From the Editor

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The latest data on spending on CSR by companies in India show a substantial increase, according to the “India CSR Outlook Report.” Figures for 2015-16 total 92 percent of actual CSR spend to the prescribed CSR, compared to 79 percent in 2014-15. The report, an analysis of 250 companies listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange, shows that most of the funding was directed to education, health-care, skill development and sanitation.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Palm oil is a very versatile material. In just a few years, it has become a key ingredient in many foods, cosmetics, soaps, and detergents, and is also developing into a stock for biofuel, reports Blue & Green Tomorrow. The stuff is so in demand that its production has, unfortunately, resulted in widespread deforestation and destruction of species habitat, especially in Southeast Asia where many palm plantations are located.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Do the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals and its 169 targets seem vital to life in the future? Does the list of ideas and proposed actions also seem overwhelming? The answers are yes and yes. DNV GL, an international certification body and classification society, has assembled a detailed forecast that breaks down the SDG Big Picture into manageable pieces. Its key finding: good progress will be made in some (but not all) world regions, and progress will not be fast enough and will face unacceptable environmental costs.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

What’s the deal with the US economy? Factually speaking, slow growth seems to be the new normal.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

As more and more of the world’s population moves into urban areas, the sustainability of such rapidly growing human environments is becoming an increasingly significant issue. Arcadis, a global design and consultancy firm for natural and built assets, has published a Sustainable Cities Index that ranks the performance of cities around the world. It explores three pillars of sustainability – social (people), environmental (planet) and economic (profit), using 32 indicators to arrive at a ranking for 100 of the world’s leading cities.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

A new study shows that women workers ask for raises just as often as men, but that men were more likely to get a pay boost. Research found that men got a raise 20 percent of the time, compared with 16 percent for women. Can anyone spell “discrimination?" The study looked at 4,600 employees at 840 workplaces in Australia, so while extrapolated comparisons with US and UK practices aren’t exact, they’re close, reports the NY Times.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Unilever has launched an ad campaign to showcase the purpose behind its brands, reports Forbes. Its ‘So Long Old World’ video shows people who have benefited from the company's many initiatives. Commenting on Unilever's effort, Forbes notes: “CSR is no longer a part of what brands represent, but often the core of it . . . . These brands . . .

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Some days, it seems that the mainstream business media headlines are all about scandals, fraud, hoaxes, and just plain bad corporate behavior. Much less often, there are stories about what companies do to recover from the financial, operational, and reputational damage caused by poor CR practices.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Scotland has been in the news for the past couple of years for one main topic: the question of independence from the UK. Almost lost in the hubbub have been the country’s pioneering efforts to harness its tides, some of the most powerful in Europe, to produce electricity from wave action.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

As companies continue to advance their sustainability strategies and practices, the question of “to what standard” is becoming more urgent. The International Organization for Standardization is close to an answer. A new standard, ISO 20400, Sustainable Procurement - Guidance, provides a  framework for organizations that integrate sustainability into their procurement process.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Starting up a new business is a daunting task, one that requires a big investment of resources, both financial and human, to pull off successfully. Mission-driven startups often assume that their core message “covers” the CSR component of a new business, and that the work staff can then focus on the basic nuts and bolts of organizing a new company. Not so, says Tiffany Apczynski, VP of Public Policy and Social Impact at Zendesk, in a blog on StartupSmart.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

“More and more corporate leaders are . . . integrating societal needs into their corporate strategy, aligning their companies’ business missions with their impact on their communities and the environment.” That’s the thesis of Mark Kramer and Michael Porter, co-authors of an essay that describes Fortune’s just-published “Change the World” list.

Monday, August 15, 2016

It’s conventional wisdom that today’s employees favor working for companies that include CSR and philanthropy in their practices and strategies. This preference for a workplace that includes a triple bottom line focus of people, planet, and profit in its mission has been reported in many surveys. The latest evidence comes from Regus, a flexible workspace provider.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Economists, behavioral psychologists, change-makers—all have been fixated by the knotty question of how to change ordinary behavior by average people in daily life to make more progress on sustainability. While research shows that a majority of consumers in surveys choose the “right thing,” there’s a yawning gap between their conceptual choices and reported actual behavior. A blog by Dr.

Monday, August 8, 2016

The evolution of CSR in developed economies from philanthropic grants to programs more integrally tied to core strategies is impacting business in emerging economies. From cost cutting to reputation building, companies in developing markets are aligning sustainability activities with their missions and values. And they are doing so in distinctive ways.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

There’s a new term for one of the most studied segments of US consumers: the “longevity market” describes the 75 million, over-50 baby boomers. Even bigger than the population size is the demographic’s annual spending: $7.6 trillion. These huge numbers, combined with the boomers’ changes in attitudes and lifestyles toward aging, are proving to be a magnet for entrepreneurs, VCs, and investors.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Food manufacturers and retailers are changing formulas and recipes in response to increasing consumer demand for healthier, more natural ingredients. From General Mills to Taco Bell, food makers are removing ingredients linked to obesity and diabetes, reports the Wall Street Journal. The latest player in the “clean label” movement is McDonald’s, which has announced the replacement of high fructose corn syrup with sugar in its sandwich buns.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

There’s new evidence that interest in environmental, social, governance/socially responsible investing strategies continues to grow. “The {ESG/SRI] industry began to see more mainstream acceptance,” according to Benefits Pro, evaluating a report by research firm Cerulli Associates, “U.S.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Despite some spectacular bankruptcies, startup-challenged technologies, opposition by traditional utilities, and uncertain governmental policies, renewable energy continues on its upward trend. Consider these facts, reports Bloomberg Businessweek. Global investment in renewables now beats that in fossil fuels two to one. Batteries to store power sourced from renewables are becoming cheaper, bigger in capacity, and more reliable. More EV models are being introduced by more automakers.

Friday, July 22, 2016

It looks to be a record year for green bonds. From January 1 through July of this year, issuance of the purpose-driven financial products totaled $44.2 billion, according to the Climate Bonds Initiative. The total for all of 2015 was $41.8 billion, Green bonds target qualified green building and sustainable design projects, and —here’s the bottom line attraction—are tax exempt.