By Kate Olsen
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending The US Chamber of Commerce’s Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC) 2012 Corporate Citizenship Awar..., known as “The Citizens”. The nominees were narrowed down to 4 or 5 companies for each of 4 categories (winners in bold below). What struck me about the pool of nominees and their programs, was that most companies were being recognized for programs that align with their core business capabilities. It’s heartening to see the field of corporate social responsibility (CSR) evolving to a point were corporate savvy and philanthropic dollars go hand in hand to address social issues while building business. CSR is coming for age!
Take GM for example. The company spent the past 5 years turbocharging its recycling program through the GM ‘Saving Green by Thinking Green’ program and learned just how much sustainable practices can reduce waste, enhance productivity and efficiency, and improve quality. In 2011, GM recycled or reused more than 2.6 million metric tons of waste materials in plants worldwide, avoiding 10 million metric tons of CO2 emissions. That’s smart business.
Or Google. Google’s ‘Get Your Business Online’ program helps small businesses get a free website, domain and Web hosting, as well as the expertise businesses need to build a good Web presence. Google is ensuring that small businesses don’t get left behind with advancing technology and helping grow its search, advertising and other business lines. That’s ‘good’ business.
Or Capital One. Capital One’s ‘Investing for Good’ program targets community investments in four areas: affordable housing, education, small business and workforce development, and financial literacy. While the market for community development loans decrease 45% during the recession, Capital One’s increased 270%, proving that responsible lending, paired with guidance and oversight can create opportunity even in tough economic times. Through the initiative, Capital One not only helps communities in need, but also builds its own loan portfolio and customer base. That’s responsible business.
These are but a few snapshots of innovative and generous projects making a difference for communities and businesses alike. If you want to read more about the 2012 Citizens nominees and winners, check out the BCLC website.
Best Corporate Steward
- Capital One Financial Corporation*
- IBM Corporation
- UnitedHealth Group
Best Business Neighbor
- The Dow Chemical Company
- General Motors Company
- Google Inc.*
- National Football League
Best International Ambassador
- Alcoa Foundation
- Qualcomm Inc.
Best Partnership (People’s Choice Award)
- Caterpillar and First Response Team of America
- Hilton Worldwide and Global Soap Project
- Intel Corporation and World Vision
- General Mills, Merck & Co., Inc. and CARE
- WellPoint and Boys and Girls Club of America
*Network for Good Partner
Photo Credit: Capital One Financial Corporation