Category “Corporate Citizenship”

A house and a home

Tuesday, 28 August, 2012

Some children need a house.

They may have loving parents or caregivers, but they face barriers: poverty … illiteracy … lack of access to credit … unclear laws or pervasive corruption. They often resort to living in unsafe, overcrowded slums. According to UN-Habitat, One out of every three city dwellers – nearly a billion people – lives in a slum and that number is expected to double in the next 25 years. They need a place of their own.

Some children need a home.

They may be orphaned or abused, living in shelters or on the street. According to UNICEF, there are more than 150 million orphans in the world, many of which do not have consistent, caring adults to look after them. They need people to care for them and a place to call their home.

Fortunately, there are great organizations that are working to provide houses and homes for children around the world.

Amway partners with Habitat for Humanity in ten countries across Latin America, including a multi-country partnership to build an entire neighborhood of homes in Guatemala, working with Amway distributors and employees.

Habitat for Humanity works with local governments to establish clear property ownership for underserved families, many who live in poverty and don’t read well enough to fill out an application for a home loan. Through Habitat, volunteers build homes alongside the families that will live there. The new homeowners are trained on maintenance, finances and build equity to ensure they will have a house for their family for the long term.

For children who have no families, or who have to be removed from their families, Amway works with local governments and nonprofit agencies to help. In Japan, Amway helped to establish a Crop Home for abused children. In South Korea, Amway employees and distributors regularly help out at Child Welfare Centers that care for children. In the Amway hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan, we provide financial and volunteer support to foster care and adoption agencies that help to provide homes for children.

Amway has also been a longtime supporter of SOS Children’s Villages, which provides a permanent home for orphaned children, which includes a series of homes that make up a village, with each home run by a caring adult. Amway and our employees and distributors have supported and volunteered for SOS Children’s Villages in South Africa, Haiti, South Korea, the United States and China over the years.

A house and a home – many needs, and many ways to help.

Making time to volunteer

Wednesday, 15 August, 2012

You may not feel like you have time to volunteer, but a new study shows that volunteering actually makes you feel like you have more time.

Researchers at the Yale School of Management and Harvard Business School will soon publish their research, which revealed that volunteering can increase our “sense of unhurried leisure,” in large part because people feel more competent and efficient.

And that’s time well spent.

Putting good work on the map

Monday, 6 August, 2012

Okay, we have to admit it – we’re not the only company that cares about improving the world.

In fact, Amway is part of several peer groups of corporate social responsibility (CSR) leaders that are using their resources to help change the world for the better.

Recently, the US Chamber of Commerce launched a Business for Good Map through its Business Civic Leadership Center, to highlight some of these initiatives.

If you want to see who is sponsoring microfinance projects in Bolivia (McGraw-Hill), or funding education programs in Egypt (Intel) or supporting professional development programs for teenage girls in Ukraine (Amway), you can find them on the map.

We’ve only just begun to share some Amway programs and partnerships on the site, but will continue to populate the map so we contribute to a global knowledge base, and inspire all corporate peers to more and more effective actions to improve the communities we live and work in.

Once again, malnutrition is the most critical challenge

Friday, 29 June, 2012

According to the World Health Organization, a child dies every six seconds due to complications onset by malnutrition.

Every four years, world business and economic experts and leaders – including many Nobel Laureates in Economics – gather to identify the greatest global challenges and the most effective solutions. The findings are called the Copenhagen Consensus.

The 2012 Copenhagen Consensus set priorities for confronting ten of the world’s most important challenges. At the very top of the list was the issue of Hunger and Malnutrition.

Malnutrition is not just a health challenge, but an economic risk. According to the World Bank, as a result of malnutrition, individuals lose more than 10 percent of lifetime earnings because of decreased productivity. The Lancet has reported that proper nutrition during the first two years of life can result in an increase in lifetime earnings by as much as 46 percent.

So what is the best way to help? The Copenhagen Consensus says that the most effective solution is “bundled interventions to reduce under-nutrition in pre-school children.” This includes micronutrients given with complementary foods, treatment of safe water or de-worming to avoid diarrhea, and behavior change communications and education.

The findings confirm the 2008 Copenhagen Consensus, and highlight the importance of micronutrient products like our own Nutrilite Little Bits, to address undernutrition in young children.

Amway is already working with partners in Mexico and Zambia to provide Nutrilite Little Bits to children under five years old. Our CSR staff is currently working with Nutrilite experts to develop a formula that can be registered in multiple countries around the world, and engage Amway distributors and employees in providing this solution.

Global problems require collaborative, expert solutions. Amway is making a contribution to helping eliminate malnutrition in young children, and we are just getting started.

Thanks to Jeff Terry for sharing this story.

The emerging role of volunteerism

Friday, 18 May, 2012

Take note. Volunteerism is evolving, both in the United States and around the world.

In the US, what was once just a thing you did for your neighbor, your school or your congregation, has become much more formalized.

Some high schools require it for graduation and most colleges consider it a major factor on an application. You can now count volunteer time as experience on your resume. Many of those out of work volunteer to exercise their skills or build up networks. And those building their careers often volunteer to gain experience in a different environment. The New York Times called it a “Gateway to a Career.” It can certainly be a consideration when we hire employees at Amway headquarters, and most of our college interns are seasoned volunteers.

There is even a standardized value placed on volunteer time by the Independent Sector: $21.79. Now nonprofits can even quantify it as the value of a donation. It means more resources are devoted to critical issues, and people can sometimes provide more impact than money alone. In 2010, Amway volunteers logged 1 million volunteer hours. If taken in US value (although many of our hours are global), this equates to more than $20,000,000 in donation value.

We’ve begun to segment the types of volunteerism. There is individual volunteering, like school mentors. Group volunteering takes on projects like building playgrounds and cleaning up beaches. Skill-based brings expertise to improve the effectiveness of a charitable organization. Nonprofit board service means dedicated, strategic support at the leadership level. We exercise every one of these types of volunteering with Amway employees and distributors, and see significant benefits to our employees and to the community.

Globally, volunteerism is picking up the pace. For countries that have traditionally relied on governments to be the sole provider of social services, it is a relatively new concept. Yet it is gaining traction as a way to improve communities and help the disadvantaged, particularly when the economic downturn means cutbacks in government services. In Russia, we’ve had to introduce the concept to Amway distributors, but it’s taken off in a big way from there. In China, where the United Nations says perceptions of volunteerism are advancing rapidly, Amway has built a network of more than 68,000 volunteers – the largest volunteer group in the country, involved in everything from education to disaster relief.

The business community sees only growth in engaging employee volunteers. According to a recent Forbes survey of 311 global executives, most from multibillion-dollar companies, more than two-thirds say that they believe their focus on volunteerism will increase over the next three years and that volunteerism is an essential part of their company’s leadership development strategy. Harvard Business Review also recently acknowledged the important role that volunteerism plays in making corporate social responsibility a focal point for business.

So is volunteering becoming institutionalized? Perhaps. And this many not be a bad thing.

While we find valuable and innovative ways to use our time to help improve the world – and improve ourselves – the hours that won’t get logged are the ones where we help the elderly neighbor next door, or the co-worker who is battling an illness, or the friend who lost their job.

As long as we follow our hearts as much as our strategies, then the changing role of volunteerism will be a very good thing.

Amway One by One in context of a bigger picture

Monday, 7 May, 2012

The Amway One by One Campaign for Children is perhaps our most visible corporate social responsibility initiative. After all, it even has its own blog.

But our role in local and global communities extends beyond Amway One by One. Here is a video that was released with our 2011 Global Citizenship Report last month. It highlights the broader efforts of our company, our employees, our distributors and our many partners around the world.

Global Citizenship Report just released

Monday, 23 April, 2012

The Amway 2011 Global Citizenship Report has just been posted to Amway.com.

The report focuses on the work we are doing in our communities, for our people, and for the environment. It also includes foundational information on our company and our ethics.

This year, you can find 11 profiles of Amway One by One programs from around the world, some of which have been featured on this blog. We also have stories of some of our employees, and profiles of a few environmental programs from different countries or products.

This year’s performance metrics showed significant growth in the number of children we have impacted through Amway One by One – more than 1.5 million last year alone. For the first time, Amway also published metrics for our global supply chain environmental footprint.

Amway had a big year of financial growth in 2011, and our corporate citizenship efforts have kept pace, always reaching for greater improvement for our communities, our employees and our world.

Thanks to all of you who made it a great year!

You can click here to go directly to the PDF document.

Our own year end results

Thursday, 23 February, 2012

Today, Amway announced impressive sales results from 2011. We have our own results to announce, and believe they are equally impressive.

  • 1.5 million is the number of children helped through the efforts of our company, our distributors and our employees last year.
  • 200,000 is the number of volunteer hours invested in children’s programs.
  • $25 million is the value of contributions given to causes that help children in 2011.

And that’s in only one year. The Amway One by One Campaign for Children historical totals (since 2003) have gained significant momentum:

  • 9.5 million children helped
  • 2.3 million volunteer hours
  • $166 million contributions

Thanks to Amway distributors, employees and partners for making  meaningful change for children around the world. It’s been a great year!

Trends in CSR

Monday, 28 November, 2011

I recently came across this editorial by S.J. Park, President of Amway Korea, which was published in The Korea Times. It is worth posting in its entirety, as it discusses trends in CSR using great examples of worldwide companies, including our own. -JH

 

Social responsibility: Making a difference

By Park Se-joon

Earlier this month, Amway Korea hosted a friendly soccer match where children from multicultural families were invited to participate. The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program with 10 years’ history first began with the 2002 World Cup soccer games, with an aim to give children from low-income families hopes and dreams.

As an amateur photographer, I had the pleasure of taking a bunch of pictures of the children’s innocent smile and their excited faces. When I was browsing through the photos back at home, I found myself staring at one of them. It was the picture of Kang Su-il, a professional soccer player who himself has a multicultural family background, playing cheerfully with the children. Kang taught them to play soccer, sharing his stories and talking of hopes and dreams. He told the children to laugh hard, have fun, and be confident in pursuing life goals and future dreams.

Corporate social responsibility means companies fulfilling their responsibility as corporate citizens. It is to help our neighbours in need through continuous and sincere programs. To this end, CSR activities must look at least ten years ahead and put in continuous and consistent efforts. Amway Korea’s Nutrilite Soccer Class, for example, was launched in 2002 with the World Cup games, but it was not until this year ― 10 years later ― that it really started to shine.

Recently, CSR activities are becoming more visible among businesses, especially large corporations, as part of their effort to ensure sustainable growth. It is because of the emphasis put on CSR as a way to gain consumer trust and promote corporate reputation and awareness. It is doubted, however, whether those activities are making real changes in creating a more compassionate society, since most of them focus on year-end donations, and lacking consistency, can hardly benefit those in need in a stable way.

The current situation is also reflected in the survey result of the Sustainable Social Responsibility Forum released on the 19th. The survey asked male and female adults, corporate executives, and CSR specialists both home and abroad to rate CSR activities of businesses, and the score was 2.75 out of 5, which was lower than average. Respondents cited lack of consistency ― 39.6 percent ― and volunteerism ― 24.2 percent ― as factors behind weak CSR activities. The interpretation can be that the CSR activities, albeit growing, are mostly seen as short-term events that still lack ‘sincerity’ to fulfil social responsibility.

To ensure continuity and consistency, CSR programs must go beyond mere donations, and deliberations on win-win strategies for business and society are necessary. In other words, companies need to develop flagship CSR activities that allow them to utilize internal resources, drawing upon their unique characteristics.

This is evidenced by examples of domestic and foreign companies including Kellogg, a United States-based cereal manufacturer. Up until the Great Depression in 1929, the No. 1 player in the U.S. cereal market was Post. The situation started turning around immediately after the crisis as Kellogg engaged in CSR activities including free giveaway of cereals to people who had lost their jobs during the Depression and to the destitute, while Post downsized their business.

Furthermore, Kellogg rearranged working hours at their factory in Battle Creek, Michigan, from three shifts of every eight hours to four shifts of six hours, creating more jobs for those seeking employment. It was a sensational success. Kellogg eventually caught up with Post and became No. 1 on the American breakfast table. Kellogg’s position as the market leader remains solid.

The IT Supporters Coming to You Campaign which has been conducted for four years since 2007 by KT, a domestic telecom company, is another good example. Their staff technicians visit rural communities, elderly people, low-income families and multicultural families with limited access to IT services, and teach them to use computers and other IT gadgets. This program is strategically relevant in all aspects including KT’s corporate identity, efficiency of utilizing internal resources as well as social needs, and it is making substantial contribution to enhancing their reputation.

This trend is growing gradually throughout the world. To respond to the changes in CSR culture, Amway Korea, commemorating its 20th anniversary, has launched the Health Guardian Campaign designed to help address the increasingly serious issues of child obesity and nutritional imbalance, in partnership with schools, kindergartens, and welfare organizations. Furthermore, Amway Korea, in collaboration with the Korean Nutrition Society, is in the process of developing Nutrition Quotient to improve social infrastructure for children’s nutritional health.

According to a report entitled ‘The Nature of Corporate Social Responsibility’ published by Samsung Economic Research Institute, there has been a paradigm shift where CSR activities are no longer an option but an indispensible part of corporate management. More and more companies view CSR as a core, value-adding activity, select key programs from a strategic point of view, and implement them consistently.

The report suggested six conditions for successful CSR programs, namely SPIRIT ― Social Investment, Positioning, Integration, Review, Involvement and Transparency. It claims that in order to move consumers and gain their trust, CSR programs need to have a ‘soul’. In other words, it is the consistency and sincerity that is key to successful CSR activities that change lives. I hope these good intentions of companies around the world become a powerful source of change in Korean society in the near future.

Universal Children’s Day

Monday, 21 November, 2011

 

Yesterday was Universal Children’s Day, a designation given by the United Nations back in 1954, encouraging countries to designate November 20 as a “day of activity devoted to promoting the ideals and objectives of the Charter and the welfare of the children of the world.”

When you begin looking at the numbers of children in need, it seems that one day is not nearly enough. According to UNICEF, 6 out of 10 children do not live to see their fifth birthday. That’s 8 million children – a significant part of our future that won’t even get a chance to start.

 

Children’s Day should be every day, wherever you are, in big and small ways. And there are lots of ways to plug in.

Whether it is lifesaving nutrition in Mexico, education for migrant families in China, prevention of abuse in Japan,or access to safe play spaces in the US, it won’t take much to turn the numbers, if we all lend a hand.

Not just one day, but every day, one by one.