Last month, during the 2017 International Corporate Citizenship Conference, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Richard Pearl, vice president and global corporate responsibility officer of State Street Corporation, and Dave Stangis, vice president of corporate responsibility and chief sustainability officer for the Campbell Soup Company, to discuss the book I co-authored with Dave—21st Century Corporate Citizenship: A Practical Guide to Delivering Value to Society and Your Business. Together, we touched on the writing process, the terrific contributions of our colleagues in the Executive Forum, and our expectations for our field’s future. Below you can find a video excerpting a portion of the discussion and a transcript of our complete remarks:
Congratulations to the 2017 Corporate Citizenship Film Festival Finalists!
The public voting has closed and YOU have chosen the top nine finalists for 2017. Thank you to all the companies that entered. The Corporate Citizenship Film Festival—presented by FedEx—is proud to honor excellence in corporate citizenship and recognize your important work.
The winner of each category, including a special award for Fan Favorite (based on votes) and Best in Show (based on overall excellence in storytelling, production, and the connection of corporate citizenship to business value) will be announced at the 2017 International Corporate Citizenship Conference, held in Boston March 26-28.
Interested in entering for 2018? Email email@example.com.
Each year, the Corporate Citizenship Film Festival provides companies with an opportunity to demonstrate how they have utilized video as a tool to communicate their environmental, social, and governance efforts. In this year’s competition—sponsored by FedEx—companies are showcasing how they are making a positive impact in communities on their corner and around the world. Community involvement, economic development, and environmental stewardship are just some of the topics which were touched on by the 2017 participants.
“To improve is to change, to be perfect is to change often.”—Winston Churchill
Investment in a stable and prosperous society is an investment in future business performance. We’ve seen corporate commitment to this ideal in action during the development and ratification of the 2015 Paris Agreement, the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and in the fight for U.S. marriage equality. More and more, companies are vocalizing their support of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues—and are executing strategic plans to create the change they know is required to achieve a sustainable economy.
The emerging U.S. policy agenda could make the work even more challenging than it has been for the last decade. Especially if it is in conflict with the policies of global market economies in which your company likely operates. So what is to be done? Cling tightly to your coffee mug that reads, “stay calm and carry on” and do just that. There is overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is real and human induced and socio-economic research that underscores the social ills that accompany inequality. The companies that have the courage to be among the first to make real commitments to improving the environmental and social conditions in their operating environments are the ones that have the opportunity to use those commitments as positive differentiators with institutional investors, customers, and the general public.
Every year, the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship holds the International Corporate Citizenship Film Festival to celebrate not only the great work that companies are doing to achieve social, environmental, and business value, but also the creative methods in which they communicate their efforts. Public voting for the 2017 Film Festival—presented by FedEx—is now open. Vote for the winning video before February 17, 2017. Winners will be announced during the 2017 International Corporate Citizenship Conference, held in Boston on March 26-28.
For the 2016 competition, the Center introduced competition categories for the first time to recognize a wider selection of terrific programs. The award ceremony, sponsored by Mary Kay Inc., was held during the 2016 International Corporate Citizenship Conference in Atlanta. There, Kirsten Gappelberg, director of corporate social responsibility & sustainability at Mary Kay, shared the mindset that enables her team to create award-winning videos that increase engagement around their signature cause—domestic violence.
From left to right: Jamie Mercurio of athenahealth, Catherine McGlown of Humana, Chandra Gruber of St. Jude Medical, and Sarah Andersen of Thermo Fisher Scientific.
The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes an increased focus on corporate giving initiatives. From localized donations such as food and toy drives to broader efforts like the annual #GivingTuesday campaign, companies are ramping up their corporate giving programs. As our calendar year comes to an end and many are moving into new budget cycles this spring, it is a good time to assess your giving strategy and make sure it is designed to maximize both social and business value. All giving is good AND you can increase the effectiveness of your company’s giving program by employing the resources and capabilities unique to you, addressing the causes most relevant to your business operating context, and mobilizing your employees. If you activate your program on all three of these fronts, you will make an impact that continues well beyond the holidays.
“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 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.
A company’s corporate citizenship impact extends well beyond the four walls of the corporate headquarters. A significant amount of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) impact occurs within supply chains, whether it is greenhouse gas emissions, vendor performance, labor conditions within a supplier’s factory, or the sourcing of materials.
The following member spotlight is excerpted from the most recent issue of The Corporate Citizen. To learn more about how you can focus resources and attention on the issues most important to your company’s stakeholders and business context, consider joining us for our CDP Reporting: Disclosing Environmental Impacts course.
Today, consumers are likely to hold firms responsible for the impacts of their products, regardless of where within the value chain the impact occurs. That’s why many companies are taking steps now to ensure that their corporate citizenship objectives are shared by their suppliers and business partners.