Friday, October 22, 2004

EVENT: "Bringing It Back Home" - Post Conference Gathering

The inaugural Canadian Conference on Social Enterprise ends November 17th, and there is a suggestion to meet in Vancouver soon after to casually exchange insights gained by attendees with those unable to participate.

If there's enough interest in a casual gathering, and there's a balance between conference participants and those who wished they could have attended, then we'll pull together an event before the end of November.

Stay tuned!


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Thursday, October 21, 2004

Thinking Strategically About Corporate Social Responsibility

Thinking Strategically About Corporate Social Responsibility: The Merits and Limitations of the Value Creation Approach, is a paper by Bradley C. Smith, Rotman School of Management student, who was awarded an honourable mention for his submission to a contest for MBA students sponsored by Boston College.

His paper was declared, "an innovative work that makes a substantive contribution to the value proposition argument."

Smith's paper examines the theoretical merits and limitations of using a strategic value-creation approach to Corporate Responsibility by exploring how managers create value through CR initiatives and how they integrate those initiatives into their organizations.

His findings were tested in a case analysis of Holcim Ltd, a progressive, global cement producer whose management has committed strongly and publicly to "creating value for all stakeholders". The paper concludes that although Holcim's management has created innovative and laudable Corporate Responsibility initiatives, management's inability to value an investment into developing a low-emission mineral cement alternative will severely challenge the sincerity and sustainability of Holcim's promise to its stakeholders.

The annual contest is open to all graduate students pursuing an MBS for a paper that explores how companies relate to stakeholders through business practices ranging from social engagement to environmental policies to issues of equity within the workplace. The winning paper is published on the web sites of The Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship and Net Impact and posted on the Aspen Institute's

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Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Taking it home - to the customer

The other day, had the chance to participate in an exchange with Robert Egger, founder of the DC Central Kitchen in Washington, and co-author of Begging for Change.

With Robert's permission here are some of his thoughts.

Capitalism 2.0:
... I am interested in taking it "home" to the consumer. It's not enough just to make profit and give it back, or to make social change in the way you produce your goods (although both are important steps)...the big jump will be in public understanding that "what they buy" is the biggest and best philanthropy there is. Let's call is Capitalism 2.0.

Newman's Own:
Imagine if Paul Newman printed a set of "guiding principles", or a kind of "social nutritional" label on the back of his products that, instead of saying "100% of Newman's Own goes to charity" listed simple principles under which Mr. Newman chooses to make his product and invest his profits. Imagine if he went on Oprah and told the audience "how and why" he chose these guiding principles, and let them in on his thought process. Imagine if they, in turn, became not only his partners, but, through his lead, became more enlightened consumers, and then they began looking for, and maybe even insisting on similar guiding principles from other products. Now THAT would spur some serious change.

In short...the focus should not be on how much we make and give back, or how much good we might do while making it (even though both are important steps), but rather, how these new ideas can entice/enlist Joe and Jane Q into becoming full-fledged, lifetime partners in the beautiful non-profit experiment while subsequently bringing the staggering power of the consumer economy into the mix.

Two Generations of Social Enterprise:
...there's really two generations (so far) of social enterprise. The first generation generally looks for profits, and redirects those profits towards social good. Think of Target, gives 5% of profit to local charities, etc. Great stuff, but somewhat limited in the impact that you can have this way.

The second generation, he explained, was where the very act of making a profit creates social good. (I think the economics term is that the business has "positive externalities".) Think about alternative energy producers, or organic food producers.

... Hence my interest in Paul Newman, or lots of our corporate citizens who are trying to be good stewards of profit. Frankly, most of their PR efforts (intended or not) look like they're saying "we care, BUY our product." I think the public is suspicious of that tact.

Walking the Walk ...
AOL, here in DC is another interesting example. Graduates of our job training program went out to their HQ in search of jobs in their cafeteria. They only paid $8.00. Imagine if, in addition to their philanthropy, they made a very public case that, "NOBODY who works for AOL makes less than a living wage, NOBODY. And...we're so committed to that, that we won't do business with anyone who doesn't do the same." It's sounds bold, but they (at one time) had that kind of juice. Imagine if the public saw THAT kind of core philanthropy...I wager they'd have more customer loyalty now, and...more companies might see that consumers will support what they have historically deemed to be risky business.

To cut to the chase...if a few, brave, very visible folks/companies help lead folks to the water, I bet they'd GUZZLE...and we'll be playing a whole new game.
I'm of the school of "look at what you've got, or are already doing--can you tweak THAT--before you launch something new?"

An Engaged Public:
An enlightened and engaged public then drives the non-profit sector into a higher degree of performance via their demands for bigger, bolder steps, hopefully widdling down what I personally feel is an unmanageable number of non-profits fighting each other for resources.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Corporate Community Investment: A Forum for Not-for-Profits

Is gaining support from the corporate community important for your organization?

Plan on attending Volunteer Vancouver's upcoming panel... Corporate Community Investment: A Forum for Not-for-Profits

Date: Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Time: 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Location: Heritage Hall, 3102 Main Street, Vancouver

Developing relationships with businesses can be of huge benefit to your organization. And often the benefit far exceeds financial support. Hear from a panel of community investment leaders and learn what they are looking for from the not-for-profit community. They will share some trends as well as challenges and opportunities from the corporate perspective. Join us after the forum for an informal wine and cheese – appetizers provided by Potluck.


Tracy Logan – Business Objects

Tracy is passionate about engaging the corporate world with community-based organizations in meaningful and mutually beneficial ways. In her current role as the Director of Business Objects' community investment program, she leads a virtual team focused on a wide range of community initiatives.

Laurie Edward – Mountain Equipment Co-op

As Community Involvement Coordinator, Laurie administers Mountain Equipment Co-op's national funding programs, including the Environment Fund and Expedition Fund, as well as national partnerships with outdoor and environmental groups. She supports the network of MEC stores in meeting local community involvement objectives. As a member of the Social and Environmental Responsibility team, Laurie is working to sustain MEC's long-standing commitment to wilderness conservation while directing new energy and resources to the outdoor recreation community.

Sue Tomney - TransAlta

As Director, Communications and External Affairs at TransAlta, Sue leads a department that oversees all aspects of media relations, communications, government relations, aboriginal affairs and community investment for Canada's largest non-regulated electric generation and marketing company. Her work in community investment paved the way for what has become a very successful volunteer program for TransAlta retirees (POWER - Projects Organized With Energetic Retirees), which secured corporate support for initiatives that resulted in over 10,000 volunteer hours in the community since 1998.

Brad Beattie – Volunteer Vancouver

Brad Beattie leads the Business Services team at Volunteer Vancouver where he connects skilled business professionals with volunteer opportunities in their communities. Brad facilitates the Community Investment Network in Greater Vancouver. Brad has volunteered on various boards and committees since he was 13. Currently, he serves as a board member for Leadership Vancouver.

Space is limited...register now!

Before November 5th:
Cost: $30 members/ $45 non-members

After November 5th:
Cost: $40 members/ $55 non-members

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Monday, October 18, 2004

Half-Truths of Integrating Corporate Citizenship

Well this is a dash of cold water.

The Ten Half-Truths of Integrating Corporate Citizenship offers a nice take on pushing through citizenship language to where reality bites.

    1. Make the business case
    2. Adopt an external code or standard
    3. Make risk mitigation a primary driver
    4. Get buy-in from the top
    5. Designate an owner of corporate citizenship
    6. Produce a social report
    7. Convene a cross-functional committee
    8. Engage the line organization
    9. Build on existing policies and systems
    10. Form cross-sectoral partnerships

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Friday, October 08, 2004

Joyfilled Music - Dream Child

Joyfilled Music (who are Nancy Bradshaw, Beverley Elliott and Michael Creber) is looking for a strategic non-profit partner. The project produced a CD - Dream Child - "as a fundraising tool as well as to provide to those children who may need a little more support in life".

Dream Child was carefully designed (with therapists, teachers, counsellors, energy workers) for young children, to help them relax/sleep and bring feelings of love and light into their life. Parents and children are loving it.

Joyfilled Music has already donated CDs to BC Pediatric Aids Society, and therapists working with children in crisis as this seems to soothe them. This CD is popular at Kids Books, Odin Books, and therapists at the Delta Hospice provide it for children who are grieving.

The ideal partner would want to do a fun Xmas fundraising campaign - they already work with children in need, have a strong volunteer base, have PR skills. At Joyfilled Music we can volunteer loving and fun children's events, - donate our 10% of profits to provide the CDs for children in the program who cannot afford them (and some admin costs for the staff time) and - provide CDs at wholesale cost for resale with the difference going to the nonprofit, and provide education sessions on the power of the subconscious mind on children under the age of 7 and how affirming, delightful, magical lyrics and songs can enhance their wellbeing.
A wonderful, innovative children's relaxation CD

DREAM CHILD combines a magical bedtime story with inspirational songs that help children relax before sleeping. Its captivating characters, enchanting music and powerful message of joy and unconditional love aim to build self-esteem, as well as strong values and beliefs.

DREAM CHILD is the result of a unique collaboration between three loving parents; producer/composer/musician Michael Creber (Grammy nominated for his work on Raffi's hit album Bananaphone), singer/actress/songwriter Beverley Elliott and spiritual life coach Nancy Bradshaw. CDs are available for $14.95 both online and at a variety of retail locations including Vancouver's KidsBooks and Odin Books.

10% of DREAM CHILD's proceeds will go towards distributing the CD to children in need. To date, DREAM CHILD has been donated to several counsellors working with children in challenging situations, as well as the BC Paediatric Aids Society and Callanish Healing Society. Please help spread the word about this worthwhile project by forwarding this e-mail to family, friends and colleagues.

To hear an audio sample, order CD's or obtain more info, please visit

The initial response to DREAM CHILD has been overwhelmingly positive - parents, children, educators, counsellors and retailers are raving about the CD!

"These amazing songs put into words all the feelings, hopes and dreams I have for my children."
-- Linda Hamilton, life coach and Neuro-linguistic practitioner.

"Pure magic. Every child, young and old, should have their very own Mama Teddy Bear and Duchess Dove to dream with, to know they are loved, valued, seen and connected."
-- Debra D. Kerby Executive Director, Right to Play

"Parents and children will experience being enveloped in warm joy and soft loving energy."
-- Dr. Cathy Wilder, PhD, Family Counsellor

"To my knowledge there is nothing like this available for children. It is a unique tool for promoting a child's sense of feeling unconditionally loved. The stories and songs are imaginative, inspiring and fun. The loving messages they promote can be carried and applied throughout a child's daily life. "
-- Janice Ebenstiner, M.A., Child and Family Therapist

For more information on the CD, or if you have a recommendation for partnership, please contact Nancy.

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Tuesday, October 05, 2004

VanCity CEO - Transparently

Dave Mowat, CEO VanCity, spoke to the Vancouver Board of Trade about how his organization uses corporate transparency to its advantage. The presentation - 'BUILDING YOUR BUSINESS BY BARING ALL: How VanCity Uses Corporate Transparency to Its Advantage', happened over lunch.

The event was co-sponsored by VanCity subsidiary Citizens Bank of Canada. The Board of Trade marketed the luncheon, like so ...
The last few years have been financial record-breakers for VanCity. The credit union's legendary obsession with its values and sharing and baring all, has been a key factor in this success. While many organizations have been jumping on the corporate governance bandwagon, VanCity has been driving it for years. Today, VanCity is recognized as a global leader in corporate governance and enjoys one of the highest corporate reputation ratings in BC and beyond. The result? Record membership growth and earnings, and healthier communities as those profits are invested back into the region.

With the recent release of VanCity's latest Accountability Report, CEO Dave Mowat will open the books on corporate transparency at VanCity and discuss how it can be used to improve and grow your business.
The Board of Trade offers a link to the Powerpoint of Dave's comment. Does anyone have the text?


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Throne Speech - Mission Continued

Today the Governor General opened parliament with the Throne Speech. CBC has provided the text of Governor General Clarkson's speech.

Governor General Adrienne Clarkson said on behalf of the government:
What makes our communities strong is the willingness of men and women from all walks of life to take responsibility for their future and for one another. We can see this in the number of voluntary organizations and social economy enterprises that are finding local solutions to local problems. The Government is determined to foster the social economy—the myriad not-for-profit activities and enterprises that harness civic and entrepreneurial energies for community benefit right across Canada. The Government will help to create the conditions for their success, including the business environment within which they work. To that end, it will introduce a new Not-for-Profit Corporations Act.

The speech continues the direction set with the Feb 2 Throne Speech. So we look forward to the "Not-for-Profit Corporations Act", here are some thoughts expressed by the firm Miller Thomson.

This is PLEA's (Public Legal Education Association of Saskatchewan) published view of Non-Profit Corporations**.

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Monday, October 04, 2004

The 1% Solution

At a discussion of funding options for social enterprise, the idea of creating a new asset class came forward. Dubbed a 'community debenture' the financial tool would fall somewhere closer to 'cash' than 'equities' on the asset spectrum and would be available to institutional investment professionals [Are you getting chills yet?] as part of their asset allocation strategy. So a socially balanced portfolio could invest up to 1% of it's assets in social enterprises - ergo ... the 1% solution.

Sounds good. Sounds easy.

To apply a little perspective, the Investment Funds Institute of Canada (IFIC) estimates the managed money industry assets, August 2004, at CDN$ 468.1 billion - a figure that reflects investments in Canadian mutual funds. At 1%, CDN$ 47 billion, that's a lot of economic stimulus for social enterprise.

It's no wonder the "1% Solution" received nods of approval.

Here's the rub ... social enterprise is cleaving into a set of 'kissin' cousins' that include enterprising non-profits, co-operatives, and socio-centric enterprises, each looking to define "social enterprise".

The sector is going in circles so fast it can see its' own tail.

Oddly it's not more money that's required ... it's more focused action.

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Saturday, October 02, 2004

Co-op Week 2004 Luncheon - October 22nd

The BC Co-operative Association invites you and your organization to join in a celebration of this year’s National Co-op Week from October 17th–23rd.

Co-operative Association is pleased to recognize Credit Union Day on October 21 and Co-op Housing Day on October 23.

    Friday, October 22nd
    11:30 am – 1:30 PM
    The Teahouse Restaurant (in Stanley Park)
In keeping with the National Co-op Week theme: “Youth – The Future of Co-operation”, the Co-op Week luncheon will feature a keynote presentation entitled:
    Alienation and Mobilization: Youth and the Co-op Ideal
Kevin Millsip is a respected leader and educator in the field of economic literacy and youth leadership training. As Co-director of Check Your Head, Kevin has raised the awareness of thousands of young people in high schools across BC on the critical issues attending globalization and our consumer culture.

The cost for individuals will be $40. Organizations are encourage to sponsor a table of 6 at a cost of $220.

Co-op Week 2004 Luncheon - October 22nd 2004 - Please respond by Oct 15th

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Friday, October 01, 2004

Civilizing the Economy: The Co-op Alternative

Thought you may be interested in the premier screening of "Civilizing the Economy: The Co-op Alternative" a new documentary examining co-operative enterprise as an alternative to corporate capitalism as a model for economic and social development. Narrated by Patrick Watson, the film explores the unique success of the co-operative economy of Emilia Romagna in northern Italy, and reveals the power of co-operation in addressing key economic and social issues in Canada and the U.S.

The screening will take place on Wednesday, October 20, 7:30, at SFU Harbour Centre, Fletcher Challenge Theatre.

Mark Akbar, Director of “The Corporation” will be a guest speaker, and the screening will be followed by an open discussion with the film’s producers and key activists from the co-operative movement in BC.

Admission is $10 at the door.

If you have any questions, please call Nicole Johnston.

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