When companies trumpet their efforts to produce organic foods, sell fair-trade T-shirts or just make the world a better place, a cynical view might be that they are diverting attention away from the more unseemly elements of their business strategies. However, according to Wharton experts, it's not realistic to expect perfection when it comes to corporate social responsibility (CSR). Instead, judging a company's CSR record involves a mix of skepticism and an understanding of the complex decisions at play.
From: June 18, 2013 The New Philanthropists: More Sophisticated, More Demanding - and Younger
Steel magnate Andrew Carnegie once said that he who dies leaving behind many millions will "pass away unwept, unhonoured and unsung". That philosophy took root in much of the last century, with major philanthropists giving vast fortunes in their later years to institutions devoted to the public good. But donors today aren't taking any chances. They are integrating the practice of philanthropy into their education and flexing philanthropic muscle at a younger age than their predecessors.
From: May 07, 2013 Corporate Social Responsibility Is Making Gains in Latin America
Corporate social responsibility has become an integral part of business strategy. In the developing world, the question has turned to whether poverty alleviation should serve as a central focus for multinationals. While the question still splits corporate executives, observers have seen a shift to greater social responsibility in Latin America.
From: August 21, 2012 Not-for-profit Governance: Rising to the Accountability Challenge
Research shows the quality of governance in not-for-profit organisations is far sharper than many assume. Commercially canny directors are applying their smarts in the sector to great effect. But size counts. Big not-for-profits are more likely to benefit from the experience of seasoned board members than smaller ones. With new education tools at hand, more funding avenues for social enterprises and increasing interest spurred by the looming arrival of the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission, there's ongoing pressure on not-for-profits to grow their focus on social impact and be more accountable. But measuring performance still proves difficult for some.
From: August 20, 2012 Integrated Reporting: It's Streamlined, But Will the Benefits Outstrip the Costs?
In his online report, prominent Australian shareholder activist Stephen Mayne listed 16 major businesses that were solvent when audited in 2010 but went bust shortly after. No wonder there's widespread dissatisfaction with traditional annual reports as indicators of an organisation's true position, shouted business pundits. However, this may all change next year with a new reporting format designed to meet the needs of a more sustainable, globalised 21st century world. "Integrated reporting" combines social, environmental and governance information with financial reports to tell a concise, coherent story about an organisation. Roger Simnett, an accounting professor at the Australian School of Business, who's on the international taskforce charged with creating a better reporting framework, says the big challenge in the switch to a more integrated approach is in convincing companies that its benefits will outweigh the costs.
From: August 06, 2012 'Leveraging Corporate Responsibility': The Stakeholder Approach to Maximizing Business and Social Value
"Do well by doing good" is now a mantra for many leading companies. Yet C. B. Bhattacharya, Sankar Sen and Daniel Korschun, authors of Leveraging Corporate Responsibility: The Stakeholder Route to Maximizing Business and Social Value, offer research showing that very few stakeholders - including consumers, investors and employees - are aware of what companies are doing to be socially and environmentally responsible. Wharton management professor Witold Henisz spoke with two of the authors, Bhattacharya and Sen, on why caring about the social and environmental concerns of your stakeholders makes good business sense. (Article with Video)
From: June 11, 2012 From Fringe to Mainstream: Companies Integrate CSR Initiatives into Everyday Business
Companies once viewed corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs with general skepticism and even contempt. How times have changed. Today, businesses around the world, spurred by consumers as well as a rising generation of more socially conscious leaders, are making CSR a priority, embedding it into their operations and using it to attract and keep talent.
From: May 29, 2012 Microfinance in Developed Economies: When Passion Meets Money
Microfinance – the financial model developed to kickstart small businesses in emerging economies – also has a valuable place in the developed world. A new report from the Centre for Social Impact shows how hundreds of financially excluded Australians who had been unable to raise funds by traditional means have used microfinance to unleash their entrepreneurial smarts, creating a wide variety of enterprises and jobs for themselves and others. The program, run by National Australia Bank, shows remarkable things can happen when passion meets capital.
From: May 29, 2012 Financial Exclusion: The Dark Side of an Affluent Nation
Australia is frequently highly rated for its affluence, but there's a massive imbalance when it comes to financial equity. One in seven Australian adults are completely or severely excluded from accessing basic financial services, such as a bank account, insurance or a line of credit. The first Financial Exclusion Indicator has been developed by National Australia Bank and the Centre for Social Impact at the University of New South Wales'. It exposes the reality for more than 2.6 million residents of "the lucky country", many of whom are already classified among society's most vulnerable. Is awareness the first step in helping Australia's poor avoid what's often an inexorable downward spiral?
From: August 25, 2011 Not-For-Profit Volunteers: Selfless or Selfish?
Not-for-profit organisations often thrive on the strength of volunteers so understanding what drives people to give time and effort free of charge is vital. Typically, volunteering is considered a selfless, empathetic activity, but quite often the "me" factor is at play. A new study from the Australian School of Business shows the motivations of volunteers vary greatly between age groups and indicates the need for not-for-profits (NFPs) to profile their volunteer bases to understand where gaps exist. Self-interested volunteers can work well, as long as the NFP knows how to wrangle them.
From: August 02, 2011