Archive for the ‘Smaller Business (SME)’ Category
If you haven’t seen it yet, check out Vodafone’s ‘Your Better Business’ website, which describes itself as
“an open exchange of ideas and opinions that can help shape the future of business. It’s also a platform where the brightest business brains will contribute and share information on the latest best practice models, give expert business advice and talk about the role technology is playing. ”
Here’s a short extract and a link (below text or image top right) to an article I wrote on real world CSR for small business…
“In an increasingly connected world, where political upheaval and environmental challenges are gathering pace, there’s pressure on business to adapt.
As a result, the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is becoming more and more relevant – even critical – to the success of businesses of all sizes. The problem is, it’s commonly misunderstood, and its power underestimated. So dismiss it at your peril.
Written by davidcoethica
April 15, 2013 at 10:59 am
It may have taken a while but VfL Wolfsburg are the winners!
Back in October 2010 I wrote a post called Not a Premier League CSR Report about the state of non-financial reporting in football, especially in the UK. At the end of the post I urged / hoped / challenged / pleaded with the industry to step up to the penalty spot by producing a credible report. VfL Wolfsburg have scored first.
The post was spurred at the time by a couple of so-called CSR reports by Manchester City and Aston Villa (and an earlier attempt by Chelsea). Manchester City’s in particular was much more of an interactive animation experiment by a communications team than a genuine report with little credible detail.
The German based team playing in the Bundesliga recently kicked out their ‘Moving Together’ sustainability report, and it was GRI certified (Level B)! I should also point out that a couple of other teams (SC Corinthians Paulista and Djurgarden Fotboll) have also produced GRI based reports, but neither of these was certified externally.
I applaud all three teams for taking what was a bold step, and especially Wolfsburg for going into extra time and opting for external verification. In an industry dominated by a culture of defensiveness (no pun intended this time) it was a brave decision to be a pioneer for openness. I wonder if Wolfsburg’s approach is linked to their parent organisation Volkswagen?
Congratulations to all involved at Wolfsburg, and very worthy recommendations to SC Corinthians Paulista and Djurgarden Fotboll.
Now, who will be the first to score an ‘A’ rating from GRI?
Written by davidcoethica
March 12, 2013 at 5:19 pm
Do you have experience in CSR, social enterprise, business advice, marketing, PR, human resources – or just about any other aspect of business operation?
I’m off to Berlin next week to co-host a workshop on CSR communications at an invite only conference not-so-snappily called ‘Better CSR Advice for SMEs‘. 100 small business advisers from across the EU (only 3 from the whole UK was a surprise but I’m glad to have got one of Brussels funded Willy Wonka tickets) are preparing to gather to network, share and take away the latest practice back to their home towns.
We only have a hopeful a mere 45 minutes throughout a 24 hour event to explore what I consider to be the most important topic in the small business / CSR debate, and I’m hoping to take as much ammunition in with me as possible.
What are the key questions? What are the key answers?
- How do we educate small businesses about the benefits of CSR?
- Who should do it?
- What are the best ways for SMEs to communicate to their boards, employees, suppliers, customers and local media?
- What resources are available to help SMEs get their messages out?
- What are the current communication trends to be exploited?
- Which SMEs are already good a communicating?
Please head over to the blog post on the Coethica website to get the full story & submit your feedback and share this link with your networks.
I’ll report back after the event to share the workshop discussions.
Written by davidcoethica
June 6, 2012 at 3:59 am
A new dawn approaches.
It is six and a half years since an idea became a company and Coethica entered the world. The early road was shrouded in mist with never-ending alternate junctions and diversions. Coethica was a response to Corporate Social Responsibility being, well, very corporate. Too corporate and not enough entrepreneurial. With a useful address book, a few awards, a stubbornness and a ‘plan’, we were setting off to make work a better place to live.
Like any entrepreneur will tell you each day is a test of priorities and Olympic plate-spinning challenges. In many cases days are filled with fire fighting the almost pitiful burden of red-tape and planning is a very reactive pastime. My particular journey had a bewildering array of none business related potholes for the first leg of the travels that kept the project in first gear. The second leg was dominated by our experiment with social media, which is pretty much public record, all great fun, full of reward and learning.
The third leg began only recently as the potholes and distractions cleared, and for a while and an absent friend called space was an initially unrecognised surprise visitor. Wow – years had passed, including my son’s whole lifetime, and Coethica had grown like awakening from a dream with no time having ever passed. The ability to think creatively without a list of attention stealing demands soon became tolerable.
To be specific, and to garner your support, here is the current position…
Read the rest of this entry »
It’s taken a while to get here but the world has finally been introduced to the new Coethica website. We had a handful of technical problems and distractions that saw the previous site slimmed down to 2 ancient pages for far too long.
We took the decision to go live relatively early and encourage the strongest possible dialogue with all the audiences we’re aiming to engage with to constantly improve the site over the next 12 months. There are also some other improvements / pages / whole new sections / concepts to be added to the site to take it where we think it should be but allowing ourselves good time to evolve both our social media estate and our business model simultaneously.
This also means very soon I get to begin to revamp of this space, my very own wonderful blog, which at times had become a surrogate home for Coethica during the extended periods of technical disillusionment.
All suggestions for ‘myblog2.0′ welcome!
Please take a couple of minutes to test drive www.coethica.com, have a good look around, share the link, and send as much feedback as you can, either as a comment on here or via the contact page on the new site.
What could Coethica have done better?
Coethica has also added two new channels over at Google+ and Twitter. I think Google+ is going to be fun; it still needs work but I’ve seen it gain momentum from day one and it feels like it’s accelerating. G+ is a great channel, almost like an extended Twitter but better looking and with more functionality. I can see G+ quickly catching Twitter as the centre of the sustainability/CSR communication online universe – according to @FabianPattberg’s recent poll anyway.
The new Twitter account allows me, for my own sanity, to differentiate between me and the business, for Coethica to sell more, and to explore my tweet landscape a little, playing more in areas such as social innovation, technology and sport.
Click on the icons below to find the new profiles.
The things I love most about doing what I do are the amazing people I get to meet, no two days are even close to being similar and the exposure to a countless stream of world changing ideas.
I’ve always been a natural connector and constantly looking to learn from new and strange sources. The Coethica social media rollercoaster of the last few years took me from a pretty isolated laptop to a whole new global community of friends, colleagues and connections – all with that similar values set that I’d craved for so long. It’s only now comfortably coming to terms with how to have a productive relationship with so many people!
Occasionally though, it takes a perspective on the entire planet to stumble across fantastic people and concepts much closer to home.
The European Union publishes 2011 – 2014 strategy on CSR
The new definition of CSR in the eyes of the European Union is
The responsibility of enterprises for their impacts on society.
It’s only a fifteen page document and well worth a read as another stake in the ground for the accelerating development of CSR as a core business consideration. It never goes as far as many stakeholders would have liked it to, but then again it never was. For me it’s a pretty well balanced carrot and stick approach that owes much to work already done for ISO 26000.
There is one particular paragraph that sums up the ethos of CSR beyond the above definition:
To maximise the creation of shared value, enterprises are encouraged to adopt a long term, strategic approach to CSR, and to explore the opportunities for developing innovative products, services and business models that contribute to societal wellbeing and lead to higher quality and more productive jobs.
…which sounds scarily like my usual description when defending CSR.
The rest of the document outlines the alignment with Read the rest of this entry »
Written by davidcoethica
October 25, 2011 at 6:59 pm
If beauty is merely in the eye of the beholder, nobody has told L’Oreal.
They have 66,000 employees, sell 161 products every second in 130 countries and produce 5.4 billion products every year.
Yesterday saw L’Oreal step up its sustainability engagement with the first of four planned global stakeholder engagement forum events, with the first held in London.
My expectations were similar to those before the Microsoft Accelerator Summit I was invited to last year, i.e. not huge due to minimal information sent beforehand, me being a busy 3BL Media bee and L’Oreal never over energetically communicating their activity, all against a backdrop of a couple of slippery issues including animal testing and the acquisition of Body Shop part of their history.
Much more information on their sustainable development approach is available online here, but I’ll give you a brief perspective on the event and some of the key issues below.
The headlines include the company looking to double their business by 2015 whilst reducing CO2 by 50%, waste by 50% and water use by 50% (across the period 2005 – 2015). Read the rest of this entry »
Written by davidcoethica
June 23, 2011 at 3:06 am
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 »
Written by davidcoethica
June 8, 2011 at 12:55 am