Last month, the leaders of seven of the world’s largest economies came together for the G7 summit, and committed to ending reliance on fossil fuels by 2100. In concert with that goal, they pledged to reduce carbon emissions 40-70 percent below 2010 levels by 2050. While the practical details of how these reductions are to be achieved have yet to be outlined, the commitment is a strong signal of how climate change has risen to the forefront of the global environmental and geopolitical discussions. Now, according to Sir David King, the top climate change diplomat in the United Kingdom, we can expect a climate deal to be reached during November’s United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.
Business leaders are aware of the increasingly significant role that corporate citizenship can play in overall business strategy, and how—if effectively aligned—investments can improve performance.
According to the Center’s 2014 State of Corporate Citizenship study, the majority of executive respondents view corporate citizenship as a way to achieve strategic corporate goals and they expect its importance to increase in the future. In fact, for the first time in the decade that the Center has conducted the study, the majority of executives anticipate resources for every corporate citizenship dimension to increase over the next three years.
Let's be honest—every day we wake up with a different level of energy and patience to think big and manage our corporate citizenship efforts. We each juggle the need to be strategists, issue area experts, catalysts for internal and external action, and practical leaders about what we can accomplish. This process is not easy and requires a lot more than caffeine.
The following is excerpted from the most recent issue of The Corporate Citizen, the Center’s biannual magazine.
Setting audacious long-term goals and working toward them is the central challenge of every business. One of the challenges for high-performing companies is creating evolutionary goals that are based on a vision for a sustainable future.
Addressing Boston College’s CEO Club in May 2014, Mark Parker, president and chief executive officer of NIKE, Inc., shared the company’s evolutionary process: “We wanted a mission statement and a set of values and guiding principles that were really true to the spirit of the company—that were forward-looking, aspirational, and something that employees would actually reference and use in their work.”
"Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success." - Henry Ford
Spring 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.
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.
The following is excerpted from the most recent issue of The Corporate Citizen, the Center’s biannual magazine. According to the Center’s 2013 Profile of the Practice, executives are leading the corporate citizenship charge in greater numbers than ever. Among those companies surveyed for the study, a majority of the chief executives are highly engaged in supporting corporate citizenship—and these executives are more involved than ever in developing strategy, setting goals, and communicating corporate citizenship. They are also elevating the management of corporate citizenship programs. Executive leadership of corporate citizenship has doubled in recent years from just 30 percent in 2010 to a majority 60 percent today.
"Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone else planted a tree long time ago" - Warren Buffett
Last week I was reading a whitepaper from MFS Investment Management about the benefits of investing on a longer horizon.
Corporate citizenship leaders, take note. There is more and more being written about the need for investors to take a longer view. This perspective presents a potential opportunity for companies that are willing to make longer-term investments in environmental, social, and governance dimensions of their businesses to improve their operating environments so that they can sustain positive returns for the longer term.
Building a strong, long-lasting relationship with a nonprofit is a great way for your company to engage in corporate social responsibility. In our June webinar, titled “Foolproof Partnerships – A relationship management guide,” representatives from three organizations discussed how to take advantage of existing networks, connect your philanthropy to the core of your business, and engage employees, executives, and customers as you establish a foolproof partnership.
This spring, we at the Center have been visiting member companies around the country. During these visits, one trend worth noting is that an increasing number of Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and Chief Operating Officers (COOs) are participating in conversations about corporate citizenship. This is further evidence of the elevation of attention and the increased value placed on corporate citizenship.