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

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 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

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: Community Involvement, Management Practices, Value of corporate social responsibility

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: Business Perspectives, Corporate Citizenship, Executive Education, Management Practices

Data philanthropy: The high-tech future of social impact

Posted by Stewart Rassier, Director of Executive Education on Aug 30, 2016 10:36:25 AM

Modern businesses use data primarily for competitive advantage—to give their customers the best experience, to gain entry into new markets, to become faster, smarter, better. Whether they are gathering data on their customers’ purchasing habits or planning flight patterns, companies are collecting more detailed information than ever.

How this information is collected, stored, and used is a growing area of corporate citizenship focus. As reported in the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship’s 2014 State of Corporate Citizenship, nearly 80 percent of executives consider consumer data protection and privacy to be a top corporate citizenship priority (see Figure A).

SOCC-Figure16.jpg

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Topics: Management Practices, Data Philanthropy, Value of corporate social responsibility

Priorities, vision, and back-casting: Keys to CSR strategy

Posted by Stewart Rassier, Director of Executive Education on Jul 25, 2016 11:12:03 AM

iStock_50165150.jpgCorporate citizenship professionals from across the United States and Canada will be traveling to the Boston College campus this fall to attend our Management Intensive and Leadership Academy courses. These groups explore business and management approaches and tools that can be applied to their corporate citizenship, CSR, employee engagement, and sustainability jobs. Each year, one of the most popular questions we field is: "How do you create a corporate citizenship strategy?"

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Topics: Executive Education, Management Practices

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 an excerpt from the most recent issue 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: Management Practices, Employee Health and Wellness

Impact investing: Connecting money management with mission

Posted by Stewart Rassier, Director of Executive Education on Feb 2, 2016 3:07:19 PM

Impact investing is an emerging area that companies are beginning to add to their philanthropic portfolios. The definition of impact investing is twofold: fund a worthy social cause to provide value to the community while returning financial value to the investor.

A new notice put out by the IRS in September makes this a particularly favorable time for companies to begin operationalizing the task of impact investing. The 2015 IRS report, “Investing Made for Charitable Purposes,” affirmed the private foundation’s right and ability to invest in a way that advances their charitable goals, even if the expected rates of return on those investments may be less than other possible investment options.

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Topics: Corporate Citizenship, Management Practices

Inspired Service

Posted by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director on Jan 20, 2016 12:50:17 PM

The following is excerpted from the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship’s most recent issue of the Corporate Citizen magazine. 

USAA_AllenFamily_NoCaption.jpg

Jessica Allen, standing, is an Elizabeth Dole Foundation Fellow, serves as caregiver for her husband Charles, and holds down a job with the Yellow Ribbon Fund. While serving in Afghanistan, Charles stepped on an IED and everything changed—he became a double amputee. The Elizabeth Dole Foundation is one example of the nonprofits supported by USAA and The USAA Foundation to help military caregivers with programs that promote their emotional well-being and financial empowerment.

With a new comprehensive corporate citizenship strategy, USAA sharpens its focus to increase positive impact on military families and local communities. In 1922, 25 Army officers in San Antonio, Texas, joined together to insure their automobiles because they had difficulty getting insurance due to their high-risk professions. These officers formed an insurance company to help protect one another—an association based on trust and the bond of military service.

From that humble beginning, the organization has grown to become a leading brand for customer experience. Today, USAA serves more than 11 million military servicemembers and their families with insurance, banking, investments, and financial advice. The organization’s corporate citizenship focus through the years had been broadly focused and mostly oriented toward its San Antonio hometown.

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Topics: Corporate Citizenship, CSR, Community Involvement, Management Practices

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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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