Are you following these great CSR / Sustainability blogs?

The first thing I do when I get up each morning and turn on my computer is to go to my RSS reader and browse my favourite CSR / Sustainability blogs. My favourites change over time of course but the purpose of today’s posts is to provide you with an up to date list of my current favourite CSR / Sustainability blogs.

Here they are:

These are the blogs I am reading on a regular basis at the moment. There are obviously a lot more great blogs out there. What blogs could you recommend?

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The Guardian Sustainable Business: How are they doing?

My days are very busy at the moment, that is why today will only be a rather short post. This situation will change over the next weeks I hope. 🙂 But this is important post in my opinion.

It does not happen very often that we as stakeholders/viewers can influence the way a news and opinion provider such as The Guardian is determining which content mix is right for us.

Guardian Sustainable Business has been online for over a month now and is looking for your feedback on how they can make their website and the content choice better and more targeted towards your needs. Please visit : Guardian feedback to provide your feedback.

I am a keen reader of the new Sustainable Business articles and will leave my feedback tonight. I also think that Jo Confino and his team are doing a great job and provide a brilliant service to the overall CSR / Sustainability community with this new sustainable business section.

What about you? Have you looked at some of the posts already? If yes what do you think of the topics and selection of authors? If you have not had a chance to look at the topics here is the link again: Guardian Sustainable Business

Unilever and the Sustainable Living Plan

Today I was invited by Unilever to take part in their launch of the Sustainable Living plan here in London. The purpose of this post is to give you an idea what my impressions where from this event.

General opinion:
This was a very well organised event. Overall it was a very interesting and informative event with a lot of Unilever employees present to answer any question about the plan and other related topics. The presentations where short and direct whereas the debate was a good mix of sceptical views and challenging questions from the audience.

Here are some things I took away from the event:

1) The Sustainability Living Plan is very ambitious. Unilever plans to have the following outcomes by 2020:

  • Help more than a billion people improve their health and well-being
  • Halve the environmental impact of our products
  • Enhance the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people in our supply chain

This sounds very ambitious indeed and I can only applaud this ambition. Where would we be without being ambitious. Nowhere in my view.

2) At the beginning is was not really sure about the senior leadership / CEO commitment for this plan. So much in the CSR / Sustainability field depends on the leadership commitment. But as the presentations went ahead and the debate was shaping up everyone could clearly see and hear what Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, had in mind with this plan. His answers where reasonable and direct while at the same time always practical as well. This is not always the case in my view.

3) Unilever seems to be ahead of the curve in terms of CSR / Sustainability best practice. This is clearly what this event showed. Yes, they have a lot of resources available but these resources seem to be used really well. I asked a question to a Sustainability team member whether there would be a designated Sustainability / CSR department and she replied that there is but all of the actions and responsibilities are now much more integrated into the global business areas that the purpose of the CSR / Sustainability team mostly is to co-ordinate these and bring them in line. Sustainability / CSR is not just something that is dictated but implemented and integrated within the overall business the employee concluded.

Of course, I did not really expect any different answer but you know, I believed her. Everything I heard today at the event was believable. Not to much fuss and drum-rolling. Just good information and a sense of CSR / Sustainability ambition from Unilever.

The future of this plan

This is a good plan but the future will tell whether Unilever will be able to present us with interim results/data in 12 months time that are valuable and meaningful for us as a business sector. And, more importantly, show us some real life examples/changes this plan has produced in developing and developed countries. In the end it all needs to be weighted up to what this plan actually produced.

This sustainable living plan has had a good start, now Unilever needs to focus on delivering these goals. I am positive about this plan and will support it in the supermarket with my purchases. But this is just me. What are you impressions?

Some more reactions to this event:

Note: I am not at all associated with Unilever. They are not a client and I have not received any kind of compensation for this article. I am simply impressed by this ambitious plan. 🙂

What companies should aspire to in terms of Sustainability / CSR best practice

One lesson I learned very early on in my life was to have have dreams and aspire to something you feel is worthwhile for you as an individual. Personally I have these dreams and aspirations of course but what would this aspiration look like if we where to project it onto the corporate contact and it’s Sustainability / CSR best practice?

Recent examples ranging from the outrageous ousting of Jeffrey Hollender at Seventh Generation to BP and its monumental oil spill disaster and subsequent failure to react properly have not really helped to foster confidence in companies in my view. Many companies it seems have lost their aspirations to continuously do better and reach higher in terms of CSR / Sustainability best practice.

My top five aspirations to in terms of Sustainability / CSR best practice a company should have:

  1. Reporting on the Sustainability / CSR strategy and activities of the organisation is embedded in the organisational mind-set. To report means to be transparent and accountable towards your stakeholders as well as not trying to paint a rosy picture. The Sustainability / CSR report is a part of your stakeholder communication tools but not the only one.
  2. Have a CEO and a non-executive board of directors that understand what needs to be done to practice and promote responsible business in and outside of the company.
  3. A cycle of employee engagement is in place that reinforces the Sustainability / CSR activities and creates employees which are proud of what their company is doing and actively shape the future direction together with your senior leadership team.
  4. Have a new product innovation process that has the Sustainability / CSR idea and best practice at its core.
  5. Market and sell your product)s) with a clear distinctive Sustainability / CSR related message. Try to be authentic and not be hassled by financial goals that are violating your Sustainability / CSR values.

These are my top five aspirations a company should have in terms of Sustainability / CSR best practice. What are yours? What are aspects/aspirations you would like to add according to your experience?

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My current favourite Google Chrome extensions

Occasionally I am also writing about some useful social media tools I am using to make my life easier when working in front of my computer. Today’s post is another one of this category.

What internet browser you are using can really effect your productivity during the day in my view. A quick browser is essential. I have been using the Google Chrome browser for a while now and do not really see a reason to change to any other browser anymore. The browser is fast, reliable and now includes an ever growing extensions list. Extensions are a great way to add more features and functionality to your Chrome browser.

These are four of my current favourite Google Chrome extensions. I hope you will find them of use as well:

1) Session Manager: Session Manager lets you save sessions of your opened tabs and windows, and to quickly re-open them whenever you like. Really useful! Session Manager Extension

2) Shareaholic: The easiest way to share interesting webpages using Facebook, Twitter, Email, Gmail, Buzz, Reader, Bookmarks, and more… This saves me so much time when sharing information, unbelievable. Shareaholic Extension

3) Xmarks: Backup and sync your bookmarks, passwords and open tabs across computers and browsers. Xmarks is also available for Firefox, Safari and IE. An indispensable tool in my view. Xmarks Extension

4) Diigo: Highlight webpages with multiple colors as you read online. Also allow tagging and sticky notes. Great for getting your resources on the web and interesting websites organised. Diigo Extension

Enjoy and let me know what extensions you find indispensable for your daily productivity boost and web surfing.