic Me serves a higher purpose (giving back/paying it forward).

CR leaders should consider establishing clear measures for how the success of their customer-funded projects will be determined from the outset and include the development of the tools to measure them into the project if they do not already exist. The same social media that can facilitate collaboration with customers during the funding phase can also be used by companies to share the progress and outcome of loyalty-funded projects during the implementation and operational phases. For Altruistic Me, personal satisfaction is the biggest reward of all.

Bringing it home

Loyalty programs are the key for savvy CR leaders looking to supercharge their CR efforts. They can be used to engage the company’s best customers in CR initiatives, increasing visibility into the causes that matter most to them and the good work they are actually doing. From a loyalty perspective, diversifying loyalty programs makes sense also. By not only offering materialistic rewards but helping customers find the path to social recognition (social rewards) and personal enlightenment (altruistic rewards), companies can distinguish their programs from those of the competition, while satisfying the needs of a new generation of consumers who believe that the best way to do good for themselves is by doing good for others. They can create a truer kind of loyalty, one based on shared values and accomplishments rather than purely financial transactions.


Mark Caduc (mark@loyalme.org) is a successful intrapreneur turned entrepreneur, a technology and innovation leader with a passion for developing corporate strategy, building corporate innovation capabilities and delivering innovative business and technology solutions. He is currently working with purpose-driven companies to engage consumers in corporate initiatives for social and environmental good.

David Clemmons (david@loyalme.org) is the founder of the voluntourism movement, launching VolunTourism.org in 2003. Since then he has focused on delivering and sharing information and research with practitioners, students, academics, community representatives and travelers from across the globe on the integration of voluntary service with travel. His insights on voluntourism have been reproduced worldwide in multiple languages and have helped to shape policy, guide research, generate debate, and educate the media.

For more information on loyalty-funded corporate responsibility, visit www.loyalme.org.


[1] “The 2015 Colloquy Loyalty Census: Big Numbers, Big Hurdles”, Jeff Berry, February, 2015.


[2] “Billion Member March: The 2011 Colloquy Loyalty Census”, Colloquy.com, Hlavinka & Sullivan, Apr 2011.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Sessions on CSR: Sustainable Brands 2016 Conference Recap


CR Magazine attended Sustainable Brands 2016 conference in San Diego this week. The event is a gathering of global sustainability and brand professionals with a focus on understanding and leveraging the role of brands in shaping the future.


Some highlights of the event included special sessions on topics like Product-Level Supply Chain Metrics; Understanding Maturity Levels of a Sustainability Program; Purpose Driven Influence; Generation Startup Entrepreneurship; Data, Design and Process; The Power of a Transformative Sustainable Strategy; Aligning the UN Sustainable Development Goals with Brand Strategy; Transparency, Sustainability and Community Engagement; How Acquisitions can Change Internal Dynamics Around Sustainability; The Rise of Bio Materials and Bio Products; and more. 

CR Magazine met with a lot of important people and thought leaders in the industry, and learned about the efforts of many successful brands. Look for a full recap in the next issue of the magazine. 

One exciting item on display at the show was the Pure Power PW1000G engine with Pratt & Whitney's Geared Turbofan technology, which will make air travel cleaner, quieter and greener, the company says. According to United Technologies Corp., the engine offers a 75 percent reduction in noise, 50 percent reduction in regulated emissions and 16 percent reduction in fuel consumption. Both companies are excited for the revolutionary changes this engine will bring to the air travel industry.

In the Activation Hub, many companies hosted booths featuring their products and services. Target had a lounge area with the Made to Matter products. The company teamed up with 20 brands to create innovative products with a purpose.

At night, the fun and action continued, with a special performance by the band March Fourth at a beachside BBQ. Attendees danced, ate, and made s'mores by the firepits along the shore.

CR Magazine enjoyed the event, and was glad to connect with people in the CSR industry. We hope they will join us in October in New York City for our own event, the COMMIT!Forum.