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5 ways social washing is damaging consumer confidence

Social washing is the new buzz word that has emerged from the misrepresentation of companies appearing more socially responsible than they actually are. You may have heard of greenwashing when companies put marketing-friendly words such as “sustainable,” “natural,” “green,” or “environmentally-friendly” on labels to misguide consumers into making them think that these products are eco-friendly or green, when in fact they are not. Social washing is the same, except it relates to the treatment of human capital.

If shopping with values and purpose wasn’t hard enough, now companies are tricking consumers into thinking that employees and community are their top priority.

COVID-19 has provided consumers the rare opportunity to evaluate the legitimacy of a company’s commitments to social good and assess that company’s priorities. The impact of shelter-in-place orders has forced companies to make difficult decisions that can place the interests of their shareholders in conflict with those of their employees and communities. The spreading pandemic is prompting companies to put a greater emphasis on human beings and consider how the treatment of all stakeholders is being scrutinized by the general public.

Here are 5 easy ways we, as consumers, can spot social washing, in the hope that we all come to the realization that by recognizing these tactics, we will choose to either not support these companies with our wallets or to outwardly expose their misguided practices to the public via social media.

  1. Living wage

    Check to see if a company as a living wage policy (don’t get this confused with minimum wage). Any company that doesn’t pay their employees enough to meet their basic needs shouldn’t claim to have an “inclusive company culture” on their job postings.

    Understandably, if, during the pandemic, a company is forced to reduce pay, check to see how they are handling the reductions, and if they are being equitably shared by top management and rank-and-file workers.


  2. Paycheck Protection Program Pirating

    Many companies had to lay off or furlough a majority of their employees at the beginning of the pandemic. The first federal stimulus package introduced the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which allows loan forgiveness for payroll costs — including salary, wages, and tips. This program was designed to bring people back to work, but a closer look at the facts shows us that some companies that received millions from the $517 billion program have not retained most of their staff on the payrolls.

  3. Adequate and affordable health insurance

    One of the central promises of Obama’s signature healthcare law was to prevent Americans from going broke paying for essential healthcare procedures. But some of the country’s largest health insurance companies have developed and marketed a variety of plans that allow employers to avoid the expense of adequate insurance that often covers only preventative care options such as check-ups but not things like hospitalization and surgical operations. Employees are being exposed to bankruptcy-causing medical bills as if they had no insurance at all.

  4. Treatment of customers

    We have all been affected by the pandemic-induced economic shutdown in some form. How are you, your family, and your friends being treated by your favorite stores and service providers? For example, is your auto insurance company taking into account that you have been working from home and quarantining since March? Think about how many times you have driven your vehicle and if you really needed to pay top dollar for coverage.

  5. PTO vs. Paid Holidays

    Companies using the PTO protocol, that close their operations for certain holidays like Christmas and New Year’s Day do not pay their hourly employees for these “closed for business” days. If hourly employees can’t afford a gap in pay, they are forced to use their PTO days. This, in turn, makes employees reluctant to take time off when they’re sick if they want to save some time for vacation days.

    I worked for a company that used this loophole tactic. After using my PTO days to cover the 5 non-paid closed-for-business holidays, I had 5 days left to use for vacation days with my family each year. If I got sick, I came into work anyway because I didn’t want a gap in pay. Needless to say, employee retention and wellness weren’t a priority with that company.

Some companies will come out of this pandemic with positive long-term economic prospects based on their actions in supporting their employees and communities, while others will likely suffer lasting reputational and financial effects. Now more than ever we need to applaud the companies that are legitimately doing social good by supporting them and advocating for them.

There are a few rigorous and holistic certifications that are verified by a third party and were created to take away all the guesswork for consumers. B Corp Certification and the Certified USA Social Enterprise (sister affiliates are Certified UK Social Enterprise and Certified Canada Social Enterprise) are two of the most trusted distinctions that I look for in a company. If you see businesses with these certification logos on their websites or packaging, you can be positive that you are not being social washed or greenwashed.


Jennifer Moreau Chick

As the Founder and CEO of World For Good, Jennifer Moreau-Chick helps readers learn about how to elevate social and environmental sustainability in the business community so companies can differentiate themselves from their competitors. She has been featured in Conscious Company Magazine as a leader in social impact, in Conscious Magazine and has worked as a Marketing Director for 3 certified B Corporations for the past four years.

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The Ultimate Recycling Cheat Sheet

In our world of “eco-friendly everything”, you are constantly bombarded with ways you can make a difference. It can sometimes be overwhelming to wade through it all and decide where you can make effective change for you and the lives surrounding you. Recycling seems to have positioned itself as the go-to way for people to ally themselves with the eco-friendly revolution.

Recycling is a way to earn immediate gratification with no real accountability. I’m talking about the “wish-cyclers” out there who throw anything into their blue bin just so it looks full when they drag it to the curb on pick up day. To the neighbors, it looks like you are living green, but in reality, you have thrown so much unrecyclable trash into your bin that only about 10% can truly be recycled.  

Every year, the average American goes through more than 250 pounds of plastic waste, and much of that comes from packaging. You see trash everywhere – on our beaches, on the side of the road, in parking lots – single use trash is everywhere. According to National Geographic, 91 percent of ALL plastic isn’t recycled. The 5 Gyre Institute, a nonprofit that researches and encourages action against plastic pollution, estimates that less than 10 percent of plastic is recycled, while 8 million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean each year.

Your recycling bin is part of the solution, but many of us are confused about what we should be putting in there. What’s recyclable in one community could be trash in another. Asking what can be recycled in your area is one of the smartest things you can do to ensure that you are diverting as much of your business’s waste from landfills as possible.

I’m going to make it easy for you. I’ve compiled a list of the easiest household trash that most municipalities accept in their recycling centers.

Paper Recycling

Recycle envelopes, office paper, junk mail, greeting cards and file folders. Shredded paper should be put in a paper bag.

Acceptable Items:

  • Newspaper
  • Envelopes
  • Junk mail
  • Phone books
  • Brochures
  • Magazines

 

Cardboard Recycling

Did you know greasy pizza boxes are not recyclable?

You can also include newspaper inserts, catalogs, paperback books, phone books and brochures.

Acceptable Items:

  • Ream wrappers
  • File folders
  • Poster board
  • Frozen food boxes
  • Cardboard boxes

 

Plastic Recycling

Recycle plastics #1 thru #7. Look on the bottom of containers for a number inside the recycling arrows.

Acceptable Items:

  • Milk jugs (no cartons)
  • Water/Soda containers
  • Shampoo/Soap/Detergent bottles

 

Aluminum/Metal Recycling

Recycle all food and beverage metal cans – steel, tin, bi-metal and aluminum.

Acceptable Items:

  • Aluminum beverage cans
  • Food cans
  • Scrap metal

 

Glass Recycling

Recycle clear and colored glass.

Acceptable Items:

  • Beverage containers
  • Glass food jars

DO NOT RECYCLE:

  • Appliances
  • Batteries
  • Bubble Wrap
  • Christmas Lights
  • Coat Hangers
  • Diapers
  • Electrical Cords
  • Food Waste
  • Food Wrap
  • Garden Hoses
  • Plastic Bags
  • Polystyrene
  • Rubber Balls
  • Sports Equipment
  • Stuffed Animals
  • Syringes/Razor Blades
  • Tires
  • Waxed Cartons
  • Wood/Yard Waste

There is absolutely no other action available today, other than recycling that can have a simultaneous positive impact on so many things critical to our existence on this planet. Through all its growing pains, ups and downs, recycling is still something we should all care about and take action. When U.S. recycling levels reach 75% it will be the environmental and CO2 equivalent of removing 55 million cars from U.S. roads each year.

If you are looking for a more in-depth course on how to recycle the right way, I recommend spending some time with a cheap eLearning course, such as “Recycling the Right Way”. For $25 this course takes you through what the recycling numbers mean, and you get a free “Quick Reference Guide to Recycling” to download after you complete the course. Remember, it’s quality over quantity. Take the time to recycle the right things. Your children will thank you for it in the future.

 


 

Jennifer Moreau Chick
Jennifer Moreau Chick

As the Founder and CEO of World For Good, Jennifer Moreau-Chick helps readers learn about how to elevate social and environmental sustainability in the business community so companies can differentiate themselves from their competitors. She has been featured in Conscious Company Magazine as a leader in social impact, in Conscious Magazine and has worked as a Marketing Director for 3 certified B Corporations for the past four years. Visit her blog here.

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The Most Dangerous Country in the World for Women is India

Women are not safe at work, in public, and at home

Mark Twain once said, “India is, the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grandmother of tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only.” It’s ironic how fondly he is referring to India as a female persona, yet today India is known for being the most dangerous county in the world for women – according to a recent Thomson Reuters Foundation survey. Government data shows that there are four cases of rape reported every hour in India. This fact leads me to the quote by Melanne Verveer, “No country can get ahead when it leaves half of its people behind.

Although India has the world’s largest functioning democracy, gender equality is far worse there, than it is in countries where we would expect it to be atrocious, like Afghanistan where we see women facing insurgent violence, widespread physical and sexual abuse by state forces and honor killings. You would think that Afghanistan is the least favorable place for a woman to live. It is worse in India. Indian women are far more likely to be:

  • enslaved as sex workers
  • forced into debt bondage
  • subjected to high rates of domestic violence
  • female infanticide
  • economic discrimination

 

Violence Towards Women is Unprecedented

The inclusion of economic discrimination as a form of violence is a huge underlying reason why women are mistreated in so many ways. Although women compromise 70% of the world’s poor, it is not always thought of as an act of violence. However, many manifestations of violence against women can be traced back to poverty, such as the tradition of forced marriages by family seeking to alleviate debt, the sale of female children into sex slavery and maternal mortality rates associated with lack of access to healthcare. Women are shown utter disregard and disrespect by men and are expected to keep quiet about any mistreatment, as a code of family honor.

The dirty secret about men’s crass abuse of power through sexual violence against women has hit the global press. We have all seen the protests in India against the grotesque rapes of toddlers, the gang rape of eight-year-olds, and of young women protesting human trafficking. Rightly so, a majority of the women in India do not feel safe alone on the streets, at work, in markets, or at home, even though they have learned how to cope with existential anxiety. Women are forced to survive by not going outside after dark without permission, censor their speech, cover their bodies with layers of clothing so they don’t “provoke” the attention of men, and avoid looking eye to eye with men.

 

Who is Helping Women?

Many social enterprises like my own company, World For Good, aim to elevate human rights in India. My company primarily focuses on anti-human trafficking in the forms of sex trafficking and modern-day slavery. We partner with nonprofit centers in India that provide fair wage opportunities for women who do not have good options to support themselves and that are at risk or are survivors of poverty, trafficking and slavery. The marginalized women are taught sewing skills, given free counseling and health checks and they also get help opening a bank account. For every handmade fabric bag World For Good sells, we are able to invest over half of the profit back into the nonprofit centers to buy more inventory, which pays the maker’s wages. People all over the US buy our fabric bags because they believe in the promise of what our brand will do for the women of India and their children.

There are many other social enterprises with the same business model that are working diligently to give the impoverished community a means to support themselves, but COVID-19 has hit our makers and our companies hard. Selling products has come to a halt, which means that the nonprofit centers are barely able to support the people they are trying to help because we are no longer able to buy inventory from them. When their income goes away, their safety goes with it because the survivors could possibly be forced back into the dire situation they escaped from.

You would never guess that India was one of the richest countries until the time of British rule in the early 17th Century. Women’s rights have been disintegrating ever since. Until the heads of state in India understand that no democracy is a democracy when half of the population lives in fear, they have no way of building back into a strong, sustainable and resilient country.


Jennifer Moreau Chick
Jennifer Moreau Chick

As the Founder and CEO of World For Good, Jennifer Moreau-Chick helps readers learn about how to elevate social and environmental sustainability in the business community so companies can differentiate themselves from their competitors. She has been featured in Conscious Company Magazine as a leader in social impact, in Conscious Magazine and has worked as a Marketing Director for 3 certified B Corporations for the past four years. Visit her blog here.

 

 

 

 

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The Future of Sustainable Events is Gamification

During intense uncertainty, we have never been more certain about the power of community to drive meaningful connections. Dan Roberts, a psychotherapist, says that “Humans are born wired for connection – it’s in our DNA, as strong as a need as food, water, and warmth.” Because of our innate desire to belong to a tribe or group, events and conventions will eventually find their place post-pandemic, but in a new way that will be closely related to gamification.

Global Paradigm Shift to a More Sustainable Future

Because of the disruption caused by COVID-19, we are being forced to evolve into a new way of defining work, play, and everything in between. As I watch the news channels, scroll through social media posts, and listen to my colleagues, I am witnessing the global population experience a paradigm shift, or a fundamental change in assumptions, of what is best for people, planet, and our prosperity.

As we adapt to our current situation, we are altering our habits and switching from face-to-face interactions to online connections, working remotely, and managing virtual meetings with business partners. This shift in behavior is laying the groundwork for the future of sustainable events. Event planners and corporations will want to protect the well-being of their stakeholders, as well as their financial investments by creating high-end and hyper-connected digital experiences that offer a way for stakeholders to foster relationships, make money, and have a one-of-kind experience – all from the safety of their homes.

The Event Industry Will Thrive in a New Way

Many corporations and event planners lost a lot of money by quickly having to cancel conventions, concerts and events as COVID-19 took us all by surprise. According to Allied Market Research, in 2018, the global event industry was valued at $1.1 Billion. Service and product providers in this industry are very motivated to keep this revenue stream alive. Aside from the obvious hotel or convention center revenue, there are other providers that rely on the event business for income – like equipment rental companies, entertainment performers, car rental companies, and office/promotional products companies. They can all transform into the new sustainable event model by creatively pivoting their offerings to fit into the digital world.


Technology is Ready, Are We?

Virtual events will be tailored even more specifically to each individual attendee, travel-related greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced, and personal connections will still be meaningful, by creating high-end events without sacrificing revenue. We have the technology available now.

Imagine registering for a virtual conference that offers a tier-ticketing strategy.

  • Tier One – pre-recorded videos of panel discussions and keynote speakers that are available to view any day and time. Streaming when it’s convenient to the attendee ensures a more pleasant and inclusive experience. As a value-add, attendees could watch a keynote or an interactive online panel at a scheduled time for the opportunity to ask live questions.
  • Tier Two – an interactive gaming-style event hosted in a virtual hotel or convention center. Each person is identified by their avatar and can be moved throughout the area by using a generic gaming controller. Attendees can move and communicate freely, using a microphone and headphones, just as a gamer would while playing Fortnite with friends. This level would require the desired attendees to be online at the event simultaneously.
  • Tier Three – each attendee at this level would be given a pair of virtual reality (VR) glasses and a motion-controlled device for a truly immersive, first-person perspective. Participants would both experience and influence their environment by being completely immersed in the middle of the event. You can shake hands with a potential investor, walk around and look at vendor tables, purchase products or books, trade virtual business cards, or schedule one-on-one meetings to pitch your product. The possibilities are endless at this level.

How Can Revenue Be Achieved?

Hotels and convention centers can license their virtual space by creating an exact replica of their floorplan that can be uploaded into the virtual event platform. This would be used for tier two and three.

Event planners can pair up with data science collectors so they can use interactive segmentation criteria to create different types of experiences for specific audiences. They can also draw on detailed profile information, prior to content consumption to enable any virtual attendee to be more productive during a digital event than they would be at a physical conference. Companies are no longer limited to just a one-time event; they can combine a wide range of activities into a holistic digital experience.  

Vendor space would be available to the attendees that pay for tier-three tickets. Vendors could also be offered the opportunity to send attendees swag upon request via the event planner marketplace. Swag would be shipped to a specified warehouse, where custom boxes would be curated for each attendee based on the checklist that they filled out that lists the vendor products.

Instead of renting tables, chairs and linens, rental companies would be responsible for providing the virtual devices. These companies will team up with office supply stores for pickup and delivery methods.

Entertainment, as well as wellness opportunities such as yoga, will be a huge part of sustainable events. Luckily this portion can be prerecorded and licensed by the artist. Attendees can gather together to watch or interact at a designated time.

Admittedly, I have not found a way for car rental companies to collect their share of the event industry revenue in this new digital format. In an ideal sustainable and regenerative world, people will not hop in a plane to fly five hours to attend an in-person event anymore. This eliminates the need for rental cars.

Gamification is the Future of Sustainable Events

While recent event cancellations have left many of us feeling uneasy, we have immediate access to alternatives. The technology is waiting for us to use it. Some in-person events will still exist, but as the world recovers from the current crisis, we will come out of it with a new appreciation for what technology can do for us. Our preferences for attending digital events will be stronger and companies must be ready for this shift and behavior. When corporations invest time and attention in virtual reality technology, they will be setting themselves up for a successful and sustainable future.


Jennifer Moreau Chick
Jennifer Moreau Chick

As the Founder and CEO of World For Good, Jennifer Moreau-Chick helps readers learn about how to elevate social and environmental sustainability in the business community so companies can differentiate themselves from their competitors. She has been featured in Conscious Company Magazine as a leader in social impact, in Conscious Magazine and has worked as a Marketing Director for 3 certified B Corporations for the past four years. Visit her blog here.

 

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Find your Enneagram type by the face mask you wear

woman with bandana and heart glasses

Have you heard of the Enneagram – maybe on a podcast or in the breakroom? Enneagram is a system of personality typing that describes patterns in how people conceptualize the world and manage their emotions. The model is split into nine different personality types based on how you see the world. Our world today is filled with covered faces, which makes it difficult to “read” people and gauge their emotional reaction to you. It’s like texting but in person.

To make your life easier, we have used the 9 Enneagram personality types to identify people by using just their face mask. If you don’t have time to go through the full Enneagram questionnaire to determine what type you are, just look at the face mask you wear.

  1. The Reformer

Photo by Julian Wan on Unsplash

The rational, idealistic type:

  • Principled
  • Purposeful
  • Self-controlled
  • Perfectionistic

Although Ones have a strong sense of purpose, they also typically feel that they have to justify their actions to themselves, and often to others as well. Ones believe that being strict with themselves (and eventually becoming “perfect”) will justify them in their own eyes and in the eyes of others.

You’ll find Enneagram One’s wearing a compliant mask that is made by a real manufacturer and will ensure that their partner has the same.

 

  1. The Helper

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

The caring, interpersonal type:

  • Demonstrative
  • Generous
  • People-pleasing
  • Possessive

Being generous and going out of their way for others makes Twos feel that theirs is the richest, most meaningful way to live. The love and concern they feel—and the genuine good they do—warms their hearts and makes them feel worthwhile.

You’ll find Enneagram Two’s wearing a handmade mask that they have created themselves or one that a friend made for them.

 

  1. The Achiever

Photo by Julian Wan on Unsplash

The success-oriented, pragmatic type:

  • Adaptive
  • Excelling
  • Driven
  • image-conscious

Threes are diplomatic and poised but can also be overly concerned with their image and what others think of them. They typically have problems with workaholism and competitiveness.

You’ll find Enneagram Three’s wearing a mask that resembles something heroic, like a flag, or an image of a pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness.

 

  1. The Individualist

(Photo by Anthony WALLACE / AFP)

The sensitive, withdrawn type:

  • Expressive
  • Dramatic
  • Self-absorbed
  • Temperamental

Fours often see themselves as uniquely talented, possessing special, one-of-a-kind gifts, but also as uniquely disadvantaged or flawed. More than any other type, Fours are acutely aware of and focused on their personal differences and deficiencies.

You’ll find Enneagram Four’s wearing a profoundly creative mask that expresses the personal and the universal and will possibly be a work of art.

 

  1. The Investigator

Photo by Logan Troxell on Unsplash

The intense, cerebral type:

  • Perceptive
  • Innovative
  • Secretive
  • Isolated

Knowledge, understanding, and insight are thus highly valued by Fives because their identity is built around “having ideas” and being someone who has something unusual and insightful to say. For this reason, Fives are not interested in exploring what is already familiar and well-established; rather, their attention is drawn to the unusual, the overlooked, the secret, the occult, the bizarre, the fantastic, the “unthinkable.”

You’ll find Enneagram Five’s wearing masks that make it easy for them to hide away from society so they can be preoccupied with their own thoughts.

 

  1. The Loyalist

Photo by Vera Davidova on Unsplash

The committed, security-oriented type:

  • Engaging
  • Responsible
  • Anxious
  • Suspicious

Sixes tend to fear to make important decisions, although, at the same time, they resist having anyone else make decisions for them. They want to avoid being controlled, but are also afraid of taking responsibility in a way that might put them “in the line of fire.”

You’ll find Enneagram Six’s wearing a mask that is similar to the majority of others but with their own creative spin on the color or design.

 

  1. The Enthusiast

Photo by Macau Photo Agency on Unsplash

The busy, fun-loving type:

  • Spontaneous
  • Versatile
  • Distractible
  • Scattered

You’ll find this person wearing a mask that is practical, yet playful. Not overpriced, but well made. Sevens are frequently endowed with quick, agile minds, and can be exceptionally fast learners. This is true both of their ability to absorb information (language, facts, and procedures) and their ability to learn new manual skills—they tend to have excellent mind-body coordination, and manual dexterity (typewriting, piano playing, tennis). All of this can combine to make a Seven into the quintessential “Renaissance person.”

You’ll find Enneagram 7’s wearing a no-nonsense, easy to find, paper mask with a bit of flair.

 

  1. The Challenger

Photo by Utopia By Cho on Unsplash

The powerful, dominating type:

  • Self-confident
  • Decisive
  • Willful
  • Confrontational

Eights have enormous willpower and vitality, and they feel most alive when they are exercising these capacities in the world. They use their abundant energy to effect changes in their environment—to “leave their mark” on it—but also to keep the environment, and especially other people, from hurting them and those they care about

You’ll find Enneagram 8’s wearing a custom-made, fully functioning respirator mask.

 

  1. The Peacemaker

Photo by Kate Trifo on Unsplash

The easy-going, self-effacing type:

  • Receptive
  • Reassuring
  • Agreeable
  • Complacent

More than any other type, Nines demonstrate the tendency to run away from the paradoxes and tensions of life by attempting to transcend them or by seeking to find simple and painless solutions to their problems.

You’ll find an Enneagram 9’s wearing a fully compliant N95 respirator mask.

 


As the Founder and CEO of World For Good, Jennifer Moreau-Chick helps readers learn about how to elevate social and environmental sustainability in the business community so companies can differentiate themselves from their competitors. She has been featured in Conscious Company Magazine as a leader in social impact and has worked as a Marketing Director for 3 certified B Corporations for the past four years. Visit her blog here.