Minnesota is the headwaters for the BSR (businesses for social responsibility) movement, starting with the “5% Club” in the mid-1970s, forged by 23 companies including Target Corporation, Wells Fargo Bank Minnesota, Carlson Companies and others committed to invest profits into the community. Offshoots of the movement included the launch of Business Ethics Magazine, The Center for Ethical Business Cultures and the two strongest business school programs in the nation on the subject – each of which has had endowed chairs in corporate responsibility for over a decade — at the U of M and at the University of St. Thomas.
Kohnstamm Communications has been closely involved in public relations as it has related to key players of the BSR and business ethics movement, including ten years of experience with the Carlson School of Management’s program and another decade with the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business and its Center for Ethical Business Cultures. One example included a media tour of national business reporters who write on issues of business ethics including interviews with the The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek and Conference Board. Another example includes generating greater corporate management understanding around SAIP – the Self-Assessment and Improvement Process that is a business method for assessing and improving ethics, governance and CSR performance.
For environmental icon Seventh Generation, we arranged a speech and meetings inside of Target Corporation with its environmental and sustainability team, which resulted in creating a stronger relationship and increased sales.
The Kohnstamm PR firm has gained a command of the many emergent and salient issues surrounding the CSR movement. Others include: accountability throughout the value chain, pressure to quantify CSR “return on investment,” the Caux Round Table and comprehensive global standards for business conduct.