Today, investors use social and environmental performance KPIs as a proxy for assessing the quality of management and—increasingly—to measure risk. Now, the conversation is no longer about whether a company should report, but rather what they should consider when they do. How can companies gain the greatest possible value from their reporting efforts? Where should companies set performance goals? How and what should they measure? What frameworks should they use? How will report readers use the information?
Trillions of dollars are invested in sustainability. But trillions are not. What gives?
This year's International Corporate Citizenship Conference demonstrated that good progress has been made for the sustainability investment case, but also that much has not changed in the past decade. Michael Dell, CEO of recently de-listed Dell, described that going private to attract business investors with a longer-term mindset was a strategic, sustainable investment decision.
First, the good news: Today’s corporate citizenship reports are more engaging, relevant, and are communicating the positive environmental, social, governance, and business value that companies are creating. A corporate citizenship report was once a nice to have; now approximately 93 percent of the Global 250 issue them.
"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.
Corporate citizenship, corporate social responsibility (CSR), and corporate responsibility (CR). These are the most frequently used terms by companies to describe the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) dimensions of business, according to the most recent Profile of the Practice study.
In a recent meeting of Center members held at Boston College conversation inevitably turned to “it.”
“What do you call it?”
“How much is its budget?”
“Does it have a senior position?”
“Who does it report into?”
“How are you managing it?”
What is it? “It” is the management of environmental, social, and governance efforts in a corporation. At the Center we call it corporate citizenship but not all companies do. Just to give a few examples from our 2010 Profile of the Practice report: Managing corporate citizenship as a business strategy, 25 percent of companies called it corporate social responsibility, 20 percent corporate citizenship, 14 percent corporate responsibility, and 8 percent sustainability. Perhaps more importantly than what it is called, is the question of how corporate citizenship is being managed to deliver the greatest impact to society and the business. Research for the Center’s next Profile of the Practice report will soon be under way to again examine this topic.
The Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship has just released the 2013 Profile of the Professionals. This research looks at salaries, job satisfaction, professional development and the motivations of people working in corporate citizenship roles. The findings show that the nature of corporate citizenship is rapidly developing and the role of professionals and their skill set is constantly evolving