A new report by the Boston College Centre for Corporate Citizenshipreveals some significant gaps between what business leaders are saying about corporate citizenship and what their companies are actually doing.
Here are some highlights:
Differences in beliefs of executives and behaviour of U.S. companies:
73% of executives say corporate citizenship needs to be a priority for companies. However, 60% report corporate citizenship is part of their busines strategy, 39% report that corporate citizenship is part of their business planning process, and only 28% of companies have written corporate citizenship policies or statements.
65% of executives say that the public has a right to expect good corporate citizenship. However, only 29% report discussing citizenship outside the company with stakeholders and 21% report to the public on corporate citizenship issues.
Gaps between business perceptions and public expectations:
Companies should be held responsible for ensuring that all materials used to make its products have been produced in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.
Executive expectation: 55% agree Public expectation: 79% agree
Companies should be held responsible for improving education and skill in communities where they operate.
Executive expectation: 41% agree Public expectation: 61% agree
The report concludes with a challenge to American businesses: get real by closing the gap between aspiration and action; become more relevant by balancing the interests of key stakeholders such as employees, customers, shareholders, communities, and be responsive to the changing operating environment created by globalization, hyper-communications, and a more aware, demanding public.
Business that fail to meet this challenge will likely find themselves on the defensive at home and less competitive abroad.