Tag Archives: SME

Global to Local Goals Through IMPACT 2030

 

 

 

“Volunteerism is a source of community strength, resilience, solidarity and social cohesion. It brings positive social change by fostering respect for diversity, equality and the participation of all. It is among society’s most vital assets.”

Ban Ki-Moon

 

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In case you hadn’t noticed, we are 12 months in from the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals. This week is #GlobalGoals (a much better brand to reach the great unengaged audience we need) week as the UN General Assembly gets underway and year two of fifteen toward 2030 begins.

Recently I reached out to one promising initiative aligned to a pet project back in Liverpool. The reason I reached out to IMPACT 2030 was primarily for one key reason. It is private sector led. Whilst UN backed this is the business world rapidly coalescing from their own acceptance of responsibility and ability to lead. There are a whole host of reasons to explore IMPACT 2030, but for me when the private sector steps up, stuff gets done. Admittedly that stuff isn’t always the most morally acceptable when created in isolation, but this is different, it is a genuine and transparent partnership platform based on overcoming the biggest social and environmental challenges.

Another key element is the language being used. Volunteering, like CSR and other terminology has an image problem. IMPACT 2030 aims to reframe the debate using ‘human capital investment‘ in place of the more patriarchal terms like pro bono and volunteering, often seen as a cost or superfluous bolt-on activities. To encourage the private sector to significantly increase participation they have to see returns on investment, and in terms they understand and also appeal across the boardroom.

Philanthropy also absolutely has to be part of the equation as there will often be challenges that will never strategically fit investment propositions, but this focus on a more accepted private sector language can only increase awareness and impact.

So, in short, IMPACT 2030 aims to stimulate human capital investment in employees and align with the 17 Global Goals through awareness raising and support. The demonstrations of successes so far were a clear sign that the initiative’s momentum is building.

The standout case study of the Summit was between GSK and SAP combing their data and healthcare expertise to carefully listen to the local needs in Rwanda, map relevant employee skills and deliver a pilot project with Partners in Health within a mere three weeks. IMPACT 2030’s potential for human capital investment leverage is huge within their global remit. “These companies, so far, represent millions of talented people across 220 countries” said Executive Director Dr. Tauni Lanier.

The Mayor of Philadelphia was also in town to share the city-wide story of commitment to IMPACT 2030 and the wider Sustainable Development Goals, with particular emphasis on schools.

 

 

The always entertaining, and originally from Liverpool, Sir Ken Robinson shared wonderful insights from a creative and education perspective, even managing to connect the population explosion to the release of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band!

I understand that IMPACT 2030 is only twelve months old, yet has made significant impacts and collaborations, but I did get a sense that the 99% was being overlooked. I often attend similar events and the reasoning for corporate focus is clear. Scale, or rather the appearance of ability to scale, as this isn’t always the outcome. The business world below the corporate threshold is yet again the audience that scarce available resources are appearing to push too far down the priority list. Approximately 50% of private sector turnover comes from SMEs which also has approximately 60% of employees in many global economies. If we are really going to make the Global Goals mainstream, it is essential that far more consideration is given to engaging with the smaller business community.

IMPACT 2030 will not be a US based ivory tower. A growing army of territory based Regional Voices has been identified to ensure, and trust me, I saw this passion, that the Global Goals become very Local Goals too. By having people on the ground who understand the needs of local communities, acting as advocates, brokering partnerships and reporting measured impact back to a centralised portal the project should deliver results.

The also originally from Liverpool (can you see any patterns here?) IMPACT 2030 Vice Chair, Sue Stephenson perfectly summed up the whole event with the wonderful African proverb

“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”.

 

For more information check out the links below:

#Impact2030

www.impact2030.com

Twitter list for Impact 2030 (shout out if I missed you!)

 

 

How Can You Change The World Through Entrepreneurship?

Innovation Women Business Start UpSometimes projects appear like rabbits being pulled from a magician’s hat. You’re led to think there’s nothing in there and then hey presto, a cute ball of fluff gets dragged out by the ears.

Usually though, you plan like crazy, target your market and go hell for leather building a sales pipeline to regularly still miss out on the fun prizes that you really want. Hands up if you know what I mean? Good. Most of you.

Considerably less often such opportunities find you with a handful of carrots, an empty hutch, a yearning to breed bunnies, and all in your own backyard.

I can’t share too much quite yet, and my usual exuberance is again obviously overriding my (and others who will shout at me) sense of caution here, but I wanted to quickly reach out to those of you I’ve encountered over many years with a similar mindset.

Here’s the thing…
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Is Communication The Biggest Barrier?

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.

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CSR = Your Better (Small) Business

YBB logo

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.

Definitely worth further investigation via the Your Better Business website and via Twitter at @betterexchange

VfL Wolfsburg Score Football CSR Winner

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?

Are You A Small Business Communications Expert?

 

Do you have experience in CSR, social enterprise, business advice, marketing, PR, human resources – or just about any other aspect of business operation?

Better CSR Advice for SMEsCan you offer any insight on small business CSR communications?

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.

 

 

A Bright Future for Small Business CSR

           

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…
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