The 3bl TV CSR Web Video Channel – A new challenge for me

Some of you may have noticed by now that I have now started to use video messages or short clips within posts or as the main message for the post. Today this whole video challenge has even got more exciting. 3blMedia has launched 3bl TV. 3bl TV is a Web Video Channel that will feature regular video segments produced by Christine Arena, Chris Jarvis, and myself.

This is an exciting new challenge for me and I am really looking forward working with 3blMedia, Christine Arena and Chris Jarvis on this together. We will bring you weekly videos about some of the latest news, discussions and other interesting items such as interviews and event coverage from around the world all related to Sustainability and CSR.

This is the launch video. And yes I am featured as well so please be gentle with your criticism!

If you would like to know more about this please also fell free to visit the press release website here: 3bl TV announcement

A big challenge: Being a Sustainability / CSR professional at Shell

Imagine you are working for Shell in the Sustainability / CSR department and you really want to make a difference by showing that Shell is a responsible company. Todays post is about the challenges someone working at Shell might face. This is all from the viewpoint of a normal Shell stakeholder such as myself. I have also included a video response with some additional aspects to consider.

The Sustainability / CSR professional working at Shell as far as we can tell is facing the following situation at the moment:

Worsening reputation: Shells reputation with regards to Sustainability / CSR is not good. After being seen as leaders some years ago they are now being perceived as just putting a lot of money in their communication

Lack of Sustainability / CSR innovation: Over the last few years Shell have not really convinced on the content and implementation side through innovation at all. This might be the consequence of not being leaders anymore combined with a lack of aspiration for bringing their reporting and best practice onto the next level. But where has this enthusiasm for innovation gone?

Perceived indifferent corporate culture: From what we can see outside as a stakeholder is that the corporate context and culture itself at Shell does not fully go hand in hand with their Sustainability / CSR messaging. I have no prove of that obviously but from we can interpret from press releases, other communications and article about Shell this seems to be the case. Here are three examples which just show how conflicting Shells messaging is at the moment:

So what should or can this employee do to change things for the better?

I believe that these following points are some aspects the Sustainability / CSR professionals at Shell need to consider to kick start their Sustainability / CSR innovation process again:

  • Stop shouting so loud about what you do. More PR does not mean that you are being perceived better in the long run. Less is more for Shell at the moment in my opinion.
  • Only communicate when you have something to say. This might be an obvious point but there is nothing more damaging when you have message and this message is being perceived as green-washing.
  • Spend at least 80% of your time now lobbying the senior management to increase the importance of your department and for you to get more leverage for future policy influencing.

I have also prepared a short video response on what I think Shell could do better:

Shell has been one of the innovators in the Sustainability / CSR field in the past and they can be again. Others like Centrica, Timberland and Intel have taken that position now. What happened to the Shell we saw several years ago?

As always please let me know what you think and whether you agree or disagree.

Important for Sustainability and CSR: Keep It Simple

Life can be complicated sometimes. We all know that. Especially if you work in the Sustainability / CSR sector trying to convince other people of the purpose and the good of Sustainability / CSR can be very complicated and challenging at times.

Todays post has one straightforward message:

Keep It Simple.

I have found this to be so important especially when you work in the Sustainability / CSR field. In order to properly communicate your point of view or argument you need to keep it simple. This will help you to reach the other person much easier and not overwhelm them with the message you are trying to convey.

How do I mean that?
Well if you overcomplicate topics or try to tackle to many issues or tasks all at once your results will show it – in a negative way. Not only from the communications but also from a business results point of view. You might be the one in a million professional that can do that now (at least you think you do) but this is is impossible to keep up all the time. We all have our limits and keeping it simple might just help to make your business life as a Sustainability / CSR professional more effective and at the same time more enjoyable.

This is a really basic way of working. But think about it. What is the argument for making it more complicated? There is none in my opinion.

So why not use time this Monday to take a look at where you can make your work in the Sustainability / CSR field or any other field of work simpler but at the same time more organized and effective. I bet you will find at least one area of work where you are overcomplicating matters.

This is your task then: Make it simpler and therefore more manageable.

Picture Credit: Jimee, Jackie, Tom & Asha

Frozen in Time: The Quality of Company Blogs

I have been doing some research into company blogs recently and thought this might be an interesting topic for a post as well. I started with the top 10 biggest global companies from Fortune magazine but some are not included in this list as they simply did not have a blog ( which is a real shame). You will see some smaller company blogs included as well. This is to mix it up a little and show what a company blogs could do for your business, if done well.

The only order I applied is that I distinguished between 1) Blogs I liked, 2) Blogs I was not sure about and 3) Blogs that need some work. Here they are:

Some of the blogs I like:

  • A blog that comes across as quite personal. http://jnjbtw.com This is so important for the pharmaceutical sector. Well done Johnson and Johnson.
  • Intel not only has one but many more. http://blogs.intel.com This best practice is a benchmark for everyone.
  • A nice example with nice visuals as you would expect from Kodak http://1000words.kodak.com
  • Simple but effective. It says all it needs to say about the social networking news site Digg.com http://about.digg.com/blog/company
  • A smaller company but also very good. The HomeGoods blog gives you a warm trustworthy feeling. http://openhouse.homegoods.com (I am not good at decorating and average at house work but I like the personality of the blog)

Blogs I am not sure about:

Blogs that need some work:

  • WalMart: I could not find a proper blog but what are they doing here? No post since December? http://checkoutblog.com Not good.
  • I could not find a proper blog for Chevron either. Only a old one here: http://www.chevron.com/wpc/blog Would you think it is time for a simple blog Chevron?

All in all is the overview not complete of course but what is clear is that corporate blogs still need a lot of work. But more importantly do they need committed individuals that take care of it and involve as many people as possible in order to get as many different viewpoints represented as they can. Then a corporate blog really becomes useful for its stakeholders in my opinion.

So come on companies across the globe, you can do better!

Picture Credit: CarbonNYC

Takeover of Cadbury by Kraft: The sector loses one of its leaders

Today it was announced that Kraft will take over Cadbury. Here are some of the links to the the story:

What this means for the Sustainability / CSR sector?
This is not good news for Sustainability/CSR as we will lose one of the most forward thinking companies in this field and brands like Green and Black’s http://www.cadbury.com/ourbrands/featurebrands/Pages/GreenandBlacks2.aspx and others that shine through their responsible business practice will be swallowed by a global giant that only has not really shown itself as an equally responsible business.

This is my video response to the news today:

I will start recording video responses to interesting breaking news as well as events from now on. Please let me know what you think about this format and obviously about your view of the Cadbury takeover by Kraft.