Corporate Citizenship Perspectives

21st Century Corporate Citizenship: A Practical Conversation

Posted by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director on May 3, 2017 10:01:36 AM

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:

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Topics: Corporate Citizenship, Conference, Communication, 21st Century Corporate Citizenship, Vision, Leadership, Executive

Announcing the 2017 Corporate Citizenship Film Festival Finalists

Posted by Patricia MacKenzie, Director of Marketing & Communications on Mar 6, 2017 10:50:25 AM

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 Festivalpresented by FedExis 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

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Topics: Corporate Citizenship, Conference, Film Festival, Communication, Global, Storytelling

Vote for your favorite corporate citizenship story

Posted by Patricia MacKenzie, Director of Marketing & Communications on Jan 17, 2017 12:46:12 PM

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.

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Topics: Corporate Citizenship, Conference, Film Festival, Communication

The more things change...

Posted by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director on Jan 3, 2017 8:00:00 AM

“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. 

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Topics: Corporate Citizenship, Reporting, Communication, Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)

The Power of Storytelling

Posted by Patricia MacKenzie, Director of Marketing & Communications on Dec 14, 2016 9:08:28 AM

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.

2016_film_festival_winners.jpgFrom left to right: Jamie Mercurio of athenahealth, Catherine McGlown of Humana, Chandra Gruber of St. Jude Medical, and Sarah Andersen of Thermo Fisher Scientific.

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Topics: Corporate Citizenship, Conference, Film Festival, Communication, Storytelling

Reflecting on the season of giving

Posted by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director on Nov 1, 2016 9:41:37 AM

HiRes.jpgThe 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.

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Topics: Philanthropy, Engaging Employees, Volunteer, Communication, Giving, Community

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 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: Corporate Citizenship, Communication, Stakeholder, Materiality, Strategy

Want to achieve corporate citizenship progress? Include your supply chain

Posted by Stewart Rassier, Director of Executive Education on Jan 12, 2016 9:02:22 AM

SupplyChain_shutterstock_1909174041.gifA 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.

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Topics: Environment, Sustainability, Communication, Supply Chain Management

Integrating corporate citizenship across the value chain

Posted by Colleen Olphert, Director, Membership and Member Services on Aug 11, 2015 11:30:00 AM

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.

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Topics: Corporate Citizenship, Membership, Supply Chain, Communication, Integration

JetBlue moves people through employee engagement

Posted by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director on Jul 28, 2015 1:11:06 PM

Jetblue_Moves_PeopleThe following member spotlight is excerpted from The Corporate Citizen, the Center’s magazine, and illustrates the importance of strategic communication in effective corporate citizenship programs. 
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Topics: Corporate Citizenship, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Engaging Employees, Communication, Align, Workplace

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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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