Good corporate citizenship used to be simple and optional. Now it’s complicated and mandatory. That’s because the emergence of global markets, lightning-quick access to information, and heightened consumer expectations are compelling organizations of all sizes to establish an integrated corporate citizenship strategy as part of their overall business plan.
Companies that do not have a strong citizenship strategy in place find themselves at a competitive disadvantage. Corporate citizenship is now a fundamental piece of any successful company’s business plan, affecting its bottom line, share price, and long-term viability.
In the past, corporate citizenship mostly comprised giving to local charities and volunteering in the local community. But now savvy consumers and business partners look more closely at a company’s business practices, philanthropy, diversity, volunteerism, and environmental impact. And their expectations continue to rise.
Businesses are expected to contribute positively to society. They are expected to leave behind a more sustainable environment than they found. They are expected to take leadership in encouraging sectors of society to partner to solve major problems facing the world today.
One reason expectations have risen is that businesses around the world are reaping the benefits of greater market liberalization. Businesses must make good on the benefits they have received by looking for opportunities to benefit all of society.
Another factors are transparency
and disclosure. There is real
pressure on companies to report
on their social, economic, and
ethical impact. This has influenced
many companies to begin integrating such reports into their annual reports. Shareholders and customers alike are monitoring companies’ activities to ensure they are positive agents of change.
And monitoring a business is easier than ever. The Internet has helped to create tremendous risks and vulnerabilities to corporate reputations. It has become much...