Corporate Digital Responsibility: Doing Well by Doing Good

Accenture has identified five principles that will increasingly define what it means to be a responsible business in the digital economy. Companies that understand and take action on these principles will be positioned not only to manage today’s challenges but also to differentiate themselves for growth in the future.

Getting the Most Out of Your Sustainability Program

Sustainability initiatives won’t create lasting value if they’re poorly managed. Here are four lessons from companies that are doing it right.

Are You Ready for the Resource Revolution?

Meeting increasing global demand requires dramatically improving resource productivity. Yet technological advances mean companies have an extraordinary opportunity not only to meet that challenge but to spark the next industrial revolution as well.

Beyond Supply Chains: Empowering Responsible Value Chains

Instead of focusing only on commercial advantage, leading companies are balancing that with environmental impact and local economic development. It’s what we call, “the triple advantage,” where value chains support business goals and contribute positively to the socio-economy. Accenture and the World Economic Forum joined to identify 31 supply chain practices that lead to a triple advantage.

Creating Partnerships for Sustainability

Companies are increasingly expected to join with other organizations—both public and private—to address social and environmental problems. Here are seven ways to make such alliances successful.

Sustainability’s Strategic Worth: McKinsey Global Survey Results

Executives at all levels see an important business role for sustainability. But when it comes to mastering the reputation, execution, and accountability of their sustainability programs, many companies have far to go.

The One-for-one Business Model: Avoiding Unintended Consequences

The one-for-one business model has catapulted to prominence since Toms adopted it. Scores of similar businesses, selling a wide range of products, have followed suit. Many say that from a marketing standpoint, the model is a winner. Still, questions have been raised about whether the social impact aspect works quite as well.

Best Business Books 2014

strategy+business presents their 14th annual best business books special section with picks from seven eminent reviewers.

Editor’s Note: As usual, these pieces offer more than just listings of recommended books. In particular, I recommend you read the entries on strategy and economics.

What Can You Do Better?

Paul Leinwand, coauthor, with Cesare Mainardi, of The Essential Advantage: How to Win with a Capabilities-Driven Strategy, introduces a guiding maxim for CSR success from Winning Investors Over: Surprising Truths about Honesty, Earnings Guidance, and Other Ways to Boost Your Stock Price, by Baruch Lev.

How to Win the Argument with Milton Friedman

In 1970, in his famous essay, The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits, Milton Friedman railed against any corporate attempt to promote “desirable social ends” which he argued were “highly subversive to the capitalist system.”

Ever since, folks have argued that Friedman is wrong to make the trade-off between shareholders and the rest of society so wholly in favor of shareholders and that … [ Read more ]

The Surprising Link Between Language and Corporate Responsibility

Research by Christopher Marquis shows that a company’s degree of social responsibility is affected by a surprising factor—the language it uses to communicate.

Sustainability 2.0: Using Sustainability to Drive Business Innovation and Growth

Sustainability can drive innovation by introducing new design constraints that shape how key resources are used in products and processes. It can suggest areas where innovation can pay off especially well. How a company attempts to overcome these new design constraints, delivering similar levels of performance and cost at lower levels of resource usage, may be key to its prospects.

The Financial Challenge: Reconciling Social and Environmental Value with Shareholder Value

In the finance community, shareholder value has long been the performance metric of choice. But, is it possible to reconcile shareholder value with SEERS, a business perspective which aims to integrate social, environmental, economic responsibility, and sustainability factors into decision making? From a financial vantage point, the answer is a qualified yes.

Editor’s Note: nothing really new in this article for those already familiar with … [ Read more ]

Sustainability as Adaptability

Over the past few years, CEOs have been paying increasing attention to corporate social responsibility, sustainability, and ethics. In a recent global survey of business executives conducted by BCG and MIT Sloan Management Review, more than two-thirds of the 4,700 respondents agreed that sustainability is essential to competitiveness. Moreover, nearly three-quarters said that it is permanently on their agenda and that their commitment will increase … [ Read more ]

Sustainability Nears a Tipping Point

Companies are incorporating sustainability into management agendas more than ever before, according to the results of a Sustainability & Innovation study conducted by BCG and MIT Sloan Management Review. And while not all organizations have found ways to profit from these efforts, those that have share some interesting characteristics.

When and How to Drive Real Value with CSR

CSR can drive economic and reputational value in targeted circumstances and, improve a company’s bottom line. To make CSR a value-generating strategy executives must understand the contexts in which responsible practices are more likely to pay off and implementing the practices with specific principles, including competence, in mind. In this sense CSR works like other dimensions of strategic positioning, such as the quality of products … [ Read more ]

Pinpointing the Value in CSR

Proponents of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives tend to justify their position by arguing that these expenditures improve a company’s economic performance―allowing it to earn higher profits through enhanced brand reputation, more-productive employees, and insulation from regulatory penalties. In other words, executives promote the company’s own interests by pursuing a strategy of “doing well by doing good.”

In contrast, economist Milton Friedman proclaimed in 1970 (the … [ Read more ]