Corporate Citizenship Perspectives

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: Corporate Citizenship, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Sustainability, Management, Responsible Corporate Leadership, Engagement

The business case for youth mentoring

Posted by Stewart Rassier, Director of Executive Education on Sep 28, 2016 8:00:00 AM

In the United States, approximately 5.6 million youth between the ages of 16 and 24 are disconnected from school and work, and many are not getting the support they need to drive greater engagement. One in three young people— nearly 16 million— will reach the age of 19 without having ever had a mentor in their life of any kind. These rates are even higher for at-risk youth, who experience higher rates of poverty, limited networks, and under-resourced schools.[1] Research shows that even one positive, consistent, caring, relationship with an adult can offset nearly every risk factor in a young person’s life and improve their chances of success.

Today, companies of all sizes are recognizing the role they can play in filling this “mentorship gap” and have simultaneously discovered that they can use mentorship programs to realize both business and corporate responsibility goals. According to the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship’s most recent Community Involvement Study, companies consistently rank youth programs as one of the most important social issues addressed through their community involvement efforts (See Figure A).

Mentoring_Figure_A.jpg

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Topics: Management, Value of Corporate Citizenship, Business Case, Youth, Return on Investment (ROI)

The key to sustainable business

Posted by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director on Sep 6, 2016 8:30:00 AM

Ideas_175px.jpgAs we head out of the dog days of summer, the transition to Fall brings more bustle to the rhythm of work and life for many of us.  It is easy to feel like the grind of our fast-paced business world will govern our every action and bit of our attention for the next 11 months. 

After all, our work is full of innumerable necessary tasks: prepare the sustainability report; develop the employee volunteer project; meet with the Green Teams to get the office recycling campaign going; create corporate citizenship talking points for your CEO’s next investor presentation; the list goes on and on…

Something’s gotta give, right?  Here’s one thing that you should never let slip off of your list:

Take time to ask, “What if…?”

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Topics: Corporate Citizenship, Management, Strategy

Employee Leave Policies : eBay Raises the Bar

Posted by Colleen Olphert, Director, Membership and Member Services on Jun 17, 2016 12:57:33 PM

The following is excerpted from Issue 16 of The Corporate Citizen magazine. To learn more about how companies are using corporate citizenship to achieve business and social value, check out our issue archive.

As a global commerce leader that connects millions of buyers and sellers around the world, eBay empowers people and creates opportunity. In late 2015, the company decided to make a large investment in the engine that drives this success—its people. In December 2015, the commerce leader announced new paid family and medical leave policies, joining the ranks of tech companies such as Google that have recognized that a healthy and engaged workforce is key to retaining talent and staying competitive.ParentalLeave.png

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Topics: Engaging Employees, Management, Health & Wellness, Inclusion, Workforce, Human Resources (HR)

Build on corporate citizenship success in 2016

Posted by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director on Jan 6, 2016 9:30:00 AM

“As an old ecologist I am also getting impatient. It’s been a long time. If we don’t convert all of this heat into light and all of this excitement into work, we will, I am afraid, be badly frustrated… Excitement cannot be sustained unless there are results... What I am concerned with is not what is wrong with the world, but what do we have to do to put it right.” - Peter Drucker, 1971

BuildSuccess_20150105.jpgIn 2015, we saw major advances in the way that world leaders, businesses, and the general public perceive and prioritize environmental, social, and governance issues. In September, leaders from around the world agreed to 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—complete with 169 targets—to eradicate poverty and hunger, foster safe and inclusive societies, and combat global warming by 2030. In December, representatives from 195 nations adopted the Paris Climate Agreement, with the vital aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to halt global temperature increases and maintain life as we know it.

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Topics: Corporate Citizenship, Sustainability, Management, Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)

Integrating sustainability for maximum business and social value

Posted by Stewart Rassier, Director of Executive Education on Nov 19, 2015 12:30:00 PM

Land-Ocean-Temp.gifEnvironmental sustainability is a critical business issue for companies across the globe. The world’s population is growing, nonrenewable resources are being depleted, and 2014 was the warmest year on record. All of this is expected to be accompanied by increasingly severe energy and environmental problems that could potentially threaten supply chains, production processes, and operations. Moreover, as businesses are often seen as some of the greatest contributors to pollution, waste, and environmental problems, they are increasingly pressured to not just reduce waste or use less energy, but to develop sustainable practices and policies that will preserve and even improve the environments around them.

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Topics: Environmental Sustainability, Management, Climate

Employee engagement around the world: A practitioner’s guide

Posted by Stewart Rassier, Director of Executive Education on Aug 20, 2015 8:55:00 AM

EmployeeEngagementHave you ever considered taking local programs global? Do you want to further engage your employees both in your headquarters country and abroad? Today, many companies are wrestling with the challenges and opportunities that global employee engagement poses in order to remain competitive, protect intangible assets such as reputation, and manage the risks associated with complex global operations.

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Topics: Engaging Employees, Management, Culture, Global, Policy

4 rules to make you smarter, your networks stronger, and your CSR programs better

Posted by Stewart Rassier, Director of Executive Education on May 29, 2015 9:24:41 AM
Corporate Citizenship Knowledge WallThirty years ago, a small group of corporate citizenship professionals gathered on campus at Boston College to found the Center for Corporate Citizenship. I am sure that they never imagined that the Center’s members would grow in number and diversity to the group that we have today, but what was certain was that the combination of knowledge, tools, and a room full of smart people would bring innovation and deliver business and social value through environmental, social, and governance initiatives.
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Topics: Corporate Citizenship, Executive Education, Management, Leadership, Performance

Achieving corporate citizenship progress together

Posted by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director on Apr 2, 2015 11:25:00 AM

"Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success." - Henry Ford

Corporate_Citizenship_Grow_Goals_KVSblogSpring is a time of transition. Here in Boston, we at the Center are beginning to feel the sense of possibility that accompanies the season. Throughout this long winter, corporate citizenship practitioners have kept their noses to the grindstone, and have continued to accomplish remarkable goals. Now, with the new season, it’s time to step back and take stock of where we are in this field, what we hope to accomplish, and how we plan to get there together.

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Topics: Management, Diversity, Responsible Corporate Leadership, Inclusion, Trends

Informing change: How Nielsen Uses Data for Social Good

Posted by Colleen Olphert, Director, Membership and Member Services on Feb 20, 2015 12:13:00 PM

Nielsen Uses Data for Social GoodEnvironmental, social, and governance (ESG) programs are only as strong as the data they are built on. Tweet: #Environmental, #social, and #governance (ESG) programs are only as strong as the data they are built on. http://bit.ly/1LjhmfXThat’s why the most effective corporate citizenship professionals consistently gather, evaluate, and measure all available data to create initiatives that are tied to business strategy and leverage the skills and expertise of their colleagues. They set daring goals complete with milestones and targets. They are aware of all affected stakeholders and know how to reach them. They know what resources are available and which are needed for success. They continually assess, modify, and improve their efforts based on the most recent data to achieve the most business and social value possible.

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Topics: Partnerships, Management, Measurement, Responsible Corporate Leadership, Corporate Community Involvement, Align, Non-Profits, Signature Programs

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The Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship is your resource for insights, research, trending topics, and executive education in the corporate citizenship field.

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