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A Spotlight on the Correlation between Corporate Social Responsibility and Employee Engagement

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 20, 2018

When we think of corporate social responsibility, we often think about the causes. After all, the community, and the key issues faced by a community, are often the focus of a company’s CSR plan. However just as the community is a major company stakeholder, so are employees. To put some focus on the importance of CSR to HR, here are a few highlights to help you understand the need and the opportunity. But first, some facts. According to the 2016 Cone Communications Employee Engagement Study:

  • 88% of employees feel their job is more fulfilling when they are provided opportunities to make a positive impact on social or environmental issues.
  • 75% say it’s important their company shares its goals, progress and related achievements.
  • 71% want their company to provide opportunities for them to help make a positive impact on the company’s social and environmental commitments.

We expect these number to continue to increase as millennials and future generations transition into leadership roles in their organizations.

Here are a few interesting and relevant articles for companies looking to build a case for CSR, particularly as it relates to employee engagement.

The Best Corporate Advocacy Starts at Home-  Creating an environment that employees want to work in engages employees and is one of the essentials of workplaces nowadays.

  • “Internal policy changes or internal action demonstrate the company’s commitment to their values and to their employees’ loves and must be a piece of any company’s corporate advocacy strategy if they hope to be viewed as authentic.”

Three Ways to Mature your Company’s CSR- Putting employees at the forefront of a company’s CSR initiative leads to employee engagement.

  • “Provide workshops to help employees develop their own mission statements concerning their personal social responsibility goals. Having employees who are passionate about the world will benefit the community and your own company's CSR approach.”

A $600 Billion Employee Engagement Problem Solved: Empathy- There is a correlation between empathy, engagement and productivity.

  • There’s no denying, $600 billion in lost productivity is a big number. The way to fight this is with empathy. According to Shanahan, a culture that fosters empathy in the workplace is one of the best ways to create an engaged workforce that combats the loss of productivity and more.

Why Culture is Key to a Successful Brand- The impact of culture on employee engagement.

  • “Creating a culture of caring is about empowering and engaging your community - whether its employees, customers or the world. It means providing the tools to be successful and an environment where employees feel empowered to take action that helps the company, community or world.”

If your company is interested in starting, expanding or centering its corporate social responsibility program and would like to stay informed of best practices such as these, please sign up to receive news from us. We are here to inspire, guide and support you in integrating CSR into your overall business strategy. Our goal is to reach greater results for your company and the community.

Tags:  corporate social responsibility  curated stories  employee engagement  human resource 

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Q & A with Crummer's Dr. Whittingham, Educator and Scholar of Sustainability and Social Responsibility

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Dr. Keith Whittingham is ­­an Associate Professor at the Rollins College Crummer Graduate School of Business, where he teaches courses in Sustainable Enterprise and Corporate Social Responsibility. He is the faculty advisor for Crummer’s chapter of Net Impact, a professional organization that promotes sustainability, corporate responsibility, and social innovation through business. He also serves as coach to the Crummer teams in the Nespresso Global MBA Sustainability Challenge, that made the finals four times in five competitions, including a victory in the inaugural challenge.

Q: You have been a lead innovator at Crummer in the realm of sustainability and social responsibility. What made you enter this field and how did you find out it was your purpose?

A: As someone who grew up in the developing world, I guess I had a sense of the fragility of our ecosystems and social systems. My father worked for the United Nations, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and I absorbed an awareness of some of the concerns of development economics.  As business faculty, we work to prepare our students to make a positive impact in their lives and careers. Around 2007-2008, business schools were beginning to seriously explore ways in which to approach topics of social and environmental sustainability within the MBA curriculum. I saw a great opportunity to engage our talented students in this arena and help them connect all they were learning, in strategy, operations, finance and other areas, to better serve both the organizations they worked for and the society at large.

Sustainability and social responsibility are areas I am deeply passionate about, but I view my purpose a bit differently. I see myself as a learner and teacher, one who helps others understand issues and concepts, putting theory into practice to the benefit of the greater good. That, at least, is what I strive for.

Q: Much of your work centers around the concept of purpose. What role does purpose play in a company’s CSR program?

A: Having a sense of my own purpose has helped me chart a course through my experiences and opportunities that present themselves in life. Similarly, a defined company purpose, a deeper “Why?”, can help an organization focus its best intentions regarding societal concerns, into initiatives and solutions that create value for broad stakeholders and simultaneously align with and reinforce corporate strategy, in a way that can build corporate value. It can become a point of engagement, internal to the organization and externally in the marketplace.

Q: When it comes to examples of CSR programs grounded in purpose, which companies come to mind?

A: There are many examples and I tend to put the companies into two categories with an important distinction. First, there are companies that have been started as what you can call social businesses – businesses created for the purpose of addressing specific societal challenges. In this category you can put companies like Tom’s Shoes and Patagonia. In these companies, the mission and vision were forged from the purpose of the founders. In the other category are traditional businesses – those created to meet a specific need through marketing a good or service with the goal of profit. Many traditional businesses are finding that they can simultaneously be responsible corporate citizens and enhance corporate value. It is not an easy thing to do well, and corporate purpose can be a useful tool, but that purpose must be carefully developed from within an existing, sometimes contradictory, corporate culture. Companies that are walking this path include Nike, Campbell Soup Company, PepsiCo and many others.

Q: For emerging leaders wishing to work in a sustainability or CSR role, what trends or opportunities should they be considering?

There are a number of concepts that can be extremely valuable to companies looking to develop effective CSR initiatives. Emerging leaders should understand strategic thinking and how to build a business case, but they can benefit significantly from an understanding of critical tools such as:

·      Human-Centered Design Thinking

·      Systems-thinking

·      Stakeholder Analysis


Additional Resources

The Corporate Citizenship program at the Edyth Bush Institute, one of Crummer’s six Centers of Excellence, was established to inspire, guide and support companies in integrating corporate social responsibility into their overall business strategy for maximum benefit to their companies and the community. It serves as a CSR hub for companies looking for programs, resources, expertise, such as Dr. Whittingham, to advance their own efforts. For companies needing help starting a CSR program, or assistance focusing an existing one, we can design a program that fits your needs. For more information or to get started, please contact us at 407-975-6414 or at

Tags:  business leaders  corporate social responsibility  faculty  purpose  sustainability 

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Corporate Social Responsibility 101 for Nonprofits

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, February 27, 2018


If you’re like many nonprofits, you’ve heard the term Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR, and you want to know more about how it might benefit your organization. Just as nonprofits have studied and applied the principles behind successful corporate philanthropy and donor relation, so too must they understand best practices related to CSR.

Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR, is a business approach that contributes to positive business outcomes by delivering economic, environmental and social benefits for all stakeholders. The concept of CSR is not new; however, it is evolving into something any company of any size can adopt, and nonprofits stand to benefit if they too understand and embrace the concept. Prior to approaching CSR in a more strategic way, businesses implemented CSR concepts in a more basic way, supporting a wide variety of causes, all of which were important to the organization. Contributions tended to be ad hoc rather than long-term, and impact was difficult to quantify. As companies become more proactive in their approach to CSR, so must nonprofits.

Research shows that nearly 55% of the workforce would choose to work for a socially responsible company, even if the salary was less. Millennials in particular, which make up the largest segment of the American workforce, are seeking out and staying with companies that are proactive and collaborative in their community giving. Companies are mindful of doing good, but they are simultaneously considering doing good for their bottom-line. They are considering a more systematic approach to CSR, one that ensures sustainable community impact.  Well run CSR programs are known to act as catalysts that spark donations, volunteerism and advocacy, all concepts that can have measurable impact on their nonprofit partners.

As corporate citizenship continues to increase in importance for businesses and their employees, a more proactive and strategic approach is required. That is precisely the focus of The Edyth Bush Institute’s corporate citizenship department: inspire, guide and support companies in integrating CSR into their overall business strategy for maximum benefit to their companies and communities. Nonprofits interested in learning more about this topic should join the upcoming Corporate Social Responsibility: Opening New Opportunities for Nonprofits workshop on March 8. This workshop will explore ways nonprofits can be proactive in enabling CSR programs and in doing so, capitalize on the opportunities increased focus on CSR brings to the community.

Tags:  corporate citizenship  impact  nonprofit  opportunities  social responsibility  strategy 

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Connecting Your Company Purpose to Social Causes

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, February 20, 2018

For purpose-led companies and cultures, a commitment to business and social responsibility is an investment in the future, not a fad. Achieving a positive ROI from that investment starts with having a corporate social responsibility (CSR) plan. It will provide a strategic framework for your CSR-related efforts and connect your company value proposition and purpose with the societal challenge you chose to take on.

So what next?

The United Nations, who has called upon businesses to do their part in achieving their 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) encourages companies to start with conducting business responsibly, and then pursue opportunities to solve societal challenges through business innovation and collaboration. Companies can connect purpose to a social cause by connecting with one of their SDGs.

GOAL 1: No Poverty

GOAL 2: Zero Hunger

GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being

GOAL 4: Quality Education

GOAL 5: Gender Equality

GOAL 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality

GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

GOAL 13: Climate Action

GOAL 14: Life Below Water

GOAL 15: Life on Land

GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions

GOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal

When identifying causes, and ultimately developing strategic partnerships with nonprofits, it is important for your company to have a logical connection to your partner in order for it to be viewed as credible by your stakeholders. This strategic connection can come from a market opportunity, your operating context, your unique brand differentiator, employee interests or from a disaster or event that affects people or places important to your business. For example, the food service industry is more likely to support hunger (SDG#2) or wellness initiatives than something involving pets, or the outdoor industry might focus on climate action (SDG#13) versus human rights.

We encourage you to refer back to the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals to see how your business could support these priorities. Keep in mind that not all causes, especially those in greatest need on a local level, may not fit into one of these categories. The concept of identifying causes directly related to your industry still applies.

Tags:  cause  goals  purpose  strategic partnerships  UN sustainable goals 

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4 Easy Ways to Make Your Office More Sustainable

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Sustainability is often a key component in a company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) program. The good news is that making energy efficient and environmentally-friendly changes in your office doesn’t have to be daunting or expensive. Here are four simple changes that your company can make for bottom line results to your business and the environment.



In-office lights can be very energy draining. There are different measures that an office space can take to mitigate the amount of energy usage from lights. One example is to install more sustainable light bulbs. Another is to add motion sensitive lights, so they will automatically turn off when the room is not being used. Lastly, you can attach a simple note near light switches to remind people to turn off the lights when leaving a room. For more energy saving tips your employees could apply at home or at work, visit OUC.


Indoor plants

Indoor plants can boost an employee’s attitude as well as purify the air around them. Many do not even need natural sunlight. Click here for a list of low-maintenance plants ideal for the office.



Another simple step is to assess how your office currently recycles. If you determine there is more you could be doing, there are a variety of helpful ways to encourage employees to recycle more. One example is to educate them at an office meeting. Doing this does not take long and will give them a gentle reminder of ways they can help minimize the waste that normally goes into landfills. The city of Orlando is working to reduce its waste as well as implementing more practices to make the city healthier. Read more on their Green Works Projects here.


Bring your own containers

Every office is likely to have a water cooler (or fresh water) and a coffee machine. One of the easiest environmentally-conscious changes to make is to encourage employees to bring their own water bottle and/or coffee cup to the office. This simple adjustment can save a lot of waste from disposable water bottles or cups that end up in landfills.


These are just a few examples of how businesses can have a more environmentally-conscious workplace. Feel free to share any other examples of small changes your business has made to reduce environmental impacts at work. Every action has an impact.

Tags:  office space  social responsibility  strategic planning  sustainability  work place 

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2018 Super Bowl Tackles Corporate Social Responsibility from All Sides

Posted By Administration, Monday, February 5, 2018

The Super Bowl is one of the biggest sporting events of the year. Viewership is high as is the cost for advertising, with a 30-second TV commercial costing, on average, more than $5 million.

What is noteworthy this year is how many of Super Bowl LII’s advertisers chose to focus their investments on their corporate social responsibility (CSR) messages.

Even though most companies cannot make such significant investments in developing or sharing their CSR strategies, they can learn from them. Here are a few of our favorites and our strategic CSR takeaways:

“Stand By Me” by Budweiser

This one resonates for those of us living and working in Central Florida. Budweiser provided water to Florida and other places impacted by natural disasters this past year such as Texas, Puerto Rico and California. Their ad demonstrates how they give in a way in which they are uniquely qualified to give -- their water and their canning process. According to the company, their Cartersville, GA brewery has provided more than 79 million cans of water for relief efforts since 1988, including two million last year. In addition to the positive impact they have on those who receive their canned water, this ad demonstrates how they also have a positive impact on their employees.

“Taps” by Stella Artois

Like Budweiser, Stella Artois brought a focus on water. co-founder Matt Damon stars in the ad, which promotes the partnership between the beer company and the nonprofit organization that provides clean and safe drinking water to developing countries. This is the second time Stella Artois promoted their CSR program at the Super Bowl, highlighting how one purchase can lead to 5 years of clean water for 1 person in a developing world. This is about collective impact.

“Good Odds” by Toyota

Rather that focus on promoting their vehicles, Toyota chose to spotlight two elements of its CSR program: inclusiveness and mobility. Although the focus of the ad is on Canadian alpine skier Lauren Woolstencroft, an eight-time Paralympic gold medalist, it closes with the message, “When we’re free to move, anything is possible.” This speaks to purpose which should be at the core of any CSR program. So instead of promoting a car, they are promoting the importance of mobility which serves a higher purpose for their brand, and likely their customers.

“Hope Detector” by Hyundai

Hyundai also chose not to feature their cars in their Super Bowl ad. Instead, they focused on their efforts to fund childhood cancer research and how buying a Hyundai can make a difference in the lives of others. Their program and ad were interesting because they engaged another key stakeholder group: the customer. The real Hyundai owners met real cancer survivors to see firsthand the impact their purchases had on the lives of others.

You may not have a Super Bowl ad to share, but we would still like to hear your stories. If you are a Central Florida company with a CSR story of your own, please send them to or share them with us via Twitter at @Rollins_CSRhub.

Tags:  advertisement  corporate citizenship  corporate social responsibility  super bowl 

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What is Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR?

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Businesses in the United States, and Central Florida in particular, are poised and eager to incorporate corporate social responsibility (CSR) into the important work they do. They believe business can be a force for good and are implementing CSR programs aligning their values with their daily operations.

But what is it?

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a business approach that contributes to positive business outcomes by delivering economic, environmental and social benefits for all stakeholders. It is sometimes referred to as corporate citizenship, community investment or sustainability. The semantics, however, aren’t as important as what a company is trying to achieve. It’s about a company’s responsibility to invest in the community in which it serves. It’s about companies not just caring about the bottom line, but about what they do with the bottom line.

Our manager of corporate citizenship Kecia Carroll frequently does CSR TALKs for business groups in our community. If you’ve been to one of her presentations, you may have seen this chart which outlines additional ways companies define CSR in their own organizations.

Corporate social responsibility, done strategically and with intent, can generate great results for a company. And as more companies strive to create a corporate culture that is compelling to today’s diverse and socially conscious workforce, the need to define CSR within the context of a specific company will expand as well.

In MBA courses at the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College, faculty and students discuss CSR in terms of creating shared value which is defined as creating economic value in a way that also creates value for society by addressing its needs and challenges. They examine the concept of triple bottom line which can be looked at as the:

  • 3 P’s = Profit, planet, people
  • 3 E’s = Economy, (social) equity, environment
  • 3 R’s = risk, responsibility, reward

In each of these scenarios, we begin to see how the definition of CSR continues to evolve and how corporations need to think beyond creating positive social impact because it’s “the right thing”, but because it can drive a company’s bottom line.

If your company needs help starting a CSR program, assistance focusing an existing one, or coaching in a specific area of CSR, we can design a program that fits your needs and a roadmap to meet your goals. For more information or to get started, please contact our office at 407-975-6414 or by e-mail at

Tags:  corporate social responsibility 

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Championing for Corporate Citizenship in Central Florida: Meet Kecia Carroll

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 23, 2018


The Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College has six Centers of Excellence, one of which is the Edyth Bush Institute for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership Institute (EBI). Last year, EBI established a corporate citizenship department to inspire, guide and support Central Florida companies in integrating corporate social responsibility (CSR) into their business strategy. At the helm is Kecia Carroll, the manager of corporate citizenship, who works to raise awareness in corporate social responsibility and its significant benefits to companies, the nonprofit sector and the community. Kecia joined EBI after serving as a strategic advisor to companies of all sizes and industries for more than a decade. Much of her career has focused on marketing, branding, and communication; however over time, CSR became an integral part of her work. The strong correlation between CSR and company values, stakeholder engagement, brand position, and market differentiation made this a natural transition.  In 2015, after publishing a research-based best practices whitepaper and seeing an increased demand for strategic counsel in this area, CSR became the focus of her work. 

Shortly after relocating to Central Florida from Denver, Colorado, Crummer and EBI asked her to moderate a CSR leadership panel on the topic of “Community Engagement: How Companies of Any Size Can Make a Difference.” Since that time, interest in CSR has continued to expand in this region, with unfortunate tragedies such as Pulse and Hurricanes Irma and Maria accelerating the need. Consistent with Crummer’s mission to provide innovative, global, and responsible business education, and EBI’s mission to strengthen the impact, effectiveness, and leadership of nonprofit and philanthropic organizations through education and management assistance, the corporate citizenship department was formed. Kecia now leads the corporate citizenship department which serves as a CSR hub companies wishing to implement CSR strategies for maximum benefit to their businesses and the community.

Kecia stated that, “I had thought my path in Orlando would be to join one company to build or lead their CSR plan and programs. Instead, this opportunity allows me to help many companies.” This was a revolutionary point for Kecia as one of her main motivators is the ability to have an impact. Her vision is to help local companies understand the benefits of CSR, and then to actively engaging in the community in a way that maximizes their business and social values. By helping them incorporate CSR principles in a more strategic way, she hopes to help them achieve their goals while having positive social, economic and environmental impacts.

In the next 5 years Kecia hopes “To lose my job because every Central Florida company has an established and highly impactful CSR plan. Or maybe, because one of our Rollins or Crummer graduates have brought the principles of leadership and social responsibility we teach in our curriculum and programs into their organizations.” In the meantime, her department will continue to evolve its consulting and programming efforts to help inspire, guide and support Central Florida companies in integrating CSR principles into their businesses.

Tags:  business  business strategy  central florida  corporate citzenship  corporate social responsibility  crummer graduate school of business  rollins college 

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Is CSR a new year's resolution for your business?

Posted By Katy Rumrill, Tuesday, January 2, 2018
Updated: Monday, January 22, 2018

If it is, and we can help, please contact our office at 407-975-6414 or by e-mail at For more information about our CSR services, visit us here.

Tags:  corporate social responsibility  New Year  Resolution  Rollins College 

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Making an Impact with Corporate Gifts

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, December 5, 2017

If you want to be consistent with your company’s values for social responsibility, or simply want to put more meaning into your corporate gift giving this year, consider some of these options. And as an added benefit, shopping local means you will have a positive impact on our community as well.

·      Ten Thousand Villages; with an online gift shop as well as a shop located in Winter Park, Ten Thousand Villages provides opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn income by bringing their products and stories to our market through fair-trading relationships. For holiday gifts they have winter wear, gifts for the office, and holiday decor. More ideas are provided on their Holiday Gift Guide.

(Image by Ten Thousand Villages)

·      Deux Mains; is an online shop founded by Central Florida nonprofit REBUILD Globally to give back after detrimental earthquakes hit Haiti in 2010. Their products are sourced from recycled materials in Haiti and create income opportunities for Haitian entrepreneurs, therefore creating positive environmental and economic impacts. For corporate gifts, they offer a variety of hand bags, sandals and jewelry for women as well as sandals for men. Their earbud holders are also a simple gift for all.

·      Second Harvest: you may know of Second Harvest for their food bank services, but during the holidays they make holiday-themed cards. Proceeds from the sale of these cards support the heightened need for food in our community during the holidays. They will even mail them out for you, upon your request.

·      Brighter Day Designs: this online store was created by a Rollins College student. Twenty five percent of the proceeds from their jewelry sales go to the Tim Tebow Foundation in order for children to receive life-changing surgeries to give them ‘brighter bays.’ If you’re looking for gifts that fit within a tight budget, their website has a section for products under $10.

·      Collective Kindness: located at the Plant St. Market in Winter Garden, also available via if you prefer, is a small business built by a mother daughter duo doing more than just making soy candles. A percentage of their proceeds goes to funding local kindness projects in the community. Collective Kindness is a certified green business because they encourage recycling and refilling of their candle containers.

·      East End Market; is located in Orlando’s Audubon Park neighborhood. They, carry a variety of sustainable gift options ranging from wine and cheese pairings to house plants and hand-crafted pots. Their products are locally sourced, with some ingredients for their food products coming from their own urban farm located on site.  

·      Or try, a new online resource that helps people find socially-conscious companies that they feel a connection with. This resource will help you choose where to shop by first knowing what a specific company is doing to make the world a better place, whether during the holiday season, or anytime.


These are just a few ideas to jumpstart your corporate gift shopping. If you’re aware of other local companies offering socially-responsible products, or gifts that give back, please share in the comments below and we will add them to our list.

Tags:  Central Florida  Corporate Social Responsibility  Holiday Gifts  Impact  Local  Orlando  Rollins  Social Enterprise 

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