Leadership
Report:
Executives Expecting Increased Resources for CSR

For the first time in over a decade, the majority of executives anticipate resources for every corporate citizenship dimension to increase over the next three years, according to a new report from The Carroll School of Management Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College.

The 2014 State of Corporate Citizenship examines how executives view corporate citizenship and their firms’ performance in the environmental, social and governance dimensions of business—and about how corporate citizenship contributes to business objectives. Conducted for the sixth time since 2003, the study finds that executives believe that corporate citizenship contributes to success and plan to increase their investment in the future.

The majority of executive respondents, across all business types and industries, confirm that corporate citizenship helps them successfully achieve strategic goals, ultimately improving performance.

“This year, executives have issued a clear verdict: corporate citizenship delivers real business results,” said Katherine V. Smith, executive director at the Center for Corporate Citizenship. “The majority of executive respondents are choosing to meet the social and business challenges of our time by thoughtfully integrating corporate citizenship into business strategy—and by doing so are meeting objectives such as increasing market share and improving financial performance.”

In November, a report by analyst firm Verdantix found that sustainability leaders have increasing influence over decision-making, strategy and budgets in boardrooms worldwide. The report shows that CEOs increasingly recognize sustainability impacts financial performance. Some 28 percent of CEOs consider sustainability as factors that already impact quarterly and annual financial performance. As many as 92 percent of sustainability leaders report directly to the CEO or another member of the executive committee.

There are encouraging pockets of sustainability leadership in the U.S. business community, but far too many companies are only taking small, incremental steps to address pressing sustainability issues that could impact their bottom lines and the future of our planet and economy, according to a separate report released earlier this year by Ceres and Sustainalytics. Chief among these sustainability issues are climate change and human rights.

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