Adidas goes ‘all in’ to embrace sustainability
According to a 2011 MIT Sloan School of Management study, 67 percent of global executives say that sustainability strategies are necessary to be competitive. As a global leader in the sporting goods industry, the adidas Group recently redesigned its sustainability journey into a “4Ps” model emphasizing people, product, planet, and partnership. Now, as part of its mature chemical management program, the company will screen and manage chemical input at the supplier level through a recent partnership with bluesign technologies, a company dedicated to sustainable movement within textile industries. (more…)
Posted on September 3rd, 2014 by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director, Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship
Corporate citizenship is not only a department in your company; it is more importantly the combination of how your company exercises its rights, privileges, obligations, and responsibilities—throughout all of its operations. What is the ecosystem of value that it creates for its stakeholders and for society?
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Posted on August 6th, 2014 by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director, Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship
“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone else planted a tree long time ago” – Warren Buffett
Last week I was reading a whitepaper from MFS Investment Management about the benefits of investing on a longer horizon.
Corporate citizenship leaders, take note. There is more and more being written about the need for investors to take a longer view. This perspective presents a potential opportunity for companies that are willing to make longer-term investments in environmental, social, and governance dimensions of their businesses to improve their operating environments so that they can sustain positive returns for the longer term. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on July 1st, 2014 by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director, Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship
While I was on the road for Center business a couple of weeks ago, I caught BlackRock CEO Larry Fink on Squawk Box. Fink is bullish on U.S. equities. With $4.4 trillion under management, he is someone who a lot of investors listen to, whether they agree with him or not. The panel of Squawk Box interlocutors was discussing with Fink how our dovish Fed is dampening volatility (and trading volume) in the markets, reducing the opportunity to make quick money. Fink’s position in this conversation caught my attention. “Lack of volatility is not an investor problem,” he said, “It is a trader problem.” During the 20 minutes or so I watched, Fink talked about a longer-term perspective as being important to the future of our national and global economy—promoting longer-term corporate governance, public and private capital investments, and public policy. He and others have noted that many large corporations are sitting on a lot of cash that can be put to work to create more business value and more social good. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on June 5th, 2014 by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director, Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship
This spring, we at the Center have been visiting member companies around the country. During these visits, one trend worth noting is that an increasing number of Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and Chief Operating Officers (COOs) are participating in conversations about corporate citizenship. This is further evidence of the elevation of attention and the increased value placed on corporate citizenship. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on May 7th, 2014 by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director, Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship
I recently picked up a copy of Christine Bader’s book, The Evolution of a Corporate Idealist—When Girl Meets Oil. The book recounts Bader’s time working with BP in Indonesia, China, and the UK early in her career over a period of about 10 years, then with United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Representative on business and human rights. The book is full of well-written stories that resonate with those we hear from so many of our members about the complexities of operating corporate citizenship programs within large global companies, about promoting long-term interests in a short term world, about navigating leadership transitions. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on April 9th, 2014 by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director, Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship
Our conference this year was kicked off by a great speech by FedEx executive Raj Subramaniam. In the opening minutes of his remarks Subramaniam noted that, “Adaptable leadership is leadership. Change is no longer what happens to any business eventually. It is what happens to every business constantly.”
In each of the conference keynotes, the speakers told stories of a change that had either happened to them or that they were planning to undertake. Key to their successful adaptation was the ability to recognize their current circumstances and to IMAGINE, as Disney CFO Jay Fasulo emphasized, how they wanted that circumstance—or their position in it—to be different.
The pressures of day-to-day business can cause us to focus single-mindedly on progress made towards incremental management goals. It can be hard to stay focused on the vision of our future world. This year’s conference was rich with examples of how corporate citizenship professionals make and contend with change. We are grateful for the contributions of our many presenters and hope that you will get inspiration and ideas from reviewing the conference summaries.
Posted on March 5th, 2014 by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director, Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship
Plenty of research over the years has focused on the relationship between social performance and various aspects of firm value. Adding to the literature, research published recently by the Conference Board studied over 1,000 companies from 2008 to 2012 to see if corporate citizenship contributes to brand equity. Using CSRHub’s ratings and Brand Finance’s Brand Strength Index (BSI) for analysis, the study finds a positive correlation between brand value and corporate citizenship. This held true across all of the dimensions studied with employment dimensions being most strongly correlated. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on February 3rd, 2014 by Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director, Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship
Our upcoming conference provides an opportunity to meet and hear from corporate citizenship leaders who adapt their practice to our evolving business context and navigate through changing environmental, social, and governance business landscapes. Read the rest of this entry »