Progress presupposes change. The ability to anticipate change, and thrive through it, is resilience. Corporate citizenship delivers resilience—the capability to prepare for challenges and opportunities in our operating contexts—to deliver the results that we seek for our companies and in our communities. As corporate citizenship leaders, we should cultivate four important behaviors to develop resilience: we should scan, analyze, experiment, and evolve—our programs, our contexts, and ourselves.
Each year, the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship gathers CSR leaders from around the world for two and a half days of learning, sharing, and growing. This year, the Conference is hosted by Travelers, a company who has, for more than 160 years, helped individuals and organizations foster resilience, invest in responsibility, and deliver results.
The following is excerpted from Issue 23 of The Corporate Citizen. To learn how to differentiate your company by developing strategic commitments to managing natural resources, consider joining us in Dallas, TX May 2-3, 2018 for our Environmental Sustainability 101 course.
ArcelorMittal’s business operations are undeniably widereaching: The company has 199,000 employees across 60 countries who together contribute to the annual production capacity of approximately 113 million metric tons of crude steel, which is used to serve markets such as automotive, construction, and household appliances. While the scope and impact of ArcelorMittal’s work is impressive, the sustainability efforts undertaken by its employees are arguably even more so.
In 2014, the ArcelorMittal team completed a thorough and strategic materiality process, which laid the groundwork for the creation of a sustainable development framework. “We knew we had really good CSR initiatives that were having positive impacts, and that we had great relationships with our partners,” said Marcy Twete, executive director, ArcelorMittal USA Foundation; division manager, corporate responsibility, ArcelorMittal Americas. “But what we were missing was a big-picture strategy that would match our work to what the company was doing commercially.”
Long-term sustainability has taken a backseat to short-term profitability since the 1970s when the quarterly earnings report became standard operating procedure and the horizon of return was shortened to that period. Today, however, the global community is shouldering collectively the burden of looming and interconnected universal challenges, such as climate change, food security, humanitarian crises, and inequality. Because of their scale and complexity, these issues cannot be solved by one government or one company or even one industry or one sector. Instead, they demand a concerted effort that harnesses the best resources and talents of governments, NGOs, the private sector, and civil society.
To maximize results from corporate citizenship investments, CSR professionals must be sure to measure and evaluate the impacts created by environmental, social, and governance (ESG) activities. By properly measuring impact, companies gain the data and insights necessary to communicate maximum business and social value to stakeholders, strengthen corporate citizenship programs, and demonstrate a strategic link between corporate citizenship and business success. However, strategically measuring corporate citizenship means moving beyond the reporting of activities and outputs, and instead emphasizing outcomes and long-term impacts.
The following is excerpted from Issue 19 of The Corporate Citizen. To learn more about how you can demonstrate the value of your corporate citizenship programs through data and metrics, consider joining us Dec. 6-8 in Pheonix, AZ for our Measurement and Evaluation course, also available online Jan. 8-Mar. 2, 2018 .
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:
Predict and prepare: Be proactive, not reactive.
Align your program with business strategy: Scan for risks, do what you can to avert them, and have a plan “B”.
Sponsorship: Enlist groups across and beyond the organization to make sure that everyone knows their role and why it is important.
Systems thinking: Consider technology systems, business processes, AND all of the people who interact with them. How can you build flexibility and redundancy in the systems so that if one node in your network is compromised, you can continue to operate?
The following is excerpted from The State of Corporate Citizenship 2017. To learn more about how you can use measurement tools to capture the value your corporate citizenship programs create for both the company and the community, consider joining in New Orleans on January 17-18, 2018 for our Advanced Corporate Citizenship Measurement: Logic Model and ROI course.
To achieve key business goals and make a lasting impact on social and environmental issues, companies are investing in corporate citizenship efforts. The Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship’s State of Corporate Citizenship 2017 finds that when companies commit to an activity—such as the development of environmentally friendly products—for more than four years, executives are much more likely to report success in meeting their goals.
Measuring and evaluating corporate citizenship efforts are critical steps in managing and improving programs. Increasingly, your stakeholders—executives, investors, customers, and employees to name a few—expect that the results of corporate citizenship investments can be quantified. Research shows that careful planning and evaluation can strengthen corporate citizenship performance, and deliver benefits such as improved reputation, higher employee engagement, and better resource management. One recent study showed that firms that create formal corporate citizenship programs that included specific targets and measures outperformed financially companies that did not over the long term.[i]
“I have been struck again and again by how important measurement is to improving the human condition.”—Bill Gates
When done right, corporate citizenship is a serious investment of money, resources, and time. To ensure that your CSR programs continue to receive the funding and attention they deserve, you must be able to demonstrate—to your leaders, your partners, and broader stakeholders—the return on that investment, or the ROI. What do your efforts offer the business? How do they advance the missions of your nonprofit partners? How are they benefiting your employees, customers, and shareholders?