Conference 2012: Alignment of 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, corporate responsibility, Best Buy; Susan Arnot Heaney, executive director, corporate responsibility, Avon Products; Rick Martella, vice president, corporate affairs, ARAMARK; Lynnette McIntire, director of corporate reputation management, UPS; Shannon Schuyler, senior managing director, PwC; and Dave Stangis, vice president, corporate social responsibility and sustainability, Campbell Soup Company.
There are several challenges according to panelists including:
- Presenting and communicating a plan that both integrates and relates to what the company does;
- Taking the next step after tackling all the easy “low hanging fruit” with regards to corporate social responsibility;
- Executing and managing a global sustainability plan when dealing with different regions, governments, and cultures;
- Ensuring that the company-wide corporate social responsibility goals and policies add value to individual brands in a multi-brand company and business divisions operating in a silo.
In order to communicate a program internally, one strategy is to start one-on-one with top executives to educate and gain their support and then to move into broader employee communication, panelists suggested. It is helpful to relate and integrate corporate social responsibility programs into goals of the organization in order to gain employee engagement.
Even with multiple communications, employee awareness can be a struggle, according to panelists.
Audit firm PwC offers a fellowship program within the social corporate responsibility division that is open to any qualified applicants within the company. This two-to-three month rotational program allows fellows to tackle and explore new corporate social responsibility projects. This provides additional outlets for employee engagement and alignment across company divisions.
Other programs that increase the employee engagement and resources for corporate social responsibility projects and goals include Avon’s Green Ambassadors and ARAMARK’s CSR internship program.
Key takeaways from the session included:
- Presenting and communicating a corporate social responsibility plan that both integrates and relates to what the company does is critical to the success of the program.
- Strong employee engagement can help a company make the difficult step of moving beyond the “low hanging fruit.”
- Companies should be aware of regional, cultural, and governmental differences when creating and implementing CSR policies and programs so that they do not have a negative effect on certain brands or business units.
- Despite constant and extensive internal communication, employee awareness and engagement is still a challenge.