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How to Create Shared Value for the Firm and Society

Idea posted: August 2017
  • CSR & Governance

The new Creating Shared Value (CSV) mandate that calls for business to focus on both making profits and helping society is criticized as naïve wishful thinking. The interface of business and society is not always win-win. An international team of academics answers the critics with a CSV+ framework that covers all situations — even the win-lose or lose-win ones.

Idea #663
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New York from Liberty State Park, NJ, by DNK Photography, 2016 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

CSR Benefits to Society from Private Companies Are Greater than from Public Companies

Idea posted: August 2017
  • CSR & Governance

Does Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) benefit society? A new study based on exhaustive data reveals that while private company CSR commitments do benefit society, public company do not perform as well. 

Idea #666
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Sustainability-driven Hybrid Companies Challenge Business Dogma

Idea posted: April 2017
  • CSR & Governance

The corporate world has embraced sustainability, but without challenging the basic rules of competition and economic success. Hybrid companies that blur the lines between business and societal/environmental missions prove that these rules can, and should, be challenged.

Idea #650
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Sustainable Manufacturing Part 1: People, Technology and Collaboration

Idea posted: April 2017
  • CSR & Governance
  • Operations

The first phase of a major project on sustainable manufacturing, a food-and-drink industry giant and a UK university sponsored a roundtable discussion on sustainable manufacturing by 24 manufacturing experts from industry, government and academia. The roundtable yielded six major themes — People, Big Data, Technology, Collaboration, Value and Resilience — that describe the key areas on which manufacturers must focus to build a sustainable future.

Idea #652
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Sustainable Manufacturing Part 2: Five Pathways

Idea posted: April 2017
  • CSR & Governance
  • Operations

A collaborative research project on sustainable manufacturing between a food and drink giant and a university uncovers five pathways to sustainable manufacturing in 2050 that leverage technology and collaboration to build environmentally conscious supply chains that support — and involve — society.

Idea #653
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The Well-Stocked Kitchen of Martha and Mary, Joachim Bueckelaer, 1566 (Courtesy: The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam)

Why Buying Green Is Not Considered Ethical if You Are Poor

Idea posted: December 2016
  • CSR & Governance

Ethical purchases (buying organic food, for example) are not always seen as moral purchases, especially if the buyers are on government assistance. How dare they pay for expensive organic food, for example, instead of the better-priced non-organic food? After all, it’s not their money. New research reveals that society views being frugal as more moral than trying to save the world.

Idea #637
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System change not climate change', 2009, UN climate talks in Copenhagen. Photo: kris krüg via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

How Social Movements Spark Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives

Idea posted: April 2016
  • CSR & Governance
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Social movements change society’s expectations of a company, as well as influence the thinking and values of individuals in that company. Under ideological pressure from diverse categories of external and internal stakeholders, the company responds with a corporate social responsibility agenda. 

Idea #603
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When Customers Can See More Cost than Benefit in CSR

Idea posted: March 2016
  • CSR & Governance
  • Marketing

Companies should not assume that all customers see the benefit in corporate social responsibility. Some focus on the costs — and are concerned that unfair prices are being used to finance CSR. 

Idea #591
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Organizational Resilience Is Reinforced by These Two Variables

Idea posted: January 2016
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance

Demonstrating the role of governance in resilience, a new study shows that employee-owned businesses (EOBs) are more likely to resist the damage from an economic downturn than non-EOBs — however, only if ownership is accompanied by a strong employee voice in company decisions at all levels. 

Idea #577
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President Barack Obama in the Oval Office with daughters Malia and Sasha, 2009 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How a Daughter Might Shape the CEO

Idea posted: November 2015
  • CSR & Governance

Can having a daughter impact the decisions of a CEO? The answer is yes, according to new research that compared corporate social responsibility scores of companies whose CEOs had daughters to companies whose CEOs were childless — or only had sons. 

Idea #566
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Management Practices that Lead to Corporate Social Responsibility

Idea posted: October 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations

Superior management quality practices, in areas such as monitoring employee performance, updating operations, setting targets and establishing incentives, will impact the extent of a company’s corporate social responsible practices — notably in issues related to stakeholder concerns, such as diversity, environmental performance and employee relations. 

Idea #554
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‘Circle reflect wikipedia 2’ by Dachris, 2006 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Rise of Integrated Corporate Reporting

Idea posted: October 2015
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance

Creating an integrated report enables companies to communicate an holistic picture of their prospects, one that is broader than offered by traditional financial reports. Integrated reports cover strategy, governance, performance and forecasts. A new framework for ‘Integrated Reporting’ (IR) has been created to help organizations bring these elements together. Integrated reports benefit both external stakeholders and leaders within the organization.

Idea #555
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Wayuu bags, hand made by women from the Wayuu tribe in Colombia (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Reusable Grocery Bags: How Green Customers Help the Environment — and Your Business

Idea posted: September 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Shoppers bringing their own bags help reduce the adverse environmental impact of plastic bags. New research shows, however, that the environment is not the only winner. Environmentally conscious shoppers are inspired to buy more expensive organic products, and reward themselves with unplanned indulgent purchases — a boon to grocery stores.

Idea #542
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Amsterdam Gay Pride 2013 Vodafone boat (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Corporate Political Advocacy: Support Non-business-related Causes

Idea posted: April 2015
  • CSR & Governance

Some companies are unequivocally supportive of controversial political causes that are not even related to their industries — gay marriage, for example. Is corporate political advocacy, which goes beyond the responsible practices and community involvement of corporate social responsibility (CSR), appropriate in a business setting?  

Idea #508
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The Money Changers, Marinus van Reymerswaele, 1548 (Courtesy: Bilbao Fine Arts Museum)

How a Numbers-Crunching Culture Can Increase Unethical Behaviour

Idea posted: April 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Adopting a calculative mindset to every problem — approaching every issue, either qualitative or quantitative, in a numerical frame of mind — can lead to dishonest or immoral decisions, according to new research. 

Idea #504
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Bucket wheel excavator at the Tagebau Garzweiler mine, Germany (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The World Needs Mining, but Mining Must Change

Idea posted: January 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations

Demand is increasing for the mining industry, but so are costs and challenges — including increasing intolerance for the negative impact of mining activities on the environment and on local communities and indigenous people. The result: currently $24 billion in industry losses due to delays and resistance. A new initiative, involving all stakeholders impacted by mining operations and led by one of the giants of the industry, offers a roadmap for a collaborative, long-term sustainable approach to mining.

Idea #476
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Creating Shared Value Using Inter-Organizational Networks

Idea posted: June 2014
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations

More and more companies are making the connection between commercial success and attaining sustainable growth through ‘creating shared value’. This Idea outlines three steps organizations can take to advance their efforts in ‘creating shared value’, highlighting the role of inter-organizational networks as a key driver.

Idea #395
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The Sower by Jean-François Millet, circa 1865, Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

How Well Is CSR Embedded in Business Strategy?

Idea posted: May 2014
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

CSR and sustainable development are now widely seen as core parts of business. This does not, however, mean they’re always treated as core parts of business strategy. The management control systems big companies use to design, implement and monitor CSR sometimes suggest a ‘reactive’ rather than a ‘proactive’ approach from leaders.

Idea #374
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The Distribution of Bread in the Village, Frans van Leemputten, 1892 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Do CSR Initiatives Enhance Customer Loyalty?

Idea posted: March 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Marketing

Are customers more loyal to retailers who engage in corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities? In general, CSR is going to earn customer loyalty, although a closer look reveals that the type of CSR makes a difference. CSR related to the customer experience — involving employees and products — inspires the most loyalty, followed by community support activities. Environmental projects generate less enthusiasm from customers, and with some customers actually have a negative effect.

Idea #346
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The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City on March 25, 1911, detail from a commemorative mural by Ernest Fiene, 1938–40, at the High School of Fashion Industries, New York

Supply Chain Networks and CSR Sourcing

Idea posted: February 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Operations

Building long-term relationships with select suppliers is seen as the way to reduce the risks of socially irresponsible sourcing and, by extension, damage to a company’s brand or reputation. It is not, however, a ‘magic’ solution to the problem of ‘rogue’ elements in the supply chain. New research finds that the success of ‘relational sourcing’ is directly linked to the structure of the supplier network — and that the ‘optimal’ structure varies by company and product category.

Idea #316
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The Fall of Icarus, Carlo Saraceni (c.1580-1620), Museo e Gallerie Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples, Italy

CSR: Pride Comes Before a Fall

Idea posted: November 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

CEOs with a strong record in corporate social responsibility (CSR) are more likely to engage in less ethical behaviour further down the line, despite maintaining an appearance of morality. Leaders should, therefore, be aware of their propensity to fall from grace and boards should closely monitor their behaviour, especially if the CEO in question is currently ‘on a pedestal’, with recent CSR achievements to their name.

Idea #273
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Fair Trade logo

Premium Pricing Socially Responsible Products

Idea posted: November 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Marketing

Are consumers willing to pay a premium for socially responsible products? According to two researchers from NYU’s Stern School of Business, the answer is an unequivocal yes. Specifically, consumers will pay a higher premium for socially responsible non-durable products, and a higher premium for products that reflect a social commitment to humans, such as fair labour practices, as opposed to products that benefit animals or the environment.

Idea #269
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How to Communicate CSR Online to Stakeholders

Idea posted: September 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Marketing

The online communication models used by organizations to inform on their CSR activity can impact negatively on the way they are perceived by stakeholders. How can they try to overcome such obstacles and create a format for the future that engages successfully with their audience?

Idea #207
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Anti-fracking activists, Balcombe, West Sussex, where Cuadrilla was drilling an exploratory well, August 2013 (Source: Greenpeace. Photo by Jiri Rezac)

CSR - Why Companies Need Activists

Idea posted: August 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Operations

A company’s positive or negative impact on society can enhance or harm its reputation. New research from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management shows that passionate activists play a key role in ensuring that companies remain socially responsible.  If they push too hard, however, the efforts of these same activists become counterproductive. On the corporate side, the research explains why corporations must never let up their socially responsible activities.

Idea #194
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How Best Behaviour Boosts the Bottom Line

Idea posted: July 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change
Institutions: Henley Business School

Businesses can see beneficial financial effects if they implement policies based on corporate social responsibility. These effects are evident in both the equity and corporate bond markets where they lead to reduced market risk and default risk, lower cost of equity and debt and increased credit quality.

Idea #181
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CSR Tree

What Is the Real Value in CSR?

Idea posted: June 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance

Proponents of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) insist that companies will “do well by doing good.” Researchers from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, however, argue that the truth is more complicated. Their research confirms a positive association between current CSR expenditures and the future financial performance of the company. However, it is the signal that CSR spending sends to the market that explains this positive correlation — not the return on investment in CSR.

Idea #158
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Quattro Santi Coronati, marble sculpture by Nanni di Banco (1375 -1420), Florence

The Four Orientations of Responsible Leaders

Idea posted: June 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
Institutions: ESADE

This Idea will help you understand how responsible leadership (RL) can enhance your personal reputation, your company’s reputation, and help strengthen those bonds with the society you serve. Furthermore, we will explore how to regard RL as a central feature of how you do business.

Idea #145
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Think difference

How Social Intrapreneurs Get Heard

Idea posted: May 2013
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Institutions: INSEAD

Corporate social entrepreneurship initiatives, usually the work of intrapreneurs (entrepreneurial executives within the corporation) keen to solve social problems, have important macro- and micro-economic implications. They create value for people who are not current stakeholders - and they create opportunities to innovate and diversify. There are, however, barriers to their development. A model that counters the conventional logic of the organization and puts financial sustainability before growth could be the solution.

Idea #151
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Hulls Mills, Eric Ravillious c.1936, Source: Merivale Editions, www.merivaleeditions.com

Green Light for Governance

Idea posted: May 2013
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
Institutions: IE Business School

We live in a society that scrutinizes the environmental activities of the corporate world. How can companies address society’s concerns and improve levels of environmental performance, while maintaining market share and financial returns? The answer could lie in their corporate governance structure.

Idea #138
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Female Directors Create Corporate Sustainability

Idea posted: March 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

Recent research and management thinking often stresses that diversity, especially gender diversity, is a critical factor in improving the quality of a company’s leadership and decision-making. But could it also impact the overall financial, environmental, and social impact of an organization as well?  

Idea #105
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