This year marks the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship. The world is a very different place than it was 30 years ago. When the Center was established in 1985 with just 35 people from 35 companies connecting to our mission to help companies know more, do more, and achieve more with their environmental, social, and governance investments, debate about the human contributions to climate change had just begun in earnest and institutionalized corporate philanthropy and employee volunteer programs were new practices.
Today, the Center has grown to 420 members and our focus areas—along with the field of corporate citizenship—have evolved. We maintain our strong foundation in philanthropy and community involvement. Over the past 30 years of practice we have, as a field, many more standards, frameworks, and guidance documents available to aid companies in determining, disclosing, and reporting their environmental, social, and governance impacts and achievements. Research shows that companies that engage strategically can derive a number of benefits from participating in these initiatives if they are prepared to maximize the effort. In addition to the social and environmental good that can be derived from corporate engagement with the organizations that govern these various initiatives, benefit can accrue to the company as well: highlight corporate culture, inform strategy, establish accountability, provide transparency, stimulate dialogue with stakeholders, and engage employees
The Center has resources to help you make choices for prioritizing, participating, or disengaging with these processes and tools. No matter which framework or guidance document you are working with, the mission, goals, and purpose of leading corporate citizenship organizations—CDP, GRI, SASB, and UNGC—share with the BC Center for Corporate Citizenship a common goal: Make it a better world.
For 30 years, the Center has promoted the idea that companies have a role to play in making the world a better place.
Henry Ford famously noted that if he had asked customers what they wanted, they would have asked for faster horses.
Like Henry Ford, what you know, as corporate citizenship professionals, is that companies can lead consumers and markets—not to better versions of the status quo—but to better solutions.
This is your important work: creating a better future. In the Center’s most recent State of Corporate Citizenship study, the majority of executives—for the first time—anticipate investing more in in corporate citizenship over the next three years than they did in the previous.
Employers, employees and shareholders now agree: Corporate citizenship contributes to company success. We are proud of our community of member companies because it’s your work—on the environment, on social issues, and on governance—that has led to this increased commitment.
The Center member community is a powerful force for good in the world. We at the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship are here to support you and proud to have had the privilege for the last 30 years to do so.