Dave Pflieger’s Blog

Dave Pflieger Why We Need Corporate Social Responsibility compressor

From implementing environmentally-friendly policies in the workplace to donating money to nonprofits, more and more companies are making efforts to improve their communities and society at large. This is called corporate social responsibility. In addition to benefitting nonprofits, corporate social responsibility can have a huge positive impact on corporations and employees. Here are all the benefits of corporate social responsibility:

How Corporate Social Responsibility Helps Corporations

1) It improves the company’s public image

Consumers like companies that are socially responsible. Corporations should help nonprofits in any way they can, whether its volunteering, donations, or strong partnerships. Then, they need to let the public know about their philanthropy in order to attract consumers.

2) It gives the company more media coverage

It is important for corporations to build relationships with local media outlets so these outlets can cover stories about the corporation’s impact. If a company has a strong corporate social responsibility program, it is likely to get positive press.

3) There is more employee engagement

Employees want to work for a company that has a good public image. If a company is dedicated to corporate giving, the employees are likely to be more engaged, to stick around longer, and to work hard.

4) It attracts and retains investors

Investors want to know at their funds will be used properly. One of the biggest appeals for investors is company’s donations to nonprofits. This shows investors that the company cares about more than profits.

How Corporate Social Responsibility Helps Nonprofits

1) They get funding from matching gift programs

When a corporation offers a matching gift program, it creates the possibility of doubling the donations that employees are giving to nonprofits. Organizations that want to benefit from these programs are thrilled to receive twice the donations.

2) There is more volunteer participation

Nonprofits are always looking for volunteers, and if a corporation has a volunteer program, this is a great way to generate revenue and volunteer time for nonprofits. Typically, a corporation will offer a certain amount of money to a nonprofit after an employee has volunteered a certain amount of time.

3) Corporate partnerships are formed

When a corporation and a nonprofit forge a partnership, both organizations win. The corporation has more opportunities to help its local community and the nonprofit gains resources for major marketing campaigns. Additionally, the nonprofit’s cause gets more awareness due to the partnership.

4) They get more varied sources of revenue

While donations from individuals make up about three-fourths of a nonprofit’s monetary contributions, corporations and businesses are also viable sources of revenue. Corporation social responsibility allows your corporation to be a part of the remaining 25 percent.

How Corporate Social Responsibility Helps Employees

1) There is a positive workplace environment

If a corporation instills a strong culture of corporate social responsibility in every employee, employees will thrive. The work environment will be more positive, making employees more productive and engaged.

2) Employees feel more creative

When employees feel a stronger connection to their company, they are also more inclined to be creative. Creativity is one of the most important leadership qualities an employee can have.

3) There is more professional and personal growth

By donating their time and money to worthy causes, employees develop professionally and personally. They feel a sense of pride working for a company that cares about worthy causes.

4) It promotes individual philanthropy

When employees work for a company that is involved in philanthropic endeavors, they are likely to take a page from the company’s book and give back on their own. Working for a company that is more socially responsible helps employees become more philanthropically aware. They also learn how to better collaborate with others for important projects.

If you’re a leader at a corporation and you haven’t yet instilled corporate social responsibility, adding it would make for stronger and more well-rounded company. If you’re an employee, bring up corporate social responsibility in the next team meeting. If you’re at a nonprofit, get out there and try to make connections with corporations. Corporate social responsibility is truly beneficial to everyone involved.  

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7-Eleven, the world’s leading convenience store, has declared new goals to further its advance its commitment to corporate social responsibility. The company has partnered with Conservation International, an organization that pursues research, partnerships, and policy goals in order to contribute to a healthier planet. Naturally, 7-Eleven’s goals are environmentally focused and include the reduction of both it’s energy and packaging footprints by 20 percent within the next 10 years. They have also decided to increase corporate giving contributions to a full one percent of annual net operating income. CEO Joe Depinto praises these goals as “specific and measurable”, qualities that should aid in their achievement.

7-Eleven claims it has already been taking steps to reduce its environmental impact even before the announcement of these goals. For instance, they’ve cut electricity usage by about 21% since 2009 by installing more efficient lighting and HVAC systems. The company is also sitting on Conservation International’s Business and Sustainability council, where it works to find new ways to promote healthy environmental actions.

Given its convenience store status, it’s no surprise that many of the chain’s products are packaged. This too is one of the chain’s points of improvement. 7-Eleven is trying to reduce overall waste and is introducing a new recyclable coffee cup. It’s hot food packaging will use less material, and bottles will be made with recyclable materials.

Corporate giving will also increase, starting next year. The one percent donation will go to two youth-oriented programs. Project A-Game gives money to schools and youth sports programs, and The Operation Chill rewards youth “caught in the act of doing good” with a free Slurpee coupon.

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When journalists and developers pack auditoriums for launch events and keynote addresses like Google’s I/O or Apple’s WWDC, the focus is almost always on the tech. What is the company working on next? Where does the company want to be? Why does the company plan on investing in x over y? These events are usually exciting affairs, but the focus is always on the company. Yes, the consumer is relevant (someone has to buy all of that new tech anyway) but developments incubate internally and radiate outwards.

Salesforce bucked those conference expectations a few days ago. Granted, they didn’t have much in the way of product to report on, but their keynote was far from a dud. The presentation’s focus wasn’t “what products can you buy from Salesforce?”, but rather, “how can Salesforce improve lives?”

In their customer-centric approach, there was a testimony of how they enhanced Aston Martin’s customer service network as the car manufacturer expands production of their luxury vehicles. Another company, ABB, demonstrated how its new robot will work alongside humans. As with Aston Martin, this means that ABB can now use Salesforce to better deliver field service.

Salesforce touched on their corporate philanthropy and diversity initiatives as well, and that’s where they really shone. In keeping with the theme of using technology to make space for cultivating human potential, Chief Adoption Officer Polly Sumner introduced what Salesforce calls “the 1% challenge”. The challenge encourages other companies to model their community involvement after Salesforce itself, and is divided into three parts: pledging 1% of equity to the community, 1% of employees’ time to volunteer projects, and 1% of product to nonprofits that could use it.

Sumner also reiterated Salesforce’s devotion to diversity and gender and race equality. Tech has long been perceived as the domain of men— just look to Silicon Valley and the proliferation of the “tech bro” stereotype. But Salesforce is determined to level the playing field, and in his recap for Diginomica Phil Wainewright observes that they seem to be making meaningful strides. Salesforce has also been supporting an educational initiative called STEMettes, which gives girls the opportunity to explore science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEMettes founder Marie Imafidon made the point that equal opportunity for relevant education is only part of the equation. Just as important is teaching young learners the virtue of follow-through, which is necessary when making potentially life altering career choices.

Salesforce brings something unique to the table. When coupled with advanced-technology, business can focus more on people— both their employees and the community that surrounds them.

There’s something missing these days in the  corporate visions of many start-ups and start-up entrepreneurs. Long before the first round of funding, many young founders are dreaming of the fame and the riches that can be made from the success of their product or service, but ask them about  the role of the company in society at large? That will lead to a blank stare as that piece of the puzzle is largely absent.

In an interview with Mashable, Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak lamented how money-driven Silicon Valley and startup cultures had become. He expressed the sentiment that many of us feel: there are too many entrepreneurs going after fame and fortune instead of trying to figure out what they can do that will benefit society or consumers. Not every company is going to be a unicorn. Instead, Wozniak advises, founders need to focus on identifying a need, and then do their best to fill it. The most successful companies have founders that decide to work on one product or project at a time, slowly perfecting it. Figure out what’s important to you, he says, then do it. Let the money follow, don’t follow the money.

But you could take this renowned tech guru’s words one step further. Critically examine your project, and ask how it can help others in the long run. How can it change society for the better? Will we be able to do good with our influence? Whether or not this is a question that all successful entrepreneurs should begin with may be idealistic, but one would hope that they can  answer questions like that as they mature. Google made it a mission to map the internet and corral that vast expanse of information for casual users— then they tried to map the world. Amazon was in the business of bookselling, and has now expanded to “the Cloud” and efforts to bring all types of products to consumers. And Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has taken his classmate-connecting platform to new heights by using it to speak out on social issues across the globe.

So next time you’re setting goals, or brainstorming the next big innovation, ask yourself how it can make the world a better place – you might find that the answer not only fills a need, it could even fill your bank account!

 

Microsoft has officially backed a Rhode Island computer science education initiative.

In a recent blog post, Mary Snapp, Corporate Vice President and Head of Microsoft Philanthropies, announced that this powerhouse tech company had decided to invest in  Rhode Island’s TEALS (Technology Education And Literacy in Schools) program – a program that is also supported by two local institutions of higher learning: Brown University and University of Rhode Island.

This investment and initiative are particularly important for the simple reason that computer literacy is fast becoming a required or needed skill in many jobs, and those who do not have the ability or means to learn basic computer skills at an early age may be at a disadvantage when they take up arms for the job hunt later in life. Indeed, computer science is undeniably a gateway to more meaningful employment and plays an active role in creating solutions for a number of problems.

In her blog, Snapp notes that Rhode Island’s TEALS program is just the latest in a number of computer literacy initiatives across the nation. Last winter, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act, a bipartisan move to give education departments the funding and resources they need to bring adequate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education to every school across the country. Traction for integrating computer science into childhood education is becoming more and more important and more prevalent. Right now, over half of the states in the Union allow for computer science credits to be applied to obtaining a high school diploma.

Given this news, it should come as no surprise, that as new technologies become part of everyday life, expectations surrounding them must evolve and become more forward looking. 20 years ago, computers were still somewhat novel in the home. But who could blame anyone for thinking in such a way— how much could you really get done with a slow computer or even slower dial up connection? As for children, computers were little more than a toy; a platform for games and entertainment. But the years went by, World Book gave way to Wikipedia, 411 caved to search engines, and asking your friend for directions was supplanted by just plugging an address into Google Maps.  So in short, if young people are going to effectively compete in a world that is always connected, they will likely need to learn how it works as soon as they can read and write.

Even though there are many good reasons for companies to adopt a policy of CSR (two of which I’ve written about and linked to), some companies still don’t buy into the practice and don’t have any aspect of corporate social responsibility to their company culture or philanthropic efforts. There are many reasons that companies don’t adopt CSR and they all vary. That being said, here are three of the most common reasons (or at least the closest approximation for said common reasons) that companies don’t engage in corporate social responsibility.

Taken from http://www.triplepundit.com/2016/01/dont-companies-invest-csr/

Taken from http://www.triplepundit.com/2016/01/dont-companies-invest-csr/

  1. Wall Street wants profits, not sustainability: Unfortunately, one of the greatest preventers of the widespread adoption of CSR is the stock market. Investors and the market want nothing but profit (usually in the short-term), frequently ignoring the very thought of the long-term sustainability that CSR can afford a company. Investors frequently care about nothing more than maximizing their investment in the shortest amount of time possible. This makes CSR, which takes time and money to pick up, an option that isn’t very high on the priority list of many companies that have to answer to shareholders.
  2. Financial CSR benefits are hard to measure: While much has been written about how beneficial CSR can be for your company, the financial benefits are still hard to accurately measure (other than knowing they’re positive). Because of this and the aforementioned push for short-term profit, many companies are wary and unwilling to invest the time, effort, and money into effective CSR efforts. The fact that poorly done CSR can be a real drain on resources (as opposed to bringing long-term customers and their money) means that not many companies are will to take that risk.
  3. Already giving back: Many companies see the outreach work that they’re doing as already engaging in corporate social responsibility. Due to this belief, many believe that they don’t need to do anymore outreach due to the fact that they are already engaged in some sort of charity.

All of these arguments against engaging in CSR practices, while valid, can be countered by showing just how useful CSR is to a company’s bottom line. If you’d like to read more, the link is here.

While you may not think about it, every aspect of business has an eye on potential ROI, even if it seems as though the decision won’t help the business in a financial way. To that end, even actions like corporate social responsibility (CSR) are often thought of in terms of both how it will make the company seem in the eyes of others, as well as how engaging in CSR can impact the bottom line in a positive way. While it may seem cynical, this isn’t the case. Just because corporate social responsibility can help the bottom line doesn’t mean that it’s a cynical and manipulative attempt to sway public opinion about big business. If anything, CSR should be looked at as a way to prove just how much good big business can do for the community when it puts its mind to it.4366618513_44ba058c98_z

Along with the good faith that comes from CSR, there is definitely a monetary aspect at play as well. When you look at the ROI of CSR for certain companies, you can definitely see that it pays both monetarily and in goodwill to place conservationism, sustainability, and the human element high up on the totem pole of what is important to your company. Consumers like it when companies not only stand for something noble, but actively act on that stance in a tangible way that has real results on the ground and in the local community. This not only leads to an increase in positive public sentiment towards the company, but it can also directly translate to increased sales and profit.

Just how related are the increase in profit with a strong, positive CSR message? Well, IBM’s Corporate Service Corps generates 300% ROI and also works to help companies in developing countries grow and become more profitable. The Corporate Service Corps works by allowing IBM employees to share their knowledge and expertise with companies in developing countries. Not only does this show goodwill and work towards actively improving the world we live in, but it also reinforces ties between these smaller companies and IBM. When the company is up and running and looking for technology to purchase, you can be guaranteed they will remember the help that IBM gave them and look to them first. Not only that, but CSR helps keep employees happy and believing in the company culture. This is the best way to keep these employees around and motivated to work their hardest. While some may see CSR as self-serving, just remember there’s nothing wrong with helping yourself as you help other people at the same time.

If you’d like to read more, the link is here.

The world of business is understandably cutthroat and unforgiving to those that don’t adopt the newest techniques and trends to stick out from their competitors in an attempt to win over the consumer. In the past these took many forms ranging from giveaways to unique ways of advertising and grabbing attention but now, it seems as though companies have found something that maybe be even more effective at gaining consumer support and respect: corporate social responsibility. Corporate social responsibility (also known as CSR) is when a company actively works to give back to its community and the world by donating time, effort, and sometimes physical goods as a way to build community support and, at the end of it all, gain the loyalty of new customers.green logistics

Companies across the globe are latching to CSR and popular causes in an attempt to win larger market shares and boost profits. Causes ranging from the environment to equal-rights are being used in both advertisements and non-advertised CSR engagements as a way for companies to tell the world that they not only care about the same things you do, but that they also willing to put their money where their mouths are by devoting the time and energy to these causes. Companies like Chipotle, Dove, Microsoft, and Patagonia are just amongst the host of others that are promoting their own CSR credentials, as well as actively changing the world we live in for the better.

So does this new appreciation for community and the world we live in lead to better sales and more profit? It seems as though positioning your company as a force of social change and for good in this world is definitely a good way to increase your market share and get your products in front of new customers who didn’t know about them before. Companies like Patagonia have seen massive growth since adopting prominent CSR principles at the core of the company culture and it seems as though taking the long route and focusing on culture and the earth, instead of just profit, is the way to make your company a true world player.

If you’d like to read more, the link is here.

Companies that are living and working in this world have the responsibility to give back to those that make their existence possible. Giving back not only helps the surround community, but it also helps build strong bonds between the company and its employees as well. There are a lot of companies that are doing great things with corporate social responsibility. Below are five companies that are taking CSR to a whole new level and are changing lives around the world.corporate social responsibility

  1. Starbucks: For the over 40 years it’s been around, Starbucks has been working hard to maintain its status as one of the most socially responsible companies in the country. Fortune magazine ranked it as 5th most socially responsible company in 2012 and the with initiatives that constantly include searching for new ways to produce coffee in sustainable ways, the company is well-deserving. It also support Ethos Water, which provides clean water to over a billion people.
  2. Disney: Disney returns the love it receives from millions of families by focusing on corporate social responsibility in areas such as the community, the environment, and volunteering. One place where Disney has really taken off is when it comes to providing aid and relief after natural disasters — it donated to Haitian earthquake relief in 2010. Disney also donates profit from nature films to plant trees in the rain forest and protect the coral reefs.
  3. NuSkin: NuSkin is a personal care company that focuses its CSR efforts on community efforts across the world. It has an initiative called Nourish the Children that started in 2002 and has already surpassed over 350 million nutrient-rich meals given to needy children. It also has an initiative called Force For Good Foundation that works to with children and preventing disease, illiteracy, and poverty.
  4. Microsoft: As befitting for a company of it’s size and reputation, Microsoft works hard towards giving back to the community and was even named the best at CSR by the Reputation Institute. One of the best of it’s initiatives is the Employee Giving Campaign in which employees go to fundraisers for the nonprofits of their choice. It has been held every years since 1983 and has raised over $1 billion in donations to over 31,000 charities and nonprofits.
  5. TOMS Shoes: TOMS shoes is known amongst the corporate world for being a smaller company with the CSR abilities and ambitions of a much larger one. The company was founded on the idea of giving back and has made it a part of the core message. For every pair of shoes that they sell, they will donate a pair to a child in need — so far, over 10 million pairs of shoes have been donated. The company is now also expanding a similar idea to vision care.

These are just some of the examples of great corporate social responsibility coming from companies that have truly excelled in the field. There are so many other companies out there with strong CSR practices and they should all be lauded. If you’d like to read more, the link is here.

Dave Pflieger Island Air CSRDave Pflieger has always remained deeply concerned with the social and ethical impact of his professional pursuits. Corporate responsibility and fostering strong community relations have always been paramount in Pflieger’s conception of proper business practices. In accordance with these beliefs, Pflieger has participated in, and spearheaded, a number of philanthropic endeavors in an effort to give back to the communities in which he works. While working with Fiji Airways, Pflieger and his team decided they wanted to focus all of their philanthropic effort on extending educational opportunities to underprivileged children in this distant pacific island. Pflieger’s foundations raised over $100,000 to help student purchase materials, and pay tuition. Speaking of this charitable accomplishment, Pflieger said,  “As Fiji’s national airline, we view it as one of our responsibilities to assist local communities – especially in their time of need following the recent floods in Western and Northern Fiji,”

Pflieger is now focusing his efforts on Hawaii, and has taken part in many philanthropic activities to give back to this vibrant community. Along with Island Air, Pflieger supports a number of charitable organizations throughout the state, and has exemplified a clear commitment to fostering community growth and wellbeing. The Island Air Corporate Giving Program has become well ingrained in the state of Hawaii, and has supported a number of venerable institutions to ensure the efficacy of their efforts. These institutions include The University of Hawaii Athletics, Bishop Museum, XTERRA, Best Buddies, Special Olympics Hawaii, and Susan G Komen Hawaii.

This support shows a passion for maintenance of Hawaii’s spirited local culture through their backing of financial ethical, athletic, health and wellness, history and culture, mentorship and friendship, and women’s health initiatives. These organizations have made massive strides in Hawaii and have worked to ameliorate myriad social, economic, and community issues currently affecting the country’s 50th state. Island Air seeks not only to bring visitors to this beautiful island paradise, but to improve the living conditions for those who live there permanently. Of course, this is a symbiotic relationship, as a thriving Hawaii may prove more attractive to tourists or potential residents/tax payers. Pflieger’s work in Hawaii has been invaluable to the community, and has proven his commitment to philanthropy in the many realms in which he works. Though an undisputed leader in industry, Pflieger has proven himself a leader in the world of corporate responsibility and ethical behavior. He has shown that profit is not always the only goal of a corporation, and has illustrated the massive positive influence corporate philanthropic support can have over a marginalized or otherwise disadvantaged community.