On September 12, I sat in a large conference room in Suzhou, China–with over 500 people from major MNCs and national companies including Nike, Timberland, Wal-Mart , Addias, Levis, Starbucks and Home Depot to name a few gathered to look for ways to improve factory practices—waiting to give my keynote speech about the importance of collaboration as the key to training a competitive advantage, we learned that over 300 women workers were killed in two different factory fires Pakistan where the exits had been locked and workers could not escape. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/13/world/asia/hundreds-die-in-factory-fires-in-pakistan.html?pagewanted=all
The organizers dedicated a moment of silence to the workers– but all of us knew that this was inadequate. Last year’s conference focused on worker safety and the Nike representative stated that the this was an issue that all the MNCs took seriously and so should the supplier companies. While it is disappointing that in 2012 workers, who are mostly women, have to work in poor conditions to provide for their families. it was inspiring to meet with people who are working in the trenches to improve working and environmental practices in the factories that produce products that most of us consume.
In Northern Bangladesh, there are groups of highly skilled artisans who are adept at crafting products. Many of these artisans are extremely poor women with limited access to capital, markets and employment opportunities, within a patriarchal social system that collectively exacerbates their cycle of poverty. The home textile sector has averaged about 20% growth a year, with exports totaling $313.51 million in 2008-09. more »
CARE, a ($300M) international NGO approached Starbucks in 1991, when Starbucks was a young ($20M) coffee retailer. By 1998 Starbucks had boomed to a global chain with sales of almost $1 billion and was CARE’s largest donor. more »
MCI WorldCom, a major communication technology company partnered with the National Geographic Society to develop the MarkPolo Geography website to support internet content integration into K-12. This joint project developed a new product/technology that would not have been possible for the individual actors operating on their own.
Objective: To raise funds for survivors of Hurricane Katrina
The National Restaurant Association and the American Red Cross developed a cause-related marketing to help those impacted by Hurricane Katrina. More than 17,000 restaurants nationwide—from coffee shops to fine dining establishments, and from large chains to single-unit independent restaurants—joined “Dine for America” along with their employees and guests, to raise funds for Gulf Coast recovery efforts. This demonstrated the industry’s commitment to community service, raising a total of $12million for the American Red Cross’ efforts in the Gulf Coast.
Objective: To raise funds for conservation efforts.
The Nature Conservancy, an environmental/conservation nonprofit and MBNA, a financial services/credit card company, developed a cause-related marketing partnership. MBNA created customized Nature Conservancy cards that featured the red-eyed tree frog, great blue heron, and sea otter. People select these cards and MBNA generates a royalty payment for the Conservancy for each new account, renewed accounts, cash advances and purchases. Since 1995, MBNA has contributed more than $5 million to the Nature Conservancy through this partnership.
The Nature Conservancy (TNC), a conservation nonprofit, and Georgia Pacific (GP), a forest products company, had a long confrontational relationship–competing for the same land for different purposes (conservation vs. logging). With limited success on both sides they began to re-consider their positions in the early 1990s. On the company side, GP was the poorly rated for their environmental stewardship. Their new president, with growing regulatory pressures, made partnering with environmental groups a priority. He also developed a new corporate mission with a strong environmental stewardship focus. In addition, TNC began to realize that protecting ecosystems didn’t mean the absence of economic activity (e.g., logging), a prevailing belief at the time. more »
Jumpstart, an educational NGO to prepare low-income children for kindergarten in Boston and American Eagle Outfitters (AEO), a clothing retail chain began a relationship in 1997. The two CEOs met by happenstance. The Jumpstart CEO, Aaron Lieberman received the “Do Something Brick” award that was sponsored by American Eagle Outfitters and MTV. The first action was an in-kind donation of T-shirts by AEO to Jumpstart. There was no long-term plan but the relationship moved quickly to a more substantive partnership. This was due in part to the fact that several Jumpstart board members were also associated with the CityYear and they learned from their experience with Timberland. more »
Objective: To raise funds to support programs for first responder programs
The First Responder Institute, a nonprofit that supports programs for fire departments and TUMS, an antacid company, developed a cause-related marketing partnership TUMS helped educate America about the First Responder Institute through their point-of-sale displays, brochures, a satellite media tour, the TUMS website and a specific promotion through Walgreens’ drugstores. In addition, TUMS donated 10 cents for every bottle sold to the First Responder Institute.
The program generated $238,000 for the Institute, which awarded grants to 60 fire departments for breathing systems, thermal imaging cameras and other equipment. In addition, TUMS benefited from the partnership as evidenced by a 16% sales increase during the promotional period.