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integrity—that says, “We always try to do the right thing.”
Since people come in young, move through P&G, and
create organic networks, there’s a strong sense of trust
and unity. Like The Home Depot, P;G promotes primarily
from within, which makes it easier to build a strong
corporate culture since most employees have a long
tenure with the company. P;G is also encouraging sustainability
behavior and culture through another core
value—ownership—that expects employees to act like
owners, treating the company’s assets as their own and
behaving with the company’s long-term success in mind.
A lot of Nike employees intuitively believe that sustainability
is the right thing. This mind-set builds the brand.
Sustainability is integrated into the rhythm of the business,
including employee engagement and encouraging
employees to contribute their ideas. Young employees,
many of them ex-athletes with a strong spirit of competitiveness
and entrepreneurship; young customers; and a
strong culture around sustainability, success, and innovation
reinforce and support the sustainability actions.
At Nissan North America, the mind-set and actions
focus on environmental impacts. Environmental issues
cascade down to the analyst level. “I’d like to think our
culture has evolved such that we weave in environmental
concerns,” one senior manager said. To shift mind-sets,
99% of the staff has gone through green training to gain
understanding and sustainability awareness, which the
company views as integral for acceptance of corporate
social responsibility initiatives. At the core of the company’s
corporate culture is the Nissan Way, which includes a
April 2010 I STRATEGIC FINANCE 45
“cross-functional, cross-cultural” business approach and a
“commit and target” strategy. Nissan expects to achieve
profitable, sustainable growth into the future. Creating a
corporate culture that values the environment continues
to be one of Nissan’s major objectives. Activities vary
across the plants, but they generally include monthly
newsletters to raise staff awareness about the environment,
participation of the plant’s workforce in facility
inspections and lectures, participation in environmental
management system training, etc.
Sustainability is a personal issue at all four companies.
They want to do something good. Company leaders at
Nike don’t tell people what to do but rather—”just do it.”
The P;G motto is “go and make it happen,” so employees
find a way to make it work. These aren’t companies of
dictates.
These companies perform annual culture assessments
and encourage employees to participate in anonymous
surveys. Employees participate because they’ve already
experienced that their voices were heard. The Home
Depot’s CEO, for example, reviews all employee
suggestions—some 300 to 400 per week—and posts
responses to many of them. Nissan regularly carries out
worldwide employee surveys, gauging employees’ attitudes
and using the survey results to help improve the
company’s management and corporate culture.
The Home Depot, in particular, has found volunteerism
to be a critical building block of corporate culture.
The company espouses eight core values: excellent

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