In the 1950’s, American psychologist Gordon Allport posited that people with a prejudice against a certain group often overcame it when working with individuals from that group, a phenomenon he called “intergroup contact theory.” Since then, hundreds of studies have proven that contact theory is generally correct and have identified under which conditions it’s most effective. As a result, there’s now actionable guidance for managing teams in a manner that helps members overcome prejudice:
If you can’t meet all five of the above conditions, don’t worry. While the first condition, diverse composition, is essential for teams to promote greater inclusivity, the other four are not. In fact, research finds that even teams that fail to meet all or most of the bottom four criteria (but are still diverse) often reduce member prejudice, although not optimally.
As a leader, you can help free team members from their biases by applying contact theory. Its application won’t increase inclusivity in every instance, but it typically will. In sum, anybody who manages teams has the power to promote social justice.
Looking for assistance in making your workplace more inclusive? CSR Solutions of Colorado can help. Contact us!
Sometimes it’s helpful to estimate the total monetary value of a company’s contributions to the community, including cash, in-kind and volunteer donations. For example, a company might want to report something akin to, “We’re proud to have contributed $X to the community in 2021.” This figure can come in handy for award applications, PR campaigns, social media posts, corporate website content or employee communications, for example. Fortunately, monetizing community contributions is not difficult. It involves filling out the grid below for the company’s community engagement activities conducted in a specific year (or other time period).
That’s it! You now have an estimate of the monetary value of your company’s community contributions.
Looking for more assistance with monetizing your community contributions? CSR Solutions of Colorado can help. Contact us!
Pricing as CSR
Are you looking for a simple way to do corporate social responsibility (CSR)? What if you offered customers experiencing hardship more favorable prices? For example, the music composer Douglas Morton invites individuals who are under-employed, stricken by a personal crisis or otherwise experiencing financial difficulties to explain their circumstance and offer to pay what and when they can. His most rewarding customer interactions are these conversations.
Compassionate pricing doesn't need to be complicated. A case in point is what Morton does: He simply added wording to his e-commerce site giving customers the opportunity to explain their circumstances. His customer service involves reviewing submissions and providing discount codes. Compassionate pricing also doesn't need to be serious and boring. Morton's' messaging, for example, offers to accept avocados as payment! What Morton does, however, is just one option.
Other ways of pricing in a way that supports societal causes includes:
You get the idea. There are many ways to conduct CSR via pricing! Might there be one that is perfect for your business?
For assistance with your CSR, contact us.
Photo by Kindel Media
You’ve probably heard the term ESG (environment social governance). You may have heard it be interchanged with CSR (corporate social responsibility). Are they the same thing?
The answer is no. CSR and ESG, although promoting the same general concept, are distinct. CSR is everything a company does to positively contribute to societal issues that it’s not required to do by law or regulation. ESG is CSR that has been formalized into measurable criteria that are disclosed to investors and the public. As Lexology puts it: “While CSR aims to make a business accountable, ESG criteria make such business’ efforts measurable.” ESG criteria focus on quantitative data used to help investors, employees and consumers make decisions regarding a company. In essence, a company's ESG reporting shows if it’s “walking the talk” in terms of their CSR goals across:
There are several frameworks to help companies structure their ESG work, the most common of which are listed below.
Why should your company care about ESG? If your company executes ESG right, it’s likely to be more profitable. Also, investors increasingly expect companies to disclose ESG data. For example, the newly incorporated International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) is developing international ESG reporting standards and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is incorporating ESG into its work. In summary, ESG is quickly becoming a standard part of managing a business.
It has been over two years since COVID-19 first forced a massive shift to remote work. Since then, most companies have adapted to conduct business efficiently using more technology. For most workplaces, returning to pre-pandemic levels of in-person work is unlikely. How do we ensure that this permanent increase in remote work ends up reducing carbon emissions, as opposed to increasing them?
At first blush, remote work appears to be a boon for the environment. Fewer employees making the commute to the office reduces carbon emissions. For example, India’s second largest IT service provider, Infosys, reduced its carbon emissions by 46% in the year following the start of the pandemic. This number sounds good but is misleading.
It turns out that having your employees work from home doesn’t necessarily reduce their total carbon emissions. Although they’re no longer commuting, they’re now using more lights, computers, internet, heat and air conditioning in their own homes. They are also purchasing lunch food and office supplies, both of which have supply chains and associated emissions. Additionally, if your employees followed global trends, many moved during the pandemic from
cities to suburbs, where houses are bigger, public transportation is scarcer and driving is more commonplace. If their home offices are less energy efficient and if their purchasing decisions are less environmentally sustainable than yours as an employer, your team members could be spewing more carbon into the atmosphere as remote workers than as office workers. Despite its elimination of the commute and office use, remote work does not necessarily reduce carbon emissions.
Fortunately, your company can ensure that the modern remote-work era is climate friendly by:
1. Promoting clean and efficient home energy. Many companies have switched to purchasing renewable electricity for their operations. It’s time to consider doing the same for employee electricity use outside the office. Consider incentivizing or funding employee upgrades to clean power sources. Similarly, consider paying for employee home energy efficiency improvements.
2. Cutting down on business travel. Air travel is a bigger source of emissions than offices. Consider cutting back on nonessential business travel. Have employees to ask themselves “can this meeting or event be successful online?” before booking a ticket.
3. Encouraging public transportation. Consider company policies that reward or reimburse employees for use of public transit for work-related travel.
4. Measuring total impact. Calculate your company’s total emissions – including from commuting and use of home as office – to ensure you’re minimizing your company’s overall carbon footprint. This Watershed calculator can help.
In summary, if your company has many remote or hybrid workers, it’s time to include the carbon impact of employees working at home in your overall climate policies, measurement and goals.
Given Colorado laws, the US Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has little impact on state residents’ immediate access to legal abortions. It does, however, have an impact on Colorado employers. In today’s world, companies need to manage their relationship to this, and all, political developments involving societal issues. Employees and customers increasingly expect your corporate social responsibility (CSR) to address societal issues they consider important. As shown in a prior post, ignoring this expectation is costly and increasingly infeasible as CSR drives business performance and financial results.
The bottom line is that businesses need to consider their response to the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling. To help your company craft its response, following are the principal ways major brands have responded:
CSR involves managing positions on key societal issues, including those that are politicized. These include diversity equity and inclusion, climate change and now abortion. Long gone are the days when companies could be good corporate citizens by only supporting uncontroversial causes far from the political fray. Today, it’s impossible to conduct CSR without making political statements. The only question is how effectively companies manage their CSR and, thus, successfully navigate through the highly politicized civil society they operate in.
For assistance in designing and executing your CSR strategy, contact us.
A Primer on Volunteer Time Off
Eighty percent of the Colorado companies recognized for being exceptional corporate citizens, The Civic 50 Colorado, offer their employees volunteer time off (VTO). VTO allows workers to support charitable causes while on company time.
VTO communicates to employees their employer’s commitment to supporting service to societal causes, which employees increasingly value. It also makes it easier for fulltime employees with scarce free time to find the time to volunteer.
VTO functions similarly to other paid time off (PTO) policies. It typically includes a requirement to obtain approval from a manager or supervisor, a definition of eligible volunteer activities and a maximum number of hours per year. According to CECP, the median number of hours offered by U.S. companies is 16 and it’s rarely less than 8 or more than 40, although a few companies offer over 80 or have no limit. Some companies limit VTO to signature causes, skills-based volunteering, board service or other types of volunteering that align with their corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy. Most, however, make all volunteering eligible.
If you’re looking to institute VTO at your company, Harvard Business Review has a superb article with guidance and our partner organization, Points of Light, has a fill-in-the-blanks template.
In 2018, we launched the Civic 50 Colorado in partnership with Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. The Civic 50 Colorado recognizes the 50 most community-minded companies in Colorado. Companies with 15 or more employees in state are eligible to apply. The application is free and closes on August 15th. Winners will be announced in the fall.
The Civic 50 Colorado is a unique opportunity to gain recognition for your community engagement program, take a leadership position in corporate community involvement and to share their best practices with the broader business community. Many companies have also said that the process of taking the survey and receiving their complimentary individual scorecards with information on their rankings helped them understand how they could improve their processes and strategies in the future.
To learn more, access support resources and apply, go to our website.
In Search of a CSR Roadmap?
If corporate social responsibility (CSR) is one of your responsibilities, you might pine for guidance in this rapidly evolving business function. You might have questions like, “What foundational principles do I use to make decisions?” or “What policies or programs should I consider?” or “What’s a reasonable target for employee participation in volunteer activities?”
Good news! Our partner organization, Points of Light, asked an esteemed group of CSR experts these questions. Their responses led to The Civic 50 framework, which is reviewed annually and updated as needed. Both The Civic 50 Colorado award program and its national counterpart, The Civic 50 US, are based on the framework. Therefore, in addition to having access to conceptual guidance through the framework, you also have access to performance metrics of US and Colorado award-winning CSR programs on the framework.
So, what does the Civic 50 framework suggest? At a high level, it specifies that strong CSR program have four dimensions:
When companies donate to nonprofits, it’s usually one of three thing: the products/services they sell, volunteer hours or cash. Pharmaceutical companies donate medicine and law firms donate pro bono legal services – and almost all donate volunteering and money. Businesses, however, are also trove of other assets that can also be repurposed for good. Below are 20 examples.
Donating Items (beyond the company’s commercial products/services)
Offering Space as a Communications Tool (used for marketing, education, etc.)
Sharing Internal Programs and Processes
You get the idea. There are an infinite number of novel contributions companies can make to charitable causes! What might your business contribute?
Spark the Change Colorado, Community Shares of Colorado, B:CIVIC