Corporate Citizenship Perspectives

Integrated corporate citizenship and the B Corp evolution

Posted by Stewart Rassier, Director of Executive Education on May 1, 2017 3:18:02 PM
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Connecting business and social value is the goal of corporate citizenship work, and our member companies are continually finding creative and meaningful ways to integrate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) priorities into their companies’ day-to-day operations. According to the Center’s State of Corporate Citizenship 2017, integrating corporate citizenship creates business value for companies (see Figure A), so it’s no wonder executives plan to increase funding to these efforts in the coming years (see Figure B).Figure9-A.jpg

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Some may choose to tie ESG factors into performance reviews and bonuses, others will use their core capabilities to strengthen the communities in which they live and work, or publish an integrated report. Still others are demonstrating their commitment to strong corporate citizenship through certification as a B Corporation.

You may have heard of B Corps, those companies who are institutionalizing what we know many companies are already doing; that is, voluntarily meeting rigorous standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability. Over the last decade, the number of Certified B Corporations has been steadily growing around the globe. Today, there are more than 2,000 “B Corps” from 42 countries and more than 120 industries. The B Corp vision—help companies compete to not just be the best IN the world, but the best FOR the world—is an elegant turn of phrase that captures the spirit of the movement.

You may be thinking that there’s no way your company would consider becoming a B Corp, and it’s true, it may not be the right path for every company. However, many companies are instead choosing to use the B Impact Assessment to measure and manage the social and environmental performance of their supply chains or subsidiaries, such as multinational food company Danone. Or you may become connected to a B Corp through a merger or acquisition, such as in the case of Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s, still a certified B Corp in its own right.

Members can check out a webinar on demand to hear from Kara Peck, head of B Corp Growth at B Lab, the nonprofit behind the B Corp certification, about what it means to be a Certified B Corp, and Blandine Stefani, marketing director at Danone Dairy UK, to learn how companies are using B Corp (and the associated tools and standards) in their impact management, acquisition strategies, and supply chain engagement. Not a member? Learn more about how the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship can help you get the most from your programs by calling 617 552 4545 or emailing ccc@bc.edu.

Topics: Sustainability Reporting, B Corp

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