From water filters that serve the developing world, to banking products that encourage investments in energy efficiency, to action-focused mobile engagement platforms, companies across all industries are empowering their employees to apply their professional expertise to develop solutions to business and social challenges. Distinguished from employee team and skills-based volunteerism, employee-led product innovation is a powerful engagement tool that drives business, social, and environmental impact.
On Monday, March 27, I had the pleasure of welcoming more than 550 CSR professionals to the Center’s 2017 International Corporate Citizenship Conference, and had the opportunity to share my thoughts on the event’s theme: Corporate Citizenship Ecosystems. Below you can find a video and a transcript excerpting my remarks:
Today’s companies face substantial pressure from stakeholders—both internal and external—to monitor and report on a variety of environmental metrics. The benefits to the company are clear, as research shows that successfully managing a company’s environmental footprint can strengthen a firm’s financial performance[i], help them maintain that performance over the long term[ii], improve the company’s image,[iii] and identify and mitigate potential risks to operations.[iv]
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 Fall 2016 [Data Make Meaning] issue of the Corporate Citizen Magazine 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.
In the United States, approximately 5.6 million youth between the ages of 16 and 24 are disconnected from school and work, and many are not getting the support they need to drive greater engagement. One in three young people— nearly 16 million— will reach the age of 19 without having ever had a mentor in their life of any kind. These rates are even higher for at-risk youth, who experience higher rates of poverty, limited networks, and under-resourced schools. Research shows that even one positive, consistent, caring, relationship with an adult can offset nearly every risk factor in a young person’s life and improve their chances of success.
Today, companies of all sizes are recognizing the role they can play in filling this “mentorship gap” and have simultaneously discovered that they can use mentorship programs to realize both business and corporate responsibility goals. According to the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship’s most recent Community Involvement Study, companies consistently rank youth programs as one of the most important social issues addressed through their community involvement efforts (See Figure A).
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 in San Francisco on November 2-4, 2016 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.
Modern businesses use data primarily for competitive advantage—to give their customers the best experience, to gain entry into new markets, to become faster, smarter, better. Whether they are gathering data on their customers’ purchasing habits or planning flight patterns, companies are collecting more detailed information than ever.
How this information is collected, stored, and used is a growing area of corporate citizenship focus. As reported in the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship’s 2014 State of Corporate Citizenship, nearly 80 percent of executives consider consumer data protection and privacy to be a top corporate citizenship priority (see Figure A).