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Posts tagged “sustainable brands”

Super Bowl ad and gender pay equity: does Audi walk the walk on gender diversity?

There’s no question that Audi’s Super Bowl ad featuring a gender pay equity message was bold.

If you haven’t seen it, the ad features a father pondering how to explain to his (race car driving) daughter that women are worth less in the workplace than men.

Taking on such a politically charged issue in such a politically charged time was an interesting choice for the luxury car company, and it’s certainly generated plenty of attention. But whether you praise the ad’s message or consider it a fail, perhaps the big question is: does Audi walk the walk?

It’s hard to rate the company’s performance on pay equity since it doesn’t disclose its pay structure (most companies do not). But it’s commitment and progress in the area of diversity and inclusion (D&I) are a telling…

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How do investor relations and sustainability keep missing each other?

The investor relations and sustainability fields recently missed a rare opportunity to collaborate and build relationships that could have long-term benefits. Earlier this month, both the 2016 National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) Annual Conference and Sustainable Brands 2016 were held in San Diego, occurring simultaneously about a 15-minute drive away from each other. We wish the organizers of the two events had agreed to do something together, but they did not. It was a lost opportunity, in our view, although the shared goals and need for collaboration may be a foregone conclusion.

The fact is investor relations and sustainability are increasingly being pushed together by growing interest in socially responsible investing, integrated reporting,…

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Next steps for Chipotle after shareholders’ vote ‘for’ sustainability report comes up short

In mid-May, Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG) shareholders voted on two investor-proposed sustainability issues during the company’s annual meeting. The fact that both sustainability proposals lost is not all that unusual – sustainability/CSR/ESG resolutions rarely receive shareholder approval at U.S. public companies. In fact, even organizations that specialize in raising such issues in the context of annual shareholder votes acknowledge that they rarely win. Instead, they hope the proxy process will motivate the board to “take a stand on sustainability” – as sustainability investor Bob Eccles said in his March 30, 2016 blog post on Forbes.com.

Despite the company’s “Food with Integrity” commitment, Chipotle’s board and management opposed the non-binding…

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Sustainability and social media: Made for each other

I have to give credit to Matthew Yeomans, founder of Sustainly, a sustainability communications research firm based in the U.K., for so clearly putting into words what I have felt strongly about over the past five or six years – sustainability and social media are made for each other. Sustainly is the provider of the annual Social Media Sustainability Index, which is now in its fifth year.

Here’s why sustainability and social media are such a good fit, according to Yeomans’ presentation at the Sustainable Brands conference last month in San Diego: Each is a “fundamental business philosophy,” not a tactic or strategy. He made a strong case that both social media and sustainability are underpinned by the same…

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Sustainability & your stakeholders: Choose transparency for communications

One of the best parts of Sustainable Brands ’15 (besides stand-up paddle board yoga and working out with ski mountaineer Kit DesLauriers…) was all the conversation around the many stakeholders companies interact with on a regular basis. Over and over, panelists presented examples of the ways they communicate with those stakeholders about sustainability and corporate social responsibility.  

Perhaps the best point about the need to communicate came from Jill Manata, senior director of public affairs for McDonald’s, who admitted that the company used to “try to get caught doing things right.” Spoiler alert: it didn’t work. 

The real problem here is that it becomes a cycle – because if you just hope to “get caught” doing the right thing but don’t, it may feel like…

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