MEMBERSHIP
BLOG
MAGAZINE
EVENTS
ACADEMY
RESOURCES
ABOUT

Success stories
COMMUNITY & CONNECT
PROCUREMENT STRATEGY
CATEGORY INTELLIGENCE
BACK

Paul Teague: CSR - A New York State of Mind


04-Jul-11 08:11

If American crooner Billy Joel ever re-releases his hit song New York State of Mind, he might do well to check first with Beatriz Loizillon. The global indirect procurement professional for The Estee Lauder Companies is chairperson of the ISM-New York Sustainability and Social Responsibility Committee. She could tell him that “when it comes down to reality,” as the songwriter would say, sustainability efforts are among the top concerns on the minds of procurement executives in New York City.

 

That may or may not have been the case in 1976 when Joel first recorded the song. Although that was the year of the infamous Love Canal chemical leak in Niagara Falls, NY, one of the worst environmental disasters in US history, the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) was then only in its infancy. And assertions that CSR could actually be a competitive advantage for companies drew protests from cynics, who said it was a distraction that drained profits.

 

There are still cynics today, though they are fewer in number. The surprising thing is that there are any cynics at all. Depending on your politics, there may be an argument about whether governments should force businesses to adopt sustainability practices. But those who argue that there is no business justification for CSR perhaps have trouble reading.

 

Voluminous studies have proven the business case for CSR, including reports from AT Kearney, Strandberg Consulting, BSR Global Scan, articles and presentations on the Procurement Leaders Corporate Social Responsibility Knowledge Group site, and other sources. There are even reports that sustainability efforts are taking hold in China, though some observers say the record among Chinese manufacturers is mixed.

 

No one could accuse the members of the committee Loizillon chairs of having a mixed record. Procurement executives in companies with New York offices - American Express, Citigroup, Colgate Palmolive, Morgan Stanley, Pfizer, IBM, and Goldman Sachs, to name a few - talk at their meetings about the savings in such areas as energy, paper usage, fleet, and packaging, as well as increased revenue from CSR activities.

 

“CSR is one way they differentiate their brands,” says Loizillon, who has a good story to tell herself about Estee Lauder’s prodigious CSR efforts, including an emphasis on strengthening its supplier-oversight programs. Like her peers on the committee and elsewhere, and as my colleague Steve Hall has blogged, she says it’s critical to get suppliers involved for sustainable efforts to succeed.

 

CSR has come a long way since 1968, when UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) held its first conference on the subject. Companies from Premier Foods in the UK to Veolia Water in Indianapolis, among many others, have launched far-reaching sustainability programs, some of which I will describe in future posts. To understand the evolution of thinking on the subject, you can read a timeline on global sustainability efforts here.

 

Some of those cynics I mentioned earlier might say that sjavascript:mctmp(0);ustainability is a fad that will disappear eventually. Not a chance, I say, not when you see the enthusiasm of companies for CSR, including those that are on the New York Sustainability and Social Responsibility Committee. Another American crooner, Frank Sinatra, said it best in one of his last hits. “If I can make it there (New York), I can make it anywhere,” he sang. CSR has made it in New York, and companies there and elsewhere are showing how being “green” can make a business more successful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Paul Teague Paul Teague is US contributing editor for Procurement Leaders. He is the former editor-in-chief of Purchasing Magazine and has provided quality journalism to the US purchasing community for more than a decade.

 
Subscribe to feed Subscribe to feed
Rating (0 vote/s)
 

SUBSCRIBE TO NEWSLETTER


FREE 

SUPPLEMENTS

PREDICTIVE INSIGHT TO FUEL WORLD-CLASS DECISIONS

Unique, high value research and analysis provides CPO's with the information they need to make the right strategic choices.

FREE 

WHITEPAPERS

OFFERINGS

 

ABOUT

MEMBERS

FOLLOW US

AWARDS

MEMBERSHIP

 

COMMUNITY

 

MAGAZINE

 

EVENTS

 

ACADEMY

 

RESOURCES

CONTACT US

 

ABOUT US

 

ADVERTISE WITH US

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

WHAT'S NEW

SIGN IN

 

BECOME A MEMBER

 

REQUEST A DEMO

 

JOB SEARCH

LINKEDIN

 

TWITTER

 

GOOGLE+

 

RSS

 

NEWS ARCHIVE

Procurement Leaders Awards

TERMS OF USE . PRIVACY POLICY . COOKIE POLICY

© Sigaria Ltd and its contributors. All rights reserved. www.sigaria.com

Sigaria accepts no responsibility for advice or information contained on this site although every effort is made to ensure its accuracy. Users are advised to seek independent advice from qualified persons before acting upon any such information.