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Case Studies in CSR: Unilever

Unilever

Typically, when people think about sustainability in the realm of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), they think about the specific activities of companies, such as conservation of natural resources and the integration of alternative energy in buildings and factories.

Some companies, however, take sustainability a step further in their CSR efforts. Unilever, a British-Dutch multinational consumer goods company, focuses not only on the specific activities of their company, but also the supply chain that supports it, as well as the activities of its customers and consumers. This effort to go above and beyond the norm by making sustainable living commonplace is why Unilever is widely regarded as one of the few truly sustainable businesses in the world.

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Global Youth Service Day April 15-17, 2016

Global Youth Service Day 2016

Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) is an excellent opportunity for young people to learn that they have the power to positively influence the lives of others in their communities. Created by Youth Service America (YSA) in 2000, the annual GYSD engages with young people in more than 135 countries. According to YSA's website, it is "the largest service event in the world and the only one dedicated to the contributions that children and youth make 365 days of the year." Young people, ages 5-25, all around the world, are invited to participate in this event.

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CSR Spotlight: The North Face Explore Fund

The North Face

The North Face company, known for its tech savvy athletic merchandise, is now helping kids discover nature. The purpose of the company's Explore Fund is to inspire a global movement of outdoor exploration and conservation. Since 2010, North Face has provided over 1.5 million dollars in grants to more than 300 outdoors-related nonprofits, which has helped nearly 100,000 young people.

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Businesses Brew Coffee of Care

Business Care for Ethical Coffee

A few readers might smile as they peruse this piece, with a cup of coffee cradled in their hands. Coffee provides not only antioxidants but also healthy ways to remain alert, focused, and stay motivated. Numerous sources hail the coffeemaker in the workplace break room as the catalyst for stronger teamwork, such as this BusinessInsider article or this humorous Chicago Tribune article that demands for coffee and nap time in the workplace. This beverage, whether iced, dripped, or steamed, does not motivate only people—it also drives our economy. According to Global Exchange, coffee is the second most valuable traded commodity in the world right behind petroleum; it is also America's largest food import, as more than 2.7 billion pounds are brought into the country each year. Ever since the beloved bean began circulating through Europe in the seventeenth century, it has made a profound impact on people worldwide.

While some may experience inspiration consuming a cup, others may be exposed to extreme working conditions creating it. While some may receive exorbitant pay as the middleman, others might be child laborers who are exploited daily. Today, we zoom into the fine lines of the bean, and how businesses and consumers can support ethical coffee.

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Giva Salutes: Warby Parker

Warby Parker

At Giva we search for organizations, large and small, that are doing a great job of changing the world around them for the better; and we are pleased to salute them here.

B Corporations, for-profit corporate entities that pledge to achieve social goals, are taking the world of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by storm. As of June 2015, there are 1,304 certified B Corporations across 121 industries in 41 countries and these numbers continue to rise. B Corporations, or "B Corps" for short, are generally committed to a specific social mission that is incorporated into their business model right from the get-go or at any stage in their growth. Just as LEED Buildings are held to certain standards, B Corps are regularly certified by a nonprofit called "B Lab" to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Such designation as a B Corp is becoming increasingly sought after as it distinguishes between companies with verifiably superior CSR strategies and those who are lagging behind. In this post, Giva shines the spotlight on a leading member of the B Corp community—Warby Parker.

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Case Studies in CSR: Patagonia

Patagonia

Founded in 1973 by entrepreneur and outdoor enthusiast, Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia is a privately held outdoor clothing company based in Ventura, CA. The company's CSR vision consists of two main components: environmental conservation and restoration. As stated in its website, Patagonia's mission is to "build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis." Upon further investigation, however, it is clear that this mission statement does not fully capture the intense breadth and depth at which these core environmental values are integrated into everything Patagonia does. The company's commitment to the environment goes above and beyond what is required by law, despite the fact that this imposes extra cost on its customers and puts the company at a competitive economic disadvantage. Here are some highlights of the company's efforts to steer the clothing industry in a more sustainable and responsible direction.

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Giva Salutes: Network for Good

Network for Good

At Giva we search for organizations, large and small, that are doing a great job of changing the world around them for the better; and we are pleased to salute them here!

Network For Good enables users to donate to organizations or companies that have worthy causes. Their web service makes donating to organizations easy, quick, and incredibly efficient. But donors are not the only ones who benefit from this service—organizations can also raise more money for their causes by using its services. To provide a scale of the magnitude and effectiveness of their services, they have processed over $1 billion in donations for over 100,000 non-profits since 2001. Network For Good is a hybrid organization (a nonprofit-owned for-profit), their software company securing Certified B Corporation status. Their "About Network for Good" page succinctly describes their various services.

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3 Tips for Businesses Supporting Education

CSR & Education

A key component of CSR (corporate social responsibility) is education. Since businesses play an integral role in local communities, they have a great opportunity to help educate local young scholars.

"We want businesses to partner with schools to provide resources and opportunities, for example, by sponsoring events, providing class speakers, offering internships, or donating equipment and money," education website Edutopia said.

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Case Studies in CSR: Lego to Invest $150 Million in Sustainability Projects

Lego & CSR

Lego, the world's leading manufacturer of tiny toy blocks has made a giant leap in its efforts to go green, beyond merely the color of its blocks. Lego Group feels it has a unique responsibility to children, the builders of tomorrow, and is subsequently investing $150 million over the next 15 years as a broad effort to make the toys better for the environment.

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A Consumer's Perspective of CSR

Weighing Businesses with CSR

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is often likened to "Conscious Capitalism," a term used to describe how businesses can make positive change in the world. The three big tenets of CSR are: environmental friendliness, fair treatment of employees in corporate culture, and ethics of accountability and transparency.

Today, engaging in a CSR dialogue and initiating projects for the greater good has become a near necessity for businesses. In a 2013 survey, illustrated by this infographic, Nielson reported that "half of all respondents said they would be willing to reward companies that gave back to society by paying more for their goods in services."

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