CSRwire reports the top sustainability and corporate social responsibility news for April 2013.
By Joe Sibilia
It’s no wonder ratings and awards attract attention. This past month, viewers saw a splattering of headlines with keywords such as business ranking, sustainability report, annual report and positive impact. Why do these words catch attention? Because it’s business—and it’s competitive—and everyone loves a winner.
Let’s start with the top news:
Combine all three into one news story and you get our most popular news story for the month of April. B Lab came in at number one for its Best for the World ranking with Founder Jay Coen Gilbert giving only half the credit to financial returns – the other half being the companies' social and environmental impact.
The second most popular story for April was issued by a relative newcomer. United Business Media organized the Business4Better conference recently and forming the basis of the event was a report showcasing how two thirds of ‘mid sized’ companies are seeking to enhance and establish their CSR initiatives.
Take heart in case you missed the event as Business4Better is bringing the show to Brazil, India, U.K. and the U.S. in coming months.
Unilever is leading the way on so many issues that it’s almost a full time job keeping track of all their initiatives. Earlier this month, we hosted a live Twitter chat that reached over one million Twitter accounts and received millions in impressions, in one hour, helping the hashtag #SustLiving ‘trend’ worldwide within the hour. News that Unilever is now sourcing over one-third of its agricultural raw materials sustainably while growing its business made the number three spot for April.
Now, let’s take a look at the most read reports:
We’re seeing a whole new approach emerge in engaging stakeholders through CSR Reports. At CSRwire, our audience includes journalists, analysts, activists, academics, investors, public relations, investor relations and public policy professionals. It’s one of the most diverse audiences of stakeholders out there, and while they all might be seeking different threads of news from CSRwire members, an opportunity to engage directly connects them. And, they respond – in increasing numbers – to webinars and Twitter chats that are engaging, provocative and informative.
Think of them as modern-day ‘earnings calls’.
With skyrocketing healthcare costs, aging baby boomers and millions of Millennials entering the workforce without affordable healthcare, its not surprising that a healthcare provider's Social Responsibility Report was the number one report for April. Heath Care Service Corporation, the country's largest customer-owned health insurer and fourth largest health insurer overall, embedded a video in their release, providing great context and inspiring the reader to hear more.
How are you innovating your next report?
April was not the first month Rockwell Automation featured among the top candidates for its CSR Report. This month they came in number two. If you didn’t get a chance to read it the first time, try again. I want to take a trip to Milwaukee just to take a look at the 48,000 square feet of flowers on their roof.
As for the third place, Verizon is leading the way in reporting on its financial and corporate responsibility performance and its latest Integrated Report continued to gain attention from readers.
What got people talking on Talkback?
The most popular blog this month showcased – once again – Unilever’s role in challenging its own value chain with Chief Procurement Officer Marc Engel outlining the approach Unilever is taking while succinctly suggesting a new paradigm:
“We see and support a shift from looking predominantly at avoiding the environmental ‘negatives’ to actively enabling positive social impact.”
The impact every large multinational has on our quality of life brings us closer to our humanness.
In a classic case of how you can amplify your news by complimenting self-reporting with objective commentary, Jay Coen Gilbert's piece on B Lab's ‘Best for the World’ ranking came in as the second most popular blog for the month of April.
In third place was a reflective piece by Edelman's Carol Cone and Jackie Murphy with great content, statistics and a warning to those that think CSR/purpose-driven business is just another fad. Some of their quotes are worth mentioning:
“Creating products that perform and have a social purpose makes them more appealing to consumers, when aligned with performance attributes and personal needs.”
“… consumers are now ‘citizens’ of the world and expect companies and brands to have active engagement in social and environmental issues."
Way to go, Carol and Jackie.
An interesting analytics phenomenon occurred in April with a press release issued by McDonald's almost 10 years ago that’s receiving a lot of attention – the release announced results of the company's first CSR Report. Whether this is the result of researchers pouring through our database, classroom attention, a result of the company’s recent innovations or an interest in McDonalds’ history as a corporate citizen, we’re not quite sure. Regardless, we’ll be hearing more from McDonald’s in the near future and will keep you updated.
Thank you for your readership and your desire to change business as usual. You can connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.