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June 27, 2012
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Building Our Body of CR knowledge

What makes a corporate responsibility (CR) program successful? Do an organization’s structure, staffing, budget impact success in achieving goals? What’s the effect of executive engagement in CR?

These are just a few of the questions CR Magazine and NYSE-Euronext have sought to answer over the past couple of years of research into CR practices.Thanks to strong response from the CR community, we’ve learned a few things about the state of corporate citizenship...

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As More Companies Develop Corporate Responsibility Strategies, Gaps in the Profession Remain

U.S. Chamber of Commerce BCLC and CROA benchmark the evolving professional field.

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Do Corporate Responsibility “Best Practices” Really Exist?

In short, no. 
 
Although there are a growing number of examples of “successful practices”. More often than not, companies are still sorting out what CR really means for them. While companies have an important role to play in tackling some of our most pressing challenges, each company’s CR strategy has to make sense for their industry, their business model, and the identity of their individual organization. So rarely does CR look the same at different companies. Moreover, this remains a nascent field, making it a little early declare any practice “best”.
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Understanding the Value of Corporate Responsibility

Susan Pullin, CSC Vice President of Corporate Responsibility, writes that

There are many opinions about the real value to a company of corporate responsibility (CR). Aman Singh recently wrote for Forbes about these contrary opinions and posed the question: “Are we fighting over semantics or strategy?” She went on to consider how stakeholders often view CR. Is it perceived as something that is disconnected from markets, profits and capitalism itself? Is it typically misinterpreted as a cost, with some seeing CR as little more than “giving away money and adopting the latest cause of activists”?

As we look at this debate, one point is clear:  if CR is perceived anything but a contributor to top-line growth, then stakeholder opinions will be negative and the value of CR is misunderstood.

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A Rush to Standards?

For the last two weeks I’ve spent a lot of time in the deep-end of the Corporate Responsibility ratings pool. Last week I participated in a workshop here in Washington, DC organized by SustainAbility to reflect on the findings of their Rate the Raters Report. This week I spoke on a panel (coincidentally with a lot of the same people from the workshop) at the Better Business Bureau of New York on the value of ratings systems.

Here’s the feedback…
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