Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Twestival Global 2010: partnering for social good worldwide

Last week, I attended the Global Twestival 2010 in New York. Twestival Global is an innovative social-media-driven campaign that raises awareness and collects funding for social causes. The first Twestival Global took place in February 2009 and was held in 202 cities in the world. It involved 1,000 volunteers and 10,000 donors and fundraised more than $250,000. These funds were managed by charity:water to build 55 wells in Uganda, Ethiopia and India having a direct impact for over 17,000 people.

This year the cause was education and 72 million children in the world who don’t have the opportunity to go to school. The organization selected to receive the funds collected is Concern Worldwide due to their comprehensive and well respected approach to education. More than $400,000 have been collected to date. Each city or independent event selected a different category to support within Concern's education programs. These included building schools, training teachers, furnishing classrooms, providing school meals and improving access to water facilities.

It is amazing how social media allows for mobilization of so many resources in so many cities worldwide. One day, one cause, one social movement. Throughout the day of March 25, people in 175 cities came together to join the social media movement for the same cause, as momentum built on Twitter throughout the day. Almost exclusively via Twitter, thousands of volunteers mobilized their local communities in cities around the US and globally to arrange events in venues ranging from boats and schools, to bars and nightclubs. The founder of Twestival, Amanda Rose, says:

"Twestival demonstrates the growing power of Twitter as more than just a social networking tool. It has become an innovative and far-reaching technology that unites people around the world in support of a good cause. Organizing online and gathering offline allows Twestival to harness the incredible communication power of Twitter to propel participation in real events around the world. There is no shortage of people who are passionate and want to help. The challenge is coordination, not participation. By using social media platforms such as Twitter, Twestival is able to connect hundreds of independent local events into a powerful global initiative. It is inspiring to see how collective local actions, online and off, can have such a profound impact towards something as life-changing as education."
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Friday, March 26, 2010

March CSR Social: Labor Standards and Global Supply Chains

This is a guest post by Laura Domnescu, member and co-organizer at the New York Corporate Social Responsibility Group.

March CSR Social was another successful event in the series of monthly gatherings organized by the NY CSR Group. This time, the cozy back room of the Vig Bar hosted a group of about 35 CSR professionals and enthusiasts who got together to exchange ideas and hear Adam Greene, Vice President for Labor Relations and Corporate Responsibility at the US Council for International Business (USCIB), a business membership organization of 300 multinational companies, law firms, and business associations. In CSR, USCIB's objective is to promote business perspectives on corporate responsibility; shape the development and implementation of codes, standards and principles on corporate responsibility; and increase awareness of the positive social and environmental contributions made by business. Similarly, the organization pursues a proactive and coordinated strategy to positively influence international labor standards, increase labor market flexibility and promote best practices.

In his speech, Adam focused on the interplay between labor standards and international supply chain management. According to Adam, uneven enforcement of national laws in many sourcing countries is a key corporate responsibility challenge for global companies. The difficulties vary across companies, sectors, and levels and types of integration. Despite the fact that most countries have ratified numerous International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions, many national governments are rather weak at enforcing their implementation, which generates a governance gap. Consequently, USCIB supports the long-term goal of achieving effective national implementation of national laws which are already aligned to international labor standards.

A program built upon this premise is Better Work, a partnership between the ILO and the International Finance Corporation(IFC). This program supports enterprises in improving their labor standards based on core ILO conventions and national laws. This way, enterprises can meet the buyers’ demands for compliance and become competitive in global markets. The crucial part of the model, according to Adam, is the fact that it uses a single monitoring system that generates verifiable and credible data – and thus valuable expertise – that is then transferred to national governments. Consequently, the state becomes an integral part in the efficiency model.

Adam argues, in essence, for the need of a concerted national effort for coordination and prioritization that will help close the governance gap and improve labor standards in international supply chains.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Seventh Generation - a 'New' Company for a New World

At the Doing Well by Doing Good corporate citizenship conference, Jeffrey Hollender, Chief Inspired Protagonist, Co-Founder and Executive Chairperson of Seventh Generation, a natural household cleaning products company, made an inspirational speech about the ‘new’ company. I asked him to summarize the main traits of such a company:

"Seventh Generation has been in business for 22 years so the concept of ‘new’ refers to the company’s set of values and the business model. The newness involves a radical type of transparency. Most corporate responsibility efforts in the industry are about being less bad, and not about being good. Although the ‘being less bad’ efforts are broadly rewarded, they won’t solve the fundamental problems facing the world, be they environmental or social.

We recognize that despite our company’s impressive growth and overall success, our business model is not a sustainable one. The company still does more harm than good. Although I do think our products are better than any other from a sustainability perspective, they do not have a positive effect on the Planet. They use less energy, water, they emit less carbon dioxide, but, nevertheless, they still have a degrading effect on the environment. The sheer fact of acknowledging this makes us an unusual business.

Our customers are not aware of many things our company does in the corporate responsibility area. For example, years ago we helped start a program in San Francisco - Wages – that helps low-income Hispanic women gain higher quality employment through creation of work cooperatives. Most of our customers know what we stand for: we assume a higher level of responsibility and advocate for a world they want to see. That advocacy and focus is extremely important for our business, perhaps even more important than making money.

We acknowledge the existence of the broken contract between the business and society mentioned during the conference. Most efforts to fix this contract are small and highly compartmentalized which continues to create inequity between the rich and poor. The aspiration to deal with these fundamental systemic and structural problems makes Seventh Generation an unusual business."
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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Aveda, a Company with a Mission: Beauty is as Beauty Does

At the Doing Well by Doing Good corporate citizenship conference I talked with Dominique Conseil, President of Aveda, a natural beauty products company. Dominique described Aveda's sustainable business model and the challenges that came along:

"Sustainability is in Aveda’s DNA. Since its creation in 1978, Aveda has pursued an innovative and sustainable vision: to create safer products for beauty industry professionals. Safer for people, safer for the planet. In 1989 the company was among the first to endorse the CERES Principles which have since guided Aveda’s management systems and sustainability reporting. In 1992, at the Earth Summit in Rio, the company committed to conserve rainforests in Brazil through sustainable sourcing of indigenous plants such as the Amazonian uruku. Today, Aveda continues to assert its leadership in many areas such as being the first beauty company manufacturing with 100% certified wind power.

As a result of constant reinvention, Aveda has heavily relied on innovation in designing its products. Because the industry was largely using an unsustainable way to manufacture beauty products and practicing the business-as-usual approach, we had to rethink and reinvent all aspects of operations, including packaging, distribution and transportation so as to incorporate environmental sustainability in order to create safer and healthier beauty products.

Doing business in a different way, true to our vision, required hard work and constant reinvention. As a result, the company regularly undergoes transformative cycles that allow us to come up with better and better products. Our business is value-based and driven by its people’s motivation. Dedication to sustainability is part of the company’s culture.

The greatest challenge for us stems from the changing goals of sustainability. What used to be good yesterday isn’t good enough today, and will be rather bad tomorrow. We are constantly learning from our stakeholders who help us ensure the way we understand sustainability is up-to-date. For example, during 2002-2005, we screened about 600 ingredients used in our products and learned that a number of these that were considered sustainable a decade ago no longer met the current sustainability criteria. As a result of a methodical review of the formulas, our products evolved and improved. This entire re-assessment was quite a task for our company but it was well worth it!

Another challenge is packaging. Our goal is to achieve responsible packaging by reducing the use of virgin material. Today most of our packaging is made of at least 80% post-consumer recycled plastic. When we started recycling polypropylene caps, there was no adequate infrastructure in the US so we had to invent our own system. That's how the campaign, Recycle Caps with Aveda came about. We first partnered with six schools in the New York area to collect caps. Children loved collecting caps because they saw their action as a way to protect ocean animals. Consequently, more schools enrolled and we collected 37 million caps from everyone willing to give them to us, including stores, competition, beauty salons, etc. Being a small company, to achieve some of our goals, we need to partner with large business and even competing businesses. One byproduct is that innovation becomes widely available, more accessible and affordable."
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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

March CSR Social with Adam Greene of USCIB: International Supply Chains

The New York Corporate Social Responsibility Group cordially invites you to attend the March CSR Social

Corporate Responsibility and International Supply Chains

WHEN: Monday, March 22, 6:30 pm

The Vig Bar - Backroom
12 Spring Street
corner of Elisabeth
New York, NY

6:30 - 7:00 Open Networking
7:00 - 7:15 Presentation by Adam Greene, Vice President for Labor Affairs and Corporate Responsibility, US Council for International Business
7:15 - 7:30 Q&A
7:30 - 8:30+ Open Networking

COST: Suggested donation $5

RSVP: lcandu at yahoo dot com

ABOUT: Adam Greene is responsible for USCIB’s activities on labor policy and corporate responsibility. He manages U.S. business participation in the development of international labor standards and advises companies on international and regional trends in labor and employment policy. He also coordinates USCIB involvement in the governing and standard setting bodies of the International Labor Organization and promotes the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. He is vice chairman of the Business Technical Advisory Committee on Labor Affairs to the Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor.

Mr. Greene advises USCIB members on international codes and initiatives, internal management systems, strategic alliances and corporate reporting. He is a member of the ISO Strategic Advisory Group on CSR and the U.S. Advisory Committee for the FTSE4Good social investment index. Mr. Greene is actively involved in the ongoing implementation of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the ILO Tripartite Declaration on Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy, and a wide array of other international initiatives. He is a frequent speaker on corporate responsibility and sustainable development.

Prior to joining USCIB, Mr. Greene served as associate director of the Global Environment Program at the Stern School of Business at New York University, and prior to that as manager of fixed income securities for Dean Witter Financial Services. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester and an MBA from New York University.

ABOUT: NY CSR Meetup Group is an increasingly popular New-York-based group of corporate responsibility and sustainability professionals and enthusiasts. We meet for various sustainability-related events as well as for montly informal networking and discussion events - CSR Socials. To join and for more information please visit: http://www.meetup.com/The-New-York-Corporate-Social-Responsibility-Meetup-Group/ or http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=1917952&trk=hb_side_g or http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=44036267423
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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Corporate Citizenship 2010 Continued

The 2nd day starts off with a conversation with Steve Case, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Revolution and Co-Founder of America Online, and Jean Case, Chief Executive Officer of Case Foundation:

Steve: "Philanthropy is more integrated into the core of a company today. They are fighting for talent." Jean: "The world will be better when Philanthropy is not defined by the rich writing checks." Steve: "The greatest contribution we can make is through using technology to provide a platform that would encourage many businesses to give and trigger change." Jean: "the corporate talent need to be matched with nonprofits and technology can achieve that." Steve: "Integration leads to better impact." Steve: "Any new attempts to fuse corps and nonprofits/NGOs are beneficial." Jean on pro-bono work: "put your people out in the community and good things happen." Steve: "a killer app is one that gets people talking to each other."

Interview with Dina Habib Powell, Global Head of Corporate Engagement, Goldman Sachs , Dr. Ángel Cabrera, President, Thunderbird School of Global Management and Pat Mitchell, The Paley Center for Media.

Dina: "The 10,000 Women Program (on global development and women empowerment) turned out to be extremely popular among Goldman Sachs employees." "Educating women has a strong multiplier effect." "If you do philanthropy for the wrong reason, you'll be held accountable pretty quickly." "More and more people, including our clients, are trying to be part of the solution." "14% acceptance rate from all the women that apply to this program: we underestimated the demand." "This is not philanthropy/charity but economic investment in people, particularly women." "CEO commitment is necessary for successful partnerships."

Pat: "Benefits of philanthropy are best realized in a public-private partnership." "So many women are applying for the 10,000 Women Program. Many women are running their businesses on their own with very little guidance and huge risk."

Panel: Job creation The long view

The panelists are talking about:

The role of businesses in tackling unemployment issues
Can businesses play a better role in job creation?
Government and private sector partnerships
Overcoming short termism and focusing on long term health of companies and society
Making the shift from consumption culture to employment culture

Leo Hindery, Jr., Managing Partner, InterMedia Partners: "Businesses never make hiring decision based on tax credits but on certainty." "We lost a lot of jobs; the wages stagnates so long...We need to crawl back up and get back on track to employee-orientated perspective that we seem to have lost in the last decades."

Jim Whaley, President, Siemens Foundation: "The Siemens You Can Change the World Initiative aims to tap into the young generations to encourage engineering talent." "There is a shocking lack of engineering students in the US." "The future is in environmental engineering - 26 patents a day." "Job creation is a two-way street. The 'buy American' is not good for Siemens, yet we are still investing in the US...We also need stability...we should know what to expect. Rules can't change every month." "Great talent won't just knock at the door. We need to invest in it through partnerships."

Seth Harris, Deputy Secretary, US Department of Labor talked about job training that aims to match people with jobs with firms.

Speech on People, planet, profits by Chip Pitts, Lecturer, Stanford Law School and Oxford University: "Be aware, care and dare." "The paradign of short-term values has been so dominant in the last decades. That has to change." "No company should be using trans fats anymore given that we know the harm they cause."

Panel: Finance: Restoring trust

Steps needed to improve financial literacy globally
Role of stakeholders in financial education and awareness campaigns
Should companies feel a moral obligation to enforce responsible business practices to protect their consumers?
Re-establishing trust between businesses and society in the wake of the financial crisis.
Finding the way towards a banking industry which people can trust
Increasing transparency in the corporations activities

Jed Emerson, Founder, Blended Value Propositions: "The assumption that the purpose of capital is to pursue the highest return is questioned now." The challenge is for the finance sector to reach a broader awareness and embrace broader purposes of capital."

John Hope Bryant, Founder, Chairman and CEO, Operation HOPE: "This is not a financial crisis, its a crisis of virtues and values." Financial literacy has become a critical civil rights issue." "Financial literacy is a key moral issue." "This is not a recession - it's a reset." "It was easier to be a mortgage officer than a pimp because the latter needed references." "Write letters to your bank CEO and regulator and move your money if bank is irresponsible."

Diana Taylor, Managing Director, Wolfensohn & Co: "Financial institutions should initiate focus on long-term value, not wait for regulators to step in." "Financial education is important." "Loan officers should be paid over time instead of up front so default rates are taken into account."

Mark Standish, President and Co-Chief Executive Officer, RBC Capital Markets "The quality of origination in Canada is much higher than in the US. We should stop using our home as an ATM machine."

The ‘new’company: Jeffrey Hollender, Chief Inspired Protagonist, Co-Founder, and Executive Chairperson, Seventh Generation: "I have a cap on my salary linked to the lowest salary in my company, so I pay a lot of attention to that salary." 'Full-cost accounting (which includes negative externalities) will change consumer behaviors',"We are restoring things back to where they were before the crisis." "Companies missions drive them to do the wrong things: delivering products at the lowest cost possible doesn't align with sustainability goals, e.g. Wall Mart" "Large companies have more influence than all small and medium businesses together and that's a structural challenge"

Interview with Peter G. Peterson, Founder, The Peter G. Peterson Foundation: 'If your horse dies, I suggest you dismount.'

Panel: Sustainability: The current climate

In the wake of the short comings of Copenhagen, how should businesses move forward
Can businesses achieve accord on plans for climate change investment without world government agreement?
Beyond sustainable production and development, how should companies work together to create private sector partnerships which promote positive change?
What voice should businesses have at the forthcoming Mexico Summit?

Jane Nelson, Senior Fellow and Director of CSR Initiative, Harvard Kennedy School

Dominique Conseil, President, Aveda: "CSR is voluntary and constant reinvention at Aveda: 1)cutting energy costs, using wind energy, 2) improving productivity via e.g. increasing road safety 3) working with supply chains to ensure access to organic certifiable herbs; 4) staff retention; 5) as a result, Aveda has became more transparent, collaborative and innovative. Companies shouldn't be expected to replace government in building infrastructure.

Adam Lowry, Co-Founder and Chief Greenskeeper, Method Products "We need innovators to inspire people. Politics follows business." "Recycled plastic costs more than virgin plastic and this has to change and political will can help there." 'Green is dead...sustainability is already part of the quality of a product.' 'Businesses need to continuously adjust to the changing preferences of customers."

Steven Cohen, Executive Director, The Earth Institute, Columbia University "Nobody comes to New York to study environment but people need to be educated anyway. The best example is NYC mayor, Michael Bloomberg who has embraced sustainability after being rather distant from the area."

Speech by Charles Best, Founder, DonorsChoose.org: a cool way to donate to classrooms around the country. Crate and Barrel was the first client and Sonic followed. "This project illustrates the power of crowdsourcing and integrating your charitable giving directly into the product."

Panel: International aid: Striking the balance

The role of businesses in addressing international aid concerns
Re-directing aid flows towards business and entrepreneurial opportunities
Increasing public-private partnerships
The impact of these partnerships in emerging market countries

Matt Lonner, Manager, Global Partnerships and Programs, Chevron; President, Chevron Foundations: "We rely on partnerships on delivering our aid. They take a lot of work. We bring expertise to the table, not only dollars." "Philanthropy vs. development" "nothing is as important as building capacity. A brand new school is nothing if you don't have good teachers."

Susan Smith Ellis, Chief Executive Officer, (RED): "When there are so many good initiatives in place, it isn't very effective to start your own thing. Need to put ego aside and become open to collaboration." "Using your expertize and best practices to solving a certain problem is a great contribution." "People won't buy a product just because you painted it red and people need to believe in order to stand by your product." "Being a small company, we leveraged big companies with excellent marketing."

Gary White, Co-founder and Executive Director, Water.org: "We help philanthropy funds reach the needy via micro-financing." "We aim to correct the existing market failure through providing access to small loans." "We came to PepsiCo and they found water a strategic philanthropy opportunity. PepsiCo recognized it as a smart idea; using credit instead of charity is more sustainable." "Microcredit requires a very solid business plan. Business acumen is crucial in this sector." "Democratization of information is among our areas of focus. This has the potential to touch the poor broadly." "We need to bring the price of water down through conservation." "Gaining access to water is the first step in climbing the social ladder for a lot of poor of the world."

Speech on creative capitalism by Scott Griffith, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Zipcar

"Creative capitalism, a term introduced by Bill Gates at Davos World Economic Forum. In the term "CSR" the social is the important word. Doing well by doing good will become the standard policy in the future. Important forces that will make this happen: 1)Conscious consumers; 2)Access to information and social web; 3)Emerging technology platforms such as IPhone. A new application can access millions and achieve a great impact. All this has the potential to unleash significant and innovation."

Jonathan M. Tisch, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Loews Hotels: "Customers and employees are very important. While the bottom line is important, you also have to deliver on the brand promise. Respect and have an appreciation for what all your employees do." "Partnering with your competitors is important if we want to solve the big issues." On partnering with the government: The Travel Promotion Act to promote the US brand abroad in order to bring more international visitors.
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Monday, March 15, 2010

Live from Economist's Corporate Citizenship 2010 Conference

I'm tweeting from event - follow me @luciacandu and blogging live here.

Matthew Bishop, US Business Editor, New York Bureau Chief, The Economist is presenting his new book, The Road from Ruin and introducing the first speaker, Jeffrey b. Swartz, President and Chief Executive Officer of Timberland.

Jeffrey b. Swartz: "The belief that 'you can do more with less' has generated a lot innovation." On sustainabilty at Timberland: "Our products endure...they are made to last a lifetime:" "to be aware, accountable and energized to make things better." Takes off his boot and explains that the Timberland sole rubber is made of used tires taken from landfills. 45 Timberland employees lost their jobs in the recent months and Jeff says he's "fully accountable for that." "One area that we need to still engage in the future is public policy and government."

The panel "The role of Corporate Citizenship" A question of morals

Each panelist came with a statement answering these questions:

What is the place of socially responsible practices in the work place?
Are businesses stepping in where the government is failing?
Good business sense or just good PR?
The new discipline of ethical leadership
Does corporate citizenship distract from the fundamental economic role of businesses?
Can corporate citizenship boost economic growth?

Dr. Chris MacDonald, Associate Professor, Saint Mary’s University, Author, The Business Ethics Blog: "The business has never been as responsible as today although that shouldn't be a reason for complacency."

Alex Cummings, Chief Administrative Officer, Executive Vice President, The Coca-Cola Company: "We are as sustainable as the communities were we work;" "We typically work with governments in those areas where there is mutual benefit;" "We try to set examples and it's the best way to influence governments around the world." "We shouldn't legislate consumer behavior or lifestyle. Consumers must have choice." "CSR is not to mitigate against legislature. It is what is good for business." "In the future, consumers won't buy products from unsustainable and irresponsible companies."

Melanie P. Healey, Group President, North America, Procter & Gamble
"Since we touch over 4 billion consumers every day. We don't have a choice but to grow responsibly and sustainably both socially and environmentally." "We started a program in Africa - Future Friendly (an education platform) - with the UN but we soon we realized we could implement it without the support of local government and nongoverment. The intersection of these sectors is where the magic happens." "Regarding diapers: our goal is to think across the entire lifecycle of our products, not to cancel the product which is in great demand" "We are making each generation of the product more sustainable than the previous", "Underserved consumers in the developing countries can't afford to use of diapers so it's a challenge to provide an affordable product for the underserved and then bringing it back to the developed world."

Robert A. G. Monks, Principal, Lens Governance Advisors "Corporations should be refrained from influencing the government either by lobbying or political financing" "Corporations should see opportunities when the government is less accountable."

Jeffrey Hollender asks the panelists about the negative impacts these companies haven't been able to address. Coca-Cola is aware of its high carbon footprint and use of water, is concerned and is managing it down to the best of their abilities.
P&G: "Our biggest frustration is to reach underserved consumers. We haven't managed to provide products that meet their needs and this is part of our mission."

Interview with Fred Krupp, President, Environmental Defense Fund:
"Corporate partnerships are another form of changing the world", "EDF partners such as McDonalds, WalMart and KKR are helping reduce climate change", "Advocacy works better than lawsuits with companies", "Jobs are not created because of uncertainty in the energy sector"

Business, politics and priorities :Ben Cohen, Co-Founder, Ben & Jerry’s

Religion - State - Busines as illustrated by the biggest buildings in the world. Today is business - today's biggest influencer. Business yet has to achieve the most important purpose in the world. 'Proactively using the power of business to improve the quality of life" is the ultimate goal. The US has to utilize its position as leader of the world in order to set example to the rest of the world. It is far from doing this but there is hope. Business is well qualified to step in because everyone listens when business talks. If business decided to use its power in the benefit of the broader societal interests and not its narrow interests, things could changed significantly. If Pentagon were a business it would run out of business. It's spending is out of control. The nuclear arsenal is HUGE and if we would cut that spending by 2% (10 billion dollars per year) we would be able to save all the starving kids (6,000,000) of the world." Ben shows the Oreo presentation to show the huge descrepancy of the US military spending compared to other areas and to that of other countries (Russia, China, etc).

President Bill Clinton, Clinton Global Initiative talked about the work of CGI in healthcare and Haiti. We are far from having solved the problems there and he is worried about donor fagigue. "I hope the 12 INGs will post their work & contract in the same way we expect the Haitian government to." About the corporate role in Haiti: "a lot of things pending" including housing, power. The private sector is doing good. An astonishing development is that Haitian neighbors (Mexico, South America, Central America) are there to help; they outnumber Americans, Europeans and Canadians. For 1 million dollars we can make Haiti completely self-sufficient in fishing. This is Haiti's big chance to rebuild the country in an inclusive way.
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Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Economist's Corporate Citizenship 2010 Conference in New York

The Economist is organizing its annual CSR conference next week in New York: Corporate Citizenship 2010 Doing Well by Doing Good . As one of the top CSR blogs according to a Fast Company ranking, Corporate and Responsible Blog received press credentials for this event. I attended last year's conference and covered it here and here and am now looking forward to next week's event.

In addition to blogging and tweeting from the conference which will feature an array of distinguished speakers, I will interview Dominique Conseil, Aveda's president. He will speak as part of the Sustainability: The Current Climate panel. I will talk with Dominique about Aveda's social and environmental leadership. Aveda has been a leader in sustainability for more than 30 years and I am eager to learn about their story.

In anticipation of an interesting interview, here is some information on Dominique and his contribution to Aveda.

As President of Aveda since July 2000, Dominique Nils Conseil is responsible for leading the company in developing its professional beauty business worldwide while ensuring Aveda lives its Mission through all activities. Under Dominique Conseil’s leadership, Aveda has aggressively grown top and bottom lines while upholding its dedication to environmental and social responsibility. Conseil’s work ethic is built upon a business “ecosystem” in which economic and environmental goals are synergistic. Aveda’s spectacular improvement of corporate social performance since 2000, alongside impressive growth in sales and profit, proves his point.

Conseil focuses Aveda on anticipating the needs of salon/spa professionals and their guests. Aveda brings a sustainable business model to the salon/spa industry based on guest retention, selective distribution, and high sales productivity helping salons grow while enhancing creative individuality. For Conseil, Aveda stakeholders form a network where “the success of one is the success of all.” Under Conseil’s leadership, Aveda has developed its direct salon service capacity, bringing the company closer to its customers. Aveda’s experiential company-owned retail stores introduce new guests to “the Aveda experience” and refer them for services to concept salons/spas. Together, salons, spas, schools, stores and lifestyle salons/spas constitute the Aveda business ecosystem. As the Aveda leader, Conseil encourages colleagues and network members to volunteer for non-profit causes: “At Aveda, Beauty is as Beauty Does.” Earth Month fundraising grew from $300,000 in 1999 to $3,200,000 in 2009.

Conseil also enhanced Aveda’s commitment to the CERES principles (Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies) by taking its sustainability reporting to a new level. Under his leadership, Aveda factors socio-environmental goals into the earliest stages of design and project development, leading the company to be the first in beauty and third across global industries to receive a Cradle to Cradle® sustainability endorsement in 2009.

A native of Sweden, Conseil holds a Masters Degree in Management and a degree in Oriental Languages and Civilizations both from French faculties. He speaks several European and Asian languages.
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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Christine Bader presents on business & human rights at February CSR Social in New York

The February CSR Social - part of a series of monthly events organized by The New York Corporate Social Responsibility Group - gathered quite a crowd at the Vig Bar in New York. The New York CSR community was eager to hear Christine Bader, former Manager of Policy Development for BP, now an Advisor to the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for business and human rights.

Christine gave the crowd an overview of how business and human rights relate to each other. The modern international human rights framework was created as a government-based system, but clearly companies can impact all rights, so have a responsibility to at least not infringe on those rights.

The SRSG has put forth a conceptual framework, unanimously accepted by the Human Rights Council in 2008, to help all stakeholders manage business and human rights challenges. The U.N. "Protect, Respect, Remedy" framework is made up of three pillars: the state duty to protect against human rights abuses by third parties, including business; the corporate responsibility to respect human rights, which means to avoid infringing on the rights of others; and greater access to remedy for victims of corporate-related abuse.

The SRSG’s mandate was extended by the Human Rights Council until 2011 to operationalize the framework. Christine is managing an online forum to gather views from a wide range of stakeholders on the corporate responsibility to respect pillar: SRSG Consultation. All are encouraged to register and contribute!

Thank you, Christine, for a great presentation and for your work in the CSR field!
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