Prima di tutto vorrei ringraziare Toni Muzi Falconi di prconversations.com per averci segnalato l'importanza di questa storia.
Here’s an excellent example of a corporation doing it right and utilizing social media to LISTEN to the “conversation.”
Meet our new friend Roberto Zangrandi. Sig Zangrandi heads Corporate Social Responsibility with Enel, the largest electric utility in Italy. Prior to Enel, he was a financial journalist with a number of leading Italian magazines, and he also served as Head, International Media Relations at Fiat. He is visiting professor for Public Relations Theory and Techniques at Udine, Teramo Universities and is Founding Chairman of the CSR Manager Network of Italy. Excuse me but Roberto’s the real deal.
It is our distinct pleasure to have him with us here today. So without further ado... Sig. Zangrandi.
Enel’s CSR Sustainability Meter
How a Web Tool Can Open “One-with-One” Constituent Dialogue
By Roberto Zangrandi
Head Corporate Social Responsibility
The place is Italy and my company is Enel, the leading electric utility and one of Europe’s leading energy players. Enel, with a shareholder base of 2.5 million, I am proud to say in recent years has become an internationally recognized benchmark for its corporate responsibility approach and strategy. Actually, according to the AccountAbility’s ranking recently published by Fortune, we are sixth in the world. But for all the accolades and recognition we’ve received for traditional stakeholder communications -- with segments such as employees, suppliers, customers, shareholders, local communities – last week we launched a new cutting-edge tool aimed at developing a direct dialogue with individual stakeholders. Enel launched a sustainability meter (see http://csrmeter.palomarlab.net/it).
First question, why? Well, in recent years we’ve learned that one can commission a lot of useful and sophisticated quali/quantitative surveys investigating stakeholders segment by segment; but when it comes to receiving in depth feelings about the company on the individuals composing those segments, one does not usually find many clues. Thus, the challenge is to develop a simple, attractive and revealing tool capable of fostering one-with-one relationship and dialogue. The Web, and especially today’s new social media tools, now gives us the ability to create and facilitate virtual communities. In theory at least, we saw the possibility of building and managing one-with-one relationships broadly.
Our inspiration? The original idea came to us more than a year ago, when a team of bright geeks (Palomar New Media) enabled Italian web visitors to express their views on 25 hot political issues in an election period which allowed them to instantly measure their positions to the policies voiced by the many different running political parties. More than 650,000 voters checked this out on a dedicated web site in a few weeks and positioned themselves online. One of the member of our CSR team, Pierluigi Orati, said, “hey… why aren’t we talking to these geeks?’ And with the support of Gianluca Comin, EVP Corporate External Relations, we did and began work to jointly develop a system. After a few months what we were able to devise is a web tool that allows the stakeholder to readily determine their proximity in relationship to Edel’s CSR model. To confirm our commitment to move as close as possible to his/her position, we also ask our interlocutor to select at least three (out of eight) priority operational CSR projects, either in progress or about to be launched. Of course, we than will use that information to help tailor various CSR projects, as needed.
Are there limitations? Of course. At this stage, almost as many as there are opportunities. First: inputs are clearly not statistically reliable. Second: self profiling is not yet mandatory, so we risk losing precious information on the specific identity of our voluntary interlocutors. And thirdly, the issues appraised are unilaterally suggested by the company, as well as the areas of improvement. That said, as we make preliminary adjustments to the system, we intend to “open up” additional space for qualitative comments and commit to providing immediate and personalized feedback. Frankly, we’re very excited to get the conversation going.
Some preliminary results? As of yesterday we’ve gleaned the following:
14% of early adopters are between 40 and 55 years old while “future generations” total 33%. 37% are males and 16% females. More than 10% are students, 16% employees, 22% self employed. Singles are 13%, couples with kids 25%.
51% think the company should focus on high dividends, 77% believe corporate governance is important, 95% think that volume and quality of debt needs to be kept under control.
More than 72% give equal opportunity practices a high rank.
63% consider their electricity bill fair and 84% are positive about the interest of ethical funds in our company.
Social and environmental policies are important to almost 87% of the respondents.
84% believe development of renewable energy sources to be core for future development, and 61% agree with nuclear powered production while 39% strongly oppose it.
Carbon emission reduction and renewable sources of energy are the most popular operative projects for almost 37%. 15% ask for a strong commitment to educate the public on smarter energy use.
Now, of course, we now need to take that information and facilitate the dialogue with top management and strategy planners.
Today, PR mega-firm Fleishman-Hillard is hosting a panel at Georgetown University on "the rise of corporate social responsibility." The panelists include: Fleishman co-chair and former Missouri Senator Jim Talent; Patrick Cleary, vice president of National Association of Manufacturers; William Powers, columnist with the National Journal; and blogger extraordinaire, Arianna Huffington.
Okay, typical PR media show. Here's where it gets dicey: The event is co-sponsored by National Consumers League. Linda Golodner, president of the organization, is also on the panel.
The National Consumers League calls itself “the nation’s oldest consumer organization.” But in fact, it is heavily funded by large corporations seeking to thwart major consumer reforms in Washington.
According to the group’s most recent IRS 990 filing, it has taken a total of $3.1 million from ten major corporations and corporate public relations firms over the past four years. Its funders include Pfizer, Bank of America, Pharmacia & Upjohn, Kaiser Permanente, Wyeth-Ayerst, Verizon, Cypress, Chandler Chicco Agency, Nichols Denzenhall, and Express Scripts.
Corrupted? The organization's policy regarding health summarily rejects any proposal for a Canadian style single payer health insurance system in the United States. Why? Because it would send its health care industry funders to the exits.
What’s Fleishman interest? Well, it looks like they want to drum up some business. Fleishman is expected to release a survey that finds that more than three-quarters of Americans give U.S. corporations low marks for social responsibility. The survey also finds that a majority of Americans believe that certain sectors – energy, food, chemical and pharmaceutical – need more government oversight.
“The generally lukewarm perception of U.S. corporations on social responsibility, along with the prevailing belief that Congress may need to get involved, could lead to increased oversight of the private sector on Capitol Hill,” Talent said.
"Government Oversight"! That could scare anyone into hiring a PR firm to help impliment a CSR program. Ya think?
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