Archive for the ‘Sustainability’ Category

Not Just a “Pick-Up” Line

posted by Andrew Cuneo

I think many of us who listen to the evening news broadcasts expect to hear a lot of the same thing: Fighting here, budget cuts there, unemployment is “XX” high. But every so often, you come across a story that makes you feel good about where the human race is going. And this happened to me Wednesday evening. As my daughter and I sat on the couch watching NBC Nightly News, a story at the end of the telecast came on that both made us stop and listen.

A young group of individuals called “Pick up America” is driving across the country picking up roadside trash. Traveling in an old school bus running on recycled vegetable oil, the youth group started in March 2010 in Maryland and have since traveled 2/3rds of the way across our nation picking up close to 140,000 lbs of litter left by careless motorists. They get local volunteers involved, bring a sense of accomplishment to those who participate and leave lessons for future generations to live by. Why do it? Member Jeff Chen says: “We’re young people and need to take a hold of our future.”

It’s time we all shared the enthusiasm these “pick up artists” are exhibiting. Though too young to understand, my daughter watched. It’s a lesson I hope she (and for that matter we) learn – from activities in everyday life to what you do in the office.

What do you do to help the environment?

Every company is an energy company?

posted by Tara Knight

I just read a really fantastic article by one of our clients, Deloitte.

The essay was written for Forbes by Nick Main (Deloitte’s Global Managing Director for Sustainability & Climate Change Services) and Dr. Joseph Stanislaw (an Independent Senior Advisor to Deloitte’s Energy & Sustainability practice) about corporate energy use and the need for a strategy to manage energy use.

Here’s a teaser, if you would like to read the full article, click the link below to go right to the Forbes blog to read the full post.

Every company is an energy company
Every company is an energy company. And if it isn’t, it will be soon. A decade from now, a company without an energy and sustainability department could be as unusual as one without a human resources department.  Or, it might be out of business.
Read the full article here: Every company is an energy company (on Forbes blog)

Do plantations cause violence and death?

posted by Tara Knight

It’s a powerful question. Certainly, the last type of question I expected to see leading me into a corporate global sustainability microsite. Amazingly, it wasn’t my first surprise during my visit to the Stora Enso Global Responsibility site.

Stora Enso’s CSR microsite is ambitious. An integrated paper, packaging and wood products company based in Helsinki, Finland, Stora Enso is one of the world’s largest pulp and paper manufacturers, with operations in Europe, Latin America and Asia. Stora Enso and Hill & Knowlton’s Helsinki office built this global sustainability site to communicate Stora Enso’s commitment to sustainability. I was introduced to the site by a colleague, Jari Lähdevuori, who is part of the H&K project team that developed the microsite.

If you haven’t had a chance to take a tour, allow me to offer you a brief overview of the site. In addition to questions like “Do plantations cause violence and death?,” the site also asks visitors “How much does the forest industry accelerate climate change?” and “Does recycling paper really do any good?” Each of these questions are answered by different employees of the Stora Enso company and its stakeholder groups (including customers, forest owners and activists).

I was seriously impressed when I toured the site and found a one-on-one interview between Sini Harkki,  Greenpeace’s Nordic forest campaigner and Stora Enso CEO Jouko Karvinen where they speak quite frankly about the challenges and efforts of Stora Enso’s forestry policies. The site also includes experiential elements such as “How to build a plantation” , a module on “Lessons Learned”, and a “Test Yourself” knowledge section narrated by Carrot Mob Finland.

I asked my colleague on the project team, Jari Lähdevuori, to tell me a bit more about how this project came about:

Tara: What was the reason for the site?

Jari says: Stora Enso felt the communications about their commitment to sustainability were lost in the wash of messages from mainstream media and Non-Governmental Organizations, which seemed to have much greater reach and impact. Stora Enso did not feel their own sustainability messages were reaching the general public on a global scale.

Stora Enso wanted to communicate their sustainability policies and practices directly to the public, and bring more attention to these topics. To do that effectively, our team felt we needed compelling and entertaining content – hence, the global responsibility site.”

Tara: It’s no surprise that the site has been successful. What has the feedback been?

Jari says: “The internal feedback from Stora Enso has been very good – the site is seen as a very fresh way of communicating sustainability in a credible manner. People who have seen the site are very impressed. In fact, Stora Enso’s Head of Communications Lauri Peltola was asked if it can be used as a CSR case study at the G20 summit. It has been an exceptionally powerful way of communicating – and demonstrating – how they do business.”

Stora Enso’s Global Responsibility microsite is clearly a great example of companies really ‘walking the talk” and using the power of new media technologies to approach CSR communications with transparency and credibility by making corporate CSR practices accessible for the average person.

Dilbert Always Gets It Right

posted by Boyd Neil

Todays’ Dilbert cartoon by Scott Adams captures the zeitgeist of how some still view corporate responsibility and sustainability.

Dilbert.com

We’re Back!

posted by Boyd Neil

In 2007, the North American corporate responsibility (CR) team launched a blog on Collective Conversation called ResponsAbility, a play on words reflecting H&K’s unique and powerful ‘ability’ to help provide counsel on all facets of CR and CR communications. ResponsAbility featured original thinking, case studies and insights from H&K offices across North America, on a wide range of CR topics including employee volunteering, recycling, stakeholder engagement, privacy, green tech, and workplace diversity. (All of these posts have been migrated to this new platform and are accessible here.)

Although well received by clients and H&K colleagues alike, with posts attracting hundreds of views and trackbacks, the demands of keeping up a blog ran up against the business exigencies of day-to-day client service.

Well, ResponsAbility is back . . . with renewed commitment and energy and frankly a better infrastructure for ensuring the breadth and regularity of contributions. Why are we doing this? Because we have more and more clients coming to us for support on various facets of CR and sustainblity. We want to demonstrate that H&K’s CR consultants are among the brightest and most passionate counselors in this field. And we want to prove we deliver confirmed results.

From our perspective CR is much more than strategic philanthropy or “green” initiatives. So expect ResponsAbility to offer a broad range of posts covering everything from governance issues, employee engagement, impact on biodiversity, ethical behavior of sales forces, employee benefits, product quality and safety, CEO compensation, and energy efficiency . . . to responsible downsizing, supply chain working conditions, and responsible advertising and marketing to children.

Our goal is to make this the go-to source for the best thinking on corporate responsibility and sustainability.

You can help by subscribing to our RSS feed, adding ResponsAbility to your blog roll and insisting — by way of your comments, criticism and praise — that we make evident high standards in our thinking about, and our counsel on, these crticial business issues.

Boyd Neil . . . on behalf of Chad Tragakis and the North American CR team.

From Earth Day to Earth Week to Sustainable Environmental Practices

posted by Boyd Neil

By Liz Purchia is an account executive in H&K’s public affairs group in Washington D.C.

Last Tuesday was Earth Day and for many organizations, Hill & Knowlton included, it turned into Earth Week. 

Everywhere you looked from clothing stores to TV stations to global corporations, people were championing the environment, offering environmental tips and discounts on eco-friendly products. In our Washington, D.C. office Hill & Knowlton handed out free reusable water bottles and tote bags to every employee to cut back on the amount of waste we produce.

I found myself logging on to various Web sites, signing up for petitions and learning tools that I can use to curb my environmentally harmful habits.

Sustaining Environmental Energy

I work on a lot of energy and environmental issues for clients in D.C. and what I’m wondering is now that Earth Day is over, what’s going to happen? Has everyone done their part for the year?

Recently, President Bush outlined the administration’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.  As Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee said, “We can’t wait until 2025 to deal with greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). That is too late, that is dangerously late, that is doing nothing.

The Warner-Lieberman bill, scheduled for debate in the Senate calls for halting growth in GHG emissions starting in 2012, 13 years earlier than the president proposes.

All three presidential candidates, Sens. McCain (R-AZ), Clinton (D-NY), and Obama (D-IL) support mandatory limits on GHG and are advocating a much more aggressive climate change platform. But with the election year, there’s very little chance that much will get done in terms of environmental policy.

Everyone’s looking to see what others are doing to support the environment and to reduce their environmental impacts. Before hiring us, some potential clients are even looking to see what Hill & Knowlton is doing as a company to address climate change.

Environmental Sustainability as Business Opportunity

In February, I was on a Hill & Knowlton exchange program in Brussels where we were the exclusive PR partner for the European Business Summit. The focus of this year’s event was “Greening the Economy,” underlining that the environment can become a business opportunity.

The U.S. can take a few notes from European businesses, which have incorporated environmental plans into their business models for many years. We can support our economy through green practices. What’s good for the environment can and should be good for business.

I recently read a New York Times article, “Millions of Jobs of a Different Collar” in which Jerome Ringo, president of the Apollo Alliance predicted that the U.S. could generate between three million to five million more green jobs over the next 10 years. Van Jones of Green for All is quoted in the article as saying that green jobs “cannot be easily outsourced…If we are going to weatherize buildings, they have to be weatherized here…If you put up solar panels, you can’t ship a building to Asia and have them put the solar panels on and ship it back. These jobs have to be done in the United States.”

As clients come to us to help shape their business and communications plans, inserting environmental practices will be beneficial to their business, their potential business and employees.

The market needs companies to adopt environmental practices. It may just be monitoring data center usage, improving energy efficient technologies or turning off the lights on weekends, but making a commitment to the environment means making a commitment to sound sustainable business practices.