Thursday, 26 July 2012

The Truth Will Out: Integration (Triple Pundit, By Ashley Coale - CSRHub)

So what exactly did Unilever CMO Keith Weed mean when he told the annual Marketing Society audience  in London at the end of last year that CSR departments have become redundant? Well, besides meaning to be just a little bit provocative, he also meant that the time has come to look past add-on CSR units within a corporation and start thinking about integration.
Calling a CSR department redundant wasn’t Weed’s way of saying CSR or sustainability efforts no longer have value. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Much like the example that Unilever is striving to set, integrated sustainability means putting sustainable principles into every facet of business operations. CSR is not the sole purvey of corporate affairs, the corporate foundation, the marketing department or even facilities. It’s part of all these departments and more. With integration, sustainability drives strategy, planning and the core of what and who the business is.
Companies that put integrated sustainability into practice strive to build a culture of environmental and social responsibility. Fostering a culture that embraces these values down to every decision is an effective way to standardize and insure compliance. (See Bertel’s Framework for more on this idea). Leaders such as Inteland Cisco incorporate sustainability goals – among other core frameworks – into individual employee performance reviews and base bonuses on successful achievement of these goals.
Intel and Cisco, among other leaders, also work to integrate sustainability into governance strategy. Board-level planning and decisions to embed sustainability into strategy reinforces this type of corporate culture. It also pushes the company to take a longer-term approach and innovate for the future challenges of a resource-constrained world. (For more on Intel and Cicso, check out their ratings on CSRHubIntel scores a 66 andCisco scores a 69.)
With the whole team on board, and executive reinforcement, there is no longer an isolated CSR effort. Instead, sustainability becomes a part of each decision, product and service. Nike’s Considered Design is an example of sustainability at conception, design and production of a product. Rather than looking at how to reduce impact after the product is made and shipped, Nike has taken a leadership role in employing principles of sustainable design right from the start. Integrated sustainability means thinking about this challenge every step of the way and in every conference room, office, assembly line and factory.

Monday, 16 July 2012

How business can help people improve their health and wellbeing (The Guardian)

Unilever's chief marketing officer argues that cross sector partnerships are critical to creating the transformation required to tackle threats to health and wellbeing

As part of our Sustainable Living Plan, Unilever has made a commitment to helping more than one billion people take action to improve their health and wellbeing by 2020.
Delivering on this commitment won't be easy. At Unilever, we believe that public/private partnerships are critical to creating the type of transformational change needed to tackle threats to the future health and wellbeing of people in need and achieve our sustainability goals.
An estimated 2.5 billion people - over half of the developing world's population - do not have access to improved sanitation. Of these, 1.1 billion people have no sanitation facilities at all, and practise open defecation, which poses the greatest threat to human health.

Children are particularly vulnerable: poor sanitation is a leading cause of diarrhoea, which results in at least 1.1 million deaths of children under five annually. In the developing world, one child dies of diarrhoea every 20 seconds; a statistic that I personally find appalling.

The Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 7c is to halve, by 2015, the proportion of the global population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. Unilever has been actively addressing the lack of access to safe drinking water, and delivering against our goal of making safe drinking water available and affordable to 500 million people. The recent launch of Waterworks, a non-profit initiative that will provide safe drinking water to those most in need, serves as an example of our commitment.

But sanitation is an area that has been largely neglected by most companies, NGOs and governments. At the current rate, the sanitation MDG target will not be met until 2026. Open defecation remains a very real problem that needs to be addressed more decisively if we want to safeguard the future of children around the world.

Raising awareness of the sanitation crisis is particularly relevant this week as South Sudan – a country in which access to sanitation is estimated to be below 10% in some areas – celebrates its first anniversary as a country.
The Unilever Foundation and Domestos, our toilet hygiene brand, have joined forces with UNICEF to help improve access to basic sanitation by supporting UNICEF's Community Approaches to Total Sanitation (CATS) programme. We will contribute to changing the behaviour of hundreds of thousands of people through sanitation programmes that promote good hygiene practices, help create demand for toilets and raise awareness for the sanitation crisis. In the first year, the programmes we are supporting will help 400,000 people to start living in open defecation free communities in nine countries across Africa and Asia – including South Sudan.
Together with our partners, we will deliver life-saving solutions that help improve the quality of people's lives, and in turn, drive significant and scalable social change. Unless we do so, the children of South Sudan, and of other countries around the world, will not be able to build a future for their countries.
Keith Weed is chief marketing and communications officer at Unilever