Corporate Citizenship Blog

Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director

Katherine is executive director of the Center for Corporate Citizenship, Boston College Carroll School of Management, and part-time faculty in the Carroll School of Management. As executive director, she oversees all of the Center's activities and strategic ventures.
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Recent Posts

The key to sustainable business

Posted by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director on Sep 6, 2016 8:30:00 AM

Ideas_175px.jpgAs we head out of the dog days of summer, the transition to Fall brings more bustle to the rhythm of work and life for many of us.  It is easy to feel like the grind of our fast-paced business world will govern our every action and bit of our attention for the next 11 months. 

After all, our work is full of innumerable necessary tasks: prepare the sustainability report; develop the employee volunteer project; meet with the Green Teams to get the office recycling campaign going; create corporate citizenship talking points for your CEO’s next investor presentation; the list goes on and on…

Something’s gotta give, right?  Here’s one thing that you should never let slip off of your list:

Take time to ask, “What if…?”

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Topics: Business Perspectives, Corporate Citizenship, Executive Education, Management Practices

Corporate Citizenship Career Path

Posted by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director on Aug 25, 2016 9:36:51 AM

The following is excerpted from Issue 17 of The Corporate Citizen. To learn more about how you can develop the strategies and skills that will prepare you to lead your teams and colleagues to a new level, consider applying for our Leadership Academy, which will be help on campus at Boston College November 14-18. Also, check back for further insights from our Executive Forum in future Career Path installments.

For more than six years, the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship has benefited from the guidance and expertise of its Executive Forum. This unique network brings together senior-level professionals from a wide range of industries to provide corporate citizenship leadership, inspiration, and knowledge, and influence the public discourse of the role of business in society. Here, a sampling of Forum members share their journeys to corporate citizenship leadership, as well as what they’ve learned along the way.

Executive Forum at the 2016 International Corporate Citizenship Conference

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Topics: Corporate Citizenship, Executive Education

Sustainability reports getting attention from investors and regulators

Posted by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director on Aug 2, 2016 12:52:36 PM

going-green-tree-wellness-sustainability.jpgThis spring, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) opened for comment a review of its Regulation S-K filing—inviting comment on both form and substance of disclosures for companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges. Among many other matters, the SEC consultation document sought comment on whether disclosure on sustainability and other matters related to social policy should be mandated.

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Topics: Business Perspectives, Sustainability Reporting

Career and Learning in Corporate Citizenship

Posted by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director on Jul 29, 2016 10:00:00 AM

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

TabletWithCover.pngCorporate citizenship is a unique field in that, through its practice, we seek to address an enormous range of issues—from water stewardship to employee wellness to access to education.

Our mission of employing each company’s specific capabilities to provide quantifiable value to both business and society demands much of us as corporate citizenship professionals. To achieve it, each of us must have a thorough understanding of our company’s social and environmental impacts, an awareness of our stakeholders’ needs and interests, a strategy that addresses the issues that are material to our business and which our firm’s capabilities are best suited to tackle, and a way to measure and evaluate our impact.

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Topics: Executive Education, Responsible Corporate Leadership

Reporting on meaningful change

Posted by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director on Jul 2, 2016 9:30:00 AM

GRI-ReportingonMeaningfulChange.jpgIn the past few years, it has become increasingly clear that the efforts of the public and private sectors are inextricably linked. To meet ambitious social and environmental targets like those outlined in the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), progress must be tracked and evaluated by all the estates and actors of society.

It is clear in contemporary society that most stakeholders see companies as the actors that have the resources, know-how, and efficiency to achieve the social and environmental improvements necessary to realize the SDGs and goals of the Paris Agreement.

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Topics: Business Perspectives, Reporting

Demonstrate your value through strategic measurement

Posted by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director on Jun 1, 2016 10:15:46 AM

“I have been struck again and again by how important measurement is to improving the human condition.”—Bill Gates

When done right, corporate citizenship is a serious investment of money, resources, and time. To ensure that your CSR programs continue to receive the funding and attention they deserve, you must be able to demonstrate—to your leaders, your partners, and broader stakeholders—the return on that investment, or the ROI. What do your efforts offer the business? How do they advance the missions of your nonprofit partners? How are they benefiting your employees, customers, and shareholders? 

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Topics: Business Perspectives, Measurement

Corporate citizenship reporting advances ESG issues and your business

Posted by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director on May 18, 2016 8:59:01 AM

Today’s corporate citizenship reports are more engaging and relevant, and are communicating the positive environmental, social, governance, and business value that companies are creating. A corporate citizenship report was once a nice to have; now approximately 93 percent of the Global 250 issue them.

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Topics: Reporting

Understanding your material issues is essential to corporate citizenship success

Posted by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director on May 4, 2016 8:56:18 AM

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”—Albert Einstein

What did Einstein mean by this? There have been two spins on this statement. The first being that some things are too complex to be understood fully and thereafter simplified and the second being that real understanding allows us to focus on what matters and describe the problem to be solved.


Why is this relevant to the corporate citizenship practice? Our work context is incredibly complex. The arenas routinely touched by corporate citizenship programs include the natural environment, financial markets, investors, communities, employees. How do we balance those priorities? Creating a materiality assessment focused on opportunities for success and risk of negative outcomes is critically important. Understanding our goals as problems that we are solving for helps to keep in focus the most material facts of our case as they shift or intensify over time and guide our allocation of effort and resources. The Center has resources that can help you determine which issues are most important to your success.

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Topics: Business Perspectives, materality

Activate your corporate citizenship network

Posted by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director on Apr 5, 2016 2:20:55 PM

Just a few weeks ago, the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship held our annual International Corporate Citizenship Conference. More than 500 CSR experts joined us in Atlanta for nearly three days of insights, information, and sharing.


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Topics: Business Perspectives, Sustainability

Collaboration as key to a sustainable and prosperous future

Posted by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director on Mar 1, 2016 2:41:27 PM

We should not only use the brains we have but all that we can borrow.”-Woodrow Wilson

As corporate citizenship professionals, you have a uniquely important job. You are required to create, operate, and communicate in ways to differentiate your company from its competitors, and often expected to work with them—as well as with many other partners—to help address some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

Issues like climate change, global poverty and hunger, and future workforce preparation cannot be addressed by one program or organization alone—no matter how innovative or dedicated. Tackling these problems, and many others, requires the collaborative effort of many.

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Topics: Business Perspectives, Executive Education, CSR, Conference

About Us

Welcome to the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship blog, we are your resource for corporate citizenship insights, research, trending topics and executive education. Our blog is a place to exchange ideas and learn about corporate citizenship.

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