Business leaders see value in corporate citizenship

Corporate executives believe good corporate citizenship boosts their bottom line, and companies that build corporate citizenship into their business strategy are far more likely to achieve key business goals than other companies, a new report says.

Eighty percent or more of executives from 749 mostly medium and large U.S. companies responding to an online survey said environmental, social and governance investments create financial value for their companies, says The State of Corporate Citizenship 2012, a report from the Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College.

Companies that integrate social responsibility and business strategies are nine time more likely to succeed in meeting key business objectives than companies that do not integrate those strategies.

The report, with data gathered with the assistance of GlobeScan, a market research firm in Toronto, also says environmental sustainability programs received the greatest increase in funding over the past three years and are expected to remain a funding priority over the next three years.

The biggest obstacle to corporate citizenship programs was the economy for medium-sized companies, pressure to deliver short-term results for small businesses, and both the economy and pressure to deliver short-term results for large businesses.

Executive turnover both helped and hurt small businesses more than large businesses in the success of their corporate citizenship programs.

Large businesses were better able to take advantage of global market competition than were small and medium-sized businesses in achieving their corporate citizenship goals, while the U.S. economy most helped small businesses achieve their corporate citizenship goals compared to large and medium-sized companies.

Levels of support from managers and executives were most important to large and medium-sized businesses in the success of their corporate citizenship, while public trust was key in that success to companies of all sizes.

Factors that helped with the success of corporate citizenship were, for large businesses, the ability take advantage of global market competition and, for small businesses, the U.S. economy.