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Many brands that choose to shun any real efforts at executing corporate philanthropy are putting themselves on the path to extinction.
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In the U.S. alone, over 17 billion pounds of office furniture and equipment is sent to landfill every year. This waste is typically a result of necessary changes like moving, branch closures or revitalization projects. The furniture needs to be removed or replaced but it is what's being done with the furniture or, "F", waste that is the problem.
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Have you heard about social enterprises? Social enterprises apply business solutions to social problems. They're incredibly hot right now. So hot, in fact, that I've just come back from the Social Capital Markets (SOCAP) conference in San Francisco where there were over 2000 attendees.
A real transformation of Canada's role in the world will require more than a shift in foreign aid spending and policy. It will require a deeper examination of the ways in which Canadian commercial interests are contributing to social, economic and environmental injustice in the world.
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I think I'm reasonably well versed in issues surrounding the Energy East Pipeline, both economic and environmental. But I am struck by how, in any official TransCanada communications about environmental implications of the project, climate change is never mentioned.
It seems incredibly naïve to think that a profit-dependent, commercial venture is the final bastion of democratic values. Yet, in an age when companies are capitalizing on social responsibility, are brands unwittingly turning themselves into moral pedestals?
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Organized sport played an important role in the residential school system, which means that sport is implicated in Canada's history of cultural genocide. How we move our bodies, the values we attach to those movements, and the resources we provide to support certain types of movements and not others are political decisions.
Interest in green economies, sustainable products and ethical commitments are undeniably growing. But, while consumer awareness for sustainability is rampant, does the talk translate into action? Have conscious consumers actually changed their buying habits to promote sustainability? Not necessarily, it seems.
I know that global trade is critical to raising many poor families out of poverty -- as in the Bangladeshi families noted above. But the economic model I want to see more of is one where strong local economies around the world are meeting people's needs in a sustainable and healthy way.
April 10th to April 16th is National Volunteer Week, a celebration of Canada's 12.7 million volunteers -- that's nearly a third of the country's population. With such a passion for volunteerism, it's no wonder that Canadians, like employees in other parts of the world, are looking to their places of work for more opportunities to give back.
Thus, the problem runs much deeper than the name they chose. Corporate profiteering routinely commandeers representations of Indigenous cultures for its commercial objectives. This includes well-known brands such as Ralph Lauren and Victoria's Secret, to name two recent examples.
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The transformational company recognizes that global forces such as accelerating climate change, rising inequality, growing resource scarcity and changing customer expectations are affecting the context in which it can succeed and thrive. To build its social license to grow, it future-proofs its operations and supply chains by tackling social problems through its core business model.
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Engaging staff in a cause that matters to them is a win-win for both company and employees. Companies with high employee engagement report more productivity and lower absenteeism and turnover.
As the end of the year comes to a close, industry leaders are already preparing for what's next and refining their 2016 strategies to stay on top of the market. With baby boomers retiring and millennials being the most studied generation to date, market leaders can gain insight from the next generation, Generation Z.