The seemingly inexhaustible list of ratings, rankings, and indices can puzzle even the most seasoned corporate citizenship professionals. They are as varied as the industry itself—from the Best Corporate Citizens and the Best Places to Work lists to the Environmental Performance Index. Through them, a company’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) impacts and efforts are ranked and reported to large audiences—affecting both internal and external audience perceptions. As a company’s brand and reputation continues to be one of its most important intangible assets, contributing to up to 80 percent of a firm’s market value[i], understanding what CSR and sustainability rankings genuinely report about a company is vital.
“To improve is to change, to be perfect is to change often.” – Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill is considered one of the greatest strategic minds in modern history. He not only led Britain through World War II, he played an active role in the passage of the People's Budget—which introduced major social welfare reform programs—established Britain's first minimum wage, and even won the Nobel Prize for
literature. He understood that continual progress could only be achieved through constant adaptation.
As corporate citizenship professionals, you are tasked with creating both the world in which we want to do business, AND the world in which we want to live. It's a lofty mission, one that requires us to challenge the status quo and innovate to create radical change.
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.
The following is excerpted from Issue 19 of The Corporate Citizen. To learn more about how you can align your corporate citizenship strategy with strategic business goals, consider joining us online for our Corporate Citizenship Strategy course.
BBVA Compass relies on its bedrock principle of transparent banking to serve its clients, and invests significant time and money in its communities.
It is firmly committed to reaching low- to moderate-income (LMI) areas. Every initiative BBVA Compass undertakes, every program that it develops and supports—whether it’s community development, education, or the arts—is designed to underscore the bank’s brand promise of building better, brighter futures for everyone in its communities.
The following is excerpted from The State of Corporate Citizenship 2017. To learn more about how you can prioritize the corporate citizenship issues that are most important to your stakeholders and business context, consider joining online from October 2-November 22, 2017 for our Materiality: Determining Priorities for Corporate Citizenship Strategy and Reporting course.
While the 2017 State of Corporate Citizenship shows a declining interest in formal stakeholder engagement among executive respondents, engaging with both internal and external audiences can be an important component of any corporate citizenship program. Through stakeholder engagement, companies can fully understand their social, environmental, and economic impacts, and prioritize the issues that are most important to both stakeholders and their business context.
Many companies, like CBRE—the world’s largest commercial real estate services firm—use the insights they gather from stakeholders to inform a materiality assessment, creating a roadmap for more strategic time and resource allocation, and more comprehensive reporting.
Since 2003, the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship has examined in the State of Corporate Citizenship study how executives view corporate citizenship and their firms' performance in the environmental, social, and governance dimensions of business. Over the past 14 years, we’ve seen executives come to fully appreciate the vital role that corporate citizenship plays in achieving key business goals.
At the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, we have been busy finishing the analysis of our 2017 study on the executive perspectives about corporate citizenship, and expect the final report to be released in January 2017.
The Center has been surveying executives and reporting on the role of corporate citizenship in achieving business success in our State of Corporate Citizenship study since 2003. Over the past 14 years, much has changed. The global economy has recovered from two historic recessions, markets have become increasingly connected and electronic, and the threat of climate change has come to the forefront of popular consciousness.
The following is excerpted from Issue 15 of The Corporate Citizen. To learn more about how you can engage your employees and contribute to your communities by developing a strategic corporate citizenship plan, consider joining us on online or in Los Angeles on February 7-9, 2018 for our Corporate Citizenship Strategy: Connect to Your Business and Community course.
For companies with a smaller operational footprint—even though they may have national or even global brand exposure—great value can be achieved by developing a foundational ethos, applying that mission to every aspect of business, from design through delivery, and incorporating it into community involvement strategy.
Founded in 1991 by Marcia Maizel-Clarke and Merlin Clarke, Dogeared, a global accessories brand that focuses on handcrafted jewelry, was built on the premise of community. The company sources the majority of products and materials locally from vendors around the Los Angeles area. Local artisans handcraft all of the company’s unique charms, and jewels are designed and assembled on-site in their Southern California studio.
As 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…?”
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.