State of Corporate Citizenship 2009: Weathering the storm

We do occasionally include items that, while not sports-specific, are surely relevant when it comes to a discussion of CSR. The following is from the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship.

Author(s): Bradley Googins, Ph.D., Vesela Veleva, Sc.D., Christopher Pinney, Philip Mirvis, Ph.D., Rene Carapinha

The 2009 State of Corporate Citizenship in the United States 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 we also explore how executives view new public policy challenges and their reaction to public expectations for better regulation of business. We thank The Hitachi Foundation for its generous support of this fourth biennial State of Corporate Citizenship survey and to the business executives and contributors who made this report possible.

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Sept. 22, 2009

Highlights of the survey, include:

  • Despite upheaval in the economy, a majority of U.S. companies are not making major changes in their corporate citizenship practices. Of those who made changes 38% reduced philanthropy/giving, 27% increased layoffs, and 19% reduced R&D for sustainable products.
  • Most U.S. senior executives believe business should be more involved than it is today in addressing major public issues including health care, product safety, education, and climate change. Surveyed in June, just as the national debate on health care began to intensify, some 65 percent said business should increase its involvement in this issue.
  • Reputation was cited by 70% as a driver for corporate citizenship, tied for the top spot with “it fits our company traditions and values.”
  • The citizenship response during the recession differed between larger and smaller companies. Large companies significantly increased their investments and involvement in citizenship activities, but were more likely to impose layoffs. Small firms stayed committed to their emphasis on treating employees well by minimizing layoffs. But they significantly decreased attention to other aspects of citizenship.