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Sustainability/CSR

Apple Highlights Environmental Efforts, Counters Greenwashing Charges

Apple has suffered from significant challenges to its reputation for ethics and business practices due to dirty laundry aired during its ongoing legal battles.

But when it comes to CSR and particularly environmental practices, the company seems to be doing fairly well. Today brought this campaign anticipating Earth Day:

As several outlets have noted, it’s not simply a high-budget video documenting internal operations.

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THIS JUST IN: McDonald’s to Purchase Sustainable Beef in 2016. Wait, What?

THIS JUST IN 2Typically, a story about ecofriendly, locavore, foodie shenanigans would be a nice #PRWin for any brand. However, when something like that comes from the Golden Arches of McDonald’s, that pungent fishy smell ain’t the filet under the hot lamp, kids.

Just in case you thought a solar flares shot across the sky and scorched your retina, you did read that headline correctly. According to CNBC, McDonald’s believes everyone will ignore that Mr. Ed, Trigger and Heigh-Ho Silver make up the Quarter Pounder, McNuggets and Big Mac and begin buying sustainable beef in 2016.

Because it’s all about paying it forward, ‘Merica?!

Yeah, right…

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Carson of Downton Abbey Makes a Creepy Santa Claus in Greenpeace PSA


Before you ask: no, Carson will not be replacing Brody on Homeland.

Greenpeace recruited everyone’s favorite sexually repressed butler to spread the message about climate change by posing as Santa and warning that his home in the North Pole will soon disappear (and take Christmas along with it) thanks to the melting of Arctic ice.

As noted on the group’s blog, the campaign includes a “Save Santa’s Home” petition, though you’ll have to forgive us for wondering how giving the org your contact information will help curb climate change. Vladimir Putin isn’t going to listen to Madonna and Jude Law, no matter how many millions of anonymous signers they have behind them.

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POLL: Americans Favor Legalizing Marijuana for First Time in U.S. History

To paraphrase an old folk song from the 60s: “The times they are a’ baking.” It’s no secret that this country is getting more liberal with its collective ideology. That’s not to say ACLU-card carrying “bleeding hearts,” hyper-political folk. The word technically refers to people who are not necessarily opposed to new ideas or ways of behaving that are not traditional or widely accepted.

Take this latest Gallup poll as Exhibit A:

Gallup Poll

Since the 60s, when America was puff-puff-passing more than most, to now, that “liberalism” of thinking has become more pervasive than ever before. And now, as Gallup notes, more than 58 percent of America is now down with buying a bong and keeping it watered-down.

Why?

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CSR Is More Valuable Than Ever…or Is It?

Everyone agrees that CSR efforts are extremely important for big-name corporate clients, right?

No, seriously: we don’t know the answer to that question, and it all comes back to the biggest challenge in the industry: drawing a solid line between point A and point $.

First: The results from data king Nielsen’s latest Global Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility have already inspired headlines about CSR cementing its place as a crucial element of the big name PR equation.

Its basic finding: 50% of consumers surveyed in 58 countries say they’re willing to pay more for goods and services from companies that have “implemented programs to give back to society.” That number increased in ¾ of the countries surveyed, rising 5% in total since 2011. And the “yes” votes were highest in the crucial under-30 demo.

No surprises there. The only finding that we didn’t expect is the 12-point increase in pro-CSR sentiment among the 40-45 demo. Seems like CSR’s value has become clearer to all parties, no?

Maybe.

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Why the Public Is Cynical About ‘Green’ Products

Public relations professionals face no greater adversary than cynicism. Public disappointment, apathy or even anger are tough, but cynicism is a killer–it’s the main reason brands that falsely claim to be “eco-friendly” may never regain the public’s trust.

Various products have made “green”, “environmentally sustainable” claims for decades, but in recent years the trend materialized into a billion dollar movement—one that captivated consumers and their dollars, and then lost that good will faster than BP can say “Gulf of Mexico.” According to this article in Advertising Age, consumers continue to do what they can to save the environment–but they are no longer as willing to pay more for green products. Why? Read more

Will Americans Buy into Energy-Efficient Cars?

The American public has had a long and complicated relationship with the automobile.

Cars once symbolized freedom, rebellion and adventure, and the open road reached out to all of us: rebellious teenagers, vacationing suburban families, slick hot rod enthusiasts, rootless counter-culture drifters and middle-aged husbands alike.

Then things changed.

The Ford Mustang, the classic Cadillac and macho GTO took a back seat to more energy-efficient cars made by employees living on the other side of the planet. Foreign-built cars were more reliable, less expensive and–most importantly–got better gas mileage. The American automobile industry has never been the same. Read more

Research: Workers Seeking Companies That Make a Difference

With the most recent employment numbers showing little improvement, you’d think most people would be clamoring for any job that would have them. Not true.

According to “Talent Report: What Workers Want in 2012,” research conducted by Net Impact, young workers are looking for jobs that are in line with their values and result in a positive difference in the world. More than half (58 percent) of student respondents say they will take a pay cut to find a job that matches their value system.

Net Impact polled 1,726 people, from college students to workers across generations, millennials to baby boomers.

Half of students say it’s important to work for a company that makes CSR a top priority. That figure falls to 38 percent when you look at more experienced workers, but half or more of both students and older workers agree that having a job that helps create a better world is important.

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Not All Green News is Good News, Americans Say

You see those ads about big companies cleaning up oil spills and ads about huge firms taking steps to “go green.” But do you believe them?

Not really. Results from the third annual “Gibbs & Soell Sense & Sustainability Study” show despite news coverage on corporations going green, most consumers are still highly skeptical of corporate commitment to the environment. But they are still intrigued.

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H+K Launches Sustainability Reporting Tool

Hill+Knowlton Strategiessustainability and CSR practice has launched an integrated reporting tool that brings together financial, environmental, social, and governance data together into one form.

The firm has partnered with Harvard Business School professor Robert Eccles and his firm Glenelg Partners on the new offering. Eccles’ research has found that companies that have taken big steps in the areas of sustainability and good governance do better financially in the long run, both for themselves and for investors. As such, this tool is being touted as a way to improve the financial performance of those who use it.

“Investors find less risk in more transparent companies because there is less uncertainty about their ability to deliver expected financial performance,” Eccles says in a statement.

Robert Ludke, SVP of H+K’s D.C. office will lead this new service and Eccles will advise.

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