Archive for the ‘CR news’ Category

Sustainability, leadership, empathy, mindfulness – what have they all got to do with each other?

February 27, 2015

I have tried to really condense my thinking on this into a few short sentences. So here you go:

Sustainability must include sustainable leadership – and that means ethical, participatory leadership. Lead in a circle, consider the concerns of stakeholders and allow/hear/consider/think with their voices, starting with your employees.

We must accompany managers on their way to becoming leaders, not leave them alone with that, but offer them relevant learning. Too many managers are left alone in their transition from management to leadership, where suddenly they are no longer just responsible for themselves, but for furthering and developing people in a team.

Sustainable leadership is about inter-subjectivity and empathy – also towards employees, communities, the environment, and future generations.

The challenge is ignorance – people who keep playing the wrong game, the game of endless material growth and ego-centrism only.

What is inter-subjectivity? Really *seeing* other individuals, as subjects in themselves, with rights, needs and emotions – not as objects for you to treat any way you please, or to consider mere extensions of yourself. Or even worse, as objects to exploit.

That inter-subjectivity perception takes empathy – and empathy is an ability that in most people (except those with certain personality disorders) can be increased through awareness raising, learning and practice.

So here is our challenge as leadership trainers and coaches – help leaders with their levels of empathy, help them with their ability to see others rightfully as subjects in themselves, in good inter-subjectivity, and expand from there to help them understand the concept of sustainable leadership – acting in the best interest of all stakeholders concerned, long-term.

We must also help leaders especially with weighing the pressures of having to produce and present short-term profit with realizing and protecting long-term strategic interests. Example: If you ‘take the profit and run’, that might work for a few years – but what does it take to do and invest differently if you want your business to be around for 20 years or longer?

In the end, whether as an individual or an organization, what really matters in today’s world is that you yourself act and behave like an ‘adequate other’ towards the people around you/your stakeholders. And that attitude and behavior requires good mindfulness.


Do you still talk CSR, or ESG impact?

June 11, 2014

ESG are ‘Environmental, Social And Governance Criteria‘ – a set of standards for a company’s operations that socially conscious investors use to screen investments. We have heard of the Triple Bottom Line before, and of the 3Ps – people, planet, and profit. Here’s ESG: Environmental criteria determine how a company performs as a steward of the natural environment. Social criteria examine how a company manages relationships with its stakeholders: e.g. its employees, suppliers, customers, local governments, NGOs, unions, and the communities where the company operates and where its employees work and live. Governance criteria deal with, for example, a company’s leadership, executive pay, audits and internal controls, and shareholder rights.

Goldman Sachs writes: ‘In our Environmental, Social and Governance Impact Report we illustrate how our work with clients helps to drive broader economic and social value. We also highlight our active engagement in the communities where we live and work and our support of an array of initiatives to promote environmental sustainability and community development.’

E.ON writes: ‘Standardized indicators from the areas of Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) are gaining in importance in the capital market for evaluating companies, which is why we structure the reporting of our sustainability performance along material ESG criteria over the past several years.’

So, from the first Environmental Reports in the late 1980s, to then CSR Reports around the year 2000, soon to be followed by CR Reports, to Sustainability Reports as of around 2005, to now ESG Reports for the past couple of years – the field keeps evolving, and as practitioners, we need to evolve with it … The important thing to remember: it remains all about impact.

Crowdfunding and Subscription Billing in Community Involvement – this needs to be on your radar screen!

September 25, 2012
Have you heard about crowdfunding yet? It’s all the latest hype in the Community Involvement field, and a trend that will not go away – the Tsunami wave is only just starting.
Crowdfunding is new – the word did not exist before 2006. It first started in the US with websites like and indiegogo.comNow everybody can do fundraising from the public, in the fields of music, art, film, design, sports, or social projects – if only their pledge is convincing. And you’d be surprised what kinds of projects receive successful funding – be it in the thousands or even millions! The principle is simple: If many people each give a little, a lot can be financed! A film company that looked to raise Euro 1 million within three months to supplement a movie budget had raised that amount already after – one week! A pledge to raise USD 5,000 for a victim of mobbing generated USD 650,000 across the US within only six days!
Leading companies have now discovered crowdfunding as a means to enhance stakeholder relationships and stay in touch with communities – crowdfunding is about a metamorphosis of the ‘Like’ button in Social Media into a monetary contribution. Leading companies now take their Community Involvement projects public and give stakeholders a chance to participate as co-funders. Contributors join a funder community and usually receive a thank-you gift for their donation, starting with books and DVDs and not ending with personal meetings with celebrities or international leaders of change – depending on the size of the contribution.
The most advanced has been Unilever: The company started its ‘Waterworks’ subscription billing campaign via Facebook app in June 2012 – and got nice media attention for it. Have a look.
This is about more than a one-time donation – subscribers get billed for 10 cents a day. In return, they receive regular updates about the project’s success, and video news from water workers in different countries. Contributors find they share personal values with Unilever, and together they can bring clean drinking water to 500 million people up until 2020. 1 billion people use Facebook. If 100,000 globally participate in the ‘Waterworks’ initiative, donating 10 cents per day, that will gross USD 3.6 million in one year – and a lot of clean water can be generated from that amount …
My client Skype just started a crowdfunding initiative to further support their charity partner Peace One Day, the organization behind International Peace Day, endorsed by the United Nations and taking place every year on September 21. Peace One Day works on peace education around the world, and thanks to the partnership with Skype, peace education is now brought to many schools around the world via virtual classrooms, in 15 languages. Through the crowdfunding initiative, Skype invites the public to co-fund the initiative – and Skype will match every dollar contributed.
Crowdfunding generates new attention and gives a fresh boost to the social brand dimension. Of course, good marketing and communications around such an initiative are important! However, with the tsunami only beginning, first movers really have a chance to differentiate themselves and get noticed.
If you’d like to find out more about crowdfunding, get in touch – and if you happen to be in Berlin on October 26, you may want to attend our session on crowdfunding at the Kulturinvest Congress.
If you want to get started, I’ll also be happy to connect you to the people who developed Skype’s microsite.
Best of luck to you in exploring this new area of community engagement!

Crowdfunding – was ist es, was ist erfolgreich, hat es Zukunft? Kongress in Berlin 25. Oktober

August 8, 2012

Weltweit werden immer mehr Projekte über Crowdfunding finanziert. Was genau ist es?

Die Begriffe ‚Crowdfunding’ oder auch ‚Crowdsourcing’ sind im Sprachgebrauch seit etwa 2006. Es handelt sich hier, kurz gesagt, um ‚Mittelbeschaffung aus der Menge’.

Im Zeitalter des Internets und der sozialen Medien sind wir alle miteinander vernetzt, und wir alle können innerhalb von Sekunden Meinungen beitragen. Genauso ist es jedoch mit Geld: Wir alle können auch innerhalb von Sekunden, über Kreditkartenzahlungen, Bankeinzug online oder PayPal Gelder beitragen. Wenn jeder Einzelne nur eine kleine Summe gibt, aber viele mitmachen, kommt so in kurzer Zeit sehr viel zusammen. Man denke nur zurück an Karlheinz Böhm und seinen ‚Menschen für Menschen’-Aufruf damals über ‚Wetten dass’. Im Grunde war das damals das erste Crowdfunding-Projekt in Deutschland. Hätte Herr Böhm seinen Aufruf im heutigen Zeitalter der sozialen Medien gemacht, wäre womöglich spontan noch mehr Geld zusammen gekommen.

Beim Crowdfunding geht es also darum, dass viele gemeinsam durch einen kleinen Beitrag von jedem viel bewegen. Gemeinsam formen sie spontan eine ‚Community’, und Projekte erhalten zweckgebunden Kapital. Ein deutsches Wort für Crowdfunding ist – hört sich allerdings weniger attraktiv an – ‚Schwarmfinanzierung’. Der Projektschwerpunkt liegt meist auf künstlerischen und kreativen Projekten. So sind Kategorien wie Design, Kunst, Mode, Musik, Film, Video, Foto, Events, Ausstellungen, Theater sowie Sport häufig vertreten. Das Prinzip eignet sich jedoch genauso gut für soziale Spendenzwecke.

Welches Projekt erfährt zur Zeit die grösste Aufmerksamkeit?

Pepsi Refresh ist sicherlich in aller Munde. Hier stellt das Unternehmen Pepsi die Gelder, und Besucher der Website schlagen Projekte vor und geben ihre Stimmen ab für die Projekte, die Förderung durch Pepsi erhalten sollen. Pepsi Refresh ist jedoch in diesem Sinne kein Crowdfunding, sondern ein Crowdsourcing.

Die erste Crowdfunding-Plattform wurde 2009 in den USA mit eingerichtet. Bereits über 10.000 Projekte sind hierüber finanziert worden. Die Initiatoren versuchen meist mit einem Video von sich oder dem Projekt zu überzeugen. Nach dem gleichen Vorbild sind mit und weitere Crowdfunding-Plattformen online gegangen. Mit oder sind die ersten Länder außerhalb von Amerika mit dem Thema Crowdfunding im Bereich Projektfinanzierung online gegangen. In Deutschland sind seit 2010 die Plattformen,, und vertreten.

Besonders interessant ist das Projekt ‚Diaspora’. Für die Entwicklung einer Internetplattform suchten vier Studenten 10.000 US-Dollar. Mit der Plattform wurde Facebook der Kampf angesagt und angekündigt, ein Pendant zu entwickeln, welches bessere Vorkehrungen im Bereich Datenschutz treffen wird und die Daten seiner Nutzer dezentral immer auf dem eigenen Rechner des Anwenders speichert. Dies fand enormen Zuspruch in der Bevölkerung, die das Projekt gemeinsam mit mehr als 200.000 US-Dollar überfinanziert hat. Unter den menr als 6.000 Spendern befand sich auch Facebook-Gründer Mark Zuckerberg. Im Interview mit dem Magazin Wired sagte Zuckerberg: “I donated. I think it is a cool idea.”

In Deutschland war 2011 das Startjahr für’s Crowdfunding, und das bis dato größte Projekt in Deutschland startete das Kölner Unternehmen Brainpool im Dezember 2011. Für den geplanten Film zur TV-Serie Stromberg wollte das Unternehmen bis März 2012 eine Million Euro einsammeln. Innerhalb von nur einer Woche war jedoch bereits die eine Million Euro erreicht!

Ist Crowdfunding nur ein momentaner Hype oder wird es eine zukunftsfähige Finanzierungsform?

Da das Engagement von Stakeholdern, das Kreieren, Pflegen und Erhalten von (Kunden-)beziehungen über soziale Netzwerke und generell ‚Open Sourcing’ sowohl von Geldern als auch von Ideen seit Jahren als Trend wachsen, ist davon auszugehen, dass es sich hier absolut nicht um einen momentanen Hype handelt, sondern um zukunftsfähige, gemeinschaftliche Umgangsformen. Dieser Trend folgt der allgemein stärkeren Demokratisierung der Welt durch das Internet und die sozialen Medien. Speziell das Crowdfunding wird an Bedeutung wachsen, da hier auch kleinere, unbekanntere Projekte, wenn sie nur als ausreichend interessant herausragen können, durchaus auf ansehnliche Finanzierungssummen kommen können, ohne auf die öffentliche Hand oder Großsponsoren angewiesen zu sein. Junge Bands z.B. nutzen die Methode erfolgreich, um Geld für die Aufnahme eines ersten Albums zusammen zu bekommen. Benedikt Fuhrmann bekam erfolgreich 50.000 Euro zusammen, um seine Ausstellung ‘Ein Blick Iran. Ein Land, da leben Menschen‘  inklusive Vorträgen und Musikkonzerten in einer katholischen Kirche in Bayern zu realisieren.

Ein Aufruf zum Crowdsourcing oder Crowdfunding ist auch gut für die jeweilige ‚Marke’, gibt ihr entweder erste Bekannheit oder aber neue, frische Energie! Man kann durch das Crowdsourcing/Crowdfunding auch ‚Communities’ kreieren und mit ihnen in Kontakt bleiben bzw. sie emotional beteiligen, da ja die Beitragenden in der Folge auch erfahren möchten, was mit ihrem Beitrag geschieht und welche Wirkung erzielt wird. Hier kann man über das Internet, geschickt gemacht, regelrecht Unterhaltung/’Entertainment’ zum Projekt bieten (z.B. auf Facebook) – oder aber in einem ‚geschützten Bereich’ ausschliesslich Spendern Zugang zu besonderen Informationen geben. Man kann Beitragende auch noch weiter involvieren, im Sinne der ‚open source innovation’, und sie nach ihren Ideen fragen, oder sie durch kostenlose Downloads oder Freikarten dankbar ‚belohnen’. Spender können auch im Abspann eines Films genannt oder zu privaten Lesungen oder einer Vernissage eingeladen werden.

Hier gibt es also endlose Möglichkeiten, Kunden und Stakeholder enger an sich zu binden und Beziehungen zu kreieren. Das Ganze zieht gleichzeitig Kreise, da Teilnehmende in der Regel ihre eigenen Aktionen auch Freunden und Bekannten weiterempfehlen, wodurch ein Schneeballeffekt entsteht. Also auch eine Methode, Kultur, Sport und soziales Engagement weiter zu verbreiten!

Wenn Sie mehr erfahren möchten, kommen Sie zu unserer Session zum Crowdfunding beim Kulturinvest-Kongress am 25. und 26. Oktober in Berlin

Hot off the press: UN Global Compact International Yearbook 2012 – get my chapter here as free pdf

July 24, 2012

“This fourth edition of the Global Compact International Yearbook showcases many inspiring examples of businesses turning challenges into opportunity, leveraging their competencies, capacities and resources for the common good. I hope these diverse expressions of support for the UN’s global mission will inspire many more businesses to follow this path and bring corporate sustainability to true scale.“ 
H.E.  United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

I feel honoured to have been asked to contribute a chapter to the yearbook. It is titled ‘From Corporate Handouts to Corporate Partnerships’. Based on our book ‘Corporate Community Involvement: The Definitive Guide’ (see, my contribution argues against mere corporate philanthropy and for truly involved, collaboratively impactful cross-sector partnerships. Get your free download of the chapter here: 

From Corporate Handouts to Corporate Partnerships

Parallel to the publication of the yearbook, a new, advanced website of the Global Compact International Yearbook has been launched: The aim of both the website and the yearbook is to create a global overview of achievements in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and to build up capacity for more comprehensive and sustainable management of these activities.

 Both the yearbook and the website offer proactive and in-depth information on key sustainability issues to stakeholders around the world, and each promotes unique and comprehensive knowledge exchange and learning in the spirit of the UN Global Compact principles.

Contributing chapter to UN Global Compact Yearbook 2012

June 24, 2012

I was asked to contribute a chapter to the new UN Global Compact Yearbook 2012, to be published at the end of July. The chapter is titled ‘From Corporate Handouts to Corporate Partnerships’. Based on our book ‘Corporate Community Involvement: The Definitive Guide’ (see, my contribution argues against mere corporate philanthropy and for truly involved, cooperatively impactful cross-sector partnerships.


Now available: My conference essay on The Future of Strategic Employee Volunteering

November 20, 2011

On November 28, a conference took place in Vienna, Austria on the future of strategic Employee Volunteering. This conference was part of a European Union series, on the occasion of 2011 being the European Union Year of Volunteering.

The ‘usual suspects’ were there – representatives of IBM and TNT, Bea Boccalandro, Chris Jarvis and – myself. You can have a look at the program (in German) here:
The conference then traveled on to Madrid and Budapest, and in 2012 it will still take place in Prague and Bratislava.

On the occasion of this series of conferences, a Global Corporate Volunteering Good Practice Case Book will be introduced to which I have contributed. It consists of 10 case studies from multinational companies, including IBM, GlaxoSmithKline and Volkswagen, as well as essays from international experts like Bea Boccalandro and Chris Jarvis. After having presented at the Vienna conference, I am now posting my own essay here: Understanding Permeable Boundaries_The Future of Strategic Employee Involvement_V Scheubel 2011. I argue for no longer creating a split between Employee Volunteering and Corporate Community Involvement, a split between sectors, and a split between company and society. I argue for competency-based secondments of employees towards innovative Corporate Community Involvement partnerships.

An abbreviated version (shorter case examples) will be published in the case book in April 2012. The casebook will be published in English, German and Spanish and will be available in digital format via its own website. You can already pre-order a free copy of this Global Corporate Volunteering Good Practice Case BookCasebook_Bestellkarte

Engaging stakeholders around the topic of sustainability

October 11, 2011 invited me to contribute to their online conversations, talking about the role corporate communicators have in the context of sustainability.

My contribution engages with stakeholder expectations and their view of corporate performance, and with the opportunity for communications professionals to engage in stakeholder relationships (also through social media) and allow stakeholders to become sustainability consultants to the company.

Read the full article here: Engaging stakeholders around the topic of sustainability VScheubel Oct 2011

On CSR: In Debate in Dubai in July

June 20, 2011

On July 6 in Dubai at the Capital Club, I was in debate with Mishal Kanoo, Deputy Chairman of Kanoo Group, on the seemingly age-old question whether companies should be responsible just to their shareholders or also to their multiple stakeholders – and how so …:

The debate was broadcast live on the web – here’s the link:

City 7TV showed a summary of the debate, with interviews – watch it on You Tube, min. 4:15 – 7:57:

I was also interviewed live on the topic of CSR on Dubai Eye business radio that same morning – listen to the podcast:

My author spotlight now published on CSR Wire

May 5, 2011

Thank you so much to Elaine Cohen, CSR/Sustainybility consultant, author of ‘CSR for HR’ and blogger, for so generously portraying my profile and for her very kind words about my work and Nick’s and my book!

Read the full author spotlight on: