US Companies Continue to Commit to Corporate Citizenship
30 March 2010 at 9:54 am
American companies of all sizes have generally maintained their support for corporate citizenship initiatives according to a new survey by the Boston College Centre for Corporate Citizenship.
While charitable giving, product and service donations, and community investment registered declined, U.S. businesses put more effort into integrating corporate citizenship with their business strategy, and launching “green” and sustainable products and services according to the survet called State of Corporate Citizenship 2009: Weathering the storm.
The 2009 survey is the fourth biennial survey of the attitudes and actions of senior executives in small, medium and large businesses regarding corporate citizenship. The previous three surveys, conducted in 2003, 2005 and 2007, found that executives view corporate citizenship as a fundamental part of doing business but often allow aspirations to outpace actions.
The 2009 survey explores in greater depth the challenges of integrating corporate citizenship into core business practices and how tough economic times have impacted these practices. For the first time the Bostone College also explored how executives view new public policy challenges and their reaction to public expectations for better regulation of business.
The survey of 756 executives for the 2009 State of Corporate Citizenship in the United States reveals that more business leaders recognize the connection of corporate citizenship to reputation at a time when the American public’s distrust of business is at a record high.
As they ride out the storm, business leaders say they should be plotting a course toward greater involvement in addressing social and environmental issues. More than 50 percent of those surveyed say business must play a greater role in finding ways to meet the challenges of health care, product safety, public education and climate change.
This is all occurring during a period of economic and financial turbulence unequaled since the Great Depression.
About half of the executives surveyed (48 percent) report that their companies saw decreases in revenues/sales.
Despite this, more than two-thirds (69 percent) agree that corporate citizenship needs to be a priority and 54 percent of the
respondents agree or strongly agree that corporate citizenship is even more important in a recession. And they increasingly see the
value of talking about it.
Communicating corporate citizenship activities internally with employees and externally with stakeholders has increased significantly since the 2007 survey. Fifty-four percent (compared to 36 percent in 2007) say it is true or very true that they discuss corporate citizenship inside the company with employees. Thirty-nine percent (compared to 29 percent in 2007) discuss corporate citizenship outside the company with stakeholders.
Key highlights in the survey include:
- Despite the tough economy, only 38 percent of companies said they reduced their philanthropy and giving. Support for employee volunteering also remained strong with 83 percent of large companies stating their companies support employee volunteering in the community.
- Companies increased employee support in their workplace with 60 percent backing work/life balance practices for all employees, compared to 46 percent in 2007.
- While many large companies dealt with the recession with layoffs, they more or less kept on track with corporate citizenship activities as 81 percent call it a priority.
- Small firms stayed committed to their corporate citizenship priority of treating employees well by minimizing layoffs, but significantly decreased emphasis on other aspects of citizenship.
For more information go to: www.bcccc.net