Category: Corporate Social Responsibility


By Andrea Allen

The holiday season is a time of giving. We’ll give gifts to our children, our parents, those cousins we see once-a-year, our co-workers, dog walkers, and of course, the odd gift to ourselves (because we deserve it after all). However it’s the season not just of giving gifts to our family and friends, it’s also the time when many of us contribute to our personal charities of choice. The malls just wouldn’t seem the same without a bell-ringer beside a Salvation Army red kettle or giant toy mountains waiting for our additions.  However, charitable donations of all varieties have been in decline over the last couple years due to the economic downtown. Sadly, it’s during these times that donations are most needed by the greatest number of people. In an effort to increase the value of a dollar, one suggestion would be to look for products that are not only great gifts, but also give back to society.

TOMS shoes is a company that will donate a pair of shoes to needy children all over the world for every pair purchased by a customer. You can feel confident that buying your kids a pair of TOMS shoes would put you in the “cool mom or dad” category and you can feel good knowing that your purchase helped someone in need. Similar to TOMS, Warby Parker is a stylish glasses company that for every pair of glasses purchased they will donate a pair to someone in need.

If you’re looking to deck out your special lady in some jewelry this Christmas, why not take a look at a Haitian hand-beaded necklace or a turquoise bracelet from Thailand. Available through World Vision, these and many other gifts can not only put a smile on a loved one’s face this Christmas, but can also contribute to the economic well-being of developing communities. There’s also iSanctuary.org that has a wide variety of beautiful pieces that are sure to impress even those hard-to-shop-for names on your holiday list.

There are even websites that allow consumers to choose the cause they would like to support through their purchase of gift items. Giftsthatgive.com is one such site where $1 for every $5 spent will be donated to the cause of your choice.

But what about the corporate world? Corporate charitable donations can also go the extra mile. As part of the ActiveCares program, Active can contribute funding to an organization’s CSR causes in return for a commitment of a portion of the company’s existing media, freight, or printing spend. Active’s Corporate Trade model allows our clients to leverage our services to benefit a cause without spending incremental dollars. So even if you or your company are strapped for cash and are considering scaling back your charitable contributions this season, consider using more creative ways to stretch those holiday dollars. It will certainly put you on Santa’s “good” list.

Social media changing the CSR landscape

Everywhere you look now companies are trying to do their part to reduce their impact on the world and give back to the people and communities around them. As corporate social responsibility becomes more important to consumers and becomes a basis for them to make purchases and decisions, companies have made it a priority to appeal to the customer in this way. Some ways that companies are trying to get their initiatives out to the public are through the releasing of corporate social responsibility reports along with utilizing social media to reach the masses. And just as social media will start to be used for CSR initiatives it will also start to be used in the opposite direction, for the consumer to help inspire sustainability and corporate change within a firm. Social media has become a great tool for companies and has transformed the way the consumer and companies connect. As it keeps changing it will help stakeholders have a voice in the company, along with giving the company the power to reach their stakeholders and help promote change among the masses. Social media has allowed each person to voice their opinion, and now with a lot of companies using these tools it opens up a new medium for people to communicate with  firms and help inspire change within companies along with requesting new initiatives for corporations to pursue.

Facebook to use real-time ads for mobile phones

Recently Facebook has come into some criticism for their lack of ability to generate revenue on their mobile platforms. This criticism may be turning into praise very soon as it seems that they are almost set to launch a location based mobile ad product that would allow for marketers to advertise on Facebook using the real-time bidding discussed weeks earlier in our Corporate trade Industry Report blog. What this will do is allow marketers to base their ads on the geographic location of their consumers and help target the ads to the most suitable people.  Facebook already uses location based ads on the original Facebook platform but adapting this to the mobile platform has marketers very excited as it seems they have finally started to address the problem coming from the transition of people using Facebook on the mobile platform instead of the original. Once Facebook releases this medium for buying ads it will revolutionize the way marketers will connect to their consumers.

Bell and Astral Deal almost done

In May of this year astral media shareholders voted to approve the acquisition of their TV, radio, and Billboard Company by Bell Media. Both parties agreed to a deal and are now waiting for the CRTC (Canadian Radio and Television Committee) to approve the acquisition. If the deal goes through it will require bell to sell 10 radio stations in 5 markets (Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa and Winnipeg) due to the competition act that limits a company’s presence in individual markets. Bell recently proposed a tangible benefits package that would add over 200 million dollars of value to the Canadian broadcast industry, as a way to see that the deal will go through.  The benefits package included  $96 million going towards the development and production of Canadian programming, $61 million to help support and promote Canadian musical talent, $40 million to make Canadian programming more widely available in the north and $3.5 million to help raise awareness and money to help combat mental health problems. The completion of this deal offers great value to many different industries and causes across Canada and will help Bell become even more competitive in an already challenging and dynamic market.

Andrew Bulmer

My mom and dad instilled in me the importance of giving time to charity. My mom has always volunteered for major events, fundraising initiatives and founding a local gymnastics club in my hometown of Collingwood, as well as running the Canadian National Rhythmic Gymnastics team and was honored as citizen of the year a few years ago as a result of her dedication. My father also volunteered his time to local service clubs, minor hockey and also many anonymous acts of kindness for folks less fortunate in our community.

My charity of choice is Special Olympics. Special Olympics Canada is dedicated to enriching the lives of Canadians with an intellectual disability through sport, and supports over 38,000 athletes, coaches and volunteers

My life is enriched by volunteering my time on the SOC National Board of Directors and also as Chair of the Special Olympics Festival in Toronto which raises funds for our athlete programs across Canada. The hours are considerable on top of a busy work and family schedule – but I can guarantee that I always get more out of my experience with our amazing athletes and dedicated coaches, volunteers and SOC staff than I am able to give. I also enjoy bringing my family to meet our athletes and understand how to be a good sport.  At Special Olympics Canada, our organization also benefits from funding, media and volunteer support from many great Canadian companies.

Corporate Social Responsibility is an important part of many organizational strategies in Canada. A recent survey identified that 61% of Canadian corporations have taken actions to enhance their impact in their communities.  And it goes without saying – they help to enrich lives and build stronger communities as a result of their generosity.

Corporate Social Responsibility is an equally important part of our corporate strategy at Active International.  Active Cares is the charitable, community-based arm of Active International. Founded in 1997, it is designed to support–financially and otherwise–activities and organizations that are important to our employees, clients and vendors. Since its inception, Active Cares has supported over 600 separate organizations that are important to our employees, customers and vendors. The program spurs community involvement on behalf of employees and allows Active to play a meaningful role as a good corporate citizen.

A recent KPMG Corporate Sustainability Progress Report indicated that 45 % of execs surveyed indicated that the primary barrier to enhanced sustainability-driven initiatives (such as CSR) :

business survival and short-term financial pressures are simply bigger priorities right now

The good news is that through innovation, Canadian companies can effectively balance financial pressures without compromising their CSR initiatives.  Active’s Corporate Trade model is one of those solutions.  Corporate Trade provides incremental value to a customer’s liquidation assets – which offers an opportunity for them to invest these incremental funds towards their CSR initiatives.  As well,  Active can contribute  funding to organizations’ CSR causes in return for a commitment of a portion of their existing media spend to be placed through our team (we call this a cash cross purchase). Essentially, they are able to leverage our model to support a cause without spending incremental dollars… or altering any of their media plans.

If you are interested in learning more how Active International in Canada can help fund your corporate social responsibility efforts, please feel free to contact me at abulmer@activeinternational.com.

To quote the Special Olympic athlete oath –

 “Let me win, but if I cannot win let me be brave in the attempt.”

Certainly words to live by.

Cheers,

Andrew @ Active

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