- Social Media
- Active Citizenship
- Good Giving
- Corporate Responsibility
- Be Fearless
This season's issue of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP)'s publication, The Corporate Philanthropist, is out and available online and in PDF. Each issue focuses on different areas of corporate philanthropy, and this current Winter 2010 issue provides different perspectives from industry executives, leaders and experts on the question:
What do you expect of business in solving social problems, now and in the future?
Here are some key thoughts and insights gleaned from the issue. Go to CECP for their full opinion pieces.
An Investor Perspective from Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., President & CEO, TIAA-CREF:
We need to appreciate that efforts to “do well by doing good” can have strategic relevance for all businesses by reducing risk, enhancing corporate reputation and competitive position, and providing opportunities for growth. By encouraging businesses to adopt a more rational, long-term approach, we can enhance financial security. Individuals need similar help and guidance.
A Global Policy Perspective from Richard N. Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations:
The relative importance of business in society has increased as companies have grown and merged, as governments in Washington and elsewhere have become financially stretched, and as globalization has raised the salience of economic issues. Businesses have on-the-ground knowledge from their global presence. And contributions from the private sector are needed in developing the technologies and deploying the resources to meet this era’s principal challenges, from terrorism and climate change to pandemic disease and poverty.
A Humanitarian Perspective from Raymond Offenheiser, President, Oxfam America:
For Oxfam, best practices begin with efforts to engage and be accountable to corporate stakeholders—affected communities, consumers, farmers, and workers. To these ends, Oxfam calls on companies to:
- Make clear, public commitments to human rights and sustainability.
- Take responsibility for the full “sphere of influence.
- Measure, evaluate, and report.
- Innovate new solutions.
A Foreign Leader Perspective from Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia:
My government’s commitment to a robust private sector is starting to pay off. Critical infrastructure, such as roads and electricity, is improving. The strengthened business climate is reflected in the fact that Liberia has been one of the fastest improving performers on the World Bank’s Doing Business Survey over the last three years. And a recent report from Transparency International shows significant progress in the fight against corruption. As government strives to do its part, we remain acutely aware that it’s the private sector that will ultimately determine whether we reach our goal of rapid, inclusive, and sustainable growth.
An International Advocacy Perspective from Kevin J. Jenkins, President & CEO, World Vision:
Our human history holds plenty of paradoxes. There have always been the wealthy and the powerful alongside the poor and the vulnerable. Nations have risen and fallen. New forms of governance and power structures have evolved over time... World Vision proposes that the next revolution must involve “convergence,” a new form of collaboration and cooperation between civil society, government, and the private sector. A convergence model allows the major players to cooperate early on by identifying mutual goals and sharing analyses and concepts; then they continue collaborating to provide resources and technology for mutually beneficial solutions.
A Consumer Perspective from Jack Leslie, Chairman, Weber Shandwick:
Why does trust keep falling when so many companies are adopting strong corporate social responsibility policies? The fact is that trust in most institutions has declined, and Americans increasingly expect companies to act responsibly. It’s become table stakes, particularly for well-known brands... The most successful companies of the future will match their skill sets to social needs and create legions of advocates in the process. For business, it turns out that doing the right thing is doing the smart thing.
A Civil Society Perspective from Diana Aviv, President & CEO, Independent Sector:
Many businesses have used their corporate foundations, social responsibility programs, and outreach efforts to help create a climate that fosters a positive view of their firm. Such activities are welcome and encouraged for sure. Equally, if not more important, is recognizing and acting on the fundamental principle that it is in the best interest of business to attend to the larger environment in which it operates. Being a good corporate citizen is one thing; building communities in which people thrive and work to their maximum potential is another... Perhaps one of the most effective ways to create wealth for shareholders and stakeholders is for a business to leverage its powerful assets – innovation, efficiency, and creativity among them – to improve human lives and the world in which we live. Doing so reflects not only enlightened self-interest, but sound business practice.
A Private Foundation Perspective from Luis Ubiñas, President, Ford Foundation:
Many of the issues the Ford Foundation strives to impact have substantive implications for businesses around the world and could benefit from their constructive engagement. These goals include ensuring that societies remain stable by encouraging democratic values and challenging corruption and abuse... Our society and societies around the world face challenges of an unprecedented scale and complexity. To address this new generation of challenges, we need to come together with a shared sense of responsibility and a renewed sense of patriotism.
A Corporate Strategy Perspective from Lenny Mendonca, Director, McKinsey & Company:
It is demonstrably clear that success of the economy and society, as well as the corporations that operate within them, is determined in great part by their collective effectiveness in solving the most pressing problems. The health of each is shaped by the skills generated by our education system, the quality of our water and air, and even the sustainability of our pension programs... External shocks, the likes of which we have just experienced, rarely arise without warning. Many threats to business arrive after considerable indications of a coming storm. Leaders whose strategies embed and build the capability to sense, shape, and prepare for long-term horizon risks and opportunities are better positioned to handle the trends that will hurt their competitors. This is the mandate for winning business strategies for the future.