This week’s guest on Sea Change Radio, Andrew Winston is a sustainability consultant and author who is working to make big corporations understand that they have just as much of an obligation to the planet and community as they do to their shareholders. He and host Alex Wise discuss what Winston dubs The Big Pivot, the need for these large corporations, just like many countries, to use science-based goals to reduce their carbon footprint, embrace renewable energy, and to develop a green strategy that is much more than just window-dressing.
Corporate social responsibility or CSR. What is it, exactly? The Wikipedia entry says “The goal of CSR is to embrace responsibility for a company’s actions and encourage a positive impact through its activities on the environment…and members of the public.” Sounds really good. But not everyone involved in this sort of work embraces the term CSR. Today on Sea Change Radio we’ll talk with Carol Sanford who believes her approach to responsible business is distinct from CSR. And, for those of you who are long-time listeners, you’ll be happy to hear from our second guest, Bill Baue, CSR pioneer and Sea Change Radio Founder. Baue provides a thorough overview of what CSR is and could be, and speaks to why some consultants pushing the business sector to be more mindful of its environmental and social impact don’t use the term CSR.
This week on Sea Change Radio we hear from two people who, on separate coasts and in different ways, are pursuing their missions for a more sustainable future. First, host Alex Wise talks with Kinkead Reiling, Co-Founder of Amyris, a Bay Area bio-refining company that hopes its sugar-derived petroleum substitute will, within a few years, offer a competitive, low-emission, sustainable alternative to jet fuel and diesel. Then, Sea Change Radio founder Bill Baue interviews Bob Massie, a pioneer in the movement toward corporate social responsibility, founder of the Global Reporting Initiative, award-winning author and now a candidate in Massachusetts for the U.S. Senate.
Ceres CEO Mindy Lubber talks about the goals for the conference as well as an overview of some of the key issues facing the Corporate Social Responisibility (CSR) field. Dorjee Sun of Carbon Conservation explains how this carbon offset project developer is creating carbon markets by protecting forests through their reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) program. Canadian activist Maude Barlow talks about the role of corporations in the world’s water supply and reports on the climate justice summit from Cochabamba, Bolivia. And Steve Fludder of GE talks about his company’s ecomagination initiative.
On Thursday, November 19, 2009 at the Carnegie Council in New York City, Sea Change Media’s Bill Baue and Marcy Murninghan presented the preliminary findings of their research fellowship on Web 2.0 and Corporate Accountability for the Harvard Kennedy School Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative. Continue reading
By Bill Baue of Sea Change Media
The United Nations’ 2005 appointment of Harvard Professor John Ruggie as Special Representative on Business and Human Rights shone a spotlight on the often adverse — and until then under-acknowledged — impact of corporations on human rights. The UN gave its imprimatur, but no budget, making Prof. Ruggie’s staggering compendium of accomplishments over the past four years all the more impressive. Invisible behind the research, stakeholder engagement, and public appearances is constant fundraising — and time stolen from his day job and family — to support his vital work.
Sea Change Radio looks at the trend of corporate social responsibility using Web 2.0 tools. In this case, a wiki — BASESwiki, specifically (BASES stands for Business and Society Exploring Solutions.) The project was spearheaded by Caroline Rees of the Harvard Kennedy School Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative. She collaborates there with Professor John Ruggie, who is also the United Nations Special Representative on Business and Human Rights. Working on BASESwiki as part of Ruggie’s team, Rees seeks to leverage the democratic, interactive power of a wiki to gather information on non-judicial dispute resolution at the intersection of business and human rights.
Today, Dada Maheshvarananda meditates on the alternative economic model of Progressive Utilization Theory, or PROUT. Joe Romm of Climate Progress analyzes the climate resolve of the Obama Administration. Lisa Woll of the Social Investment Forum proposes an Office for Innovation in Corporate Social Responsibility to the Obama Administration. And auto and environment expert Jim Motavalli comments on the significance of President Obama’s executive order directing the EPA to reconsider its refusal to grant California a waiver allowing it to regulate greenhouse gases from autos.
The Social Investment Forum (SIF) submitted a letter to President Obama listing a series of policy proposals, from proxy access allowing shareholders to nominate board candidates to “say on pay” giving investors a vote on executive compensation. SIF also urges the Obama Administration to establish an Office for Innovation in Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR. This idea dates back to the early 2000s, propounded first by Susan Aaronson at the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, and supported by a Government Accountability Office report finding major lack of coordination on federal CSR initiatives. SIF CEO Lisa Woll explains the rationale behind the recommendations, and how they will promote advancement toward sustainability.