Here at the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, we're pleased to release our Profile of the Professionals 2018 study, a research project that examines the roles, responsibilities, development, and compensation of corporate social responsibility (CSR) professionals. Its findings—based on survey results from 932 corporate citizenship professionals—provide insight into how CSR professionals at all levels assess the skills they need to be effective in their roles and what they perceive as the greatest challenges they must overcome.
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 October 2-November 22, 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.
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.
The following is excerpted from Issue 15 of The Corporate Citizen. To learn more about how you can inform and improve your programs through stakeholder engagement, consider joining us for our course: Stakeholder Engagement: Identify, Prioritize, and Act.
To tackle global issues like climate change, poverty, and health and wellness, individuals across sectors have to work together cooperatively.
Every day at the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, we work with companies to realize their full capacity to create global change, and we know that work is not undertaken alone.
Our members think carefully about how their local engagements contribute to the bigger picture and about their impacts on a variety of stakeholders. Our members engage with those outside the corporate walls to understand where they can put their assets to work and how they can prevent negative impacts. These companies engage a broad range of supporters AND critics to ensure well-informed decisions based on a variety of perspectives.
Since 1995, the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship has studied how companies invest in communities and how these efforts connect to their businesses—and has published the findings in the Community Involvement study. Over the past 20 years, we’ve witnessed the role of community involvement evolve to become a strategic component of business.
Effective corporate citizenship programs look not only at the social issues they seek to address, but also at the root causes of those issues, assessing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues both at the macro and micro levels simultaneously.
Philanthropy and community engagement have become integral parts of business, but there are many ways and means by which companies can organize and manage such efforts. For some companies, foundations offer a convenient mechanism to oversee social investments, while others may choose to give solely from within a corporate giving platform. We know that society’s expectations of firms are high and there are therefore many reasons a company may decide to give, including:
- More than 120 world leaders attended the United Nations Climate Summit this past September in New York, and more than 400,000 protesters took to the streets during that same event.
- The European Union pledged to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions from its 28 member states by 20 percent in 2020 compared to 1990 levels.
Today, April 22nd, marks the 44th annual Earth Day, a worldwide celebration of commitment to the protection of the environment. According to National Geographic more than 1 billion people around the world will celebrate earth day in more than 190 countries. This annual day of action allows people of all walks of life, from individuals to major corporations, to demonstrate their commitment to the protection of the Earth. Below are three ways companies are participating in Earth Day: