The 2014 State of Corporate Citizenship shows that executives are finding more value in corporate citizenship than ever before. This support is imperative to the success of CSR initiatives. Corporate citizenship professionals are increasingly expected to quantitatively demonstrate the impacts of their programs to measure the results of company investments in both the business and social arenas. By evaluating and measuring their programs, corporate citizenship professionals can establish the value of their efforts and obtain the data necessary to continually improve programs—and also gain executive buy-in.
Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) programs are only as strong as the data they are built on. That’s why the most effective corporate citizenship professionals consistently gather, evaluate, and measure all available data to create initiatives that are tied to business strategy and leverage the skills and expertise of their colleagues. They set daring goals complete with milestones and targets. They are aware of all affected stakeholders and know how to reach them. They know what resources are available and which are needed for success. They continually assess, modify, and improve their efforts based on the most recent data to achieve the most business and social value possible.
“Be a surfer. Watch the ocean. Figure out where the big waves are breaking and adjust accordingly,” wrote Jason Fried and David Hansson, founders of internet company 37 Signals, when asked to describe their approach to strategy.As you scan the corporate citizenship ocean, what big waves do you see? Below, I have sketched out three questions and actions to help identify your company’s big corporate citizenship “waves.”
Through corporate citizenship, we can improve our companies—and our world. But how do others know what we are doing?
We can create a healthier planet through more sustainable operations and green innovations. We can foster a society that welcomes the contributions of all of its members and works to ensure the health and safety of its communities. We can drive financial performance. How do we know we’re getting to “better”? We set goals and report on progress towards them.
In January, policy makers, government agencies, and companies took advantage of the New Year spirit by recommitting to goals, setting targets, and measuring results in the environmental arena. Earlier this month, the Obama administration built on 2014’s advances in climate change policy—an effort the President reaffirmed during his 2015 State of the Union address— with a plan to limit methane emissions and the announcement of a federal “model rule” for states that don’t file carbon-cutting plans. In Canada, Ontario got closer to revealing its plan for carbon-pricing, and plans to unveil its strategy later this year.
The following originally appeared in the most recent issue of The Corporate Citizen, the Center’s magazine, and outlines Dell’s Legacy for Good Plan, a set of corporate citizenship goals for the year 2020. Come to the Center’s 2015 International Corporate Citizenship Conference to learn more about this ambitious program from Dell, the event’s convening sponsor.
In May 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry addressed Boston College’s graduating class and urged them to meet the threat of climate change head-on. His challenge to the next generation of leaders echoed his recent call to action to diplomats across the world, urging them to elevate the environment in everything they do and work together to adopt a new, ambitious environmental agreement by 2020.
- More than 120 world leaders attended the United Nations Climate Summit this past September in New York, and more than 400,000 protesters took to the streets during that same event.
- The European Union pledged to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions from its 28 member states by 20 percent in 2020 compared to 1990 levels.