Saturday, May 30, 2009

What's your financial personality? Ask Barclays Bank

Barclays Bank CSR report 2008. I was looking at this report in prepareation of my review for and came accross this : determining clients' financial personality. Based on the fact that wealth means different things to different people, they say, Barclay's profile high-wealth clients and use this profile in determining the most appropriate investment package. Some would say this is the ultimate in best practice for ensuring a personalised and relevant customer experience. I thought it could lead to some very interesting transactions. Here are some possible applications of this approach, using the Myers Briggs personality typology with the help of the Personality Page:

ESTJ: Practical, traditional, and organized. Likely to be athletic:
Recommendation: invest in Home Depot, Timberland, Patagonia and Nike

ENFP: Enthusiastic, idealistic, and creative. Able to do almost anything that interests them. Great people skills.
Recommendation: invest in Barack Obama

ISTJ: Serious and quiet, interested in security and peaceful living
Recommendation: invest in UNICEF, LOHAS and the International Center for Reiki training

INTJ: Independent, original, analytical, and determined. Have an exceptional ability to turn theories into solid plans of action.
Recommendation: Invest in Madonna, Virgin Airlines, Microsoft and Google

ESFJ: Warm-hearted, popular, and conscientious.Interested in serving others.
Recommendation: invest in the Queen of England

ESFP: People-oriented and fun-loving, they make things more fun for others by their enjoyment
Recommendation: invest in Southwest Airlines and yes, you guessed it, ICE CREAM, invest in Ben and Jerrys

For a more serious look at financial personality types see this article

I tried to analyse my own financial personality and it came out somewhere between manic depressive and ADHD, so i guess i will stick to analysing CR reports and let Barclays do their stuff.

Barclays is a serious CR practitioner, supporting all key global initiatives such as UNGC, the Equator Principles, the Carbon Disclosure Project, and the UN Principles for Responsible Investment . Serving 48 MILLION customers, they have a far-reaching impact on local economics around the world. They are a highly transparent reporter, though if you want to read my take on their report, you will have to check back to in the next couple of weeks.

For now, i think i will adopt an ESFP personality .... who locked the fridge ?

elaine cohen is the joint CEO of BeyondBusiness, a leading reporting and social-environmental consulting firm based in Israel. Visit our website at:

Friday, May 29, 2009

Turtle Soup, anyone ? First report from Jumeirah Group

Every so often, you are reading a CR report and something just makes you stop and sit back and think: WOW. Well here in Israel, I think Wow. Maybe in other countries you think something else. Anyway, this happened to me today. I was taking a look at the Jumeirah Group's first CR report for the year 2008. Jumeirah, for the uninitiated, is a hotel and leisure resort group in the UAE based in Dubai.
(I once participated in a belly-dancing event somewhere in the desert near Dubai - needless to say it was fortunate that no-one brought a camera).
Jumeirah have produced a very good first report, clear, comprehensive and credible. There were many things that stuck me as good practice, but one particular case study generated that WOW.

Jumeirah report on their wildlife protection program aimed at saving turtles. They have established a "Madinat Jumeirah turtle rehabilitation unit"as a pilot project organised in conjunction with the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth, England. Sick or injured turtles that were brought to veterinarians by members of the public are referred on to the Wildlife Protection Office, and then brought to a large enclosure in the sea-water canals of the Mina A’ Salam hotel. The time spent there allows for a final period of feeding and monitoring the turtles before releasing them back into UAE territorial waters. In December 2007, 12 turtles were rehabilitated and more are expected. Some turtles are fixed with tracking devices which monitor their journey, providing valuable behavioural information for scientists.

Wow, i thought. How cool. I recall a corporate program i once ran to clean a river in Israel which was a migration point for soft-back turtles. Maybe that's why i liked this story so much.

Got me wondering if any of the turtles escape to the swimming pool, or worse, the poolside jaccuzzi. Oy, what a thought. Just add a little salt and pepper, bring on a few bread rolls, and poolside lunch is served to all Miná Salam's guests. Hope i havent offended any vegetarians, that WAS a joke. Though i am a little peckish .......

elaine cohen is the joint CEO of BeyondBusiness, a leading reporting and social-environmental consulting firm based in Israel. Visit our website at:

Saturday, May 23, 2009

HRM and CSR - a match made in heaven ?

Marginally off-topic - but relevant to the cause .... So all you reporting buffs, please bear with me.

I am writing a book on the role of Human Resources Management and the way HRM interacts with and supports the CSR strategy and practices of a business. A kind of guide for the Human Resources Manager. Having served as a Country VP HR in a global company for several years, and assumed responsiblity also for promoting the Company's CSR programs, and now through my interactions as a consultant to businesses, this is a mix that i have many insights about that i would like to share. I have opened up the first chapter of the book for public review prior to completion and publication, and would welcome any form of input.

For those who are interested, you can download the first chapter here:

Second chapter available on request for those who are really keen !!!!

thanks in advance !

elaine cohen is the joint CEO of BeyondBusiness, a leading reporting and social-environmental consulting firm based in Israel. Visit our website at:

Friday, May 22, 2009

What's your ripple ? Intel can help ...

Intel, the silicon giant in every pc, has just published their 2008 CR report. 108 pages of completely hyperlinked and totally-a-pleasure- to-navigate PDF. Haven't read it yet. AHA! so what are you doing blogging about it ? i hear you ask. Well, i have quite a backlog of reports to review (see for this year's reviews) (plug!), so i thought i would share one teeny weeny insight from the briefest of peeps into Intel's world of CR. Impacts. That's what CR is all about. Understanding impacts and taking responsibility for them.

Now, my world is simple. I divide impacts into two types: direct impacts and indirect impacts. Most reporting Companies report on direct impacts, a few on indirect impacts. But lo-and-behold, Intel reports on FOUR impacts.

  • Direct impacts -defined as : Intel sells products, provides above-average wages to employees, and pays taxes.
  • Indirect impacts - defined as: Intel pays suppliers and creates business for resellers, who in turn generate employment.
  • Induced impacts - defined as : Consumer spending by Intel employees and supplier and partner employees stimulates additional economic activity.
  • Productivity Impacts - defined as : The use of Intel products and our technology leadership result in productivity gains in the economy.

This is the model Intel uses to calculate the economic ripple effect of the producion of a product or service. A study commissioned by Intel to review their ripple showed as follows:

"...... between 2001 and 2007, Intel contributed $758 billion to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Of this total, $458 billion was stimulated by Intel’s operations and $300 billion was attributable to our productivity-based impact. Intel’s presence resulted in more than 823,000 U.S. jobs in 2007, including 45,600 direct jobs, 151,000 workers employed by Intel business partners, and 627,000 indirect jobs resulting from consumer spending by Intel employees and Intel’s business partners." Pretty big numbers, eh ? And great reporting. Thumbs up to Intel.

I would recommend you to take a little ripple-review of the Intel report, it's out there in a league all of its own, i think. Though i still haven't read the rest of it yet, i did just ripple over to the community section to see if there is a social ripple calculation, but not yet, apparently. Despite some quite advanced SROI (social return on investment) calculation methodologies available, Intel's community reporting is not quite rippling, it's about inputs not outputs and doesn't got for gold with an attempt at reporting outcomes. Still ... there is room for optimism, right ? I am sure Intel will keep on rippling.

Anyway, those of you who follow my blog know that i am very fond of ripples - usually they come in the form of a chocolate flavor swirl in the midst of a big blob of ice cream. However, in this case, I will defer to the real ripple of the day and congratulate Intel on their new report. OK. Let's do both. Bring on the Chunky Monkey.

elaine cohen is the joint CEO of BeyondBusiness, a leading reporting and social-environmental consulting firm based in Israel. Visit our website at:

Saturday, May 16, 2009

What's in a note ? Note this with aviva plc

I was just getting settled into a fascinating read of the Aviva plc 2009 CR report (yes, i always start out thinking reports are going to facinate me) and preparation for a review to be published on Aviva plc is , they claim, the first insurance company to be carbon neutral across their worldwide operations. But i just couldn't resist pausing to note an innovative feature of their on-line report which i have never seen ever ever ever before. Sorry if i get a little overenthusiastic, but you know, this is my thing. Anyway, take a look at this . Yes, it's a notes page. It enables you to make a note on any section of the report you have viewed , and the note is retained for the next time you go to the site and wonder what notes you made. Now, this is a very useful thing for people like me who review reports, for analysts who want to retain info pertinent to performance and growth drivers, and for anyone who just wants to remember anything without having to rely on the hard disk. This is a very innovative approach to on-line reporting.
I think i will start a campaign with world-wide regulators for mandatory inclusion of this feature in every web-based CR report.

OK, off to make lots of notes ......

elaine cohen is the joint CEO of BeyondBusiness, a leading reporting and social-environmental consulting firm based in Israel. Visit our website at:

Monday, May 11, 2009

The king of denim

Last week, I had the most enlightening conversation with the Director of Sustainability and the initiator of the Hong Kong Sustainable Fashion Business Consortium, (SFBC) Mr Pat Nie Woo (Pat to us Westerners).
Pat is the most charming of gentlemen and gave generously of his time and insights to assist me with a new initiative I am planning in the Israeli market. However, what really blew me away was the scope and depth of Pat's insights into how to get more people aware and moving towards a sustainable world which includes responsible and sustainable business practices.

Pat is a the Sustainability Director of a family owned six-sigma spinning and weaving business called
Central Textiles in Hong Kong. He is also third generation family engaged in the running of the business. CT is a major player in the Hong Kong textiles and apparel sector, and leads a range of sustainability initiatives. I reviewed the first CT Sustainability Report on – you can find my review here : and you can download the report here: . This is quite leading edge.

Pat described his journey as the founding member of the SFBC whose mission is as follows: " a group of Hong Kong based companies in the textile and apparel sector committed to promoting and increasing the use of sustainable practices across the fashion supply chain. " The Consortium comprises around 12 member companies who are engaged and committed to work together to drive processes in the textile supply chain which are impossible for one company to do alone. This total systems thinking and partnership-multi-stakeholder based approach is the most advanced expression of sustainable thinking today.

A few of Pat's quotable insights:

" A year or two ago, everyone presented new products as eco when it only related to the raw material , but why wasn't anyone talking about process? You have to work on the whole supply chain"
"The system is the problem – the system is not allowing a sustainable business model – everyone has to play a part to play in changing the system."
"At first we started out with great ideals, but if you don’t bring on the business case, the ideals get stuck!"

Well, Pat is certainly a guy who doesn’t let ideals get stuck, so next time you buy a pair of denim jeans, take a look and see if they came out of the sort of responsible and sustainable supply chain that Pat Nie Woo and his colleagues at the Sustainable Fashion Business Consortium are creating.

elaine cohen is the joint CEO of BeyondBusiness, a leading reporting and social-environmental consulting firm based in Israel. Visit our website at:

Sunday, May 10, 2009

the climate at Harvard - and ice-cream

Harvard students are showing their commitment to climate change and emissions reduction in this report of the Harvard Climate Collaborative. Whilst this is not strictly a Sustainability Report, which this blog is all about, it is a report, right ? And i believe it is quite a UNIQUE report which shows the engagement of students in sustainability issues and their leadership in taking action. As these young bright Harvardlings move into leadership roles in society, their positive impacts will undoubtedly contine to be felt. Well done gals and guys!

CSR in academia is now becoming mainstream. This is the crux of CSR in business over the long term. The degree to which the student agenda generates awareness and engagement with CSR as a way of doing business will define the shape and impact of business in the future. I spend a LOT of time lecturing to students and young business people - more often than not, my lecture is the first time they get a comprehensive overview of CSR and its P-P-P relevance (as well as the importance of ice-cream as a life-sustaining mind-enhancing essential food :) ). My hope is that they takeCSR on board as their personal agenda in roles they perform in their future career.

I believe CSR should be mandatory as part of all MBA's and Business degree programs.

In the meantime, well, at least we have ice cream ....

elaine cohen is the joint CEO of BeyondBusiness, a leading reporting and social-environmental consulting firm based in Israel. Visit our website at:

Friday, May 8, 2009

the world is in trouble - i need to go on a diet

I cam across this headline from the Sun, Fatties cause global warming whilst browsing Martin Smiths updates on Overweight people cause over a BILLION tons of Co2, the article says. And then there is a picture of a polar bear looking all forlorn on a melting block of ice. Talk about emotional blackmail.

So I guess i am in serious trouble. Another reason to start that long overdue diet again. The tomorrow diet. Not only am i overweight, i am the cause of global warming. Will my kids ever forgive me ? Will polar bears become extinct because of me ? Will the world ever survive my ice-cream binges and my chocolate cravings ? I take comfort in the fact that the sum of our individual actions can never be enough to resolve our climate issues -it's a SYSTEMIC problem which has to be fixed by all of us acting together.

So i took a stroll to the Weightwatchers International dot com website, the specialists in weight loss in groups. "Each week, approximately 1.5 million people attend approximately 50,000 Weight Watchers meetings " Now, if each of these people lose 2lbs a month, thats 36 million lbs in weight loss and i bet that would offset my few extra layers of puppy fat.(Yes, it's still puppy fat ). Perhaps Weightwatchers could offer a carbon trading program, so that i dont need to actually diet, i can just buy back some weightwatchers carbon credits. How cool. Of course, the problem with weight loss is that it tends to creep back again - but let's not go THERE. Not a thing about Corporate Social Responsibility on the WW website. They obviously havent picked up on the PR value of marketing WW as a climate change program and not just a weight and health thing. Phew.

A Company who does address obesity as part of its sustainability program is Unilever. You can download a report on the 10 major food companies and their approach to obesity from the Unilever website here. This is a very interesting report on all the facets of tacking obesity from the way product R&D is driven , marketing, especially to children, and transparency and disclosure. Danone, Unilever, Nestle and Kellogg score well on addressing and reporting on obesity as part of their sustainability strategy.

Ok, so now i have confessed my personal embarrassment at being the cause of global warming, i think i deserve a little low-calorie snack. Where did i put that chunk of triple-layer smooth-fudge whipped-cream-topped high-density chocolate cake ? hmmm ?

elaine cohen is the joint CEO of BeyondBusiness, a leading reporting and social-environmental consulting firm based in Israel. Visit our website at:

How transparent is your Company ?

This month saw the publication of the first Transparency Index in Israel.

This is the first ever Index of its kind in Israel (in the WORLD ?) and uses a proprietary methodology aligned with the GRI Reporting Framework to measure the website transparency of the leading 100 publicly traded Companies of the Tel Aviv 100 Index. The research was conducted by Beyond Business Ltd, the leading CSR consulting and reporting firm in Israel. (Quite a coincindence, but this is the Company i co-founded and co-manage :)) )
Transparency is a core and critical element of a sustainable Company.

The four dimensions of TRANSPARENCY which were reviewed are:

Presence of a sustainability report (50% of total score):
The publication, the type and the transparency level of sustainability, CR or CSR report, including partial focused reports, on the Company website

Transparency (30% of total score):
The presentation and degree of transparency on the website of a range of reporting topics such as: business profile and strategy, governance, CR management, ethics and human rights, stakeholder dialog, presentation of material issues, workplace, customers, marketing and products, suppliers and supply chain, community involvement and environment.

Navigation (10% of total score):
The number of click to CR subjects, search facility, aggregation of CR information on the website, menu availability and site map

Accessibility (10% of total score):
Languages, facilities for those with disabilities, contact points, additional (interactive) blog or video materials

So what did we find ?

  • the level of transparency of Israeli traded companies is 31%
  • the level of transparency of the leading 20 companies with 80% market value is 34%
  • only 5% of Companies had a score of 50% or more
  • 7% of companies had ZERO transparency
  • leading transparent sector was banks – 52% median transparency
  • lowest transparent sector as fashion and apparel – 7% median transparency
  • smaller companies have lower transparency – bottom 10 companies demonstrated 9% transparency – 0.6% of total market value
  • navigation has the highest relative score (50%) , then accessibility (34%). Relatively only 24% of content is actual CR related disclosures.

    The most transparent companies:
    1. Bank Hapoalim
    2. Strauss Group
    3. Bank Leumi
    4. Partner Communications
    5. Oil Refineries

Transparency Awards were presented to these 5 Companies at the Third Israeli Reporting Conference on 4th May 2009 in Caesarea, Israel.

A full summary of the Transparency Index results will be published on the Beyond Business website within the next week. For further details, or to commission a transparency index for your Company or market, please contact me at

elaine cohen is the joint CEO of BeyondBusiness, a leading reporting and social-environmental consulting firm based in Israel. Visit our website at:

BIG HIT for 3rd Israel Reporting conference

Technorati Profile

The Third Israeli Social and Environmental Reporting Conference was a resounding success!!

Held in the historic city of Caesarea on 4th May, this was the third annual reporting conference hosted by BeyondBusiness Ltd and drew close to 200 participants. This is the only professional conference in Israel on CSR reporting and has enjoyed the support of the Global Reporting Initiative each year. This year, it was the turn of Leena Wokeck, the GRI Network Relations Coordinator to come and address the conference – her presentation on a common language for sustainability can be found here. More papers and presentations here: And here are some other highlights.

A range of accomplished speakers presented at the conference. First and foremost, Mr Herman Mulder, former Director-General of Risk Management at ABN AMRO and the initiator of the Equator Principles. Mr Mulder provided insights about the current financial crisis and the changes required of businesses, which includes mandatory self-regulation, which means a requirement to report and be transparent but not highly constricting regulation such as the Sarbanex Oxley framework which became a bureaucratic box ticking exercise rather than a cultural transformation.

Other speakers included Professor Yedidia Stern. His fascinating lecture on the purpose of corporations propounded that "management of today's corporate capitalism, which encourages excessively risky economic policy" and that shareholders are the ones who demand excessive risk-taking as they have nothing to lose.

Dr Ehud Kookia, CEO of Maccabi Health Services, described the way he is driving csr in his 10,000 people organization and creating public awareness with a expired-drug-return program to avoid unwanted drugs getting into our waste systems and causing environmental damage.

Ahuva Yanai, the CEO of Matan- your way to give, the leading non-profit supporting business and community involvement programs talked about the value of such programs to corporations.
Dr Oren Peretz and Adv Ayalet BarAm presented a proposal developed in parternship with BeyondBusiness for a new law to mandate csr reporting for all government-owned companies.
The Reporters Report panel included representatives from Intel Israel, Bromine Compunds, Bank Leumi and comme il faut who described the way reporting has contributed to their overall business success.

Finally, Elaine Cohen, joint CEO of BeyondBusiness presented the first ever Transparency Index of Israeli companies. BeyondBusiness researched the internet transparency of the 100 top Companies traded on the Tel Aviv stock exchange, and, using a proprietary methodology developed around GRI principles, published the transparency levels of each company. Beyond Business presented certficates to the top 5 companies – Bank Hapoalim, Strauss, Bank Leumi, Partner Communications and the Oil Refineries, all of whom achieved high relative levels of transparency – more about this in a future post.

You can view pictures from the conference here

elaine cohen is the joint CEO of BeyondBusiness, a leading reporting and social-environmental consulting firm based in Israel. Visit our website at:

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