Filed under: Apple, Corporate Citizenship, Nike Foundation, Philanthropy, Vodafone | Tags: Apple, charity, Cisco, corporate, Corporate Citizenship, foundation, Girl Effect, LloydsTSB, Nike, Nike Foundation, Philanthropy, tesco, virgin, Virgin Unite, Vodafone
It’s not often one of the world’s biggest companies tells you they’re setting up a foundation, and asks for thoughts on strategy and positioning. I thought I’d share some of the questions we’ll need to think through, in case anyone has any ideas or experiences to throw in…
1. PURPOSE: How is the foundation linked to corporate strategy? Some foundations are set up to allow independence from corporate priorities – e.g., the LloydsTSB Foundation, which is a giving vehicle to range of charities. Others are set up to deliver complement commercial objectives – e.g., the Walmart Foundation, which directly tackles nutrition in low income groups.
2. CORE COMPETENCE: What does the foundation actually do? Most of foundations exist purely to give money, but some also draw upon the expertise of parent company. The Vodafone Foundations are a great example of this, using mobile telecoms for health, education and disaster relief. Similarly, the Cisco Foundation works to use Internet technologies for social inclusion.
3. PEOPLE: Is the foundation run by corporate management? Sometimes the foundation’s trustees will be drawn from the corporation’s senior management, other times they are completely independent. Some corporates will facilitate volunteering and/or secondments to the foundation, and an opportunity to galvanise staff fundraising. Sometimes corporates view the foundation as a positive tool for talent development – giving their rising stars a broader set of management challenges, and some valuable perspectives on the world.
4. MONEY: How does the foundation get funded? A clear endowment formula proves commitement – e.g., the Lloyds TSB Foundations gets 1% pre-tax profits (averaged over 3 years). Some foundations are set up during an IPO or M&A, and are given a chunk of equity – such as Google.org, which has 1% of Google stock. The foundation I’m closest to, the Nike Foundation, was set up with an initial $20 million, and this is topped up each year from Nike’s commitment to give 3% of pre-tax profits.
5. BRAND: What is the foundation’s public positioning? Many corporate foundations share a brand identity, but aren’t promoted directly as a brand asset. Nike Foundation is a great example of this, having created the Girl Effect campaign as the public face of the foundation. Other foundations align themselves with consumer interest: the Tesco Charity Trust, for example, is said to undertake consumer research to help decide their areas of focus. Virgin Unite is building on the Virgin brand’s reputation for entrepreneurship.
Corporate foundations are among the biggest donors of all foundations: 11 of the top 20 US-based foundations are corporate. (foundationcentre.org). All corporates are under increasing pressure justify charitable giving to shareholders, so foundations are becoming increasingly strategic about the way they give: aligning the focus of the foundation with commercial objectives, building upon core business competencies.
And for the record, the client I’m working with isn’t Apple – I just liked the cartoon (by Rob Cottingham) because their own philanthropy ambitions are either secret or absent. According to an answer on Quora, Steve Jobs eliminated all corporate philanthropy programs when he returned in 1997. It would be fun to think what you’d do with the Apple Foundation…
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Accenture, Apple, CEO, Dow Chemical, GE, Ikea, Intel, Nike, P&G, Quotes, Shell, Unilever, virgin, Volvo
These days it seems like business leaders are queuing up to talk about their role in society. That’s good, right? They’re saying all the right things. I’ve been hoarding a bunch of quotes – here they are below. But first – it’s always slightly scary when a new orthodoxy emerges (even when it’s yours), so some wise words from Warren Buffett:
“The five most dangerous words in business may be ‘Everybody else is doing it’.” Warren Buffett (source)
A new world view
“We are seeing the birth of a new perspective of the world, where ecology and economics are two sides of the same coin.”
Leif Johansson, CEO, VOLVO (source)
“We cannot choose between [economic] growth and sustainability – we must have both.”
Paul Polman, CEO, UNILEVER (source)
“Business is the force of change. Business is essential to solving the climate crisis, because this is what business is best at: innovating, changing, addressing risks, searching for opportunities. There is no more vital task.”
Richard Branson, CEO, Virgin Group (source)
“Solid, hardwired, rigid approaches to business are rapidly giving way to the fluid, open, flexible in literally everything we do and with ramifications we are all grappling with.”
Robert Pitfield, EVP, SCOTIA CAPITAL (source)
The company of the future
“In my view the successful companies of the future will be those that integrate business and employees’ personal values. The best people want to do work that contributes to society with a company whose values they share, where their actions count and their views matter.”
Jeroen van der Veer, Committee of Managing Directors, SHELL (source)
“The brands that will be big in the future will be those that tap into the social changes that are taking place.”
Sir Michael Perry, Chairman, CENTRICA (source)
“We see sustainability, both social and environmental, as a powerful path to innovation, and crucial to our growth strategies.”
Mark Parker, CEO, NIKE (source)
The need for collaboration
“Successful companies can only create solutions to some of the world’s toughest problems by working collaboratively. Business must engage — with communities, governments, customers and each other — because the status quo is not an option. It is not only possible for a global business leader to be a good citizen, but a requirement.”
Jeff Immelt, CEO, GE (source)
“The opportunity for businesses today is to become networks—with a culture of collaborative innovation, stewardship and integrity.”
Filippo Passerini, President, PROCTOR & GAMBLE (source)
“Business, government and civil society and people everywhere can leverage technology to work together in new ways to solve the greatest problems of our multi-polar world.”
Bill Green, Chairman and CEO, ACCENTURE (source)
“The new engine of innovation driven by collaboration, openness, stewardship and the power of the social web gives all of us an opportunity to drive even more rapid, meaningful change across global institutions”.
Michael Dell, CEO, DELL (source)
Going beyond the expected…
“It is not good enough to do what the law says. We need to be in the forefront of these [social responsibility] issues.”
Anders Dahlvig, CEO, IKEA (source)
“Corporate responsibility is about doing the right things right.”
Paul Otellini, CEO, Intel (source)
(as opposed to what exactly? Doing the wrong things wrong? Doing the wrong things right?)
It’s core business…
“In short, we are committed – through chemistry – to the betterment of global humanity. And it is this commitment that drives all of our strategies for growth and profitability”.
Andrew Liveris, CEO, Dow Chemical (source)
“We believe that better use of information and communication technologies can contribute in a big way to economic growth while offering opportunities to address global warming.” Stephen Elop, CEO, NOKIA (source)
Tomorrow is too late
“All companies face a direct impact from decreasing natural resources, rising populations and disruption from climate change. And what may be a subtle effect now will only become more intense over the next five to ten years. Never has business had a more crucial call to innovate — not just for the health and growth opportunities for our companies, but for the good of the world.”
Mark Parker CEO, NIKE (source)
“The time to take risks is when you’re successful, not when you’re sliding down the slope.”
Tim Mohin, ex-director of Sustainable Development, Intel and Apple (source)
I’m aware that all of these quotes are very Anglo-Euro-American. Partly that’s because I don’t speak mandarin. So a final piece of wisdom from the East:
“If we do not change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed.” —Chinese Proverb
And if you really couldn’t be bothered to read all the quotes, I did a Wordle of the entire post, so you can get the general idea:
Image from Jupiter Images.
Filed under: Advertising, Climate Change, Environment, Google, Innovation, Mother | Tags: Advertising, Climate Change, energy saving trust, environmental, Google, Innovation, Mother, virgin
The first post on this blog talked about “Public Innovation Challenges” – such as the Virgin Earth Challenge, with its $25 million prize for anyone who can figure out a way to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
More recently, Google’s Project 10100 offered $10 million for “ideas to change the world”. They were overwhelmed with over 150,000 ideas in 25 different languages. Google says it took over 3,000 employees to read them – and they’ve left the decision to a public vote which closes this Friday.
Our clients at the Energy Saving Trust are joining the party, helping to launch the Low Carbon Communities Challenge, a £10 million fund to help communities such as transition towns to reduce their carbon output. This may not be a vast amount of money, but it’s a progressive approach: encouraging and enabling local communities to take action has to be a smart way forward.
In the meantime, Mother’s ad for the Energy Saving Trust went live last week with a different kind of challenge: stop wasting energy. Saving the planet may be important to many, but right now saving money is important to everyone. Even so, doing an ad about energy saving promised to be deadly dull, so we’ve tried to add a bit of charm to it, in the form of Dave. Recognize the voice?