Friday, August 6, 2010

Caring capitalism: Ten socially responsible companies

In this enlightened day and age, whether times are good or bad, companies must be socially responsible, all the while ensuring that the performance is not affected and that financial prudence is applied. While that may sound politically incorrect, the fact is that winning companies create jobs, pay taxes, and strengthen the economy. Winning companies, in other words, enable social responsibility, not the other way around
Here is the list of companies top 10 in CSR
1. Intel:  
The most unique feature of Intel is their passion for using technology to power their CSR. Education is a big part of how they give back to society and they do so by holding competitions. The Intel Science Talent Search Intel STS is America's oldest and most highly regarded science competition, where 40 children gather in Washington, D.C. to showcase their original scientific research and compete for $630,000 in awards and prizes. Intel also organize the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair ie, for pre-college students, The Intel and UC Berkeley Technology Entrepreneurship Challenge ie. IBTEC that supports and promotes entrepreneurship predominantly in developing countries and the Intel School of Distinction. Intel is also committed to the environment and their environmental promises include Eco-smart Computing Inside focusing on energy-efficient performance and products with a smaller ecological footprint. Eco-Responsible Operations focusing on the reduction of emissions and energy consumption, water conservation, waste reduction and greener buildings.
2. HSBC (HSBC Climate Partnership): 
HSBC has corporate sustainability teams working at group, regional and country level to shape the bank's approach to sustainable business opportunities. As part of their continuous encouragement to their employees to take part in CSR, HSBC Employees can apply to become Climate Champions under the HSBC Climate Partnership. HSBC have a longstanding relationship with WWF and are currently supporting the charity in its global conservation efforts. They also work with Earthwatch, The Climate Group and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute as part of the HSBC Climate Partnership Program. HSBC has set up Regional Climate Centers around the world where scientists and HSBC staff collect vital data on the impacts of climate change on the world's forests.HSBC has developed its own polices for lending to socially and environmentally sensitive sectors. They provide financial services that help stimulate solutions to social and environmental challenges, like climate change and access to clean water. They have programs to reduce the direct environmental impact of their business operations. HSBC became carbon neutral in 2005.
3. The Body Shop: 
The Body Shop can be considered one of the pioneers of modern corporate social responsibility. Since its inception, it has endorsed and championed various social issues such as opposition to animal testing, developing community trade, building self-esteem, campaigning for human rights, and protection of the planet. One of their major achievements was back in 1985, where they managed to work with Greenpeace and garner more than 4,000,000 signatures against animal testing in the European Union. They have also made significant financial contributions to the causes they stand for. Today, the company continues their ground-breaking work in the field of CSR. For example, they partnered with MTV to raise funds and awareness about HIV and AIDS amongst young people, through their Spray to Change campaign. They have also collaborated with UNICEF and the United Nations Secretary-General's office for the Stop Violence in the Home initiative where they conduct a study into the effects of domestic violence on children.
4. Nokia:
Over a billion people in the world use a Nokia phone. That puts Nokia in a unique position of power when it comes to dictating terms to their supply chain. Environmentally friendly design, substance management, a healthy and safe workplace, and labor conditions that enforce workers' rights are some of the conditions that must be met when working with Nokia. The vendors must also submit to Nokia conducting onsite assessments, reporting breaches of requirements and advice on how to remedy failings. They also work closely with their contributors to manage their products' life cycles and the company fully reports all of the materials that come in their cell phones. Education also plays a big role in Nokia's CSR they have several initiatives that harness mobility to promote education. They work on delivering new, high quality education materials to remote classrooms via mobile technology and providing services that makes use of social networking to help young people improve their skills. Recently, they have begun to install within the company, a systematic process to monitor human rights issues across all their geographies.
5. Starbucks Cofee:
Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee aimed at acting responsibly and ethically. One of their focuses is the sustainable production of green coffee ie. C.A.F.E. The project uses a set of guidelines that achieve product quality, economic accountability, social responsibility and environmental leadership. As part of their CSR vision, they pay a premium for beans grown on environmentally and socially responsible farms to stimulate positive changes within the global coffee market and ultimately result in a fully sustainable coffee production supply chain. They are also staunch Fair Trade practitioners. Fair Trade standards ensure that employees have safe working conditions, work reasonable hours and are paid a fair amount for their work. Starbucks provides cash and product donations to organizations where its partners are involved as volunteers. Examples of these informal initiatives are: Earth Day clean-ups, regional AIDS walks and local literacy organizations. Starbucks also donates a portion of its pre-tax profits to corporate philanthropy as part of its efforts to be more socially responsible. Starbucks makes charitable contributions through the Starbucks Foundation created in 1997.
6. Vodafone:
Europe's largest cellular telecom company does a superb job of questioning shareholders, employees, customers, and outside experts about how its services and infrastructure impedes - or might be able to help - economic development. That has resulted in programs like Mpesa, a pilot project that helps Africans bank through their mobile phones. Vodafone has also changed the way it builds networks to give emergency health-care workers better access, and helps screen mobile video content for users with kids. Vodafone has promised to cut down their carbon dioxide emissions in half by 2020 through improving the energy efficiency of its global mobile-phone networks. Future projects include pledging to recycle 95 percent of network equipment waste and plans to reduce work-related accidents that cause lost time by 10 percent. On top of that, Vodafone is a leading business in socially responsible products such as the text-to-speech software for blind people and easy-to-use handsets for the elderly. Also, Vodafone constantly updates the public with the results of their campaigns irrespective of whether there're going well or not.
7. P&G: 
Global FMCG powerhouse P and G have a five-pronged approach to CSR. They provide assistance to communities in the developing world through increasing access to the organization's products and increasing employee engagement.  They work on making their products more eco-friendly. They work on making their day-to-day operations, across the globe, greener. They've managed to reduce their water consumption by seven percent, energy usage by six percent and CO2 emissions by eight percent. They are very focused on children. P nad G invest in improving the lives of more than 60 million children in need and in 2008, they delivered 430 million liters of clean drinking water around the world. They engage and equip all P and G employees to build sustainability thinking and practices into their everyday work. And finally, they work transparently with their stakeholders to enable continued freedom to innovate responsibly. And at the at the World Economic Forum in Davos last year, their CSR initiatives were recognised publicly when they  were voted 'Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World' by Corporate Knights Inc. and  Innovest Strategic Value Advisors Inc.
8. GE:
GE is an active participant in the climate change dialogue through public engagement, investments in sustainable energy and their crown jewel, its Ecomagination initiative. Under Ecomagination, GE aggressively pursues improving their energy efficiency and has reduced their GHG emissions by 13% in the past four years. They also invest in developing products and services that are significantly more energy efficient or lower-emitting in order to solve customers' environmental challenges. As part of their Renewable energy goals, GE is the number one wind turbine manufacturer in the U.S., and number two worldwide, with more than 8,700 wind turbines installed. GE is also working towards making the smart grid a reality. GE Global Research's Advanced Batteries and Hybrid Systems labs work hard to deliver advanced hybrid system and battery technologies that will make the electrification of transportation both practical and affordable. They also work with hospitals to reduce the environmental footprint and operating costs in the medical world.
9. McDonald's:
McDonald's works with its suppliers to promote socially responsible practices in its supply chain as part of its supply chain strategy. It has its own Code of Conduct for Suppliers which describes how McDonald's expects its suppliers to treat their employees. It has also sought to extend social accountability throughout its supply chain. An example of a McDonald's sustainability project: McDonald's stepped in to improve conditions for farm workers in the Florida tomato industry. This in turn promoted good environmental practices in its land-based agricultural supply chain and made the farm a sustainable business. They also initiated the Flagship Farms Initiative  in Europe. The program showcases seven 'progressive farms' employing innovative farming practices across Europe and carries out research into how ethical farming practices can be incorporated into commercial farming systems. They also have a Sustainable Fisheries program which is in collaboration with the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership. McDonald's makes charitable contributions through the Ronald McDonald House Charities which aims to create, find and support programs that directly improve the health and well being of children.
10. Toyota:
Toyota takes their CSR very seriously and they focus on environmental issues, traffic safety, and education on a global basis. They have created their Fourth Toyota Environmental Action Plan which is a clear statement of the activities that Toyota will undertake in order to become a leader and driving force in global regeneration by implementing the most advanced environmental technologies.  Their focus is on Energy/Global warming, recycling of resources, substances of concern and the atmospheric quality. For each of these four topics, action items, specific measures, and goals have been adopted. As part of their traffic safety initiative, Toyota is committed to making safe vehicles, and they also conduct traffic safety programs. For their education initiative, Toyota conducts programs designed to encourage interest in science and technology, and supports the implementation of educational programs on a global scale that will develop future leaders. Toyota also conducts activities to support the arts and culture with an emphasis on nurturing culture and expanding horizons.
Disclaimer: This is not my original study or work. Please feel free to put your claim in case you are the original writer.

No comments: