Doing good at work

I wish I had done more social investing when I was in business. It’s easier as you have a large ecosystem to leverage as I did when running my business. I did do some social good – giving young folks a chance, donating to all client causes, donating services and doing some creative giving through exchanges. But had I taken the time, I think we could have done more and woven some of that thinking into our team building initiatives.

I was inspired recently by Oxford University Press, who on moving their offices, cleared out the warehouse with proceeds going to World Literacy. What a great win-win-win – good for Oxford as they got rid of the unneeded books, good for World Lit as they got some funding and good for the environment as those books didn’t end up needing processing.

If you belong to a large organization, there’s probably a lot of charitable work going on. Often, I bet you feel overwhelmed by the continuous asking.  It’s a delicate balance of giving, asking, and integrating social responsibility into a business while maintaining the focus on the bottom line. But when I see the wastage in business I remember that phrase, “one person’s trash is another’s treasure.”

Those that do corporate social responsibility well are not as well known as they should be. I think the models are there, and in light of a newly recharged focus on doing good, whether that’s green, sustainability or social investing, opportunities exist to share and explore.

Which brings me to this special session at the Rotman School at University of Toronto.

Rotman Net Impact Session on “Achieving Social Impact Through Business”
Monday, January 25, 2010
5:30 sharp to 6:30pm panel discussion and Q&A; 6:30 to 7:30pm networking cocktail reception
4 EXPERT PANELISTS:
Kaz Flinn, Vice President – Corporate Social Responsibility, Scotiabank
John Smiciklas,  Manager – Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility, Research in Motion
Andrew Heintzman, CEO,  InvestEco
Gerald Butts, CEO,  World Wildlife Fund Canada
SYNOPSIS: panelists will share how they have wed professional careers with a desire to achieve societal impact

I’m looking forward to hearing their stories. If you’re in the Toronto area late January (and weather permits) come join me in exploring what I’m sure will be  a combination of corporate and individual commitment to doing good at work.

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