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Corporations aim for good citizenship

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Almost all American companies believe doing good while doing business can benefit the bottom line, but many struggle with finding ways to make that happen, a new study says.

Nine in 10 companies surveyed by the new Center for Corporate Citizenship & Sustainability, created by The Conference Board, say citizenship and sustainability efforts are also business opportunities.

But respondents face challenges in making that a reality, with three in four saying measuring results of programs is the largest hurdle, followed by more than half that cite limited financial and human resources and difficulty aligning programs with business objectives.

More than six in 10 companies say they have formal programs to manage their efforts, while more than one in three have some type of regular oversight in place.

Virtually all companies surveyed conduct citizenship and sustainability efforts for the primary purpose of boosting their reputations and brands, the study says, while almost eight in 10 cite finding and keeping good employees as the primary driver.

For almost half the companies, boards of directors are involved in reviewing programs regularly, and another four in 10 say their directors are involved occasionally.

And more than half of respondents publish stand-alone annual reports on their citizenship and sustainability efforts, while another four in 10 reference these efforts in their regular annual reports, the study says.

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