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 22 of The Corporate Citizen. By evaluating your environmental sustainability impacts, you can gather the data and insights to create long-term targets and lasting change, much like TD Bank Group. Consider joining us in Los Angeles, CA on February 7-8, 2018 to learn more about how you can use the CDP reporting framework to measure and manage your environmental impacts.
As a leading financial services company, TD Bank Group (TD) has a unique understanding of the business and social value that can be derived from environmental investments. When developing strategy, the company embeds environmental considerations throughout its operations and looks at the benefits of natural capital in its decisions.
“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.
The Fall 2016 issue of the Corporate Citizen Magazine, "Data Make Meaning," is now available!
In this issue, you'll learn about companies that are collecting and using data to create innovative programs, address social and environmental issues, and measure and report on their progress.
- From Data Collection to Data Philanthropy: How Corporate Citizenship Helps - A deep dive into how corporate citizenship can help companies retain consumer trust.
- Trends in Workplace Giving - How to increase employee participation in workplace giving campaigns.
- Partnership with a Purpose - A closer look at how two companies are moving with innovative partnerships.
- Signature Issues Balance Business and Society - Raytheon & Novo Nordisk share how they are using suites of corporate citizenship programs to tarket specific issues aligned with their business purpose.
- Small Program Strategies for Success - Experts share how they make a major impact with small teams and budgets.
- The Reporting Landscape - Leaders explore the future of reporting.
The first full day of the 2016 International Corporate Citizenship Conference was just that—full. Full of the insights and connections that will make future social, environmental, and economic progress possible. During four general sessions, 12 breakout panels, case studies, workshops, and numerous networking opportunities, CSR leaders from around the world discussed the programs that will address global problems—and their local impacts.
Climate change is again trending as a topic within corporate citizenship and the larger business community. The release of Pope Francis’ encyclical, “Laudato Si” (Be Praised), which highlights the impact developed economies are having on our planet and our responsibilities to act, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan, and the upcoming COP21—the 21st Session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change—are creating a buzz.
For most of us, the days of receiving a report card are behind us, but that doesn’t mean that—as corporate citizenship professionals—our work is no longer evaluated and judged. The acronyms may have changed from GRE and LSAT to DJSI, CDP, GRI, etc.—but the assessments can still represent important achievements as well as reminders of where we need to work harder.
The world of corporate citizenship ratings and rankings can be just as intimidating to a novice as exams are to students, as the options and methods of submitting materials has increased exponentially over the past decade.
So many breakouts, which ones to choose?
As with any good conference, the most difficult decision—other than how full to fill your plate at the buffet line—is typically which sessions to attend. With up to seven sessions happening concurrently, it can be a tough choice. Breakout sessions on Monday at the 2015 International Corporate Citizenship Conference covered such topics as engaging veterans, transparency and governance, and engaging today's multi-generational workforce.
In January, policy makers, government agencies, and companies took advantage of the New Year spirit by recommitting to goals, setting targets, and measuring results in the environmental arena. Earlier this month, the Obama administration built on 2014’s advances in climate change policy—an effort the President reaffirmed during his 2015 State of the Union address— with a plan to limit methane emissions and the announcement of a federal “model rule” for states that don’t file carbon-cutting plans. In Canada, Ontario got closer to revealing its plan for carbon-pricing, and plans to unveil its strategy later this year.
Have you set your environmental footprint goals for 2015 and beyond? Setting emissions targets can be a daunting task, but it is also a very tangible way to demonstrate a strong commitment to corporate citizenship.
More than 4,500 companies begin the process of measuring, managing, and mitigating their contributions to climate change by completing the CDP Climate Change Questionnaire, which is a key standard for environmental emissions reporting.