Green your life at home, work & play

New online tool helps businesses track impacts through their supply chain May 2, 2012

You want your company to improve its community and eco-image and along with that, you want to know what your suppliers are doing to spiff up theirs as well.  It can be a large investment of time to read through every company report – annual, sustainability, CSR – wading through the rhetoric, not to mention dozens of corporate rating and ranking lists of best and worst performers to find out.  But now there is a much faster way to get an understanding from multiple angles of just how responsible those companies are by using CSRHUB*.  This new service offers free and subscriber options for accessing social and environmental ratings based on a wide array of sources to achieve a more unbiased view of a company’s performance.

While still in development stages, CSRHUB has ratings for about 5000 companies worldwide so far.  The ratings are based on four scales – community, employees, environment, and governance.  Ranked search results by industry are based on your settings for the four adjustable scales depending on how you value each.  There are also special issues of concern (accessible with a paid subscription) to use in further filtering results, such as nuclear power connections, board diversity, and involvement with pesticides/pollutants.  Also with a subscription, users can save search results and export them in spreadsheet format.

The CSRHUB site is set up so that you can go directly to a particular company’s rating page or you can search for groups of companies by industry, region or data source.  They currently have over 130 sources that they access for data to consider when rating a company.  These range from the Calvert Social Index to EPA Climate Leaders list to Working Mother magazine’s list of mother-friendly companies.  The entry for each company (when accessing the database as a subscriber) lists basic contact information, their overall and individual scale ratings (based on your preference settings), sources of data that were used in determining their rating, ratings history (graphically by month), and optional reports to purchase.  There are also typically links to recent articles pertaining to CSR topics where the company was mentioned and even current job openings listed.

Access to the basic search and CSR ratings features are available without even registering for the service.  But by registering you get the added benefits of creating unlimited profiles and lists of companies.  These can be shared with other users as well.  Registering also allows you to post to their discussion forums.  For those who want more access to the large amount of data and ratings (segregated into 12 subcategories) on CRSHUB, subscriptions on a personal or professional level are available.  Personal level access can be purchased on a monthly or annual basis for as little as $8/month.  A chart of the features by subscription status is available.

And have no doubt that they embrace their mission fully—CSRHUB recently elected to become a B Corporation.  B Corp status is a relatively new legal designation for companies that do not want to be confined to the traditional corporate dictate of profit above all else.  Currently a handful of states have passed legislation to allow B Corp status with another handful considering such legislation.  From CSRHUB’s website:

B Corps use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.  Unlike traditional corporations, B Corps agree to meet social and environmental performance standards, disclose their performance so that it is transparent, and include consideration of all stakeholder interests in their legal structure…. We are part of a community that intends to change the world and we need to show that we have whole-hearted dedication to our cause.

Since CSRHUB is still growing and expanding their database, they appreciate all feedback from users and potential users.  They want to hear from businesses and individuals about what CSR issues concern them most, which special issues are of greatest interest, how the data is being used, and how the site/service can be improved.  Here’s your chance to guide this data tool in a direction that helps save you time and gives you valuable information regarding your current and potential business partners.’

*We are not in any way affiliated with this tool


Corporate Social Responsibility in brief October 31, 2011

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the idea that companies should be concerned with and responsible for the social impacts of their actions and products, that they should care about their stakeholders, not just their shareholders. It has become more important in recent years as corporations have grown larger and multi-national, making it harder for governments to regulate them. Transparency is a key part of CSR because if companies have to divulge all of their “dirty little secrets,” they are less likely to have so many. Some companies try to be more aware of their impact on workers, human rights, or the environment. How corporations deal with the environment “responsibly” can range from Google’s recent

announcement to encourage transparency by revealing their carbon footprint to companies incorporating climate change into their business strategy. Google’s carbon footprint turns out to be 1.5 million tons per year. This may seem like an awful lot, but it is significantly less than that of the internet as a whole, which produces 300 million tons a year. The 10th annual Carbon Disclosure Project found that 45% of the 396 businesses surveyed (which were some of the largest in the world) had reduced their greenhouse gases, compared to only 19% who reported doing so last year. Businesses also try to be socially responsible by donating their time or money to causes they believe in.

The controversy over corporate social responsibility is whether or not businesses do it for the environment and the good of the people they affect, or just for the positive image. Regardless of why they do it, CSR doesn’t replace businesses’ desire to make profits, so changes that they make are limited by their budget. For businesses that truly do want to make a difference, CSR provides various ways for them to do so and makes them more appealing to potential customers and clients. And for those that want to move past it, there are ways of incorporating CSR into corporate strategy and culture which can make the company not only a better steward of the earth and the communities it impacts, but also increase its financial bottom line. The goal, long-term, is for CSR to be included in everyday business and no longer called out as a separate project or initiative.

Photo Courtesy of InventorSpot


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