While many public companies create CSR reports to improve their investment status, private companies enhance their sustainability practices to improve their image and value both internally and externally which in turn enhances their brand equity and long term growth. The makers of the brand icons of Stanley Thermos and Aladdin containers, Pacific Market International (PMI), recently published their first Corporate Social Responsibility report earning a GRI A rating.
PMI is the manufacturer and designer of the iconic, Aladdin® and Stanley® brands which provide innovative food and beverage solutions for busy lifestyles. PMI has worked for years on establishing benchmarks to measure their objectives in social and environmentally responsible behaviors. In 2009, PMI took this a step further by completing its first comprehensive CSR report. Valerie Bone, PMI’s Director of Corporate Responsibility headed the effort using the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) as the framework and guidance from the Network of Business Innovation Sustainability (NBIS). For a first year effort, PMI had a huge accomplishment on transparency. GRI verified the PMI declaration of an A level of transparency. Only 8% of the 175 companies that registered with GRI reported at an A level.
Valerie and the CSR report team had to calculate and measure all aspects of PMI’s business including their J/V manufacturing facility in China.
These were the steps PMI took to develop their standards that lead to their comprehensive CSR report:
1. Buy-in from the Senior Leadership Team: Senior Management believes that doing right makes good business sense. Specific values are articulated and shared with the whole company. While not a step in writing the report, the values are the pillar of the how the company operates.
2. Create specific objectives: Specific objectives are essential in establishing measurements and making progress.
3. Develop tracking systems: For 10 years, PMI has been building the tools to track the factors that affect their objectives such as measuring KPIs for Code of Conduct compliance and environmental improvement.
4. Develop product with full lifecycle planning in mind
5. Consider third party certifications
6. Implement third party audits which started in 2001
7. Partner with their customers and suppliers to improve environmental standards
8. Provide opportunities to employees for volunteer work
9. Build presence as a leader by speaking and participating in like-minded trade groups
PMI’s effort took the step towards a better result by posting the report on their website. The thirty-one page report is full of charts and descriptions of their objectives, how they are meeting them and what the next steps are.
Not only is the report rich with information but it is beautifully presented with imagery of their products, their people, and their production facilities. The design was completed by Rhizome Design. The facts and figures are clearly represented to show the progress PMI has made in reaching its objectives.
PMI has plans to write future reports on their progress towards their long term goals. This year PMI is working on building systems so their department managers can more easily communicate and track their CSR measurements. “We don’t want to stop with one report. We want continual improvement and we can only do that with the participation of all of our departments, ” said Valerie Bone.
As a marketer who believes in integration and stakeholder engagement to reach objectives in impacting image and brand, these are my recommendations to take the excellent PMI efforts to the next steps.
• Create a stakeholder engagement strategy. Some examples of tactics that could be developed are:
o Develop a section on the PMI website for the public to submit ideas on how PMI or users of PMI products could make even more progress in CSR.
o Develop a separate idea and Q&A tool for internal staff and channel customers.
o Publicize the use of Facebook and Twitter on the PMI and brand website
• Establish PMI as a CSR thought leader with the public by discussing PMI’s CSR efforts in such tactics as:
o A Facebook fan page
o A company blog
o Speaking engagements especially with the channel target in mind
o Media expert status
o Media outreach
• Integrate the CSR messaging with product packaging such as describing work with overseas factories on CSR goals.
Congratulations to PMI for their continued business success while adhering to their high standards.