The unfolding situation in Afghanistan has made the global refugee issue front of mind. The United Nations reports that over 30 million of the world’s inhabitants have been forced to flee their home countries because of persecution, war or violence. At first blush, people leaving Afghanistan, Syria and Venezuela might appear a distant concern to us in Colorado. The plight of refugees, however, is our concern.
For starters, our state has welcomed approximately 60 Afghan refugees this summer and we expect this is just the start. More broadly, though, many of our businesses source products from faraway lands, sell abroad and do business with people directly affected by the refugee crisis. In today’s tightly knit world markets, a crisis that affects other continents affects us. Not surprisingly, many business managers have a global mindset and would like to aid refugees. But what, exactly, can businesses do?
It turns out that companies can do a lot for displaced individuals across the globe. Over 170 companies–including Airbnb, Chobani, Hilton, Warby Parker and Western Union–are part of the Tent Partnership for Refugees, a collaboration dedicated to integrating refugees in their host communities, including in Colorado. Companies can also join UNSTUCK, which helps businesses populate supply chains with providers that hire refugees. Of course, donating money, goods, services or time in the form of employee volunteering is also hugely helpful. In Colorado, companies might want to support the Lutheran Family Services, the African Community Center and the International Rescue Committee, for example.
In short, business leaders don’t need to feel helpless in the face of the news from Afghanistan and elsewhere. They can expand their corporate social responsibilities (CSR) initiatives to alleviate the hardship endured by millions of displaced people around the globe.
Have you completed The Civic 50 Colorado application? It’s not too late! It’s a great way to get your company recognized for its community engagement. Learn more.
Let’s face it. Most of you managing employee volunteer programs also perform HR, public relations, marketing or other important roles. Involving employees in societal causes is likely an “additional” responsibility for which you have no formal training. Wouldn’t a depository of helpful articles, tools and guidance be great?
Good news! Our national partner, Points of Light, has created a free online community to provide employee volunteer program practitioners the support and answers you need to succeed. The Community for Employee Civic Engagement (CECE), as this platform is called, offers you a place to find answers and connect with peers. Points of Light’s hand-selected experts post content and respond to your questions. Their research and resources represent the proven solutions developed through hands-on experience as well as the best innovative thinking for the sector. CECE’s resources include, for example, an article on the role workplace purpose plays in the post-COVID return to office space, a webinar on measuring the impact of employee volunteering and a video on the innovative concept of job purposing, Go to CECE.
Have you completed The Civic 50 Colorado application? It’s not too late! The Civic 50 Colorado recognition, administered by CSR Solutions of Colorado, is a great way to get your company recognized for its community engagement. Learn more.
What does it take to be a Civic 50 Colorado honoree?
Every year (since 2019), CSR Solutions of Colorado and Points of Light recognize the 50 most civic minded companies operating in Colorado and bestows on them Civic 50 Colorado honors. Who are these companies and what did they do to earn this honor? See answers below.
Who are the Civic 50 Colorado?
The 2020 Civic 50 Colorado honorees are:
Baker Concrete Construction, Inc.
Bank of America
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
Delta Dental Of Colorado
First Western Trust
GroundFloor Media | CenterTable
IMA Financial Group
Info Cubic LLC.
Janus Henderson Investors
Mountain Avenue Market
Otten Johnson Robinson
Neff + Ragonetti PC
PEAK Resources, Inc.
PNC Financial Services
QEP Resources, Inc.
Suzie’s Pet Treats
Wells Fargo & Company
What have these companies done to deserve Civic 50 Colorado honors?
Civic 50 Colorado honorees are selected according to their performance on four dimensions developed by a team of national experts. Based entirely on responses to numerical and categorical questions, normalized by company revenue or number of employees when relevant (to ensure size does not provide an advantage), each applicant receives up to a possible 1,000 points in each dimension. The 50 applicants with the highest total score are awarded Civic 50 honors. Scoring is automated according to responses to quantitative and categorical questions. Human judging is not part of the determination. The four equally weighted Civic 50 Colorado dimensions are:
To learn more about what it takes to be an honoree, read the 2020 Civic 50 Colorado report.
Is your company worthy of the 2021 Civic 50 award?
The above information and the 2020 Civic 50 Colorado report provide a rough idea of how competitive your company is for the 2021 Civic 50 Colorado. But the only way to find out if your organization is Civic 50 material is to apply! Even if your company doesn’t win, the experience is likely a win. You will receive a free assessment report that can help you strengthen your community engagement program – and win in a future year. Plus, aside from an investment of several hours of time to complete the submission, there is no downside to participating. There’s no application fee and no risk of looking bad since non-winners are not announced. In other words, there’s no good reason to not participate in the Civic 50 Colorado!
Learn more or apply to the Civic 50 Colorado.
We tend to think corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a specialized function conducted by certain team members on behalf of the entire enterprise, similar to legal or R&D. It’s true that, typically, some team members have job descriptions that include supporting nonprofits, organizing volunteer events, developing environmentally sustainable policies, improving employee inclusivity and other CSR actions. Nevertheless, doing CSR is more like being a good team player – it’s a positive workplace action available to anybody. In fact, this last year could be considered a showcase of such grassroots CSR:
Regardless of your job, you also can similarly use whatever level of autonomy you have to do good at work – at any time, not just during global crises. Fortunately, there’s a new resource to inspire and equip you to develop your CSR. Our partner, Points of Light, published the “Work” issue of its beautiful Civic Life Today magazine. Whether you are a sales representative at a shoe manufacturer, script supervisor at a Hollywood studio or CEO at a tech firm, this resource will help you make your own work week more meaningful and the world a little brighter. Ready to start? Read the “Work” issue of Civic Life Today.
The Civic 50 Colorado, by CSR Solutions of Colorado and Points of Light, recognizes the top 50 companies committed to creating a culture of service and using their time, talents and resources to support our local community. Does YOUR company have what it takes to make the top 50 in Colorado? Learn more or take the survey, launching June 15th!
In the business world, something novel has happened in the last couple of decades. Many organizations have deliberately chosen an identity that lies between for-profit and non-profit. Take the popular brand TOMS Shoes, for example. It has donated as many shoes to impoverished individuals as it is has sold to customers. Is, then, TOMS a for-profit or nonprofit business? The best answer might be that it’s neither and it’s both. TOMS is what’s called a social enterprise, meaning that it seeks to both profits and societal benefits.
The proliferation of social enterprises has led to a new third-party certification called B Corps, administered by B Lab. Certified B Corps go through a rigorous process establishing that they serve not just shareholders but also society. The first B Corps were certified in 2007. Today, there are more than 3,400 B Corps in over 70 countries, including TOMS and over 120 businesses operating in Colorado.
Certification isn’t the full story of formalized corporate social responsibility. There is now also the option of legally incorporating as a do-good business. To date, 38 states and the District of Colombia have passed legislation allowing businesses to incorporate as benefit corporations. Colorado is one of them. Here we can not only incorporate a business as C, S or LLC corporation, but also as a “Public Benefit Corporation” (PBC). According to the Colorado Department of State, PBC’s are for-profit businesses that “intend to produce one or more public benefits and operate in a responsible and sustainable manner.”
In summary, today’s businesses are not our parent’s businesses. Increasingly, brands in Colorado and across the world appear to be taking on a role that was formerly reserved for nonprofits and government: helping with societal issues. Socially responsible certification or incorporation is a great option, but it might be too big a first step for many companies. If this is true for you, consider participating in the 2021 The Colorado Civic 50 Colorado recognition program. It’s free and serves as a great road map in the journey toward best-in-class corporate social responsibility, including toward becoming a B Corps or PBC. Plus, your company might end up being officially recognized!
It’s Earth Day week. Many companies are hosting one-time events to support environmental sustainability, a great thing to do. But what can companies do long term to help ensure that our children’s grandchildren have a habitable planet on which to thrive? What works best? Should companies focus on swapping out plastic straws for paper ones, using energy-efficient lightbulbs or encouraging employees to continue working from home, for example?
Thankfully, an esteemed group of experts have combed through the enormity of available data and identified the most effective ways to stem catastrophic climate change. Project Drawdown, as this effort is called, finds that the following business-friendly actions are among the 20 most effective ways to support the environment:
Want other ideas for high-impact environmental sustainability? Project Drawdown has many more, including industry-specific solutions.
Compared to most industrialized nations, the United States has an extraordinarily high rate of gun violence. According to a comprehensive database maintained by the University of Washington, 3.96 per 100,000 U.S. residents die from gun violence per year, nearly 100 times more than in the United Kingdom, for example. Although Colorado’s gun-violence death rate is lower than the country’s (2.27 according to figures that predate the recent Boulder mass shooting), we’re still 50 times more likely to die from a bullet in our beautiful state than in the United Kingdom, South Korea or China. The mounting gun violence crisis means that Colorado corporate social responsibility (CSR) practitioners might want to get involved in this politically charged issue. But how? Each brand needs to determine the approach that works best for its stakeholders and business context, but below are ways some companies have addressed gun violence.
April is Global Volunteer Month per our national partner, Points of Light. Many companies globally further engage and celebrate employee actions that strengthen communities and brighten the world during this month. Ford invites employees around the world to record videos reading a children’s book to share with students being schooled from home, Cambia Health Solutions posts videos of inspiring employee volunteering and many employers recognize outstanding employee volunteers, for example.
Would you like design Global Volunteer Month activities at your company that delights participants and serve societal causes? Below are resources to help you do so.
Have you found other resources helpful in planning your Global Volunteer Month efforts? Let us know! We’ll post them here.
Is it feasible to involve every employee at your company in charitable activities every week?
Bea Boccalandro asked this question at a recent webinar hosted by CSR Solutions of Colorado. At the beginning of the webinar, only 30% of the approximately 100 participants said it was feasible.
Bea is the author of Do Good At Work: How Simple Acts of Social Purpose Drive Success and Wellbeing, a top-30 new book according to New York Times bestselling author Adam Grant. Do Good At Work claims that anybody in any job can make a meaningful contribution to a societal cause every week. Bea explained in the webinar that routinely doing good at work is a matter of embracing a practice she dubbed “job purposing.” Job purposing involves tilting everyday work toward good. For example, a designer of surfboard fins equips them with sensors that relay location-specific data on water conditions to scientists. His product design helps ocean conservation. Similarly, a manager might rally his team members by donating $10 of the department’s budget to a food pantry every week they meet their objectives.
Apparently, Bea’s explanations and many examples were convincing. At the conclusion of the webinar, 73% of participants considered involving every employee in charitable activities every week feasible, more than double the pre-presentation figure. The best part is that if Colorado companies did job purpose widely, the state’s nonprofits would have substantially more support and we could expect improvement in many societal issues.
To learn more about how every employee can do good every week, watch the recorded webinar.
Has someone ever told you that they chose your business because it hires refugees, sponsors cleanups or is minority owned? According to new Points of Light publication, this customer is using their “purchase power.” Purchase power is “is an individual’s ability and influence when they make decisions around spending or consumption of goods or services.” Increasingly, consumers use purchase power to promote causes aligned with their values. Another Points of Light report on civic engagement found that 41% of adults and 59% of Gen Z in the United States have deliberately used purchase power.
Furthermore, it appears that the pandemic has accelerated the use of purchase power across the globe. An Accenture survey found that consumers "have dramatically evolved": 60% have made more environmentally friendly, sustainable, or ethical purchases since the pandemic started and the vast majority of these conscious consumers plan to make this a permanent change.
The rise of purchase power makes it more urgent that companies establish what values they uphold and what corporate social responsibility (CSR) they pursue. Otherwise, they are forgoing the opportunity to understand, attract and retain customers. Indeed, some companies already work effectively with this force. Target, for example, posts online "gifts that support Black-owned businesses," alongside "gifts for him," "gifts for her," "gifts for your kids."
Another reason to pay attention to purchase power, however, is to minimize the risk of being surprised by the negative side of this force: a boycott. In 2018, for example, a boycott against companies that supported the NRA likely dampened sales and sullied the reputation of Delta Airlines, Enterprise Rent–A–Car, United Airlines, Hertz, Budget, Avis, Best Western, Wyndham Hotels and other brands. It appears that purchase power really does have power. All these brands severed ties with the NRA.
The bottom line is that businesses now have one more trend to follow and manage: consumer purchase power.