Almost 100 percent of companies have a corporate citizenship budget today, up from just 81 percent in 2010, according to a new report from the Carroll School of Management Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College.
The Profile of the Practice 2013 explores how the environmental, social and governance (ESG) dimensions of business — corporate citizenship — are managed in today’s business world, and how these practices have evolved since the last report in 2010. It is based on a survey of 231 companies that provided data on their corporate citizenship strategies, operational structures and business practices.
The report claims that above-average industry performers are more likely to have a formal corporate citizenship department, a program led at the executive level and higher budgets for corporate citizenship and charitable giving.
Almost 60 percent of companies have an executive leading corporate citizenship, the report says. This is a 74 percent increase over what was reported in 2010. Close to one-third of corporate citizenship leaders are within one level of the chief executive.
CEOs also are more involved in developing strategy, setting goals and communicating corporate citizenship than reported in both 2008 and 2010. More than 25 percent indicate that their chief executive is highly involved in corporate citizenship program evaluation.
“Corporate citizenship is managed at higher levels, corporate citizenship leaders are better compensated, and more companies establish both board committees and official budgeted departments to manage their programs,” said Katherine Smith, Executive Director, Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship. “These are all signs that CSR continues to be more deeply embedded in business as more executives realize that positive environmental, social and governance measures correlate to positive financial performance, improved reputation, and solid risk management.”
More than 70 percent of companies cited enhanced reputation among the top three business goals they are trying to achieve through their corporate citizenship efforts. The next most frequently cited goals were improving employee retention (45%), improving employee recruitment (41%), attracting new customers (33%) and improving risk management (22%).
In 2013, 29 of the world’s leading CEOs and companies joined CECP, a coalition of CEOs united in the belief that societal improvement is an essential measure of business performance, founded in 1999 by actor Paul Newman. These CEOs and companies work with CECP to elevate their societal investment strategies and connect them to their core business, as they are a direct line to employee engagement, innovation, customers, new markets, stronger brands and sustainability, as well as mitigating risk and building trust. CECP convenes and supports CEOs, whose companies committed $14 billion last year to solving pressing community challenges.