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Corporate reputation has always been a foundation of brand strength, yet expectations for corporate behavior have never been higher.

The basic strategy for companies used to be as simple as avoiding land mines (e.g. employee and public safety incidents) and giving back a bit to the local community. After the spate of corporate ethics antics of the late 1990s, the public realized at once how much damage corporate leaders can do to a business, and how much they yearn for companies to be a positive force for good.

Excessive focus on short-term financial performance and market share gain consumes a tremendous amount of a company’s energy, and leaves precious little to pursue the higher
goals on the people’s wish list:

Environmental stewardship, beyond using minimal energy resources to operate its business,
it includes taking a leadership role in developing solutions for climate change

Model employer, beyond offering competitive-paying jobs, this means hiring local employees
and using local vendors where possible, and being a catalyst for regional economic growth

Community contributor, with active involvement in the local issues that people care about,
and generous support through its financial and volunteer resources.

Transparency, of all company activities and intentions, for better or for worse. Information
breeds empowerment, lack of information breeds fear.

Companies that are leading the charge behind sustainable practices understand that its core strategies must begin with educating and motivating people first, before any sustainability initiative can be successful.