“Brilliant” CSR Initiatives

by | Jan 8, 2014

Companies can do well by doing good when their corporate social responsibility initiatives are closely tied to their core business. 

In general, most sustainability programs in the developed world revolve around trying to get people to stop wasting readily abundant resources. Much of the work we do here at Shelton Group focus on trying to motivate consumers to be more energy efficient.

In the U.S., we worry about making our grid more reliable and continue to incorporate cleaner, renewable options into our electric generation. But 1.6 billion people on this earth do not have access to electricity.

Two companies, Schneider Electric and Philips, have developed impressive programs to address this problem and, in the process, are quite possibly impacting sales more than you might imagine. We just learned, in our soon-to-be-released B2B Pulse study, that a good corporate social responsibility story (e.g., fair wage, working conditions, community involvement, etc.) is surprisingly important in product selection for business decision makers – rated even more important than a strong environmental track record.

Schneider Electric, which is most often thought of as a B2B company, has developed a new CSR program called “Charge the world, change the world.” In looking for a way to market their EVlink indoor charging station to electric vehicle owners, they sought the help of students from the Pi Sigma Epsilon chapter of the Farmer School of Business at Miami University. These students presented a cause-marketing campaign concept: for every EV charger sold in North America, Schneider would donate an LED light to a family that does not have access to electricity. The LED lamps are solar powered and battery operated, so they should produce reliable light for years to come.

Schneider created a video describing the campaign, which can be seen here. As an added bonus, Schneider also pledged to donate one light for every 100 views their video receives. As of the end of the year, that meant over 80 additional families received a light.

It’s a great campaign with a clear and consistent message that exemplifies their commitment to sustainability and to people.

Philips has announced a similar program to install 100 “light centers” throughout rural Africa by 2015 to give communities a place to work, play and interact safely at night. The solar powered systems, which consist of eight LED floodlights on four portable poles, are completely self-sustaining and provide enough light for kids to play soccer on a 40x20-meter field. The light centers are installed near schools, in close proximity to villages and towns that are not supplied with reliable electricity. And as Philips installs the lighting, they meet with local authorities to promote partnerships that can generate income for the community.

The light centers have not only dramatically improved the social and economic quality of life for these communities, but they’ve also demonstrated a new technology and facilitated the adoption of solar/LED lighting for sporting venues, parking lots, streets and construction sites throughout the developed world.

These two programs exemplify the idea that you can do well by doing good. Both brilliantly link the sponsors’ philanthropic activities to their core business. Plus, the programs generate both successful product case studies and evidence of corporate social responsibility – two things greatly prized by business decision makers.

About the Author

Jim Lyza

Jim Lyza

Jim is a former contributor to Shelton Insights.


About the Author

Jim Lyza

Jim Lyza

Jim is a former contributor to Shelton Insights.


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Suzanne Shelton

President and CEO

Suzanne is the voice and the vision of Shelton Group. Drawing on her extensive experience in energy and the environment – and 25+ years in the marketing and advertising industry – Suzanne provides high-level strategic insights for our clients and guidance for our research and creative departments. She regularly speaks at conferences around the country, including Sustainable Brands, Fortune Brainstorm E and the International Builders’ Show, and serves as a guest columnist for publications like Fast Company, Green Builder and GreenBiz.com.

Susannah Enkema

VP Research & Insights

Susannah directs our research team and plays a key role in extracting the nuggets of information that pave the way for recommended marketing strategies and creative approaches. Susannah has nearly two decades of market research and strategy experience, including her role as president of SE Consulting, where she led the services for the likes of DIY Network and the makers of GORE-TEX®.

Matt Brass

VP Creative

Matt steers the creative department in concepting, designing and producing campaigns. He ensures sound strategy and deep insights inform everything his team develops, and works closely with the accounts department to ensure copy and designs will meet our clients’ goals. As a designer and filmmaker himself, he’s also a principal contributor to all of Shelton’s in-house photography and videography work.

Courtnay Hamachek

VP Operations

Courtnay oversees our day-to-day operations to keep us running smoothly and support our growth. She establishes project management systems and processes to help our teams anticipate bottlenecks, prevent process issues, and keep projects on time and on target. Courtnay has built extensive experience over 25 years in all aspects of marketing, from account services and project management to design and production.

Aaron Crecy

Digital Marketing Director

Aaron is responsible for planning, executing and measuring digital marketing strategies for Shelton Group and our clients, with an emphasis on inbound, content, SEO, social media, email and paid initiatives. He constantly researches and explores new tactics and strategies to improve digital campaign performance and results.

Aaron brings to the table more than 20 years of marketing leadership experience with premium consumer-facing brands. He came to Shelton Group by way of Malibu Boats, where, as Director of Global Marketing, he oversaw strategic marketing planning and execution for multiple product lines, with specific emphasis on social media and digital. Prior to that, he served as CMO for a leading daily fantasy sports operator, guiding it from startup to the industry’s third-ranked site.

Scot Case

Senior Consultant

A sustainability strategy consultant since 1993, Scot has served as non-profit leader, as a partner in an environmental marketing firm that he grew and sold, and as an executive in a multi-billion-dollar, international company. He has published dozens of articles and case studies, was co-author of the original “Sins of Greenwashing” study, testified before Congress, and been quoted on NPR, Good Morning America, CNN, The New York Times, Business Week, and the Wall Street Journal. Scot was also highlighted in an Emmy award-winning documentary on sustainable purchasing.

Casey Ward

VP Account Services

Casey manages our relationships, growth and development with a specific group of clients that includes Environmental Defense Fund, Cotton LEADS and CertainTeed Insulation. She provides leadership and support for the account team members who manage the day-to-day processes for these clients. She contributes to strategic direction for each client and guides our creative efforts to ensure everything we do builds toward meeting – or exceeding – the client’s goals. Her ability to simultaneously see the big picture and pay close attention to the details helps her champion her clients’ needs and identify new growth opportunities for them.