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August 14, 2014

Corporate Reputation

FTSE 100 charity donations nearly double since financial crisis

Charitable donations from the UK’s biggest quoted companies have almost doubled since before the financial crisis, according to research from the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF). Donations from companies in the FTSE 100 blue-chip index rose from £1.3 billion in 2007 to £2.5 billion in 2012. The emphasis on charity was unevenly distributed however, with the 10 biggest donors accounting for 70 per cent of all the giving. The study also found that there was a wide gap between the public perception and the reality of corporate donations, both in terms of total giving and which sectors made the biggest contributions. Opinion polling for the CAF this year found many people are sceptical about corporate good works, with three in five agreeing that corporate responsibility was just a business PR exercise. Despite this finding, John Low, CAF chief executive, said the growth in charitable giving could help to restore trust in business. “We now need all companies to be more transparent and vocal about the great work they’re already doing for charities across the country”, he said. (Financial Times*)


SeaWorld’s earnings disappoint amid animal-rights protests

SeaWorld Entertainment has reported disappointing second-quarter results and slashed its revenue guidance for the year, suggesting the recent media debate about its treatment of captive orcas has affected attendee numbers. The growing call to discontinue the orca attractions was spurred by the 2013 documentary Blackfish, an exposé of SeaWorld’s practices. Two members of the US House from California are proposing a federal study on the impact of captivity on large marine animals, citing “serious concerns about the psychological and physical harm” to orcas in captivity. SeaWorld, for its part, has continued to defend its practices, saying it considers the welfare of the animals a top priority. As recently as March, SeaWorld’s CEO claimed that the controversy had created “no noticeable impact on our business”. Last month, Southwest Airlines ended its 26-year-old marketing relationship with SeaWorld after animal-rights groups had accused the airline of supporting animal cruelty. Southwest, however, called the move “strictly a business decision”. (Wall Street Journal*; New York Magazine)

Employee Engagement

McDonald’s tapping employees for sustainability innovations

McDonald’s Pacific Sierra Region has created a waste diversion execution manual that is resulting in an estimated diversion of 70 cubic yards of waste from landfills each week, according to the company’s 2014 global ‘Best of Green’ report. The manual enables restaurants to deploy mixed recycling, organics recycling, or both, by providing checklists, shift huddles, and crew/customer engagement and education materials. McDonald’s reports that many of its best ideas come from company and franchisee employees worldwide. “We know we cannot achieve our social and environmental goals alone. Engaging with our customers and employees is a critical element of our success and a key enabler to mainstreaming sustainability across our operations”, the report states. To further reduce waste, McDonald’s UK has launched a program for recycling restaurant employee uniforms. Uniforms will be collected annually by textile recyclers to be recycled or ‘down-cycled’, shredded and used as mattress stuffing. (Sustainable Brands)


Massachusetts imposes ambitious law to eliminate commercial food waste

The US State of Massachusetts is preparing to enact a highly ambitious commercial food waste ban – the largest in the US to date. The ban, which is set to be implemented on October 1, will apply to all institutions producing more than one ton of food waste per week, which includes roughly 1,700 public institutions including schools, hospitals, supermarkets and food producers. The new legislation will prevent these institutions from sending their food waste to the landfill — a costly option for waste disposal and a key contributor to climate change as a greenhouse gas producer. Instead, the edible food will be donated and the rest either shipped to an anaerobic digestion facility or distributed to farmers to use as animal feed. This ban is part of the state’s overall waste-reduction plan, which aims to reduce its waste streams by 80 percent by 2050. Food waste is a major component of this stream, contributing about 17 percent, or 830,000 tons in 2011. (Sustainable Brands)


Airtel launches free insurance plan for Nigerians

Airtel Nigeria, the mobile service provider, has collaborated with MicroEnsure and Cornerstone Insurance to launch a free insurance product. ‘Airtel Insurance’ offers customers life and medical insurance with increasing benefits based on monthly airtime recharge, in an attempt to encourage insurance culture among Nigerians. It is the first of its kind in Nigeria and has been endorsed by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM). All hospitalisations are covered, both for natural and accidental causes, with no medical exclusions, making it the most widely accessible and generous free insurance cover in the country. Chief Commercial Officer at Airtel Nigeria, Maurice Newa, said: “In line with our vision to enrich the lives of Nigerians and offer them quality services, Airtel Nigeria collaborated with two very reputable insurance organisations”. The innovative product guarantees their customers high quality, affordable and accessible insurance services. “This further corroborates Airtel’s commitment towards creating a robust platform that helps customers accomplish their professional and personal success and goals in life”, Newa added. (This Day)


Image source: “OrcaShow SeaWorld” by Business Navigatoren / CC BY-SA 3.0 DE

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