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Corporate social responsibility: giving back to your community

Editorial | January 1, 2018 | By:

Tents on cars. Tents on rafts. Smartfoam helmets. Cool firefighting. Emergency balloon networks. Real shade sailing; working partnerships with architects; creating a welcoming workplace. Novel substrates for smart fabrics; clever cash flow strategies; mountaintop Geofoam. New products. Industry events.

We’re starting out 2018 with much the same editorial emphasis as in previous years: to provide the strongest possible mix of business basics, advanced technologies, market trends, operating advice, industry intelligence and business opportunities—with the unique perspective that comes from 103 years of continuous publication.

But there’s something we added in 2017 that we’d like to see more of, and we’re relying on you to help.

The last page of each issue of the Review, entitled “The Greater Good,” is devoted to recognizing “IFAI member companies that do good business—and also strive to be good neighbors, good citizens and good partners.” It isn’t just a matter of “corporate social responsibility,” a phrase that makes the whole concept sound like just another standard element on a balance sheet. While it’s no doubt true that consumers prefer to do business with companies that are charitable
as well as ethical and environmentally aware, it’s also true, I think, that there’s more happening than just another indirect route to increased profits. There’s a special mindset involved.

Do you work with local organizations to offer training to disadvantaged youth? Donate staff time to community charities
when shop workloads are light? Use your expertise and extra materials to create bags and packs for the sports team you sponsor? Act as a regional recycling center for used fabrics and apparel?

Do you partner with local architects and developers to increase the safety and energy efficiency of new building construction? Have you supplied products or money or services for emergency relief, in this country and others? Do you offer employees the benefits, training, rewards and opportunities (for more on that subject, see “Engage to retain” on p. 40) to keep their skills current and marketable?

Have you developed and delivered a $5 cure for cancer and emailed everybody with the recipe, which includes three different kinds of chocolate?

Okay, that last one is just a response to a question a co-worker asked me yesterday: Maybe people feel that what their company does isn’t that world-shaking, so they’re not telling you about it? I’m with Lao Tzu on this one: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” For “The Greater Good,” every effort to reach out is the start of something big. We want to recognize companies working to help employees, partners, suppliers, neighbors, the community and the country—giving back where needed, maybe even before the need is recognized. Any IFAI member company is eligible for this editorial coverage, both suppliers and end product manufacturers. So if you’ve got a story to tell, let us put your name in print, and maybe give you a chance to be presented with an award at IFAI Expo 2018 in Dallas in October.

Candles under bushels, even if lined with fire-retardant fabric, don’t give us much of a chance to single you out. Time to call your editor.

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