Corporate Citizenship Blog

From survive to thrive: Maintaining resilience to succeed in the long term

Posted by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director on Mar 1, 2017 11:53:17 AM

“…Time and the world do not stand still. Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.” ~John F. Kennedy

British Standard, BKVSBlog-TargetLastinImpact-1.pngS65000 (2014) defines "organizational resilience" as "ability of an organization to anticipate, prepare for, and respond and adapt to incremental change and sudden disruptions in order to survive and prosper."

Corporate citizenship has a unique role to play in ensuring your company continues to thrive even in difficult times. A well-designed corporate citizenship program is the foundation to being able to weather adverse events. There are four critical practices to help any company PASS through disruptions and continue to thrive:

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Topics: Business Perspectives, Corporate Citizenship, Management Practices, Responsible Corporate Leadership

Stakeholder engagement as strategy development

Posted by Colleen Olphert, Director, Membership and Member Services on Feb 10, 2017 2:26:52 PM

The following is excerpted from The State of Corporate Citizenship 2017. To learn more about how you can prioritize the corporate citizenship issues that are most important to your stakeholders and business context, consider joining online from February 20-April 17, 2017 for our Materiality: Determining Priorities for Corporate Citizenship Strategy and Reporting course.

While the 2017 State of Corporate Citizenship shows a declining interest in formal stakeholder engagement among executive respondents, engaging with both internal and external audiences can be an important component of any corporate citizenship program. Through stakeholder engagement, companies can fully understand their social, environmental, and economic impacts, and prioritize the issues that are most important to both stakeholders and their business context.

Many companies, like CBRE—the world’s largest commercial real estate services firm—use the insights they gather from stakeholders to inform a materiality assessment, creating a roadmap for more strategic time and resource allocation, and more comprehensive reporting.

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Topics: Corporate Citizenship, Stakeholder Enagement, materality, Sustainability Reporting

Leading change across sectors and sects

Posted by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director on Feb 1, 2017 11:45:05 AM

Who matters most: shareholders or the people? Around the world a revolt seems under way. A growing cohort—perhaps a majority—of citizens want corporations to be cuddlier, invest more at home, pay higher taxes and wages and employ more people, and are voting for politicians who say they will make all that happen. Yet according to law and convention in most rich countries, firms are run in the interest of shareholders, who usually want companies to use every legal means to maximize their profits…executives fear that they cannot reconcile these two impulses. Should they fire staff, trim costs and expand abroad—and face the wrath of Donald Trump’s Twitter feed, the disgust of their children, and the risk that they’ll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes?... Or do they bend to popular opinion and allow profits to fall, inviting the danger that, in the run up to their 2018 annual general meeting, a fund manager…will topple them for underperformance?

Schumpeter, "Six sects of shareholder value," The Economist, January 21, 2017

All corporate citizenship work is about change. Every environmental or social investment made by a company is about using the assets of business to change our operating context for the better. This should be a no-brainer, right? Isn’t any change for the better, well…good? The rhetoric put forth in The Economist’s Schumpeter column earlier this month presents with wry humor a range of six corporate responses to the question it proposes and highlights the conflicts that arise from competing social and economic perspectives. 

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Topics: Business Perspectives, Corporate Citizenship, Management Practices, Responsible Corporate Leadership

The 2017 State of Corporate Citizenship released

Posted by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director on Jan 27, 2017 11:01:28 AM

Since 2003, the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship has examined in the State of Corporate Citizenship study how executives view corporate citizenship and their firms' performance in the environmental, social, and governance dimensions of business. Over the past 14 years, we’ve seen executives come to fully appreciate the vital role that corporate citizenship plays in achieving key business goals.

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Topics: Corporate Citizenship, Research, Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, Value of corporate social responsibility

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: Business Perspectives, Corporate Citizenship, Sustainability, Reporting, Management Practices, Measurement, Sustainability Reporting, SDGs

Understanding the executive perspectives for success

Posted by Colleen Olphert, Director, Membership and Member Services on Dec 28, 2016 8:00:00 AM

At the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, we have been busy finishing the analysis of our 2017 study on the executive perspectives about corporate citizenship, and expect the final report to be released in January 2017.

The Center has been surveying executives and reporting on the role of corporate citizenship in achieving business success in our State of Corporate Citizenship study since 2003. Over the past 14 years, much has changed. The global economy has recovered from two historic recessions, markets have become increasingly connected and electronic, and the threat of climate change has come to the forefront of popular consciousness.

SOCC17_Fig-A.jpg

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Topics: Corporate Citizenship, Research, Value of corporate social responsibility

2017 Film Festival Call for Entries is Now Open

Posted by Patricia MacKenzie, Director of Marketing & Communications on Nov 3, 2016 8:00:00 AM

We're delighted to announce that the call for entries is now open for our 9th annual International Corporate Citizenship Film Festival, the largest film festival devoted exclusively to celebrating the work of corporate social responsibility (CSR) professionals, their companies, and programs. Part of the 2017 International Corporate Citizenship Conference, this year's Film Festival is presented by FedEx.

“Each year, through video storytelling, we highlight the tremendous work accomplished by corporate citizenship professionals from around the world,” said Katherine V. Smith, executive director, Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship. “By showcasing these exceptional programs and initiatives—and the creative ways in which they’re shared—we strive to inspire others to do even more great work.”

Since the inaugural event in 2009, the Film Festival has received more than 400 submissions. Among last year’s winning entries were films that featured STEM education, lifelong fitness and well-being, and access to quality healthcare for uninsured individuals. Here's an overview of last year's finalists:

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Topics: Corporate Citizenship, CSR, Conference, Film Festival

Corporate Citizenship Career Path: Executive Forum

Posted by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director on Oct 24, 2016 3:41:16 PM

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.

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.

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Executive Forum at the 2016 International Corporate Citizenship Conference

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Topics: Corporate Citizenship, Executive Education

Corporate Citizen Magazine Issue 18: Data Make Meaning

Posted by Patricia MacKenzie, Director of Marketing & Communications on Oct 14, 2016 8:56:54 AM

The Fall 2016 [Data Make Meaning] issue of the Corporate Citizen Magazine is now available!

TabletwithIssue18.jpgIn this issue, you'll learn about companies that are collecting and using data to create innovative programs, address social and environmental issues, and measure and report on their progress.

Highlights include:

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Topics: Corporate Citizenship, Reporting, Data Philanthropy, Value of corporate social responsibility

2017 Conference: Corporate Citizenship Ecosystems

Posted by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director on Oct 4, 2016 9:00:00 AM

In the more than three decades since the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship was founded, so much in our field has changed. Corporate citizenship has gone from a sideline effort of a few well-meaning companies to a strategic business imperative deemed vital by the majority of executives. Why has this shift occurred? Because business leaders have come to recognize that corporate citizenship delivers business AND social value—and that both of these are crucial to achieving sustainable growth.

In the last three decades, the role of a corporate citizenship professional has evolved.  While many still operate in small teams, you have become experts at drawing on the ideas and information, expertise, effort, and financial support of your internal and external partners to advance your businesses, your communities, and our world.

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Topics: Business Perspectives, Corporate Citizenship, CSR, Conference, Responsible Corporate Leadership

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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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