Best Practices

Best Practices in Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility—Initiatives Benefitting Women

April 2019

This report explores how companies are utilizing CSR and sustainability practices and initiatives to benefit women in the U.S. and worldwide.

Sodexo: Ending Workplace Violence

In 2016, Sodexo committed to improve the quality of life of women in the communities it serves by
focusing on gender equality and empowerment through operations in Latin America and India.

By August 2019, Sodexo will: 1) Promote awareness of gender-based violence; 2) Provide in-depth
training about gender-based violence prevention; 3) Provide economic opportunity for survivors of
violence; and 4) Lead collaboration in the countries where they work to make a larger impact in the

This commitment is part of the Girls, Women & the Global Goals coalition of multi-sectoral partners
convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively
to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the
areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and
advancing women in leadership in both private and public sector.

Estimated Total Value: $350,000

Dove: Changing Perspectives, Building Self-Esteem

For over ten years, Dove’s Real Beauty Initiative has given women positive messages and images about their appearance, demonstrating that changing perceptions can be one of the social responsibility activities of
companies in the modern age.

Different Ways to Spread the Message

Dove’s parent company, Unilever, launched Real Beauty in 2004. It grew to include more than just ads. The
campaign uses videos, workshops, and sleepover events to get its message out. There are even a book and a
play associated with Real Beauty. The aim of the campaign is “change the status quo and offer in its place a
broader, healthier, more democratic view of beauty.” Dove also wanted to create “a view of beauty that all
women can own and enjoy every day,” according to marketing materials from the time of release. Dove and
Unilever recognized a serious problem: women and young girls, bombarded every day with images of what
society deemed as perfect, beautiful women, were developing body-related self-esteem problems.

How to Measure Impact

Most corporate social responsibilities of companies carry a tangible, measurable result. A company can pledge
to give a million dollars to charity, or build a hundred solar powered homes, or provide clean drinking water for
500 villages. Dove took a bold step with Real Beauty, because the results are not so easy to measure. There is
no conclusive evidence that the Real Beauty campaign has fundamentally altered the way women view
themselves. Women participating in sleepovers, workshops, and other events have certainly enjoyed some
positive energy, but there is no reliable way to measure it.

One definite benefit is that Dove’s sales rose from 2.5 billion in 2004 to over 4 billion in 2014. This shows the
power of emotional marketing. Many people, not just women, are uncomfortable with a part or parts of their
body. Real Beauty appeals to this lack of confidence and tells people they can change their perception with
Dove’s products. The social responsibility activities of companies can tell a story about the brand. What story is
your CSR or emotional marketing telling about you?

Coke: Empowering Women Across the Globe

To help women entrepreneurs overcome some of their most common challenges, in 2010 Coke
introduced 5by20TM, an initiative designed to enable the economic empowerment of 5 million women
entrepreneurs across the company’s value chain by 2020. Specifically, this means the small businesses that
the Company and its bottling partners work with in more than 200 countries around the world—from fruit
farmers and recyclers to retailers and artisans.


• Since 2010, 5by20TM has reached more than 2.4 million women across 75 countries.
• In 2017, 5by20TM expanded by 37% in total, reaching over 660,000 women, and broadening into 11 new
countries: Belgium, Bolivia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Lithuania, Paraguay, Portugal, Serbia,
Ukraine and Uruguay.
• In 2017 alone, 5by20™ enabled more than 660,000 women entrepreneurs in 2017 for a total of more
than 2.4 million since 2010.

Coke: Educating Toward Entrepreneurship

In four states across northern Nigeria, more than 65% of the population is unable to read. Only one in
four girls attend secondary school. The Coca-Cola Company and the UK Department for International
Development joined forces to launch the Educating Nigerian Girls in New Enterprises (ENGINE)
program. This partnership has worked vigorously with marginalized girls, age 16 to 19, to help
improve their educational opportunities and translate them into real economic advantages and
positive social choices.

The Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security recently studied the ENGINE program and found encouraging results. For example, as of March 2017, ENGINE had engaged more than 21,000 girls in Kano, Kaduna, the Federal Capital Territory and Lagos.


According to the ENGINE Endline Report, 94% of participating girls display improved confidence; up to half of ENGINE beneficiaries have started a business or benefited from startup or expansion funds; and more than 10,000 girls were linked to employment, with 6,000 of these girls joining the Coca-Cola value chain through collaboration with Nigerian Bottling Company.

In 2017, Coca-Cola and Ipsos, a leading global market research company, completed a longitudinal evaluation with women sari-sari store (mirco-retailers) owners in the Philippines who had completed Coca-Cola’s Sari-Sari Training and Access to Resources (STAR) program in partnership with government agency Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.


A random sample of micro-retailer participants was interviewed every six months from 2015 through 2017. Key findings were positive and promising.
• Participants’ average business increased by 17%
• Personal income from the sari-sari stores increased by 12%
• Women’s ability to afford basic expenses, such as groceries, clothing, doctor visits and children’s
education, in general increased significantly over time
• Women’s confidence in keeping their business open and increasing business size increased 20%

Coke: Empowering Women & Building Value Chain

Coke partnered with digital technology agency CI&T to develop the 5by20TM Training App as a scale-up solution for women entrepreneurs. The app provides access to educational courses, financial services, entrepreneurial training and mentorship connections. The app first launched in 2017 during Ramadan in Malaysia, where it was piloted with women bazaar food stall operators. For Ramadan, Muslims in Malaysia fast from dawn until dusk for one month. At dusk, many go to bazaars where hundreds of food stalls offer many post-fast choices.

The program engaged approximately 1,000 women operators nationwide. Due to the success of the pilot, the
program will expand for Ramadan 2018 in Malaysia.

In India, Meetha Sona Unnati, a sustainable sugarcane production program, introduced by DCM Shriram, International Finance Corporation, Solidaridad and Coca-Cola, is helping women offline, in the field. The project focuses on building capacity of farmers on good agriculture practices toward improvement in yield and quality of cane produced. While women form the backbone of sugarcane cultivation in India, they tend to be “the hidden farmers” with almost negligible access to land, resources, technologies, financial services, markets and even education and opportunity for skill enhancement. Meetha Sona Unnati is helping raise awareness among women to develop skills and capacities to contribute to domestic production and employment.

By the end of 2017, Meetha Sona Unnati had reached nearly 11,000 women farmers as part of 5by20TM.

Walmart: Empowering Women Worldwide

The Walmart Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) initiative brings business and philanthropy together to create opportunities for women in product supply chains around the world. Through this initiative Walmart has sourced more than $20 billion from women-owned businesses for products and services for its U.S. business and worked with organizations to train over 1 million women who work in farms, factories, and retail across the global supply chain.

Empowering women makes sense for the Walmart business and for society. Most of the company’s U.S. customers are women, and half of Walmart’s associates worldwide are women. Not only do women in the retail supply chain play a crucial role for retail business, their empowerment is crucial to the economic wellbeing of their families and communities. Women who earn an income typically invest 90% of it into their
families and their communities, helping to break the cycle of poverty.

Company Commitment

• Increase sourcing from Women-Owned Businesses
• Empower nearly 1 million women through training
• Promote diversity and inclusion representation within our merchandising and professional services suppliers

Knowledge Center

In the spirit of collaboration, Walmart shares achievements, challenges and learnings from the WEE initiative on its digital Knowledge Center. Explore how we launched our program, what works, what doesn’t, and what’s needed to accelerate progress for Women’s Economic Empowerment.


Walmart met and exceeded the r goal to source $20 billion from women-owned-businesses for U.S. operations. The company’s purchase orders are its largest business asset. Walmart’s $20 billion investment with women-owned businesses required an increase of annual spend through purchase orders with women-owned businesses.


Walmart and the Walmart Foundation supported the training of 1 million women on
farms, in factories, in retail in emerging markets and low-income women in the U.S. The goal was to help women enhance their incomes as well as build their confidence as leaders in their workplaces.

Diversity and Inclusion

Walmart sought to foster diversity and inclusion among major suppliers by
asking them to report the diverse makeup of their key account teams that service Walmart and Sam’s Club. Professional service firms as well as merchandising suppliers with over $1 billion in sales with Walmart and Sam’s Club participated in a survey that captured the diverse make-up of their teams.

AT&T: CSR Global Impact

AT&T supports 12 ERGs, all of which are US-based. In 2017, AT&T ERGs had more than 109,000 members. Each group is incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit. ERGs advance the professional development of their members, support the company’s business priorities and engage in community service. They represent a range of cultural populations, including women, generations, veterans, individuals with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ community.

The ERGs receive financial support from AT&T and are also encouraged to raise funds from other sources. By incorporating the groups as separate entities, the ERGs have more flexibility in determining their activities as long as they operate under AT&T’s D&I guidelines. ERGs are supported at the corporate level by the Joint Diversity Council. ERG members serve as ambassadors for the company and also participate in volunteer activities serving the populations they represent, or their local communities. In 2017, ERGs accounted for more than 388,000 volunteer hours and granted more than $882,000 in scholarships.

Women of AT&T (WOA)

Founded in 1972, WOA is AT&T’s largest ERG with over 25,000 members (women and men) in 40 chapters across the U.S. The ERG develops and leads community service initiatives and a range of professional development opportunities targeting the advancement of women.

The ERG’s accomplishments in 2017 include:
• 1,500 backpacks filled with essentials were donated to more than 40 organizations around the country to
benefit human trafficking victims
• Hosted webinars with more than 9,000 participants focused on interviewing, resume writing, and
technology innovation
• Conducted the ‘Leadership via Innovation’ series with up to 1,500 employees per session
• Held leadership development conferences open to internal and external participants with one million social
media impressions on Twitter #SHIFTBeyond
• Participated in AT&T’s ‘All Home Safe’ community engagement initiative aimed at shifting communities from
tolerance to understanding
• Awarded more than $171,000 in scholarships
• Launched the award-winning Cultivating Lifelong Learners program, which helped more than 10,000 employees navigate through ‘skill up’ opportunities

Intel: She Will Connect Program

In Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa, this initiative combines digital literacy training, an online peer network, strategic partnerships, and gender-relevant content to help young women acquire or improve digital literacy skills. In 2017, the company focused on building its Facebook community to help minimally connected women learn about online safety, use technology to help their businesses, and collaborate with one another.

Through the Intel Foundation, the company expanded the Intel She Will Connect program to the U.S. in 2017 to encourage middle school girls’ interest in science and technology. In 2017, the Intel Foundation announced a $1 million investment to support coalitions of partners working to inspire and empower middle school girls from disenfranchised communities to become technology creators and innovators.

As part of this initiative, the company held the first Intel She Connect STEM camp for U.S. middle school girls in Northern Arizona, bringing together girls from across the state to engage in hands-on experiences in technology, engineering, and computer science.

The Intel Foundation continued its support of the Women in Science (WiSci) STEAM camp held in Malawi, where Intel Employee Service Corps volunteers shared technology skills with educators and young women to encourage their interests in technology creation and innovation.

Boston Scientific: ERG Impacts Communities

Boston Scientific Corporation (BSC) believes transforming the world begins one community at a time. That vision is carried out at a grassroots level through the passion and drive of the employee members of the company’s nine employee resource groups (ERGs). The Massachusetts chapter of the company’s South Asians in Leadership (SAIL MA) employee network embodies the impact ERGs can have – even from a distance.

In 2016, the SAIL ERG set out to improve the health status of underprivileged communities in India, where the company has a strong operations base. The idea for conducting community health camps came from a member of the SAIL MA ERG who felt the company—and the ERG—could play a role in helping individuals living in impoverished communities gain access to basic health services.

In a collaborative endeavor with VT Seva, a U.S. based non-profit organization, the SAIL MA ERG planned for and assisted in the launch of two health camps in the communities surrounding BSC’s operations in India. The first health camp was held in the Delhi metropolitan area in 2016. SAIL MA ERG worked closely with a team of employees at the company’s India location to provide support and coordinate location-specific logistics, including advertising the camp through a local communications campaign.

The camp focused specifically on women’s health, and included screenings for general health and cervical cancer, which is highly stigmatized and often left untreated in the region. The health camp screened more than 100 participants, with many individuals moving on to advanced treatment based on the screening and diagnosis.

The second health camp was held in 2018. The effort was led by the dedicated team of SAIL MA members and employees based at the India location. The camp focused on general health awareness for underprivileged students.

Essilor: CSR Global Impact

Community Impact

The Essilor Women’s Network (EWN) plays a leadership role in the company’s
community impact efforts and actively supports Essilor’s corporate mission to improve lives by improving sight.

As Difference Makers in the company, EWN coordinates an annual 5K fun run that engages employees and raises money for the company’s Vision Foundation as well as other nonprofit charitable organizations that align with the mission.

EWN also raises awareness of myopia (near-sightedness) in children during programs such as Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. The BRG realizes mothers make many of the health decisions in homes, and believes that by giving vision a louder voice, they can help eradicate poor vision in a generation.

P&G: Social Media Campaign to End Gender Bias

In honor of International Women’s Day, Procter & Gamble (P&G) has launched a new corporate #WeSeeEqual campaign aimed at uncovering gender bias.

The campaign is running on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram and features a video showing men, women, boys and girls defying gender stereotypes, using clips from a number of its brands including Always and Secret. P&G brands including Pantene, Ariel and Fairy have all done ads on gender equality themes in recent years, but this is the first time it has brought them together under the corporate umbrella.

“We are leveraging our insights to uncover gender bias and taking actions to spark conversations that motivate change. We believe it is our responsibility to be a good corporate citizen.” Stefan Feitoza, P&G marketing director for Northern Europe

The Women’s Funding Network

The Women’s Funding Network is a growing community of more than 100 women’s funds and foundations spanning 14 countries, with a string of successful campaigns to its name.

One example is the three-year program run by Women Win, which reached more than 65,000 adolescent girls and young women in seven countries. As a result, nine out of 10 girls involved in the scheme know that a woman has the right to say no to sex, 70% know where to get money to start a business, 97% of their parents had an improved perception of their daughter as a leader, and 8 out of 10 now know how to prevent pregnancy, compared to only three out of 10 before.

The Young Women’s Initiative (YWI) is an official adviser committee for young women, and in many cases women of color, marginalized women, who—more than simply having a place and space to come together—are given direct access to policymakers. In New York, that adviser committee works with the mayor of New York. In Minnesota, they work with the governor. They are talking about the issues that young women are facing, based on research on the status of women and girls; and as advisers, they are giving solutions.

Charity Launches Digital Campaign to Impact Education

ONE launched the #GirlsCount, a digital campaign demanding education for all girls. Figures from the charity show that 130 million girls are not in school. And because poverty is sexist, girls in the poorest countries are less likely to receive an education than boys. This means a generation of girls is being denied the education they need to get a job, broaden their opportunities and break the cycle of poverty.

#GirlsCount features people across the world joining forces by filming themselves counting a number between one and 130 million out loud. People who want help change the lives of millions of girls around the world can join the campaign by counting a number and posting the video or picture online.

The charity plans to combine the videos into the world’s longest ever film to urge world leaders to take the action needed to ensure every girl receives a quality education.
“It’s easy for huge statistics like 130 million girls out of school to wash over people. So we want to break this number down and give it the humanity it deserves – each and every number between one and 130 million is a girl somewhere in the world who wants an education. We also want to move away from the usual celebrity PSA and create a movement owned by all of the people who care about this crisis.” – ONE Campaign’s chief marketing officer Roxane Philson

CSR Sample Principles & Strategies

Best Practice Tips

• The most important is to consider the communities that you serve, where you do business and figure out what the needs are in those particular communities for women and girls.
• From there you can build a strategy and prioritize what action you might want to take to address those needs.
• It is also important to think about how this work aligns with your particular brand and business goals as well. For instance, many women’s ERGs at organizations with goals to improve the representation of women in their technical and science-based lines of business, might provide STEM education programs for girls because there is a need in the community AND it helps them build a pipeline of potential talent for their organization.

Coke: CSR Criteria

Five key criteria should be met in order to have an impact:
• Share what you know. This includes your expertise, your know-how—what you do better than anyone else. Specialized know-how is often far more valuable than money.
• Get going. Pilot, see what works, tweak what doesn’t and scale up from there. Perfection is the enemy of very good.
• Team up with the right partners. The right partners make all the difference.
• Hold people and partners accountable. Very little progress happens without accountability.
• Make it sustainable. In Tanzania, Coke is sharing its distribution expertise with the Medical Stores Department, which can use and expand their new system indefinitely.

The Women’s Funding Network: CSR Principles

• Redefining economic security by challenging social assumptions and beliefs that, for example, keep women out of nontraditional fields, such as construction, plumbing, and transportation.
• Affecting behavior by supporting women through programs that provide tools, skills, education, and services for women to gain access to living wage jobs—and keep them.
• Promoting policies that support working families and women’s equality in the workplace, such as equal pay and paid family and medical leave.
• Building critical mass by engaging advocates, forming cross-sector alliances, and training diverse groups of women leaders.
• Maintaining past gains in advancing women’s economic security—often in the face of opposition.

Ingersoll-Rand: Roadmap to CSR

To align global businesses and employees with a common vision for corporate citizenship, Ingersoll Rand has established the Ingersoll Rand Global Citizenship Council. The Council will strive to make recommendations that focus resources on areas where Ingersoll Rand can make a difference. The Council and the Ingersoll Rand Foundation’s corporate philanthropy program are guided by these core principles:

Achieving Impact

Our objective is to make resource investments that lead to measurable, observable changes in people, communities and the environment.

Advancing Business Community Synergy

Corporate citizenship for its own sake is intrinsically valuable. Our philanthropic efforts are responsive to both our communities and our business interests, and effectively use our unique resources.

Community Responsiveness

Our philanthropic efforts are responsive to identified needs in the community that are appropriate for our involvement.

Employee Preference

The interests and preferences and volunteer efforts of our employees are recognized in the community programs we support.

Globalization and Diversity

Awareness of people, issues, communities and environments around the world, is an important element of our corporate citizenship responsibility.

Inspiring Progress and Sustainability

Working toward sustainable solutions requires an integrated view of a community and the various issues and indicators that link that community’s environment, society and economy.

It will be the policy of Ingersoll Rand to focus corporate charitable contributions on those areas recommended by the Global Citizenship Council.

Ingersoll-Rand: CSR Principles

Educational Scholarships

The Ingersoll Rand Scholarship Program fosters employee goodwill by rewarding, recognizing and supporting the academic success of our employees’ children throughout their college careers. High school juniors and seniors are eligible for merit scholarships of up to $2,500 (USD) annually for one to four years per recipient. The program is
available on a global basis. In addition to academic accomplishments, financial need is an important factor in selecting award recipients.


Named “Dollars for Doers,” our volunteer program rewards individuals and employee teams who donate their time to community causes with a gift from the Foundation to eligible nonprofit organizations. The amount of the donation corresponds with the number of hours volunteered and the needs of the organization selected.

Philanthropic Core Principles

Achieving Impact

Our objective is to make resource investments that lead to measurable, observable changes in people, communities and the environment.

Advancing Business-Community Synergy

Corporate citizenship for its own sake is intrinsically valuable. Our philanthropic efforts are responsive to both our
communities and our business interests, and effectively use our unique resources.

Community Responsiveness

Our philanthropic efforts are responsive to identified needs in the community that are appropriate for our involvement.

Employee Preference

The interests and preferences and volunteer efforts of our employees are recognized in the community programs we support.

Globalization and Diversity

Awareness of people, issues, communities and environments around the world, is an important element of our corporate citizenship responsibility.

Inspiring Progress and Sustainability

Working toward sustainable solutions requires an integrated view of a community and the various issues and indicators that link that community’s environment, society and economy.

Cummins: CSR Strategy

Community Needs Assessments

To better understand the critical issues facing Cummins’ regions and localities, employees use the company’s Community Needs Assessment (CNA) tool. CNAs follow a five-step process for gathering data and opinions and can be customized based on a site’s local needs, geographic location and culture.

ABO and Regional Strategies

Long-term strategies were created by Cummins leaders from each Area Business Organization (ABO) and the company’s headquarters community in Southern Indiana to focus employees’ work in Corporate Responsibility. Strategies are based on outcomes from community needs assessments, input from partners and the strengths of Cummins’ business units, functions, and employees.

Site Plans

Cummins leaders develop local site plans to ensure employees’ Corporate Responsibility work is aligned with the company’s regional strategies. Integral to those plans is the identification of desired “Y” outputs—just like in the company’s Six Sigma data- based approach to solving manufacturing defects—which enable employees to measure the impact of their work.

Community Development Grants

Community Development Grants (CDGs) from the Cummins Foundation build on employees’ engagement and help
amplify the impact their work has on communities. Requests for CDGs are made by Cummins employees in coordination with their local partners. The Cummins Foundation will consider only organizations that are non-discriminatory in their policies and practices with regard to physical or mental abilities, gender, race, age, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, and/or creed.

Community Impact Six Sigma

Community Impact Six Sigma (CISS) projects address external and internal Corporate Responsibility needs using Cummins employees’ business skills and training. CISS projects focus on either improving an identified need for a community partner, solving a community problem in conjunction with a local partner or improving an internal Cummins process that provides an indirect benefit to the community.

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