Corporations for Social Responsibility and the Civic 100

31 Jul

More and more companies are embracing the reality that they play a critical leadership role in our society.  As employers they have the ability to influence culture internally that promotes civic and social responsibility, volunteerism and raise awareness of specific community needs.  As a provider of goods or services they reach national and global audiences through their branding, advertisements and marketing.  When Proctor and Gamble makes a new commercial it is seen by millions overnight.  When Starbucks promotes a fair trade brand of coffee Starbucks drinkers throughout the world are exposed.  When Verizon created HopeLine every Verizon user received printed information when buying a phone.  The reach of large companies is vast and as consumers we pay attention to what they are doing, even without noticing we are doing it.

With that in mind I am excited for the Civic 100.  The National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) and Points of Light are working together with Bloomberg News to conduct a survey to rank and recognize corporations for how they are engaged in the community and incorporate those philosophy’s into their culture.

These five business leaders wrote an open letter encouraging S&P 500 companies to participate: Steve Case, chairman and CEO of Revolution LLC and co-founder of America Online; Ray Chambers, former chairman, Wesray Capital Corporation;Mike Eskew, former chairman and CEO, UPS; Bob Nardelli, former chairman and CEO, Chrysler and The Home Depot; and John Pepper, former president, CEO and chairman, Proctor & Gamble.

This is an excerpt from their letter

Having been at the helm of major companies, we recognize the deeper meaning behind President Truman’s phrase, “The buck stops here.” Our leadership responsibility extends beyond ensuring financial success and ethical business practices. We and our associates are stewards of the cities and towns in which we work, and we are responsible for fostering a strong sense of community throughout our enterprises – each and every day. As business leaders, it is we who must grab the bull by the horns, rather than pass the buck, to ignite a culture of corporations giving back.”

Whether through promoting cause awareness, Employee Volunteer Programs, or cash donations corporations have the ability to create a huge impact.  According to the Giving USA 2012 Report individuals in the US gave $217.79 billion in 2011.  By contrast corporations gave $14.55 billion.  Currently individual citizens are leading the charge in charitable giving within the US.  My hope is that initiatives like the Civic 100 will prompt corporations to step up and take a more active role in charitable giving.  Great leadership is required and as shareholders, employees, and consumers we have the ability to support and promote this type of change.  I look forward to reading the results in November.


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