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Social Media, Sustainability Goals & Nonprofit Innovation: Recapping the Most Read CSR & Sustainability News

CSRwire reports the top sustainability and corporate social responsibility news for May 2013.


by Joe Sibilia

In April, everyone's attention was on ratings, rewards and rankings. In May, the focus shifted to CSR reports and sustainability progress. Let's start with the top news:

1. The Sustainable Living Plan: Unilever to Hold Twitter Chat with Chief Sustainability Officer on Progress, Challenges & a Call to Action

Unilever galloped into the headlines with another phenomenal race to the top of the most widely read and tweeted news story. The announcement of its Twitter chat came in at number one for the month of May. And the results of the chat held later in the month surpassed all expectations. Over 300,000 twitter accounts were reached resulting in over six million impressions.

Unilever's key value drivers include a triumvirate of noble intentions:

  1. Help more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being.
  2. Source 100% of agricultural raw materials sustainably
  3. Halve the environmental footprint of its products across the value chain

As observed by CSRwire's Editorial Director Aman Singh, the fundamental question becomes: "How can the company shift consumption levels and consumer habits to align with its sustainability goals?" When that really happens - everyone wins.

2. Colgate-Palmolive Named to Fortune Magazine’s 2013 List of ‘World’s Most Admired Companies’

Just like Unilever's corporate social responsibility work and strategy shifted with its acquisition of Ben toothpaste& Jerry's, Colgate Palmolive will continue to be influenced by the legacy of Tom's of Maine. Colgate's multiple awards for the year continues to inspire change. It's ranking on Fortune's Most Admired Companies list came in number two for May, continuing the attention focused on the big multinational headliners for the month.

3. Coca-Cola Announces Global Commitments To Help Fight Obesity

Finishing at a close third was Coca Cola's announcement about their efforts to combat obesity.  Four key components support their effort:

  1. Offer low- or no-calorie beverage options in every market.
  2. Provide transparent nutrition information, featuring calories on the front of all of our packages.
  3. Help get people moving by supporting physical activity programs in every country where we do business.
  4. Market responsibly, including no advertising to children under 12 anywhere in the world.

These are bold initiatives that will certainly help endear them to a lot of mothers although it's going to be hard to move away from flavored carbonated sugar water as a product line.

Now, let’s take a look at the most read reports:

1. Nestlé in Society: Creating Shared Value and meeting our commitments

The combination of releasing a solid Sustainability Report and an accompanying communication strategy that engages your stakeholders and extends the news cycle of the Report is resulting in more nestle creating shared valueattention and intelligence to our members than I've seen in years.  

The diversity of our audience provides unique perspectives that would otherwise take a lot of legwork, complex partnerships and thousands of dollars. Nestle's Creating Shared Value report came in at number one for the month. Our subsequent Twitter chat with subsidiary Nestle Waters North America reached over 500,000 Twitter accounts with almost five million impressions. Highly charged, provocative and compelling, the conversation added context to the company's sustainability efforts and stirred up a storm about the sustainability of bottled water, consumer behavior and more.

Expect more of these in the future.

2. General Mills 2013 Global Responsibility Report

With attention focused on their cereals and the influence General Mills has on our health, its no wonder its report came in at number two for the month.  And it's not just the consumers. Investors are taking a close look at all the consumer goods products companies and how they react to new public policy and health initiatives, like obesity recently becoming identified as a disease.

3. Unilever Sustainable Living Plan Progress Report 2012

Unilever's report came in at number three, continuing the attention garnered from their new initiatives.

Finally, what got people talking on Talkback?

1. Changing Business As Usual: 3 Questions for Non-profit & For-profit Innovation Leaders

David Wilcox seems to get the magic in a headline that attracts attention while paying off with a povertypersonal story about his Boston Marathon experience, finishing off with some great questions and answers for nonprofit innovators. His blog post came in at number one for the month. Check it out.

2. Why Your Social Enterprise Is Not Going to Save the World

Everyone wants to save the world – as they should, as our challenges are dire and immediate. And for many, social enterprises seem to be the solution. So why does a headline like: "Why your social enterprise is not going to save the world" come in at number two for the month?

Because Danielle Lanyard gives it to us straight from the heart and soul while throwing in a little Eric Clapton. She regales us with her personal story about running a startup and brings us along on a heartfelt journey of hope. And the number two spot for the month.

3. 7 Tips for Transforming Society: Why Leadership of The Future Starts With Silence

Another great headline from Giles Hutchins landed his editorial at number three for May. With all the information flowing into our minds, a little silence can go a long way. When asked at the Points of Light conference last year what I would tell aspiring social entrepreneurs, I paused for a moment and said, "Be quiet - sometimes". Giles opens his blog with great foresight for future leaders.  Be silent, listen, learn and care. His seven points are spot on.

Global companies, nonprofit innovation, social enterprise, social media and non-financial disclosure all gathered heightened attention from our audience.

Its great to witness history by the day.

Thank you for your readership and your desire to change business as usual. You can connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by CSRwire contributors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of CSRwire.

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