What Happens When Big Business Media Reports on CSR

The WSJ has published a downbeat assessment of CSR. The article cited a study showing that CEOs exiting Fortune 500 companies were 84% more likely to be fired if they invested strongly in good corporate citizenry yet recorded below par financial results than CEOs at poor performing companies that spent less on “do-good” initiatives. This decidedly defensive claim was offset by an upbeat article in the Financial Times. It notes that a survey of 500 pension funds, foundations, endowments, and sovereign wealth funds found that two-thirds of big investors believe sustainable investing will grow in significance by 2022. Further, studies show a “remarkable correlation” between responsible investing and outperforming results. Who to believe? The wise CSR/sustainability professional will collate carefully from such “mainstream” sources to ensure an accurate reading of the pluses and minuses of CSR—and stay tuned to this space, which curates the CSR news.

John Howell, Editorial Director

ReportAlert: Marine Stewardship Council releases 20th Annual Report.

News & Blogs

Talk about the Smart Grid has been in the news a lot lately and $11 billion have been dog-eared  for Smart Grid infrastructure in the House version of the US stimulus package. While we often hear that it is ‘necessary’ or ‘revolutionary’ most people, like me, have no idea why or if it is either. I did some research and here is what I found:

At the gates of the Amazon in Northern Brazil, the World Social Forum (WSF) celebrates its last day today, the 'Day of Alliances'. Inspired by the opportunity to make a difference and believing (or wanting to believe) that) 'Another World Is Possible', tens of thousands of people from around the world have converged to discuss what they want to see happen in the future.

The other day Jamie at Green Resolutions asked me how I had come across Malagasy chocolate, and expressed her frustration that sometimes it's hard to wade through all the products in the market and find the right products, and make the right choices.

I can well empathize.

Deb recently put up a great post about networking to your next great job; as a MA student looking at a troubling economic environment when I graduate, I appreciated her great suggestions. I'm going to add a few of my own suggestions that people in one of the most competitive fields around have been telling me.

1. Attitude is Everything

At the year-end prospects for renewable energy looked very, very bleak. Article headlines read "Green Bubble Goes 'Pop"" (WSJ), "Gathering Clouds" (The Economist), and "Financial Crisis; The End of Green?" (RES). A reading of the Wilderhill New Energy Global Innovation Index that tracks the performance of large energy stocks worldwide shows almost a 70 per cent drop between the start of 2008 and November. Below you can see for yourself the dismal daily PBW and cash flow trends in the last few months.

Three recent Royal College of Art students have brought to market an extraordinarily fun and fashionable product called Watson. Watson, seen below, monitors your household energy usage in real time and reminds you how you're doing with a real cost figure, and more subtle shades of green red and blue light.


As a professor of social entrepreneurship, I've long been on the lookout for books that could provide students with a concise but substantive introduction to the subject. Unfortunately, too much of what is available has a bit more cheerleading than is appropriate for an academic course--while helping social entrepreneurs feel good about themselves can be a valid goal, it's of limited utility to students who are looking for reliable guidance.