Adding Value to Community and Company Through Volunteerism
The value of volunteering can be measured on several fronts including benefits to employees, company and community. We learned how you can enhance your program to help energize and retain employees and build brand awareness and customer loyalty while providing the community with skilled and enthusiastic supporters committed to creating added value. The panel also explored how to develop programs that fitted the needs of a workforce that had varying interests, capabilities and possible constraints. The importance of recognizing that the needs of your workforce change during the course of their career was also discussed.
Aligning Corporate Citizenship Across Company Lines
In this session, members of the Center for Corporate Citizenship’s Executive Forum shared their experience aligning corporate citizenship efforts inside their firms. Panelists included Mary Capozzi, senior director, Best Buy; Susan Arnot Heaney, executive director, Avon Products; Rick Martella, vice president, ARAMARK; Lynnette McIntire, director of corporate reputation management, UPS; Shannon Schuyler, senior managing director, PwC; and Dave Stangis, vice president, Campbell Soup Company.
Earning Trust in an Era of Skepticism
Building a brand is difficult enough. Rebuilding it is a stressful, high-stakes task that requires strategies that engage most parts of the firm and usually involves key stakeholders managed by corporate citizenship professionals. This session explored how companies can strengthen stakeholder trust through pre-emptive efforts. We went inside one company that has taken proactive steps to ensure it garnered and maintained the confidence of clients and other key stakeholders. Edelman also shared the latest global data about the corporate attributes, behaviors and spokespeople that mattered most in trust-building.
Engaging Stakeholders Through Social Media
Social media is increasingly an integral component of a successful communication strategy for corporate social responsibility and corporate citizenship. Aman Singh, editorial director for CSRwire, led an engaging and informative panel discussion that explored how three companies are using the power of social media to be more effective and efficient in exchanging information and capturing new ideas with key stakeholders.
Green is Green
“It isn’t easy being green,” said facilitator Richard Pringle as he opened the “Green is Green” panel with Kermit the Frog’s most famous quote. The panel, featuring Bloomberg LP’s Lee Ballin and Riva Krut from Praxair, Inc. showcased how reducing environmental impact by measuring results and engaging employees can be hard work but also be profitable.
Growth Through Commitment to Values
The post-recession business climate continues to challenge corporations today. Many face tough decisions and limited growth potential. With such an uncertain future, how can companies focused on environmental and social impacts survive? Can the costs be justified? In fact, numerous organizations have found that embracing corporate citizenship initiatives can be a significant key to weathering the economic storm. Through a commitment to the environment and communities, mission-driven companies are able to not only preserve brand integrity but also drive growth and innovation.
How Important is Citizenship to the Employees, Really?
College students and current employees care about your company’s values and citizenship – or do they? Net Impact leaders in this session discussed the release of a comprehensive national research project that explained how current and potential employees valued corporate citizenship and sustainability. What percentage of college students and employees say they care about these activities, and what percentage will take action on them? Our peers discussed how they have effectively engaged HR/recruiters and fellow employees around sustainability initiatives.
Innovation in Corporate Citizenship
Consumer demands, creativity in product development and a quest to create business and social value are fueling innovation. Panelists whose companies have found the “connecting tissue” through corporate citizenship talked about how forging partnerships, understanding emerging markets and embracing change can help address social needs while boosting the bottom line.
Issue and Risk Management
Corporate citizenship practitioners must have an expanded repertoire of business skills that includes issue and risk management. Challenges arise from a broad range of stakeholders and can threaten every aspect of a company from its reputation and license to operate, to the bottom line.
Journey of Going Global: How to Start
While the global reach of business is nothing new, companies now know they must invest more in strategies that not only allocate resources and distribute authority in a manner that reflects global sourcing, production and sales but also advances a commitment to work in partnership with communities around the world. This session addressed how companies have decided to structure these programs, distribute oversight and authority, and determine their social, environmental and economic impact.
Managing Corporate Citizenship as an Essential Part of Reputation
The Holy Grail of citizenship is that it becomes central to your brand and reputation, offered panelists from global consumer powerhouses The Walt Disney Company and Hilton Worldwide, in a session titled Managing Corporate Citizenship as an Essential Part of Reputation.
Producing Green Products
Environmental-friendly products and services have become increasingly popular with mainstream consumers, attracting many new companies to the green marketplace. If done well, they can generate serious profits and boost a company’s reputation. If done poorly, companies risk backlash from consumers and accusations of “greenwashing.”
Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related industries are expected to grow substantially in the next 10 years but the number of students graduating with STEM degrees are on a steady decline. Panelists from companies working to support STEM education offer advice for companies focusing on STEM and investing in efforts to address this educational and business crisis.
Taking Employees on the Environmental Journey
The value of employee engagement and environmental initiatives are recognized widely but they are rarely integrated. Panelists offer insight on engagement strategies that can boost employee enthusiasm and make operations a deeper shade of green by changing perspectives on environmental issues from the inside out.
In a workshop session, Marjella Alma, manager of external relations for the Global Reporting Initiative offered that 95% of the world’s 250 largest companies today disclose sustainability performance information. The GRI is a robust reporting framework for non-financial reporting, also called CSR or sustainability reports. While investors and financial reporting entities utilize these reports to obtain critical information for investment decisions, Alma emphasized that these reports have important applicability for companies well beyond their designated intent.
Much like a corporation manages its investments with a portfolio that is apportioned strategically, so also must its partnerships. In a workshop session with Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship's Director of Executive Education Billy Brittingham and Wells Fargo Regional President for Arizona Community Banking Pamela Conboy, taking a portfolio approach to relationship management received high emphasis.
Corporate philanthropy has been under increasing pressure as emergent global societal shifts pull giving programs in multiple and perhaps conflicting directions. Simultaneous to this, increasing demand is the reality of tightening philanthropic budgets. To release corporate giving programs from a reactive and potentially chaotic environment requires a strategic philanthropy mindset.