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.

Natalia Karelaia

We found that individuals with a high sense of social connectedness felt their individual actions would generate a greater impact on a larger scale and, as a result, tended to be the most socially conscious consumers. Overall, the social values self-reported by the respondents were a less reliable predictor of behavior than the feeling that they, as individuals, could make a difference. This result is … [ Read more ]

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.

The Inside Story of Facebook’s Biggest Setback

The social network had a grand plan to connect millions of Indians to the internet. Here’s how it all went wrong.

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.

Kathy Nieland

If you want to reduce the amount of waste from packaging that goes to landfills, you can move incrementally. But now you need to actually optimize things at a higher level. Like, why do you need packaging at all? Do you just need it to protect the product or is it a marketing consideration for distinguishing your products from those of your competitors? Maybe you … [ Read more ]

Dick Martin

Understanding the ways and whys of people unlike yourself is key to winning and keeping customers, managing today’s workforce, and relating to all the third-party activists who have an increasingly influential voice in where and how a company does business.

Christine Bader

People ask me, “Should I take this CSR job? Will I be doing real work, or will I just be ordering matching T-shirts for people to go paint a wall?” And what you have to do is step back and ask, What are this company’s ten or five or three greatest tensions with society, and is this job working on any of those? If it’s … [ Read more ]

Christine Bader

This is a big problem with how the CSR conversation has evolved—we’ve sort of given up on governments. If you look at places like where I was in Indonesia for BP, companies are expected to assume the responsibilities of the state. That is neither appropriate nor sustainable. So that’s a big part of an idealist’s job: helping determine the boundaries of responsibility of your company. … [ Read more ]

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.

Marc Benioff

The reality is that capitalism has to be seen in the broader social context and not defined just by economic capital but also by human and social capital.

Albert Pike

What we have done for ourselves dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.

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.

Big Business and the New Norm: Doing Good at the Core, not the Periphery

Often perceived as acting in ways that harm the economy, society and the environment due to a short-term focus on profits, big business is now starting to use its power for long-term good, according to Lucy Parker and Jon Miller, authors of Everybody’s Business: The Unlikely Story of How Big Business Can Fix the World. In an interview with Wharton management professor Witold Henisz, Parker … [ Read more ]

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 ]