Corporate Citizenship Perspectives

Achieving compensation equality in the workplace

Posted by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director on May 2, 2018 2:32:16 PM

The merits of diverse and inclusive workforces are well-documented. They drive innovation, bolster financial performance, capture new markets, and increase customer loyalty.[1] Fair and equal compensation is the prerequisite of cultivating an inclusive company culture, and is an issue that is receiving attention increasingly from policymakers, corporate leaders, and the popular media.

The negative effects of inequality are felt across our entire economy. As income and wealth become concentrated at the top, fewer can participate fully in the economy. This hampers growth at all levels.  The American Dream, once thought to be a birthright, has proven to be available more readily to children of the educated and affluent than to others.[2] Income equality is a corporate citizenship and economic imperative. Corporate citizenship is not what happens in the corporate citizenship department. Good corporate citizenship is reflected across the operations of the company in how the company exercises as an entity its rights, responsibilities, obligations, and privileges

Research shows that racial and gender income inequality affects every country, industry, and field.  For example, respondents to the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship’s Profile of the Professionals 2018 study report that women fill most corporate citizenship positions. Their representation drops off, however, in more highly compensated executive positions (see Figure A). Women respondents also reported earning less than their male counterparts, and receiving lower bonuses (See Figure B).

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Topics: Responsible Corporate Leadership, Value of Corporate Citizenship, Inclusion, Workforce, Gender, Race, Glass Ceiling

Environmental insights: Trends in Sustainable Business study

Posted by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director on Apr 3, 2018 10:19:48 AM

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

TrendsInSustainableBusiness-Cover2_smallThe interconnection of issues we address in our corporate citizenship work becomes especially evident in attempts to achieve environmental sustainability. From sourcing, to product development, to waste management, our strategies must accommodate shifting constraints and opportunities presented by our natural environment and other stakeholders.

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Topics: Environmental Sustainability, Responsible Corporate Leadership, Climate, Best Practices, Carbon, water, Recycling, Waste

Maintaining resilience through change: Notes from the field from a CSR leader 

Posted by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director on Mar 6, 2018 4:23:32 PM

21stCentury-Executive&Practicioner.jpgLast year, Dave Stangis—Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Chief Sustainability Officer for the Campbell Soup Company—and I released two books to help corporate citizenship professionals align environmental, social, and governance (ESG) objectives with business goals to create long-term success. One book, titled The Executive’s Guide to 21st Century Corporate Citizenship, offers a guide for the business executive who is working to build a more ethical, resilient, sustainable, and profitable company. The other—21stCentury Corporate Citizenship: A Practical Guide to Delivering Value to Society and Your Business—serves as a step-by-step handbook for CSR professionals who are developing and implementing effective corporate citizenship programs.

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Topics: Responsible Corporate Leadership, Best Practices, Change, Organizational

New Research on Corporate Citizenship Careers: Profile of the Professionals 2018

Posted by Colleen Olphert, Director, Membership and Member Services on Feb 20, 2018 9:09:21 AM
New Research: Profile of the Professionals 2018

Here at the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, we're pleased to release our Profile of the Professionals 2018 study, a research project that examines the roles, responsibilities, development, and compensation of corporate social responsibility (CSR) professionals. Its findings—based on survey results from 932 corporate citizenship professionals—provide insight into how CSR professionals at all levels assess the skills they need to be effective in their roles and what they perceive as the greatest challenges they must overcome.

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Topics: Corporate Citizenship, Communication, Responsible Corporate Leadership, Engagement, Workplace, Identity, Gender, C-Suite, Organizational, Managers, Metrics, Recruitment

Building CSR on optimism in 2018

Posted by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director on Jan 2, 2018 9:30:00 AM

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“Optimism is a force multiplier” ~ Colin Powell

As corporate citizenship professionals, our task is to create the world in which we want to do business and the world in which we want to live. This has never been an easy objective, but recently the challenges facing us have become even more apparent.

The past year has been a time of great change—and for many of us—those changes have at times been difficult to accept. However, while the past 12 months have been tumultuous, they have given me plenty of reasons to maintain, and even increase, my optimism.

2017 may have been full of events, both man-made and natural, that have caused all of us to pause and take stock of what it is that we value—withdrawal from the Paris Accord, exposure of pervasive sexual harassment, natural disasters of immense scale. It was gratifying to see that each of these and many other challenges elicited responses from corporate America as CEOs took action to affirm their companies’ core values.

Throughout the year, corporate leaders have acted decisively to commit to social and environmental progress like never before, advocating for immigration, LGBT rights, and environmental innovation. For example, following the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement—firms rallied to show that We are Still In, and solidified their pledges with strategic efforts—to such a great extent that the UN environmental chief announced recently that the United States will likely live up to the accord due to corporate efforts. Companies rallied around the victims of natural disasters around the globe, and are starting to send a decisive message that the workplace climate for women MUST change. It is these actions that give me cause to be optimistic.

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Topics: Responsible Corporate Leadership, Benefits, Change, Impact, Equity, Shared Value

Preparing leaders to serve on nonprofit boards

For an in-depth training on how to prepare senior leaders to engage in skills-based volunteering in the local community, take the course: Nonprofit Board Service: Getting Your Team Ready to Serve on Feb 7-8, 2018 in Los Angeles, CA.

Serving on a nonprofit board is more than a high-impact way for executives to perform community service— it also provides benefits to the executive’s company. 

Nonprofit boards provide an excellent, low-cost training opportunity for senior leaders. Executives that serve on nonprofit boards are able to expandcommunityinvolvement.nonprofit.board.service..png their skillset by applying their expertise in a new context, all while engaging with and learning from people and communities from different professional and personal backgrounds.

At its core, nonprofit board service is a specialized type of skills-based volunteering, which is found to add value to the workplace. According to Deloitte, 91 percent of HR professionals agree that skills-based volunteering builds and hones business and leadership skills. Regina McNally, vice president of strategic workforce programs at State Street, summarized this effect: “Those [that engage in skills-based volunteering] learn in a whole new environment to let their brain work in a different way and bring those new skillsets back to the office.”

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Topics: Responsible Corporate Leadership, Corporate Community Involvement, Benefits, Non-Profits, Board, Best Practices

The Executive’s Guide to 21st Century Corporate Citizenship: An Excerpt

Posted by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director on Sep 5, 2017 11:49:16 AM
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View all resources on Responsible Corporate Leadership >

For more than a year, Dave Stangis—Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Chief Sustainability Officer for the Campbell Soup Company—and I have working together to help corporate citizenship professionals align environmental, social, and governance (ESG) objectives with business goals to create long-term success. Our first book, released earlier this year, served as a step-by-step handbook for developing and implementing effective corporate citizenship programs.

Now, we’re pleased to share a second book—a guide for the business executive who is working to build a more ethical, resilient, sustainable, and profitable company. Titled The Executive’s Guide to 21st Century Corporate Citizenship, the book provides the information needed to understand how corporate citizenship builds reputation, delivers value to the bottom line, and mobilizes an organization’s employees and customers.

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Topics: Responsible Corporate Leadership, Best Practices, Purpose

Continuous learning for sustainable progress

Posted by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director on Aug 1, 2017 2:41:57 PM

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“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” – Albert Einstein

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Albert Einstein is lauded for his brilliant intellect, his kindness toward students, his humor, and—most importantly—his boundless imagination. What made Einstein unique was his ability to look beyond the limitations of others to see their capabilities, to laugh at absurdity rather than become depressed by it, and to imagine ways that current constraints could be overcome.

Though 99.99 percent of us will fall at least slightly short of Einstein’s intellect, we can adopt his behaviors and attitudes and make the most of the gifts we do possess. In our day-to-day work we, as corporate citizenship professionals, assess key challenges of our time, and imagine how our companies’ unique capabilities can be used to achieve progress. Increasingly, we will be asked to understand more—about social and environmental issues, our regulatory and political landscapes, the capabilities of our industries, the way we set goals and communicate progress. The list goes on...

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Topics: Responsible Corporate Leadership

21st Century Corporate Citizenship: An Excerpt

Posted by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director on Jul 5, 2017 9:30:55 AM

21stCenturyCorporateCitizenship.pngView all Corporate Citizenship resources >

For more than 30 years, we at the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship have worked to provide the resources and tools to help organizations make the most of their corporate citizenship programs.

While we’ve worked hard over the past few decades to deliver valuable research and insights, I—along with many of the leading corporate citizenship professionals with whom the Center has had the privilege of working—have felt that there was a need for a practical guide to take CSR to the next level. Dave Stangis, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Chief Sustainability Officer for the Campbell Soup Company, shared this belief, and offered to co-author a book with me to fill this gap. The result: 21st Century Corporate Citizenship: A Practical Guide to Delivering Value to Society and Your Business. Our intention is to help you align environmental, social, and governance (ESG) objectives with business goals to create long-term success.

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Topics: Business Perspectives, Responsible Corporate Leadership

Managing corporate citizenship through organizational change

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All corporate citizenship work is change management; citizenship programs are designed with the express intent of creating meaningful, positive change in our companies and communities. Citizenship professionals are adept at building the case, marshalling (sometimes scarce) resources, and imagining that there could be better education, safer neighborhoods, and a healthier environment than there is now.

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Topics: Responsible Corporate Leadership, Strategy, Change

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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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