LONDON AND SAN FRANCISCO, May 14, 2009, The Economist — In June Gap, a big retailer based in San Francisco, will hold a strategy meeting for its corporate social responsibility (CSR) team. In previous years that meant flying in people from 20 countries around the world. But this time the company plans to bring them together virtually, via online meetings. The main reason for the switch is not to help save the planet by reducing Gap’s carbon footprint, but to help save money. “Everyone’s looking to become more efficient,” explains Dan Henkle, who leads the company’s CSR activities.
April 8, 2009, The Economist — In a Manhattan park on March 31st the Unemployment Olympics took place. Participants competed in events such as the “Telephone Toss” and “Pin the Blame on the Bosses”. But other unemployed people are looking for charity work to occupy their time. Many non-profit organisations are seeing an increase in people looking to help. Even before the economic crisis, AmeriCorps, a programme which takes young volunteers for a year, was turning away two applicants for every one it accepted. Teach for America, which sends recent college graduates to teach in needy schools, saw 35,000 students apply for up to 4,000 openings this year. In February VolunteerNYC.org, New York’s public-service site, saw a 27% increase in visitors compared with a year ago.