Author Archives: Audrey Roth

Whole Planet Foundation Launches 2017 Prosperity Campaign

Austin, Texas—On Wednesday, March 1, Whole Planet Foundation will launch its 12th Prosperity Campaign, which funds microfinance organizations and microcredit loans to alleviate poverty in regions where Whole Foods Market sources products. The organization’s focus is on women in the developing world, where small loans can help entrepreneurs create a better life. The campaign’s goal is to raise $3.2 million during the month of March to fund microcredit loans, increasing the foundation’s current reach of 15 U.S. cities and 69 countries. Whole Foods Market shoppers can get involved by making donations at store checkouts or online. Because Whole Foods Market covers all of the foundation’s operational costs, 100 percent of every dollar donated directly supports Whole Planet Foundation programs. “The Prosperity Campaign is such an integral part of our work, not only because of the money we are able to raise, but because of the connections we make with Whole Foods Market customers who care about alleviating poverty,” said Joy Stoddard, Whole Planet Foundation development and outreach director.

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Yum! Brands Announces Expanded Parental Leave Policy

Louisville, KY—Yum! Brands has announced an expanded parental time-off policy as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to its people-first culture and investment in its employees. The expanded parental time-off policy offers birth mothers 18 weeks of fully paid time away from work, including six weeks of “baby bonding” time. In addition, the policy offers six weeks of fully paid “baby bonding” time away from work to fathers, partners, adoptive, and foster parents. Yum! Brands, KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell employees at its U.S. headquarters in Louisville, Plano, Texas, and Irvine, Calif., as well as other company restaurant leaders across the country, can take advantage of the policy immediately. “As we transform Yum! Brands into a more growth-focused brand builder and global franchisor, investing in our unrivaled culture while engaging and attracting talent is a top priority,” Tracy Skeans, chief transformation and people officer at Yum! Brands, said. “This expanded parental time off and baby bonding benefit builds on our strong legacy of investing in our people and culture to fuel great results and continuously providing meaningful ways to help our employees contribute their best at work and at home.

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Walmart Introduces Science-Based Targets and Other Sustainable Initiatives

Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon recently outlined a roadmap that will guide the company’s role in society on critical issues over the next several years, pointing to a “new era of trust and transparency.” The roadmap adds new detail to Walmart’s sustainability agenda and contains new commitments that reflect a wider recognition of the company’s impact on communities and the planet. Walmart is the first retailer with an emissions-reduction plan approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative, in alignment with the Paris Climate Agreement in December 2015. Under the approved plan, Walmart will use a combination of energy-efficiency measures, together with a commitment to source half of the company’s energy needs from renewable sources, to achieve an 18 percent emissions reduction in its own operations by 2025. Additionally, Walmart will work with suppliers to reduce emissions by 1 Gigaton by 2030, equivalent to taking more than 211 million passenger vehicles off of U.

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Putting Capital In Communities

Screen Shot 2017-02-06 at 11.02.38 AM Non-profit CEO Terri Ludwig unlocks potential in underserved areas through impact investments. by Elliot Clark Prioritizing corporate responsibility can mean creating hiring diversity initiatives or reducing a company's carbon footprint, but for some, it radically reshapes the way they do business. Case in point: Terri Ludwig. This financial aficionado and president and CEO of Enterprise Community Partners decided to use her Wall Street smarts to give back to underprivileged communities through investments in low-income housing. As a result of her efforts, she won the 2015 Responsible CEO of the Year Award at the COMMIT! Forum in October 2015. Here, she discusses the reality of poverty in America, her 15 years in the community investment market, and what she's doing to reach her goal of housing 1 million low-income families by 2020. Elliot Clark: You started life in southern Illinois but now you're in the Big Apple. And you went from investment banking, which is usually perceived as sort of a heartless business in many respects, to low income housing community investment.

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Shining Bright

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The Editors
Our annual spotlight on the best of the best providers and practitioners in corporate responsibility. While strong leadership is an essential trait for executives in corporate responsibility, demonstrating this attribute while performing important tasks, practicing sustainable habits, contributing to the company's bottom line, and driving others to perform exceptionally is worth acknowledgement. CR Magazine honors those who demonstrate a superior dedication to CR that is evident in every aspect of their daily lives. The CR Superstar is someone who lives and breathes sustainability and encourages everyone around them to participate in creating a better business environment. This is our annual list of outstanding CR thought leaders—successful individuals who were nominated by their industry peers, CR Magazine staff, and the Corporate Responsibility Association for their groundbreaking ideas, high-level thinking, and impressive leadership.

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Brand Action

shutterstock_233674759 The role and responsibility of companies, communicators, and citizens, according to Starbucks. By Corey duBrowa Today, more than ever, customers care about a brand's actions and what that brand stands for. Edelman's 2016 Trust Barometer found that 50 percent of respondents have lost trust in businesses because of their lack of contributions to "society's greater good," and 62 percent of earned brand respondents said they will not buy from a brand that fails to meet its societal obligations. It's clear that corporate responsibility initiatives can no longer be second tier priorities; they must be core to the business. Starbucks chairman and CEO, Howard Schultz, posed the following question at the company's annual meeting of shareholders last year: "What is the role and responsibility of a public, for-profit company?" At this year's meeting, he asked a new question: "What is the role and responsibility of all of us, as citizens?" Schultz often speaks about the importance of "leading through the lens of humanity.

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Acing Philanthropy Goals

Screen Shot 2017-02-02 at 4.23.57 PM By The Editors Ace Hardware Foundation's president talks charity initiatives and how other businesses can follow their lead. When it comes to serving communities on a global scale, Kane Calamari understands the value of entrepreneurship and creating unique buyer experiences. /4s president of the Ace Hardware Foundation, and vice president of human resources, organizational development, and communications at Ace Hardware, Calamari oversees the world's largest hardware cooperative. The "cooperative" designation means that more than 4,800 of Ace's stores are locally owned and operated by entrepreneurs all across the globe. The organization hopes that this business model will bring added value to communities and allow each store to give back through local, philanthropic initiatives. Companies are increasingly becoming more aware of how important giving is. According to the National Philanthropic Trust, corporate giving in 2015 increased to $18.46 billion—a 3. 9 percent increase from 2014.

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Liquid Laws

Liquid Laws
America's New Clean Water Rule affects business—what companies can do to mitigate the legislation successfully. By Marta Chmielowicz America's New Clean Water Rule affects business—what companies can do to mitigate the legislation successfully. Clean water is in abundance in the U.S. today, but that was not always the case. As recently as 45 years ago, U. S. rivers were so polluted that they were catching fire, Lake Erie was deemed "dead," and only 60 percent of drinking water met safety standards. The Clean Water Act (CWA) dramatically improved this situation, reducing the number of polluted waterways in the U.S. from more than 60 percent in 1972 to 35 percent in 2012. But according to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) most recent National Water Quality Inventory, the work is far from over. Of the total miles of water formally assessed, 55 percent of rivers, 71 percent of lakes, and 78 percent of shorelines were reported to be in poor condition—unfit for swimming, drinking, or fishing. Enter the Clean Water Rule, or Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. By reaffirming the connected nature of waterways and reducing ambiguity around the extent of the EPA's jurisdiction, the rule seeks to address some of the main limitations of the CWA.

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Higher Impact Portfolios Can Outperform

Screen Shot 2017-02-02 at 3.41.19 PM By R. Paul Herman Solving human and environmental problems with investment portfolios builds a better world—and can yield higher income and profits too. Would a responsible executive purposefully invest their retirement money to underpay people, destroy nature, or foster corruption? Today's business world can be quite volatile, and if people choose to operate in this way— intentionally or not—their portfolios might not survive. Alternatively, why not intentionally invest retirement in companies that pay a fair wage, efficiently use natural resources and replenish them, and act transparently in balance with all of society? A retirement fund can help build a better world and—as real-world evidence and academic studies show—bear greater financial rewards. Investing for impact is a compelling theme—one that garners 21 percent market share as of 2016, and represents nearly $9 trillion of invested assets, according to the U.S. Sustainable Investing Foundation.

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