This spring, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) opened for comment a review of its Regulation S-K filing—inviting comment on both form and substance of disclosures for companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges. Among many other matters, the SEC consultation document sought comment on whether disclosure on sustainability and other matters related to social policy should be mandated.
Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) programs are only as strong as the data they are built on. That’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.
“Be a surfer. Watch the ocean. Figure out where the big waves are breaking and adjust accordingly,” wrote Jason Fried and David Hansson, founders of internet company 37 Signals, when asked to describe their approach to strategy.As you scan the corporate citizenship ocean, what big waves do you see? Below, I have sketched out three questions and actions to help identify your company’s big corporate citizenship “waves.”
The natural resources we so often take for granted are in fact critically important to the very existence of our ecosystems and our economy.
Take, for example, a family-owned barge company which has ferried goods up and down the Mississippi River for the last 60 years. Water and weather weigh heavily on whether the company opens its doors every day, so the increased frequency of major water events like flooding or droughts must become part of their risk mitigation strategy.
At the 2014 International Corporate Citizenship Conference, volunteerism emerged as one of the major themes of discussion. To keep the conversation going, it also became the topic of our April webinar, titled “Innovations in Volunteering.” This one hour webinar highlighted two companies that have utilized volunteer programs to enhance their corporate citizenship programs at their companies and provided key takeaways.
Wells Fargo has made an ongoing commitment to protecting the environment and reducing the environmental impact of its operations. The company’s goals include achieving by 2020 a 65 percent recycling rate, a 40 percent increase in energy efficiency, and a 35 percent reduction in absolute greenhouse gas emissions. To accomplish these objectives, Wells Fargo uses internal Green Teams to engage employees around sustainability issues. One of the greatest challenges in implementing the Green Teams program has been gaining buy-in and support from middle management.
Middle management plays an important role in helping Wells Fargo meet its corporate citizenship goals. Managers assist in making philanthropic funding decisions by participating in regional grant committees. They also make vital