In August this year, The Federal government released the Forrest Report, a policy doctrine of sorts delivered by Andrew Forrest to inform Prime Minister Tony Abbot’s approach to indigenous affairs in Australia. The response to the content of this report has been mixed; some hailing it as a comprehensive work that will evolve the place of indigenous Australians in our society, whilst others have called it an ignorant and idealistic document that ignores evidence-based research. Two months on, Sustaining People looks at the impact of Australian business on the indigenous community, and what is being done, and what could be done better. Continue reading The Forrest Report: Closing The Gap?
“Education is the silver bullet. Education is everything. We don’t need little changes. We need gigantic monumental changes.”
Merely a quote from character Sam Seaborne, of the critically acclaimed US political drama The West Wing, this sentiment nevertheless rings true as the most promising way to lift a society out of the quagmire of poverty and ill-health.
Currently, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) people are severely under-represented in local and private education programs, with only around 10% of aboriginal children graduating from high schools nationally. Research from the last decade shows that ASTI students are often disadvantaged due to language barriers in early conceptual development and a mismatch between cultural beliefs and national education values. Indeed, by the time they start year one, 60% of ATSI children are behind developmentally. Later, at a university level, adjusting to socio-economic challenges in a predominantly non-ATSI student population can prove extremely difficult. Continue reading CSIRO invests $28.8 million in Indigenous Education
Corporate Social Responsibility is an ethical concept, and its definition across the globe can vary widely – as detailed in our previous Defining the importance of CSR post. Personal and cultural experience is central to an individual’s development of ethical standards and values; thus we can assume that CSR, and engagement in it, must (to a certain extent) also be a subjective and personal experience.
Generally, for external CSR programs, a broader approach can be used, given that a target audience for the organisation’s core competencies should be available, or easily defined. Internally, the ‘one size fits all’ approach does not always apply. Whilst a company will have an organisational culture unique to itself, employees will integrate with this at different levels. Employees at the lower end of engagement, can negatively affect intra-office cohesion, openness of communication, personal productivity and the productivity of those around you. Continue reading Analyst, Diplomat, Sentinel or Explorer?
Michael Traill, the Founder of Social Ventures Australia has announced he is stepping down from his role as CEO, at the annual SVA Oration, at the NSW House of Parliament last night. His exit will be sadly be effective October this year and will be succeeded by Rob Koczkar, the current Managing Director of Pacific Equity Partners. Continue reading Michael Traill to step down from SVA Australia
Just over a week ago, Australia celebrated EnviroWeek 2014, a fantastic community initiative that works with Australian schools to promote sustainable practices. The project was run by Cool Australia, and its CEO Jason Kimberley has a built a real future-focused movement for sustainability education in schools. Since starting the organisation in 2008, Jason and his team have engaged more than 15,000 teachers and 500,000 students across Australia, with 172,732 students from 2137 schools this year taking part in 314,495 local and community projects to promote sustainability and help the environment. Continue reading Australia’s Green Labour Force: The Next Generation
Kellog’s breakfast cereals are well known, and this brand recognition is being leveraged to invest in a health initiative that has already seen food distributed to over seven million people in Australia since the The Breakfasts for Better Days program was launched in February 2013.
In brief, Kellog’s is donating one breakfast to a child or family in need, for every box of cereal sold. They state that in Australia, one in seven kids don’t eat breakfast, and that this has an effect on important developmental learning and social interactions. The program has already donated seven million meals, and aims to feed 12 million Aussie children and families by 2016. With only five million more meals to serve in the next two years, it looks like they will meet (or even exceed) their target. This Australian strategy contributes to the global initiative, which is hoping to feed half a billion people by 2016. Continue reading How your cornflakes are helping Aussie kids
Many people use CSR and Sustainability interchangeably, when there are some clear and definitive differences that show the two terms are not synonymous. Simply put, Corporate Social Responsibility is the task of balancing current stakeholder interests, by implementing initiatives that improve wide reaching and operational impacts on communities. Conversely, Sustainability is a course of action that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” – accurately described by the World Commission on Environment & Development’s Our Common Future, published in 1987.
An article in the Canadian Huffington Post Online, discusses this definition debarkle, and explains the relationship between these two terms really well. It’s important to know the difference, and to understand how businesses can have a CSR strategy as well as a separate Sustainability strategy. The article closes by saying you can be responsible or sustainable, but not both. Sustaining People agrees with a lot of what is extolled in this piece, but maybe there is a way to marry the two together; sustainability strategy can be used to inform CSR initiatives about the potential future risks, so that current action doesn’t hamper ongoing sustainability efforts.
If you would like to know more and better inform your own CSR or Sustainability experience, you can read the full article here.
More? MORE?? Sometimes we feel like Oliver Twist, asking for that extra bit of funding to get our CSR programs breathing again.
Pro Bono Australia just recently published a story that looks at how CSR can work and grow on a small budget, and with limited non-financial resources. The story follows an interview with Melissa le Mesurier, the head of CSR for Superpartners, which is Australia’s largest Continue reading Please Sir, may I have some more?