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Posts Tagged ‘CSR’

Millennial Investors More Focused on CSR as a Value Indicator

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Ever had trouble convincing your clients of the value of CSR efforts? We’re guessing the answer to that question is “yes” because, in most cases, businesses judge the importance of public sentiment on the degree to which it influences investor relations.

We found a recent piece in The Guardian encouraging in that regard, however: as the average age of the investor class goes down, its interest in CSR and “profit with purpose” goes up.

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Apple: ‘No, We Don’t Get Our Supplies from Murderous Congolese Warlords’

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Apple made a big move on the CSR front this morning (not that any of its acolytes care): the company released its annual “Supplier Responsibility Report” clarifying that none of the the materials used in the metals that form its products come from “areas engaged in warfare.”

This statement means that Apple does not do direct or indirect business with the warlords who run the “conflict minerals” trade in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Ever seen Blood Diamonds? Same story, different country.

Of course this is Apple, so the report doubles as a beautiful piece of not-quite-interactive content explaining the many facets of its CSR efforts. There’s a screenshot after the jump…

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CVS Quits Smoking, Gets Defensive About It

16601_10152165436598116_438158652_nThis morning’s biggest CSR news comes via the country’s largest pharmacy chain. As announced in this press release, CVS Caremark will stop selling all tobacco products at its more than 6,000 U.S. locations on October 1st, 2014.

The change comes in the wake of a January surgeon general’s report, which arrived exactly 50 years after the first and tied smoking even more directly to diseases like diabetes, colon cancer and erectile dysfunction (eek). The company spun it as a way of aligning its services and interests, which include public health—nice copy on the tagline, BTW. Here’s the key quote from CEO Larry J. Merlo:

 ”Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health. Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose.”

This is a very smart move for several reasons.

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Edelman Trust Barometer Results: It’s CSR Time

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The big conclusion everyone’s drawn from the 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer is that the public’s confidence in both media and government has hit a low point. The most important metric is supposedly a jump in the gap between trust in business and trust in government, and the only three notable countries in which the latter trumps the former are South Korea, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates.

Hold on, though: this doesn’t mean that we’re about to enter some neo-Libtertarian utopia.

The findings can be summed up with three big letters: CSR.

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Top 10 Social Media Wins of 2013

Next round of likes is on us

The next round of “likes” is on us…

We already shared the worst of social media in 2013, so here’s to the best…or at least our own approximation of it.

OBVIOUS DISCLAIMER IS OBVIOUS: Yes, this list is highly subjective and you’re going to see some repetition/glaring omissions. But such is the nature of year-end clickbait, no?

Here, then, are the stories that demonstrated what social media meant to us and our industry in 2013.

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Nelson Mandela’s Death Should Breathe New Life into PR

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“Difficulties break some men but make others. No axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a sinner who keeps on trying, one armed with the hope that he will rise even in the end.” ~Nelson Mandela (1918 — 2013)

He was a Nobel peace prize winner. He is the sole reason millions of oppressed South Africans live free from apartheid. He was the global emblem of human rights for decades. He was the former president of South Africa, and the liberator of a nation.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was known as “Madiba,” “Tata,” “Khulu,” “46664″ and a father figure to the world. And PR agencies can learn a thing or two from the enormous footsteps he left for us to follow…

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A ‘Happier Meal’? I’m Not Lovin’ It.

Happy-Meal-Sad-MealBack in my fare burgh, health and family reporter Nancy Churnin has a lovely question posed to her readers but it should get the ears perked of us flacks: “Changes coming to the Happy Meal. PR stunt or the real thing?

(SPOILER ALERT: It’s McDonalds. There is no real thing there.)

According to the story, McDonald’s latest CSR campaign is going to be a partnership with Reading Is Fundamental. This is a valiant cause, and as the honored spouse to an elementary school teacher, one that requires more attention — but through a Happy Meal?

Are we sacrificing one cause for another? Fight illiteracy to ignore childhood obesity?! The goal is to get 20 million books to kids by giving out paperback books instead of toys for two weeks in November. Two weeks. That’s it, and probably just enough for the home of the Golden Arches.

However, there’s a rub to this abrasive campaign:

The print books will be shamelessly self-promotional and feature McDonald’s Happy Meal characters learning to eat right by eating guess what? Food you can find at McDonald’s. RIF will help distribute 100,000 Happy Meal Books to kids who don’t have easy access to books, but is the goal really to promote a love of reading or to sell McDonald’s?

Let me get this right: We have the second-largest fast-food conglomerate in the world pimping itself and its brand under the guise of an award-winning publisher’s ardent cause? Granted, the clowns at McDonald’s (see what I did there) have the Ronald McDonald House – also very admirable of causes — but why not focus on its own charity instead of making its number one item better by offering a free commercial color-by-numbers book that is printed by someone else?

That’s not PR. That’s not CSR. That barely marketing. It’s an issue of ethics. A big, deep-fried, artery-hardening, fat issue of ethics.

Study: CSR and Charity More Valuable Than Ever, Especially Among Hispanics

shutterstock_76636639One thing that pretty much every Millennial consumer study tells us is that young people greatly appreciate brands that act responsibly, even if they don’t always have the time to research the nitty gritty or compare and contrast which businesses live up to their taglines.

A recent study by Cone Communications, however, went a bit deeper. Some findings:

  • 88% of the public wants to learn more about what companies with existing CSR programs are doing
  • 94% of Hispanic Americans say they’re “very likely” to switch brands based on CSR efforts (compared to 89% in the population at large)
  • 75% of Hispanics have already donated to charities this year (65% among general public)

The basic conclusions are obvious for brands, but we’ll do a little more digging (full study available for download here):

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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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Garment Industry Opts for Makeover After Bangladesh Disaster

The factory collapse that killed more than 1,100 people in Bangladesh this April is by no means the first tragedy to strike the garment industry in recent years—but it does look like the culmination of an ongoing PR challenge that could reshape the way major clothing brands market their products. The earliest evidence of this change comes on social media, where companies that had operations in the factory have already begun responding to the demands of consumers and labor activists.

The New York Times reports that many businesses and industry groups now plan to follow the food industry’s example by offering the public more detailed information about how and where their clothes are made. H&M and Zara have agreed to sign a new “factory safety accord,” and major names like Disney, Nike, and Walmart may follow with campaigns designed to appropriate the “green,” “organic,” and “fair trade” themes favored by food and household goods marketers in recent years. The purpose of this material, of course, will be to highlight the brands’ corporate social responsibility efforts and distance them from horrific accidents like the one in Bangladesh.

It’s nothing new for fashion: upstarts like American Apparel began using their own “fair trade” practices as key selling points some time ago. Yet, despite AA’s success, retailers like Maggie’s Organics and Everlane (tagline “Luxury Basics. Radical Transparency.”) remain few and far between.

Not for long.

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