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The Latest Corporate Social Responsibility News - YouTubing Sustainability: Business Leaders and Activists Using Site to Advance CSR Initiatives

Submitted by: CSRwire Weekly News Alert

Categories: Sustainability, Corporate Social Responsibility

Posted: Jun 03, 2008 – 11:59 PM EST


Jun. 03 /CSRwire/ - The 2005 advent of YouTube has revolutionized video, democratizing the power of producers (kids make some of the best stuff on the site!) and vastly expanding audience reach. Business and activists have of course taken note, with both using YouTube to advance their sustainability initiatives.

For example, natural health product maker Tom’s of Maine is sponsoring a River Stories Video Contest, asking everyday folks to submit videos documenting their activism to protect rivers. Tom's is partnering with American Rivers and River Network to support the work of over 100,000 volunteers who participated in river revitalization events last year, removing over 700 tons of trash from US waterways. To sweeten the pot, the contest winner gets a Prius!

ING is YouTubing it with a video entitled Orange Goes Green. "ING recognizes that as a global company, we have a responsibility to go beyond our business strategy and do what we can to reduce our impact on the environment," says ING's U.S. Insurance CEO Catherine Smith in the video. Last year, for example, ING agreed to buy wind energy credits for 100 percent of its energy usage in our US operations.

"Now that doesn't mean windmills outside our offices," said Senior VP for Corporate Citizenship and Responsibility Rhonda Mims. Kudos to ING for this transparency, as some companies fudge their communications on renewable energy credits, making it sound as if their operations are directly powered by renewables.

However, video audiences must maintain the same degree of healthy skepticism they would apply to any other medium. For example, the clearly positive green initiatives ING documents in its video are counterbalanced by the proxy voting record of its mutual funds. According to a recent Ceres report, ING mutual funds have not supported a single climate change resolution of the 534 they have faced since SEC rules required disclosure in such information in 2004.

Nor have they supported any of the 107 toxics resolutions they faced in the past two years, according to a recent report from the Investor Environmental Health Network. This data begs the question ING's Catherine Smith poses in the video: "What if large companies took responsibility for environmental stewardship, and made it part of their fundamental business strategy?" welcomes the growing popularity of video as a tool for promoting sustainability. The press releases we post increasingly integrate video content, and we developed our Video, Commentary, and Research (VCR) site with the express purpose of disseminating videos addressing the intersection between business and sustainability. Check out the latest video posts on VCR, including an interview with Stanford Climatologist Stephen Schneider discussing climate tipping points and another video of George Pohl of IBM Global Business Services about its new report surveying 250 companies globally on their CSR practices.

This article was written by CSRwire contributor Bill Baue.

CSRwire's Top Multimedia Picks of the Week

  • The offices of CSRwire were all abuzz when Congressman Richard Neal stopped by to talk with CSRwire President, Joe Sibilia, about his CSR initiatives.

  • The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) put together this insightful video about the "Tomorrow's Leaders Group" and its process of taking the world's toughest problems and turning them into business opportunities.

  • Treehugger radio scored a humbling interview with Dr. Wangari Maathi, the first African woman to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize and the first person to get one for her environmental work. Click here for the podcast.

  • Find out which companies are leading the charge for sustainable design in Business for Social Responsibility's new report: Aligned for Sustainable Design: An A-B-C-D Approach to making better products.

    CSRwire accepts multimedia contributions to its Video, Commentary and Research section,

    To read the latest corporate social responsibility news from Tom's of Maine, Global AIDS Alliance, ING and other leading socially responsible organizations, visit

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