News around ASI Germany
A corporation has a powerful voice with its customers, employees, and community in which it serves. Over the years, corporations engaging in social responsibility have received a marketing benefit as a result of their efforts. There have been many changes to implementing a good corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy, which begs the question – should corporate social responsibility still be part of your business model?
Gone are the days of simply donating money to your local charity. To be successful, you must get others involved. A recent article by Martin Newman in Retail Week suggests that corporate social responsibility should shift towards being more customer centric.
“Putting the customer first is a key requirement to be successful in retail,” said Martin in the article. “To support customers being socially responsible, a brand needs to act strategically rather than run a once-a-year campaign with branded products and a hashtag.”
I agree with Martin’s sentiment, in that in order to carry out corporate social responsibility the correct way, you need to be authentic and not do it as a marketing opportunity.
Getting a benefit from CSR comes from being authentic, not because you are doing it for show. Those who have true corporate social responsibility initiatives that are meant for good will be the ones who wind up receiving the most benefit. In order to be authentic, you must really want to engage in CSR without it being forced on you.
According to the Journal of Management Studies, being authentic is something that cannot be forced or done because others are doing it.
“Generally, it is thought that if an organization is forced to do something or does it because others are doing it, the organization might not do it as authentically as if it was motivated by managers/consultants advising a firm to do it,” Bindu Arya and Gaiyan Zhang published in a 2009 study. “A company might adopt CSR because managers push for it and other companies in its industry are using it.”
One of the best ways to be authentic is to get your entire company involved in corporate social responsibility. Not just participating but, with the early stages of creating a strategy. Reach out and ask employees who they feel should be supported and to list organizations that align with the company’s (and employees’) values.
You will also find employees more willing to take part in CSR if they are included in the planning process.
In order to practice ethical CSR, you cannot simply throw a dart at a list of charities and donate some cash. You must incorporate your company culture into the CSR mix. Here is what I mean. Planet Fitness was recently touted by Entrepreneur contributor, Sherry Gray, for its corporate social responsibility, which is highlighted for its stance against bullying. Planet Fitness is already known for its “Judgment Free Zone” commitment to fitness where people who are out of shape can enjoy the workout facility without fear of being judged by others.
“Given their mission statement, their anti-bullying initiative seems like a natural fit,” Gray said. “Nearly one in five kids feel bullied at some point and it's a valid concern for about 80 percent of parents. We all want to feel our kids are safe and most of us don't.”
Planet Fitness has taken a culture that it already has made a part of its business model and extended it to public charities supporting similar efforts. The way to make your CSR work is to incorporate it into your own company culture. Here are a few more examples of socially responsible businesses and how they engage in CSR.
If you are engaging in CSR for the purpose of doing good, then it most certainly is worth it. If you are engaging in CSR to get a return on your “investment,” then maybe not. Regardless of your motivation, you need to be authentic and do things the right way.
by Dan Steiner
The company has supported efforts to combat food and nutrition insecurities in Australia for two decades.
Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing pledged one million servings of its popular Weet-Bix cereal to help those finding it difficult to make ends meet.
The pledge on August 2 to Foodbank, Australia's largest non-profit food relief organization, is the largest single donation by Sanitarium to any food relief charity. It represents Sanitarium's commitment to Foodbank's Food Fight campaign, a month-long initiative that aims to fight hunger in Australia by delivering food relief to thousands of needy families.
With a health and wellbeing mission at its core, an enduring ethos to make food that is nourishing, affordable and accessible for all Australians, and the belief that every kid deserves a good start, Sanitarium has supported efforts to combat food and nutrition insecurity in Australia for almost two decades.
With support from its supply chain partners, the company has donated more than 410 tonnes (451 U.S. tons) of product as part of Foodbank's innovative Key Staples program since 2010. Another 40 tonnes (44 U.S. tons) has been donated to Foodbank-supported breakfast clubs and other initiatives in the same period. The food is distributed to nearly 2,500 charities, community groups and schools delivering frontline support to 644,000 vulnerable people every month throughout Australia—one-third of them children.
In addition, Sanitarium works in partnership with the Australian Red Cross to help deliver its Good Start Breakfast Club program, providing healthy breakfasts and nutrition skills to thousands of school-age children in areas of greatest need since 2001.
Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing corporate communications manager, Julie Praestiin, says although many Australians enjoy a high quality of life, thousands of families are unable to consistently afford healthy food. She urges Australians to join the fight against hunger throughout the month of August.
"Food insecurity is a critical and growing issue for many Australians, with too many families living hand-to-mouth or not knowing where their next meal will come from. This is an issue that demands a response, which is why we were so keen to become a partner of Foodbank’s Food Fight campaign,” said Praestiin.
"At Sanitarium, we believe in the potential of every Australian to be happy and healthy. Creating truly nourishing food and caring for the community is in our DNA and for 117 years we’ve been committed to making food that is above all else, healthy, affordable and accessible,” said Praestiin. “If this donation can help thousands of Australian families have a better start to their day, then we’re on the right track."
Adventist News Network
There are a lot of options out there besides pharmaceuticals to help cure a cold, treat an infection, or calm the stomach. And one of those options is medicinal herbs, which cover the spectrum of everything from ulcers and insomnia to psoriasis and inflammation. Here are 15 of the best herbal options you might consider trying:
1) Peppermint. Often used to help clear the sinuses and treat allergies, peppermint is among the most common medicinal herb. It's traditionally infused into a tea to help digestion and menstrual pain, and breathed as vaporized oil to help aid in quelling respiratory ailments.
2) Garlic. A pungent bulb from the onion family, garlic does almost everything. It's an antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer herb that helps boost the immune system and ward off colds and coughs. It can also treat skin infections, intestinal worms, and sinusitis.
3) Echinacea. The root of this plant is a powerful immune booster that helps prevent and treat infections. It also shows efficacy as a remedy for shingles, ulcers, influenza, and tonsillitis, as well as a fix for nausea, aches, and pains, and blood poisoning when used homeopathically.
4) Aloe vera. The gel of this desert plant can be rubbed on the skin to treat sunburns and other skin injuries. It can also be consumed to help cleanse and repair the bowel, thus helping to improve digestion.
5) Feverfew. Similar to echinacea, feverfew has long been used in traditional herbalism to treat migraine headaches and reduce arthritic pain.
6) Evening primrose oil. Rich in the omega-6 fatty acid Gamma Linolenic Acid, this native American wildflower seed oil helps reduce joint stiffness and is also said to help boost cognitive function and concentration.
7) Marigold. These bright orange flowers can be brewed into a tea and used to treat topical inflammation and varicose veins. It is also beneficial in helping to treat fungal infections, as well as gargled to help fix a sore throat.
8) Ginkgo biloba. Rich in flavone glycosides, ginkgo biloba helps improve circulation by naturally thinning the blood, which has the added effect of helping to boost memory.
9) Ginger. A flavorful remedy for stomach pain and nausea, this root plant contains a host of pain-relieving compounds that, in many cases, make it a better option than over-the-counter pain pills.
10) Arnica. Often used as a homeopathic remedy for pain, this yellow mountain plant is widely known to help the body heal itself more quickly from an injury. It can also be applied directly to bruised or damaged skin that hasn't been broken to relieve inflammation.
11) Frankincense. A gum resin extracted from the frankincense tree, this North African oil can help relieve anxiety and stress. This anti-aging herb is also known to help heal stomach ulcers, skin wounds, and respiratory conditions.
12) Chamomile. This flowery plant from Europe is often used in herbal teas, and for good reason: it helps soothe digestion, relieve the aches and pains associated with menstruation, and relax the nervous system.
13) Ylang Ylang. A tropical tree from Madagascar and Southeast Asia, Ylang Ylang oil also helps soothe the nervous system, as well as helps address sexual problems and impotence in men.
14) Wild yam. This herb is often used homeopathically to treat abdominal pain and renal colic. It's also beneficial for women going through menopause.
15) Lavender. One of the most pleasant smells in existence, lavender is a soothing herb that can help improve sleep quality while minimizing stress. It can also be applied topically to treat wounds, burns, stings, and even as an insect repellant.
by: Ethan A. Huff
It was long-rumoured that Sebastian Diemer, who co-founded credit scoring and loans company Kreditech, was doing another startup in the fintech space and today that new venture de-cloaks. Bezahlt.de, which, along with Diemer, counts numerous other ex-Kreditech employees as part of its founding team, is taking aim at the German ‘factoring’ market.
Invoice factoring (or invoice financing) is where companies secure credit by selling outstanding invoices to a third party, called a factor, at a discount, hence freeing up liquidity in the business. I’m told that the German factoring market alone was more than 200 billion Euros in transactions last year, the largest in Europe, with a growth rate of 10 percent over the last six years.
To that end, Bezahlt is specifically targeting the self-employed and freelancers — the “WeWork generation” — and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) who, it claims, have yet to benefit from the advantages of factoring that many corporate players take for granted.
“The problem we are trying to solve is to provide freelancers, small companies and startups with fast, easy and cheap [factoring],” says Diemer, Bezahlt’s co-founder and CEO. “This customer group is ignored by banks and other financial institutions that offer factoring services that have largely been directed almost exclusively at large corporates and companies with minimum sales of 100,000 Euros”.
It plans to do this with better scoring technology, thus taking a page out of the Kreditech playbook, and accepting invoices from as little as 1 Euro. There is also no minimum sales volume and no bank history necessary, whilst still resulting in a success rate of about 70 per cent, apparently. The first invoice is free after which the startup charges a 2.3 to 3.3 per cent monthly fee on the amount invoiced.
Diemer says that Bezahlt can provide a better product by fully automating the scoring process and through smarter customer acquisition, “resulting in lower variable cost, better scoring and higher scalability”. This will enable the startup to offer factoring to “basically everyone who has a desk at WeWork, Mindspace or any other co-working space”.
“That means the service focuses on freelancer, startups and SMEs that are largely ignored by banks. However also established startups and SMEs will find the service interesting as there are no general assignments or any other limiting factors. The first bill to be factored is always for free too,” he adds.
Meanwhile, I’ve learned that Bezahlt is backed to the tune of €3.5 million with a mixture of equity and debt. Investors include Point Nine Capital, Fly.vc, German Startup Group, La Famiglia, Michael Brehm, Heiko Hubertz, Raffael Johnen (CEO Auxmoney), Marcus Börner (CEO Optiopay), and a number of unnamed banks.
Noteworthy is that Kreditech’s other co-founder and current CEO, Alexander Graubner-Müller, and the company’s former CIO, Andrew Shaw, are also described as founding investors in Bezahlt.
by Steve O'Hear