David Coethica's Blog

CSR – Why and what's in it for me?

Archive for the ‘Sustainability’ Category

How To Create A Sustainable Brand In 90 Minutes

leave a comment »

Campher_LR

 

Book Review: Latest in the DoShorts series -

‘Creating a Sustainable Brand’ by Henk Campher

 

Simplicity is beautiful. In a world saturated by gurus (I even shivered typing that word) and wanna-be experts lining up with their jargon bazookas in strained attempts to prove Einstein’s alleged quote wrong…

If you can’t explain it simply you don’t know it well enough.

..well they do have to justify fees, real wisdom is usually drowned out in the melee.

 

One such source of accessible knowledge is the DoShorts range of books. In particular, keep your eyes open for the latest guide on the block, ‘Creating a Sustainable Brand’ by Henk Campher. Henk has one of my favourite, if a tad long, corporate titles as Edelman’s Senior Vice President, Business + Social Purpose & Managing Director, Sustainability – and breathe. Trust me, this guy knows his sustainable branding eggs.

 

The book’s subtitle is ‘A guide to growing the sustainability topline’ and pretty much nails what you will get from your 90 minute injection of practical expertise. The three core branding based themes cover all you really need to know about managing ‘the fusion of branding and product’ to improve profit in a world of accelerating sustainability change. In a confusing space of greenwash, good product / bad company, bad company / good product, ethical labels, evolving legal structures and corporate rankings make it impossible to directly compare two organisations.

 

This guide provides a strong, concise and robustly educational foundation for anybody new to sustainability, and also as a timely reminder and ammunition for those professionals at the day-to-day coal face. For example, Part 3 of the guide explores ‘The Anatomy of Sustainable Brand’ and offers the following summary

A sustainable brand cannot exist if the product itself does not have any sustainability characteristics. Similarly, a sustainable product needs to differentiate in the marketplace through branding that resonates with the consumer. This is at the heart of a sustainable brand – combining the sustainability of the product and the brand to create a unique sustainable brand value proposition and identity.

 

The guide doesn’t hide away from calling out the obvious elephants in the sustainability room, and Henk’s opinion and expertise is bold and incisive, whilst being fair. How can BP be greener than Greenpeace? Really? In what intelligent and authentically transparent world does that make any sort of sense? If I were to have one criticism it would centre around the guide’s segregation of brand and product that feels at times that it hopefully assumes operational processes into its wider definition brand, which of course it should, but how many brands are that deeply entrenched and understood across all business functions and employees?

Perfection is not part of the sustainability agenda – or else we wouldn’t need constant improvement. It provides us with a scale to assess whether sustainability association in the brand is completely absent or whether it is embedded – from ignored to designed.

 

Overall, this is the most comprehensive, informative and well written guide to sustainable brands I’ve seen yet. Henk’s huge experience on just about every side of the concerned fence from non-profit to corporate and developed to developing nations, all align perfectly with a genuinely insightful, entertaining and endearing style.

 

Get your copy of  ‘Creating  Sustainable Brand’ with a special 15% discount head over to www.dosustainability.com and enter campher15 in the voucher code box.

If you prefer shopping at Amazon click here to go straight to the guide.

 

Come back when you’ve read the guide and let the other readers know what your opinion was.

 

HenkC LIFor more about Henk Campher say hi on Twitter via @AngryAfrican or through his LinkedIn profile here.

 

 

 

 

For disclosure: I have never been paid by either Henk or Edelman, sadly, but Henk and I are both strong Liverpool Football Club fans and quite possibly marginally intoxicated by the dream like potential of our team winning the English Premier League, and in glorious fashion. I have tried to remain totally objective but hey, this kinda stuff doesn’t usually happen in the real world, so please consider this when making your own opinions.

Social Innovation + CSR = #3BLchat

leave a comment »

Susan McPherson #3BLchatA quick date for your diaries, and a new hashtag to watch out for…

Next Tuesday, 17 December, I will be hosting the first ever #3BLchat for 3BL Media.

This 60 minute Twitter chat will see guest expert Susan McPherson explore “Social Innovation and CSR: The New Frontier”, sharing her wide experience and providing real world examples to inspire change and collaboration.

For more information about the event and our guest click here.

3BL logo #3BLchatIt would be great to see some friends Twitter profiles taking part during the event and if you can help spread the word to your networks here’s a suggested ready-made Tweet for you:

Check out: “Social Innovation & #CSR” – Tues 17 Dec, 1pm ET - http://3bl.me/9gxpzt with @3BLMedia & @susanmcp1 #3BLchat

Let me know if you have any particular questions you’d like to ask Susan and I’ll make sure we get them into the tight schedule!

I’ll be hosting the session via @3BLMedia for the event and I’ll remind people that I’ll be switching from my personal profile (@davidcoethica) just beforehand.

See you on Tuesday.

More posts to come soon…

Shared Value: Business Opportunity

leave a comment »

Michael Porter knows his stuff. He’s a professor at Harvard and widely respected author on strategic thinking in business, especially of multiple books with ‘Competitive’ in the title.  More importantly though is his attention to the less traditional side of competitive business, my side, the good side.

The capitalist system is under siege.

One ongoing focus of this attention has been his interrogation of the world of CSR. A couple of years ago he, along with Mark Kramer, unleashed Creating Shared Value (CSV) into the wild, yet another consultant friendly Three Letter Acronym. For me, CSV is more of a refreshing of what CSR was always about, when in reality it had become a grossly misused term which was actively exploited by too many in the corporate world. My position is born out of own starting point in this particular space 15 years ago when I stumbled across the term CSR via an informal definition of ‘better balancing social, environmental and financial impacts whilst maximising profit’.

CSV / Shared Value helps move the debate forward, but in essence it is more of a refinement and re-branding exercise that also helps support consultancy work, rather than any step change in responsible business frameworks. The one important element for me that Shared Value re-energises is an entrepreneurial opportunity focused emphasis that is regularly overlooked in a risk management dominated agenda.

Why Business Can Be Good At Solving Social Problems is Michael’s latest TED Talk

Is Communication The Biggest Barrier?

leave a comment »

220px-Lost_in_Translation_poster

The two most used questions by smaller businesses whenever discussing CSR:

1. What’s in it for me?

and

2. What’s in it for me?

They may look like the same question but they’re not. What the SME owner / manager is probably trying to say is:

1. What’s in it for my business?

2. What’s in it for me as a real person emotionally connected to wider communities but I don’t have the confidence or knowledge to articulate that yet?

We need to understand the difference and why.

Read the rest of this entry »

Being Good is Not Overrated

with 8 comments

Despicable-Me-PosterYes, I can muster a pretty impressive Meeeester Gru impression. My son may not agree, but hey, it makes me laugh.

Apologies for this post, but this is all about not-so-Despicable me. No offence taken at all if you click away at this point, as I need to indulge myself a little.

After seven and a half years of all things Coethica the time is ready for me to evolve. I know not what that change is specifically at this particular moment – all suggestions are very welcome from anywhere, or any sector in the world – but a new direction will be forged. Some interesting offers are being considered but for the sanity of everybody around me my main hat will at least be worn much less from this day on.

The reason for this channel of personal thinking out loud is to help clear my head and also tap into and share with some of the many amazing people and organisations I have met and shared many ideas online. I am by nature an explorer, a passionate creative nuisance intent on leaving our world better than it would have been without me.

After falling in love with the purest form of this thing called CSR (i.e. holistic, balanced and embedded – you know the one, the lesser spotted variety) about 15 years ago I’ve met leaders from global CEO’s to local start-up entrepreneurs in deprived communities that have both dazzled and depressed. I’ve set up social enterprises, supported corporates and what feels like everything in between. I’m sure there’s a couple of books in there somewhere.

I know for a fact business can change the world, most of the time it just needs giving the confidence to try harder.

This is not to say Coethica will be no more, version 2 is defined and ready to roll, it is that it needs at least somebody else at the helm. Let me know if you want to find out more and take the reins of a ready-made social business to change the world! My gift to the right person, with maybe a couple of thin strings.

It has been for the most part a lonely journey, both geographically and intellectually, setting off in 2005 to challenge and inspire the small and medium market (but not excluding the corporates) to see the benefits of all things CSR / social enterprise /’pick your ethical business buzzword’ all atop a rollercoaster of a personal life that until recently only began to give me genuine freedom to get out and begin to deliver what we had learned through years of grassroots SME and corporate ‘market research’.

Sometimes the hardest decision in the world is being honest with yourself and make that change to re-energise spiritually. My wonderful wife and wider family have supported me through some magical highs and crushing lows and I owe it to them to take a more simplified path. Spinning too many plates for too long, however impressive at the time, is a recipe for one hell of a mess of crockery, not that I’ve broken many but I’ve been close to a couple of wobblers.

In short, I’m taking a the next couple of months to explore my own future as a real person separate from Coethica – a hard task for any entrepreneur, and the options on the horizon so far just don’t feel like the right fit. So, if you or anybody you know has a challenge they need help with or a gap that needs filling, by somebody of certain unique cocktail of experiences and abilities, well, as long as it serves a greater good, my intrigue is open for discussion.

If anybody should want a more focused summary of me, give me a call (get in touch via the comments) as I like a good natter, or for the more passive / furtive out there, my LinkedIn profile is probably as good place to start as any.

And just for pure childish summer fun, here is the trailer for Despicable Me 2. Enjoy. Freeeeze Ray!

VfL Wolfsburg Score Football CSR Winner

with 2 comments

It may have taken a while but VfL Wolfsburg are the winners!

VfL Wolfsburg Moving TogetherBack 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?

The Climate Debate Gloves Are Off

with 2 comments

But who will win?

 

I just had to share this to make sure you didn’t miss it.

THE best magazine cover, story and quote for quite some time. A bold statement to the core of the climate denier community. Congratulations Josh Tyrangiel (Editor) and all at Bloomberg Businessweek.

There is already a robust and increasing discourse around climate change brought on by Hurricane Sandy and this for me is a great stick in the ground for where we are at today. There is more hope for tomorrow.

 

The cover…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The quote…

 

 

The story…

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-11-01/its-global-warming-stupid#p1

 

 

One Man’s Vision Of A Greener Oil Industry

leave a comment »

Sam Wurzelbacher had his moment after a serendipitous encounter with Barack Obama and Joe The Plumber was born, and given a platform.

We now take for granted the opportunities technologies like social media create. These days almost everybody is a click away, and sometimes the big names even respond in person. Now, if we can better connect those at grassroots with ideas and real experiences with those in positions of power and influence we should be able to accelerate change.

If Sam Wurzelbacher is Joe The Plumber, then please meet the irrepressible  Barry Slater or ‘Joe The Oil Worker‘, a Tour Pusher / Supervisor of Drilling Operations with 18 years of experience in the oil industry.

Thanks to a connection via Ian Berry of Differencemakers I spoke to Barry to explore what help in any way  I could offer, and I do like a challenge.

Please take 3 mins to read through the very brief Q&A below and maybe give Barry a step up to create change in an industry that needs it.

Describe your career / industry experiences:

“I’ve worked in the industry for 18 years, have 100% safe working history ,was educated in my early days good practices and principles and have followed them throughout, sadly during this time I’ve frequently crossed paths with the lawbreakers in the industry and additionally stood up against them and at this time being of a junior position seem to find that my position has then been terminated, albeit and additionally without proper investigation , on a positive note the higher I reach in the industry which I’m still climbing, my discipline then allows myself to implement standards which will always allow 100% compliance to safety and environmental  procedures.”

What is your big idea?

“My big ideas would dramatically reduce the oil industry’s carbon footprint and believe that I can allow offshore vessels to become almost self-sustainable. Read the rest of this entry »

What Do Premier League Football And Apple Have In Common?

with 4 comments

New report says UK football CSR is maturing but needs to train harder and play as a team.

The defences are well and truly warmed up at Cupertino at the moment ahead of the iPhone 5 launch event next week but Daniel Agger isn’t part of the team.

Both brands have an almost religious like appeal to their audiences. Huge queues for product, tattoos and media saturation are just a couple of examples of the more obvious cultural similarities.

Both brands also have long journeys ahead of them on the CSR road and neither showing signs of ticking the leadership box any time soon.

I’ve just finished reading “It’s Not Just A Game: Community Work In The UK Football Industry And Approaches To Corporate Social Responsibility” by Heledd Jenkins and Laura James from the ESRC Centre at BRASS.

If you are into football, sport and all things CSR / sustainability go and take a read. It’s a comprehensive, intelligent and open report that provides a useful stick in the ground for the current state of social responsibility in UK football.

In short, all the clubs deliver effective community work locally with some reaching further afield across international boundaries, many through independent Community Trust models, but fall short on embedded strategic approaches, innovation, leadership and transparency. Read the rest of this entry »

Genuine Leadership Comes From MERIT*

leave a comment »

The world needs leaders, and more than ever leaders with a strong moral compass.

You may remember my post about 2012  To Be  Big Year For Somebody, if not Your Big Year is a global competition aimed at identifying and nurturing the young  leaders of the future from across the globe through a year of travel and meeting current world leaders. Year one was big. Year two was bigger, and next year will see something new and even bigger.

Here is last year’s Your Big Year winner, the amazing Charles Batte, to set the scene…

 

The evolution is called World MERIT* (the asterisk is part of the brand!) and takes the concept well beyond that of Your Big Year.

The huge challenges of our tomorrows require a new breed of leader today. We have all been let down by those in historic positions of power across business and society that now require inspiration from those who are genuinely and tangibly connected to grassroots communities. Your Big Year began to unearth countless potential talented people from diverse backgrounds but could never nurture more than the overall individual winners. That needed to change.

So without further ado, relax and enjoy…

 

Trust me, this is going to be BIG. World MERIT* will officially launch later this year, and this is just the tip of the iceberg with a revolution being nurtured in parallel behind the WM* scenes.

I’ve agreed to help Chris Arnold (@MERITChris) and his team spread the message to the corporate world to help identify those looking to find potential World MERIT* candidates in their own organisations. So if you want more information about engaging your company send me message and I’ll connect you to Chris.

Watch this space…

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 22,004 other followers

%d bloggers like this: