This blog will cover some news items related to Sustainability: Corporate Social Responsibility, Stewardship, Environmental management, etc.


CSR newsclips for March 30, 2010: Is corporate responsiblity dead? ...or does it lead to better financial performance?

Corporate Social Responsibility Is Dead
March 12, 2010

Why business must be included in the global conversation about reducing our impact on the planet
GLOBE-Net (March 12, 2010) - That's the opinion of one of Britain's top advisors to corporations,  Tony Manwaring, chief executive officer of non-profit "think and do tank" Tomorrow's Company.
"There is still a strong case for business doing 'good works', but there are now far more fundamental reasons for understanding why business success goes hand in hand with social and environmental issues" says Manwaring.  "This is not the old CSR (corporate social responsibility) agenda," he says. "Our view is that the old CSR agenda is pretty much dead, especially for large global businesses."
Manwaring and Tomorrow's Company - which provides information and advice to many of the world's leading companies - believe that business can and must be a force for good.
"This is not about business doing good. This is not about business looking good. This is about business being successful."
Our view is that successful businesses will also be good as a result," he says. And businesses are starting to realize that. "I think that there are more bigger businesses that get it. They're still in a minority, but a growing minority."
Those global businesses with timelines in the decades, rather than years, have been the quickest to pick it up. Manwaring says that while money can still be made from short-term exploitation of the natural world and its resources, businesses that aim to make money over decades - rather than just a few years - down the road realize the importance of developing new technologies and products that will be able to thrive in a zero-carbon world: the key strategic challenge is when to 'jump the curve', from carbon to post-carbon based business models.
Businesses that want to do "good" need help - although, not necessarily financial assistance. "If you want to change big complex things, what you don't do is throw money at things," he says. "What you do, is win the battle of hearts and minds and create a new mindset."
Indeed, there are huge savings to be realized from driving down waste and reducing carbon and water impacts - this is the compelling case for new models of business success for businesses large and small.
Looking ahead, we then have to start to ask - and answer - a rare question. "What will the world look like in a post-carbon future? "  From which it follows: "What kind of world do we want to live in?  Which businesses will succeed and which will fall?  And what will be the new relationship between business, society and the environment which will result."
It's not how much carbon there is in the atmosphere. That's important, but that's not what drives business and it's not want motivates consumers.
It is, very simply, what does the world of tomorrow look like?  How are we going to work, and how are we going to live?" asks Manwaring. "The question is hardly being asked, but it should be - by leaders of business and society alike."
He stresses that business must be included in the global conversation about the environment and how to reduce our impact on the planet. Business, he says, has the greatest capacity to create a vision for a post-carbon world. But there is a huge disconnect between the business community and society reinforcing the vacuum in thinking about the future.
"You need a very different relationship between business, civil society and government. Many believe (incorrectly) that the business voice was very silent and muted in Copenhagen. I think that belief stems from a lack of recognition in the broader civil society about the role business can play on these broader global issues."
In fact, he notes, the business voice in Copenhagen was quite clear and quite direct. Leaders from major corporations spoke eloquently about the need for a strong and enforceable regime to manage the climate change agenda, to create the new level playing fields which would give the confidence needed for investing in new business models and innovation we need to bring rapidly to market.
Business leaders need certainty in order to make the major investment decisions that will be needed to deal effectively with climate change, he notes. "After all, most of the investment dollars needed to deal with the perils of global warming will come from the private sector," he says.
"Copenhagen was just a very small part of the solution; an important part of the solution, but you need a different governance and a different vision of the future and a different set of relationships between the key actors in our society and our world in order to have any real hope of addressing climate change."
Manwaring is a big supporter of events like the upcoming GLOBE conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, which brings business executives and government leaders together to try and answer exactly the questions that he says need to be answered. He will be bringing that message personally to Vancouver during the GLOBE Conference, taking place March 24-26, 2010.
"I think the opportunity to understand what is possible and what is happening at the new frontiers of business - to then put that in a different kind of mindset and think about your business and the opportunity of your business within that new set of possibilities is where GLOBE really stands out and is really important."

RESEARCH INSIGHT: Une promotion interne efficace de la responsabilité sociale des entreprises permet d'attirer et de conserver les meilleurs employés


Les entreprises doivent promouvoir leurs programmes de responsabilité sociale des entreprises (RSE) à l'interne afin d'attirer et de conserver les meilleurs employés. Selon cette étude, peu de entreprises comprennent comment tirer parti de la RSE pour renforcer l'engagement des employés. Pour assurer leur succès, les entreprises devraient créer des stratégies de responsabilité sociale en collaboration avec les employés, informer ces derniers de leurs initiatives de RSE, répondre à leurs besoins et encourager leur identification à l'entreprise. 


• Les initiatives de RSE humanise les entreprises, révèle leurs « bonnes valeurs » et illustre leur contribution à la société 
• De nombreuses entreprises, dont Cisco Systems, GE et IBM, considèrent que l'engagement des employés à l'égard de la RSE constitue une stratégie cruciale pour attirer et conserver des employés talentueux.

Faits Saillants et Conclusions

• Les entreprises ne communiquent pas de façon claire et systématique les détails et l'étendue de leurs initiatives de RSE ; seuls 37 % des employés interrogés avaient connaissance des programmes de RSE de leur entreprise.
• Le succès de la promotion de la RSE repose sur la satisfaction des besoins des employés, tels que : concilier la vie professionnelle et personnelle à l'aide de la RSE, ressentir un lien avec son entreprise et saisir les occasions de se dépasser. 
• Le fait de répondre aux besoins de ses employés bénéficie à l'entreprise puisqu'elle augmente ainsi leur loyauté, leur productivité et leur engagement.
• 71 % des entreprises interrogées ont répondu que les pratiques de RSE étaient élaborées et gérées au niveau du président et chef de la direction, cependant les employés souhaitent jouer un plus grand rôle pour contribuer à la valeur créée par la RSE.

Implications pour les Gestionnaires 

1) Rapprocher les employés des initiatives de RSE. Informer les employés de façon constante, concrète et cohérente sur les initiatives de RSE, y compris sur les particularités, les motivations et les succès des programmes.
2) Illustrer comment la RSE peut bénéficier aux entreprises en s'adressant aux employés. Examiner les activités de RSE afin de voir de quelle manière elles s'inscrivent au sein de l'entreprise et de quelle façon elles peuvent répondre aux besoins des employés. L'influence des activités de RSE sur l'absentéisme, la productivité ainsi que l'engagement et le sentiment d'appartenance des employés à l'égard de l'entreprise devrait être déterminée à l'aide d'indicateurs. 
3) Comprendre les besoins des employés et y répondre. Cibler des programmes de RSE spécifiquement pour répondre aux besoins des segments d'employés ayant la plus grande valeur.
4) Renforcer le sentiment d'appartenance des employés. Surveiller de façon info
rmelle à quelle fréquence les employés utilisent le terme « nous » pour décrire l'entreprise afin de mesurer leur degré d'identification envers l'entreprise. 
5) Faire collaborer les employés à la création de valeur au titre de la RSE. Faire participer les employés à la planification, à la conception et à la mise en ouvre des initiatives de RSE.

Implications pour les Chercheurs 

Les recherches futures pourront étudier les meilleures façons de cerner les différents besoins de divers segments d'employés.


Une étude en deux parties a évalué quand, comment et pourquoi les employés réagissent aux programmes de RSE. La première phase comportait des entrevues approfondies et des groupes de discussion qui regroupaient des employés de grandes entreprises de biens de consommation. Cette phase a été suivie par un sondage général auprès des employés ayant obtenu plus de 10 000 répondants. La deuxième phase comportait des entrevues suivies de deux sondages en ligne effectués auprès de 481 répondants travaillant au sein d'entreprises des secteurs de la fabrication, du commerce de détail et des services.

Bhattacharya, C.B., Sen, S. et Korschun D. 2008. Using Corporate Social Responsibility to Win the War for Talent. MIT Sloan Management Review, 49(2): 37-44.

Sommaire par

Lauren Rakowski & The Network Team

CSR in innovative companies improves customer satisfaction, which leads to better financial performance
Executive Summary
This study investigates whether CSR improves long-term financial performance by satisfying customers. It finds returns on CSR can be positive or negative depending on a firm's innovation and product quality. Firms with CSR initiatives have higher financial returns when they produce high quality and innovative products. Yet, in firms that are not innovative, CSR initiatives may actually lower market value. Managers can leverage CSR for higher market returns by aligning strategy with CSR initiatives and maintaining product quality and innovation.
CSR has been shown to benefit firms by increasing customer goodwill and employee commitment. Up to 90% of Fortune 500companies engage in CSR, but the connection between CSR and market value is not well defined. This study looks at how customer satisfaction provides the link between CSR and market value. It also analyzes how innovation and product quality influence this relationship.
When firms are innovative and have good product quality, CSR improves customer satisfaction, increasing financial returns. A firm's CSR, coupled with innovation and quality, make customers feel connected to it, which leads to customer loyalty. For a company with a market value of roughly $48 billion, a modest increase in CSR ratings resulted in about $17 million more average profits in subsequent years.
When firms are not innovative, CSR decreases customer satisfaction, hurting financial returns. Market value may fall because customers won't buy products that cannot keep up with their needs. When firms that are not innovative use resources to engage in CSR (rather than product improvement) customers see these firms as manipulative. Lack of innovation also signals that firms are not competitive, outweighing positive benefits of CSR and leading investors to doubt the firm's future performance.
Implications for Managers
·   Generate high quality and innovative technologies, products and services. Doing so will meet changing customer needs and help customers feel connected to your company, leading CSR to improve financial performance. For example, Starbucks' superior brand equity and its successful CSR initiatives with the charity CARE are in part due to its superior product quality, innovative skills and ability to sustain customer satisfaction. 
·   Integrate CSR with your business strategy beyond corporate philanthropy. Top firms such as United Parcel Service, Alcoa and Verizon Communications invest in a host of employee related initiatives such as education and safety. These firms have employee volunteer programs that are visible to local communities, which capture favourable attention from customers.  These initiatives help employees feel pride in the firm which improves customer satisfaction and market value.
Implications for Researchers
This study extends previous research by uncovering that customer satisfaction partially mediates the relationship between CSR and improved financial performance. Future can explain why firms with CSR but low innovation have decreased market value. For example, do firms with low corporate abilities invest in less influential CSR initiatives, like cash donations, which reduce customer satisfaction and returns?
This study used longitudinal data to find the link between CSR and firm market value. Data were taken on Fortune 500 companies from 2001-2004 using COMPUSTAT, FAMA, ACSI, CMR and CRSP. Market value was measured with Tobin's q and stock returns.
Luo, Xueming, & Bhattacharya, C.B. (2006). Corporate Social Responsibility, Customer Satisfaction, and Market Value. Journal of Marketing, 70(4): 1-18.
Summarized by
Lauren Rakowski & The Network Team
 Business sustainability is often defined as managing the triple bottom line – a process by which firms manage their financial, social, and environmental risks, obligations and opportunities. These three impacts are sometimes referred to as profits, people, and planet