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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is an idea that corporations have to consider the interests of customers, employees, shareholders, communities, and ecological considerations in all
Socially responsible investing (SRI) describes an investment strategy which combines the intentions to maximize both financial return and social good.

green@work : Magazine : Newlines : Winter 2004

Actions and initiatives worth noting

John Deere Invests in Wind Power

Deere & Company recently announced that it has made equity investments in several wind-energy projects in the rural United States, and has created a business unit to provide project development, debt financing and other services to those interested in harvesting the wind. Deere said it has no plans to manufacture wind turbines.

“ John Deere is especially well-positioned to support our farm customers in this growing industry,” said Robert W. Lane, Deere & Company chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “For generations, the world’s most productive farmers have used John Deere equipment to provide food to the world, and now, through wind energy, the same farmers can help meet the growing demand for electricity.”

Deere has invested in wind-energy projects located in Minnesota and Texas, is considering projects in other states and has reviewed projects in other countries. The wind-energy initiative, Lane said, is consistent with John Deere’s goal of helping its customers improve their profitability and productivity.

New Starbucks Water Product to Aid Poor Children

Starbucks Coffee Company recently announced the official launch of Ethos™ Water in its U.S. company-operated stores. By purchasing Ethos Water, customers can be a part of a unique opportunity to help make a difference. Five cents from the sale of each bottle of Ethos Water will support Starbucks’ goal of donating $10 million over the next five years to non-profit organizations that are helping to alleviate the world water crisis. Starbucks hopes to inspire and empower customers to play a personal role in helping children and their communities around the world get clean water.

Through the Ethos Water mission, Starbucks is currently supporting efforts to bring clean water to children and their communities in developing countries through support of non-profit organizations such as UNICEF, CARE, WaterAid and WaterPartners International. The company hopes to help raise awareness about this work and become a productive and significant collaborator in support of solutions to the world water crisis, and will continue to leverage its initiatives and efforts so that they complement efforts already under way by these and other organizations.

Wells Fargo Announces 10-point Environmental Commitment

In July, Wells Fargo & Company announced a 10-point Environmental Commitment to more effectively integrate environmental responsibility into its business practices and procedures.

“ We want to be a leader in this important area of corporate citizenship, especially in processes and procedures for considering environmental issues in our commercial and business practices,” said Mary Wenzel, Wells Fargo’s vice president of environmental affairs. “This commitment to ourselves and our stakeholders shows we’re serious. We want to make sure Wells Fargo and our more than 80 businesses and 151,000 team members are committed to being environmentally responsible stewards in every community in which we do business.”

Wells Fargo’s 10-Point Environmental Commitment includes measures that will be incorporated into its financing activities, internal operations, philanthropic activities, external communications and internal priority-setting.

Dell to Offer Life-cycle Services

Computer manufacturer and merchandiser Dell has announced that it will offer services to small-business customers that will manage the entire life cycle of technology equipment—installation, support, recovery and recycling.

Customers who recycle with Dell can receive a certificate of disposal that verifies that recycling was done in a manner designed to meet EPA guidelines. Customers can also donate their systems through a partnership with The National Cristina Foundation.

Toyota Expanding Hybrid Plans

Toyota Motor Corp. hopes “vital technology” will make up 25 percent of sales in the next decade, as the company is considering adding hybrid technology to its entire lineup, including trucks, Toyota’s North American President Jim Press said recently. “To us, it’s not a passing phase, but a vital technology for the 21st century,” Press said at an annual automotive conference. Press said Toyota wants hybrids to make up 25 percent of its U.S. sales by early in the next decade, and wants to sell one million hybrids worldwide by the same time. That would require the automaker to sell 600,000 hybrids in the United States, or approximately one-quarter of its projected sales—a significant increase in U.S. hybrid sales.

Press said Toyota will meet its goal by aggressively introducing new hybrid versions of its lineup. The company introduced two such sport utility vehicles this year—the Lexus RX 400h hybrid in April and the Toyota Highlander hybrid in June—and will introduce hybrid versions of the Lexus GS sedan and the Toyota Camry next year. In addition, Press said Toyota has 10 hybrids under development.

Fortune Magazine to Publish Accountability Ratings

AccountAbility and csrnetwork have have announced that their Accountability Rating® 2005 will be published in Fortune magazine in September. The Accountability Rating, now in its second year, measures how well or how badly the world’s top companies account for their impacts on society and the environment. The ranking is defined by using the Global 100 (G-100) companies, as compiled by Fortune.

Scores are built up by detailed analysis of a company’s performance under six domains: stakeholder engagement, governance, strategic intent, performance management, assurance and public disclosure. BP headed the table in 2004, followed closely by Suez and then Royal Dutch/Shell Group.

“ The Accountability Rating looks closely at how companies integrate responsible business practices into their core processes,” said Mark Line, director of csr- network. “The results indicate how businesses must change if they are to create long-term economic value and contribute to sustainable development.”

Simon Zadek, CEO of AccountAbility said, “Accountability has become the leading business issue of the new century. ...Yet, as almost every company claims to be changing for the better, we need to distinguish between genuine best practice and PR spin. The Accountability Rating reveals the truth behind the rhetoric, and shows that the biggest are not necessarily the best.”
Partnership to Reduce Antibiotics in Pork

Food service giant Compass Group North America announced with partners Environmental Defense and Smithfield Foods, Inc. a first-of-its-kind purchasing policy to curb antibiotic use in pork production.

The policy prohibits the purchase of pork in which antibiotics that belong to classes of compounds approved for use in human medicine have been used for growth-promotion purposes. It also requires suppliers to report and reduce antibiotic usage over time. Similar requirements will apply to the company’s purchase of chicken. The policy applies to all animals that are raised by suppliers for the duration of their lives.

The overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture and in human medicine can cause the drugs to become less effective. Estimates of antibiotic use in livestock production vary, but there is general agreement that reducing overall use of antibiotics will prolong the effectiveness of these important medicines.

Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards Given

The winners of the 2005 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards were announced by the U.S. EPA in July. The following companies were honored with awards: Metabolix, Inc. received the Small Business Award; Merck & Co. received an Alternative Synthetic Pathways Award, as did the team of Archer Daniels Midland Company and Novozymes; BASF Corporation received the Alternative Solvents and Reaction Conditions Award; and Archer Daniels Midland Company received the Designing Safer Chemicals Award. Professor Robin D. Rogers of the University of Alabama received the Academic Award.

The Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards Program grants awards annually in recognition of innovations in cleaner, cheaper, smarter chemistry.


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