A few months ago, I wrote about the importance of operational resilience, and how corporate citizenship can play a role in helping companies survive and thrive. In order to compete and prosper over the long term—companies should do the work ahead of time that allows them to PASS through disruptions. To PASS, in short, is to:
Helping communities rebound from a traumatic event or natural disaster requires multi-level and cross-sector effort. There are immediate needs to be met—such as trauma support—and in the case of extreme weather events—food, water, and shelter. To make the most of their disaster relief programs, corporate citizenship professionals must partner internally and externally to make the best possible use of all available resources, from community involvement efforts like corporate giving and volunteering to more operational activities like security, logistics, and supply chain management.
Disasters, no matter what their scale, have economic ramifications in addition to the social and environmental consequences. According to the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, wildfires, floods, droughts, and other natural disasters were responsible for more than a trillion dollars in economic damage in 2015 and that number is only expected to increase as climate-related natural disasters become more frequent.
The following is excerpted from the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship’s research report, the Community Involvement Study 2015.
The 2015 Community Involvement Study finds that nearly all companies have a community involvement strategy or are in the process of setting one up. The most effective are those that align their programs with overall business objectives—bringing the unique skills and expertise of employees to bear on some of society’s toughest challenges.
As a property and casualty insurance company, Farmers Insurance knows well what challenges people face when they encounter natural disasters. Building from their core competency, Farmers has a dedicated team of staff members who handle only disaster response and are prepared to react in a moment’s notice.
Is your company contributing to the relief efforts in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan? According to the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Typhoon Haiyan affected a total of 9.5 million people across the Philippines and displaced at least 600,000 when it slammed into the country on November 8th. The aftermath of this natural disaster has ignited relief efforts worldwide. Several of our member companies have reached out to the Center to learn what others are doing and to share ways in which they are contributing.
As a company with deep roots in New England and a strong presence in Boston, we were deeply affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. Several of our colleagues were running the race while others were spectators just a few blocks away from the finish line. We quickly realized the magnitude of the tragedy and its impact on our local community. There was a great sense of urgency within the company to assist in the community's recovery in any way we could.
In my role as SVP of Community Relations and President of the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust, the private foundation of CVS Caremark, I’m responsible for creating and managing philanthropic programs that make a lasting impact on communities nationwide. We take pride in all that we do in our communities as a responsible corporate citizen and believe serving the community should be a priority for every business. Through CVS Caremark’s disaster relief efforts, such as our Hurricane Sandy response, we know firsthand an effective and nimble response is required when a community is recovering from tragedy. When Hurricane Sandy devastated many New York and New Jersey communities, CVS Caremark colleagues jumped into action to help. We worked quickly to reopen all stores that were closed due to the storm and in some cases we used generators to power stores located in areas that were coping with lingering power outages.