Gamification, Greenwashing for employees.

Many consumers are now familiar with the term Greenwashing and the misleading corporate activities it represents. The Greenwashing Index is a site dedicated to monitoring and tracking advertising claims for accuracy. High profile occurrences such as the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal have resulted in sever financial penalties, direct and indirect.  For misleading advertising claims alone, Volkswagen faces a potentially $15 billion penalty from the US Federal Trade Commission. However, sustainability is not the only area where companies are trying to improve their act and put on a new face. 

Another major focus area in the push towards Corporate Social Responsibility is employee recruitment and retention. As Karl Moore argues in his Forbes article Millennials Work For Purpose, Not Paycheck many corporate leaders are recognizing this and are creating programs to accommodate this employee trend. In a separate Forbes article 4 Reasons Why A Corporate Volunteer Program Is A Smart Investment Wes Gay demonstrates how these efforts can result in successful and meaningful programs as it did on one case highlighted from Mars Inc. "“We want to make it available to as many associates as possible,”" says Kelly McGrail, Global Staff Officer, Corporate Communications, Mars, Incorporated. The company pays up to 16 hours per year for associates to volunteer in their communities. Mars, Inc. associates logged more than 90,000 volunteer hours globally in 2015." 

Programs like the Mars Inc. program should be applauded and the companies that employ them successfully will harvest the benefits on their bottom line. However, when the program design doesn't meet the needs of employees the desired results won't be achieved and depending upon how egregious the program, it may actually backfire, similar to Greenwashing. One new offender in this category is gamification. In the Alternet.org article  Jim Hightower: Corporations Use This Cheap Trick to Avoid Paying Employees a Living Wage, employee incentive and engagement programs can quickly take a wrong turn and end up exasperating a common root problems, pay fairness. As Jim details in one account: "United recently announced a new fun game for employees -- rather than giving standard bonus payments this year, bosses were creating a dazzling sweepstakes lottery, with prizes such as luxury cars and $100,000 in cash. But the sizzle quickly fizzled as United's 90,000 workers realized that more than 99 percent of them would get nothing from this big prize scam, which actually would let top executives and big shareholders pocket the bulk of bonus money that was owed to employees. United had hoped the game would create "excitement" among the rank and file, but instead it created resentment. Workers, naturally preferring bonus cash to bogus corporate excitement, rebelled with such fury that United is now reconsidering the switch."

It's encouraging to see the prompt recognition and push back against this misguided attempt from employees and the media. Within the now hyper connected consumer world, corporate brand and reputation management present continual challenges for employers. Every program can't be a home-run, but if at its core its is designed to provide a benefit to all employees, the program will be founded in ethical corporate behavior. From this place companies will achieve the retention and talent acquisition results desired and the accompanying profit gains sought will be realized.  

Source: https://www.alternet.org/labor/jim-hightow...

"Social Purpose Imperative in Business Triggers Capitalism’s New Zeitgeist"

Is 2018 the year corporate America gets Woke? As Carole Cone points out in her article; Social Purpose Imperative in Business Triggers Capitalism’s New Zeitgeist, more and more signs point to yes.  Corporate America continues to signal it is in the midst of an awakening around the role of business in society. While this is often positioned as occurring at the expense of shareholders, the financial returns tell a different story. Instead, it's a story of increased growth, profit, brand reputation, employee retention and more when social purpose is integrated into the core mission. While this new wave is just beginning to form it continues to grow and produce positive results for all stakeholders, not just shareholders. The early adopters are setting the trail for others to follow with initiatives such as BCertified and the Benefit Corporation status now available in 20 plus states and the District of Columbia. With continued progress the tipping point can be reached and a new awakening achieved with social purpose integrated into the mission of corporate America.

Movie: The New Breed

"His goal(Williams)? To encourage a new generation of social entrepreneurs, create a movement of more conscious consumerism and to make the concept of social entrepreneurship globally known. "

I am looking forward to this film. It appears to have been thoroughly researched and produced with integrity. Flipping the switch from business being the problem to business being the solution will be the next great challenge for continued progress. 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/toriutley/2018/02/28/can-business-change-the-world-this-filmmaker-says-yes-through-social-entrepreneurship/ 

Turning Passion into Action

Turning passion into action isn't a new challenge for environmental protection efforts. However, as noted in the article currently we have significant enthusiasm among youth to be part of the solution. How this enthusiasm is channeled into change is the real challenge. Some individuals will pursue career paths that have a direct impact but there is also a major opportunity for everyone else as the author notes. This opportunity is to find incremental changes we can make in our daily lives. Each drop of savings collectively adding up to a sea of change.

Source: https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-sto...

Via Green Biz: Here are the 3 hottest debates in sustainability reporting.

Ideally this information would be integrated into the current quarterly and annual reporting structures or timed accordingly. Sustainability and climate factors will increasingly need to be included in the risk factors for companies. Separating the reporting of the two can have unintended consequences as activities and partnerships are managed to avoid potential disclosure of non-public information. Finally, the data is out and it matters for the bottom line, it is material, now we need better measurement. Integration into the financial reporting would also serve to limit green washing. Time to shift the model to this is HOW we do business.

https://www.greenbiz.com/article/here-are-3-hottest-debates-sustainability-reporting 

Source: http://2018/2/24/via-green-biz-here-are-th...

We all own this one together.

Great article about extending sustainability initiatives throughout the company. Don't stop there, lets bring the thinking home too. From many little drops oceans are born.

 

https://hbr.org/2018/02/how-to-make-sustainability-every-employees-responsibility 

Via Forbes 8 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Trends To Look For In 2018

Below is an overview, solid list of critical topics. Other highlights for me would be the development of the UN Sustainability Goals providing a clarified road-map and the ever increasing role of business in finding innovative solutions to existing and developing challenges with a mission driven approach. 

1. The beginning of the end of workplace harassment and inequality
2. Expanding the diversity conversation
3. Focused and forward-thinking brand activism
4. A shift from disaster recovery to climate resilience
5. More CSR in the C-Suite

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/susanmcpherso...

Convergence of sustainability and profitability gets Wall Street's attention.

The benefits of millennial recruitment are well documented, risk management is a non-negotiable, so when does sustainability become the "HOW" as in, this is how we do it. What is the WHY that gives that HOW its bedrock foundation? Profit. Unavoidable as breath. However, continued success can only be achieved through balance among stakeholders, built upon sustainable management systems for food, energy and water with a proper accounting and associated cost for what we consume. 

 

 

Source: https://www.barrons.com/articles/barrons-1...