Know Your Audience: Why Patagonia Can Sue the President — and Thrive

Last week, in response to President Trump’s decision to scale back Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, outdoor retail brand and sustainability leader Patagonia in turn announced it would be suing the President, a definitively bold move — even for the likes of the brand that brought us “Don’t Buy This Jacket” and “100% for the Planet.”

A Year in CSR: The Top 10 Trends of 2017

As we look back on the past 365 days, there’s no denying we live in tumultuous times. 2017 was rife with political and social divide, unrelenting extreme weather and disasters, unconscionable violence and global strife in many forms. To most, the outlook may be bleak. But rather than a negative, we believe this presents not only a major opportunity, but also a mandate for companies. As the year draws to a close, Cone Communications, evaluated a year’s worth of CSR trends to bring you the top 10 trends of 2017:

Patagonia Takes on the President and Rallies Consumers in Support of Bears Ears

Patagonia is no stranger to bold Purpose marketing campaigns. From “Don’t Buy this Jacket” to “100% for the Planet,” this is a brand that is not afraid to take a risk to stand up for what it believes in. This week, we saw the company take its boldest stance yet, not only directly calling out the President of the United States for “an illegal move” but also announcing it will sue the administration. Yet, for those who track the company, this endeavor should not come as a huge surprise – in fact, the latest announcement is just the next phase of a multi-year consumer engagement campaign, calling on its informed, loyal consumer base for support.

International Human Rights Day: How Companies Are Fighting To Get Human Rights Right

Although it emerged as a top corporate sustainability priority for 2017, respecting and promoting human rights is no easy feat. It involves actively working across supply chains, from owned operations to first-tier suppliers and all the way down into the extended supply chain where raw materials are produced. Given the complexities around the supplier ecosystem, it is not surprising that many businesses struggle to effectively address, tackle and communicate around the issue.

Social Good At Facebook Gets A Lot Of “Likes” From Me

Recently I attended the second annual Facebook Social Good Forum in New York, an invitation-only event of mostly executive-level personnel from nonprofits. The highlight of the day was Mark Zuckerberg’s opening speech. Fresh from a year spent traveling around the U.S. on a listening tour, he shared the main thread that ran through many of his conversations: the importance of community. If we all focus more on strengthening our communities, he said, that will help us build common ground and move forward together.

Brands Build Momentum for #GivingTuesday

Since it launched in 2012, #GivingTuesday has grown to become a recognized day of giving back in the U.S. and around the world. Last year, charities raised $180 million —an increase of 44% over the previous year. Now, what started out as a day focused on nonprofits has garnered the attention of companies as well. This year we saw companies create fun and unique ways to invite consumers to purchase while giving back on one of the biggest giving days of the year. Here are a few campaigns that caught our eye:

North Face Shares Climate Beneficial Supply Chain Innovation at the Product Level

During 2017 there has been increased focus on the Sustainable Development Goals and how companies can lead the charge. Many companies are working to improve their supply chains, but rarely share the progress with consumers at the product level. Recently, one company was able to create a supply chain innovation and design a product that shares the initiative with consumers in an easy, accessible way.

Save the Food Takes Guess Work (and Waste) Out of Thanksgiving Planning

Each year consumers spend $218 billion on food that ends up going to waste. And, about $277 million of that waste will happen during Thanksgiving — when Americans begin to plan, purchase and prepare lavish meals which usually result in leftovers that ultimately end up in the trash. Now, two organizations have partnered to create an easy-to-use innovation that curbs food waste while making holiday cooking a little bit easier.

Burger King Shaves to Show Support for Movember

November marks the start of the hairiest month of the year: Movember. During this annual event hosted by the Movember Foundation, men across the world grow out their ‘staches to raise awareness of men's health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men's suicide. This no-shave-November, one company is helping change the face of men’s health by changing their own.

Trick-or-Treat: Five Halloween Sweets You Can Feel Good About

You can’t talk about Halloween without mentioning all the sugary sweets and indulgent, calorie-rich treats that come with it. Today, however, more and more consumers realize it’s not just cavities or a growing waistline to consider when eating chocolate and candy. Retail-driven holidays like Halloween are a great time to think about the products we purchase – and the impact they make; not just in our own lives, but to the environment and the people who produce them.

Vodafone Asks Customers to Become Cancer Researchers

As consumers spend more time on their phones, many organizations have begun brainstorming ways to engage them to do good on these compact, yet powerful machines. UNICEF tapped into the “always connected” stigma and created the wildly successful Tap Project app, which garnered over 2.6 million users and raised $1.6 million for kids in need of safe drinking water. More recently, one brand has come up with an even simpler ask in order to harness the power of smartphones and conscious consumers to support a cause.

Hooked on STEM: Keeping Kids Engaged

“Science is only the best thing ever,” said Maya Kopfer, an 11-year-old panelist at an event in Boston hosted by The Atlantic and Dell called, “Cracking the Code: The Next Generation of Women in STEM.” While most of the audience probably agreed with Maya’s sentiment, unfortunately, the rest of society may have different feelings. While women are making dramatic advancements in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields, there’s still a long way to go.

Viacom Shares Global, Cross-Brand Message for National Coming Out Day

What started with a march in 1987 has continued to grow in momentum as individuals ban together to celebrate coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) – or as an ally. National Coming Out Day (Oct. 11), created by the Human Rights Campaign, works to promote a safe world for LGBTQ individuals to live truthfully and openly. Now, one brand is harnessing its global platform and network of influencers to spread that message of openness and acceptance far and wide.

Four “A-Ha” Moments from COMMIT!Forum

This week, Cone headed to the MGM National Harbor in Maryland to participate in this year's COMMIT!Forum – a two day conference focused onthe role of the corporate responsibility practitioner as companies aim to make their voices heard. The theme of the conference was "Brands Taking Stands" – certainly apropos given today's business and political environment. As the conference wraps, we're leaving with a renewed energy and commitment to the field but also a few important takeaways.

JetBlue Leverages Assets to Create Long-Term Hurricane Relief

It’s been over three weeks since Hurricane Maria made landfall, leaving a path of destruction in its wake.  As the tenth-most intense Atlantic hurricane on record, the storm devastated Puerto Rico, completely destroying the island's power grid and leaving all 3.4 million residents without electricity. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz estimates that some areas will remain without power for four to six months. As with many natural disasters, relief efforts are concentrated on the first few weeks after the disaster, but one company has prepped a long-term relief plan to ensure the victims of Hurricane Maria are not left abandoned in the weeks – and months – to come.