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Archive for the ‘Ethics’ Category

Watch This Video And Don’t Worry About Climate Change

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My briefest post ever.

Watch this video and don’t think about climate change this week:




Still think it’s all unrelated?

Words feel irrelevant.

What will our climate gift us next year?






Written by davidcoethica

June 13, 2011 at 1:15 pm

‘CSR – Size Is Important’ says UN Global Compact

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Today saw the release of the 2010 UN Global Compact Annual Review and Implementation Survey.

“While the sustainability movement has taken great strides in recent years, significant challenges remain,” said Georg Kell, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact.

“Helping smaller companies close performance gaps, stimulating collective action on all fronts and making a stronger case for human rights and anti-corruption engagement will be critical if we are to bring corporate responsibility to scale.”


Compared to around 99% of business being small or medium enterprises ( SMEs) in many developed countries, only 54% make up the participant base of the Compact, and even less, 38% responded to the 2010 survey.

Even though the Global Compact is often about as far away as possible from the innovative and entrepreneurial flavour of Corporate Responsibility / Corporate Sustainability (terms used interchangeably by UNGC) I gravitate towards, I always feel a reassurance from UNGC’s role and Georg Kell’s stewardship at the top of CSR pyramid steering through the treacle-like waters of politics and international bureaucracy.

We all know that smaller businesses aren’t engaging and resources are an issue, don’t we? I personally think that a lack of resources is an stock cop out by too many SMEs. Thought, behaviour change and innovation can be inexpensive and often free.

I have to mention a feeling of unease I felt right at the end of the 12 minute webcast (click on image below) today as Georg Kell asked for questions to be met only with an eerie silence. Was this a demonstration of the lack of support / enthusiasm for UNGC,  as the camera panned to show a mere scattering of bashful audience members? It may have been more of an organisational faux pas than my cynical mind created but these are global issues being presented, surely appropriate representation from public and private sectors was the order of the day? Did FIFA organise the tickets?


Here are some of the Survey’s key findings: Read the rest of this entry »

FIFA To Kiss And Make Up

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Apparently Henry Kissinger has been asked by the unchallenged and re-elected President, Sepp Blatter (@SeppBlatter), to clean up FIFA in the wake of the recent allegations of corruption.

In my humble opinion there are more than a couple of similarities between FIFA’s shenanigans and many of the financial institutions exposed by the economic troubles of recent years. Hubris definitely, and both supported because the powers-that-be believing they are needed for a common good. Some banks should have been allowed to fail by governments and those who voted for Mr Blatter have fallen into the same trap. Football fans deserve better.

The Guardian’s Simon Jenkins penned a prickly but accurate article on Tuesday that pretty much outlines the reality of the political context of unfortunately too many sporting organisations.

If FIFA was a horse it would probably be shot. Like many other sporting organisations it survives not because of great management but the passion of millions of supporters around the world parting with hard-earned cash to enjoy the entertainment, and that is all it is; entertainment. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by davidcoethica

June 3, 2011 at 2:38 am

Small Business Voices: Is Fairness CSR?

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This is the second in a series of posts about the great characters, interesting stories, inspiration and questions I’ve met over the years across the smaller business world.

Most small business owners are social entrepreneurs whether know it or like it. I’ve not found many business that don’t want to do more good, they (wrongly) just don’t think they can.

Some these posts are about true social entrepreneurs, some have an intriguing story to tell, some are very much profit focused business people wanting to do good either when then they’ve made the fortune or whilst on their way. All of them, for me, fall into a ‘better way to do business’ category, descriptions aren’t important, it’s the impact, the story or even the motivation that counts.The first few posts in this series are local to me, based in the North West of England but I’m sure we’ll begin to push further afield as we proceed – all suggestions warmly received. Besides, I like meeting real people and can offer my thoughts based on facts and the intuition you only get from physically meeting people over a period of time. For full disclosure DoshShop.com is a Coethica client (a non-client up next).

Following on from the first story of Peter King at Ethecol, today highlights Mark Rea of DoshShop.com and GreenRockGroup. Mark is maybe not an obvious candidate for inclusion in this series and looking at the DoshShop.com website, it isn’t an in your face CSR story, but it is 100% at the core of the way he and his family does business.

This story touches on the family business version of CSR / social enterprise, often overlooked in the virtuous business model discussion. The Green’s family commercial ambitions are bold yet eminently achievable without too much risk. Their values are those of a neighbourly commitment to plug social gaps where they can and provide best practice from a fairness perspective, in a non-too-best-practice market sector.

I’ll let Mark take over from here with his story… Read the rest of this entry »

World Changing Social Entrepreneurs

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The Skoll World Forum describes itself as:

the premier, international platform for accelerating entrepreneurial approaches and innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing social issues.”

In reality it was far more surreal than that and not just another do-gooder conference.

How else could you define a gathering of Hollywood stars*, An  Archbishop, A legendary singer singer-songwriter, A Queen, thought leaders from across the social and environmental spectrum and countless unsung international heroes delivering grassroots change for good? Aside from the recognisable names it was an education in its own right to meet a myriad of  social entrepreneurs to learn directly from their individual successes, failures and share knowledge.

From the beginning it was a bewildering array of workshops with any one of the six or so at a time tantalisingly offering insight into world-changing best practice. Not a place for those who struggle to make decisions, never mind including any consideration of the Oxford Jam fringe events on top.

I never find it easy to report back from such events beyond a couple of minutes of initial ferocious note taking before falling deeply into the intellectual debate. The key themes that emerged to me were those of solidarity, simplicity, scale and passion. I know I’ve developed a penchant for over-simplification of late, quite possibly workload related, but the 3 days in Oxford reminded me of how simple the world really is. We make it complicated usually to justify our own fiefdoms for numerous reasons. Firstly it’s about our planet, then every single person on it. See? Simple. Read the rest of this entry »

Skoll World Forum 2011 Opens For Business

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It’s my first time at the Skoll World Forum and the previous couple of week’s worth of business trips had conspired to smother any expectations I may have had since receiving the invite.

Without any thought of detailed expectations apart from a stellar line up and an educational trip to Oxford, it was always going to be a refreshing journey into the latest global state of play of  social entrepreneurship.

The event begins in earnest tomorrow with today providing mostly introductions, networking and a couple of fringe events but the opening plenary really got things moving.

Haunting yet stirring music from Senegalese singer and guitarist Baaba Mal instantly roused the audience to set the stage, literally, for Jeff Skoll himself, the ex-eBay President and now Founder and Chairman of the Skoll Foundation to open the event’s theme of  “Large Scale Change – ecosystems, networks and collaborative action“.

One of Jeff’s favourite Oxford philosophers, Theodor Guisel, or Dr Suess as he’s better known, was offered up as an analogy for the world of social entrepreneurs. The 1920’s Oxford student’s decision to not only bend but break the rules of writing stories, according to Jeff, was “a great emblem for those wanting to make a better world.” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by davidcoethica

March 31, 2011 at 4:00 am

Ethecol: CSR Or A Social Enterprise?

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I meet some amazing people on my travels through CSR (and all flavours of better business), especially those at the smaller end of the business market.

As the lifeblood of every economy small businesses are at times a fairground of ride of passion, creativity, risk taking, commitment and increasingly values driven considerations. Rather than me attempting to bravely interpret their stories I thought I’d let them tell you themselves.  Some are very new businesses, some are well established. Some are officially social enterprises, some are private limited companies. To me it doesn’t matter.

This is the first in a series about real people with wonderful ideas and lessons to be shared. If you know about an entrepreneur with an unsung story of innovation, success or lessons to be shared let me know and let’s spread the word.

First up is Peter King, Founder of Ethecol. Ethecol is a social enterprise, as a registered Community Interest Company (CIC), that aims to challenge the stale financial services industry. By providing merchant services (Chip & Pin card payment terminals & tariffs) and donating all of the profit from every card transaction to good causes, Ethecol is a beacon of virtue in a stagnant crowd of profit blinkered banks.

Read the rest of this entry »

That Man and That Quote Again

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It’s 1.34am and I’m lying awake in a hotel room in London after 20 hours of travelling, meetings and an enjoyable, if whirlwind, debate entitled ‘CSR: Myth or Reality‘. I was invited to sit on the panel with Tony Needham, Head of Finance and Business from the New Economics Foundation and Clare  Woodcraft, Deputy Director of the Shell Foundation, and offer an opinion on the event title, which provided an educational, occasionally provocative (as oil companies, even their charitable arm,  tend to be) and insightful discussion as we rapidly skirted across numerous major CSR topics in what felt like race at times.

My head still spinning from a long day and far too many cans of debating worms, my mistake lay in attempting to clear emails preparing for a second day crammed full of meetings introducing the wares of 3BL Media.

I should have known better than to read it. I knew it would wind me up. HE always does, or rather that infamous quote does. Any ideas who the man in the picture is or why he is keeping me awake?… Read the rest of this entry »

Are Consumers Really Buying More Ethical Products?

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It’s easy for a CSR professional and full-time ethical consumer (isn’t that an oxymoron?)  to get excited when a another credible study unleashes tantalising phrases including:

Purpose is the 5th ‘P’ of marketing‘ and

86% of global consumers believes that business needs to place at least equal weight on society’s interests as on business interests‘.

I want more than anything for Edelman’s 2010 Good Purpose Study to be genuinely representative of mainstream consumers but my gut feeling is that it probably falls on the optimistic side of the fence.

Ok, over 7000 consumers in 13 countries is a decent sample size, better than those of the 100 or so sized sample groups accompanying UK cosmetics TV commercial claims anyway, but I’d love to know more about the methodology before getting carried away quite yet. There has been a steady stream of similar information on consumer expectation and spending behaviour including this interesting recent report from Co-operative Financial Services and in other similarly themed reports, all despite the economic crisis harbingers of ethical doom. Read the rest of this entry »

Coethica’s new CSR training, mentoring and SME Academy

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Apologies for the infrequent posting but the epic scale plate-spinning behind the scenes is beginning to bear fruit!

Globe and book pictureAnd here’s a taster of things to come…

…Warning! – This is an unashamed but humble request for critical feedback.

Back at the day job at Coethica were close to formally launching Coethica Training,  a new suite of Corporate Social Responsibility training and mentoring services and me being the perfectionist that I am, I’d appreciate any brutally honest opinion by those inclined to comment. Read the rest of this entry »


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