Vol. 8 No. 2 – March/April

The 100 Best Corporate Citizens

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Our 18th annual ranking of responsible organizations 100 Best based on seven categories and 260 data points is revealed. Being a good corporate citizen is a goal of most leading organizations, but actually achieving this can be a challenge in today’s business climate. There are many working pieces of a responsible operation—risk management, diversity and inclusion, and the supply chain for example—that make efficient and effective operations quite onerous. So when a company succeeds at being transparent, responsible, and accountable—with all aspects backed up by data—they end up earning a coveted spot on Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens List. Compiling the 18th annual list of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens began with our research team documenting 260 data points of disclosure and performance measurements for the entire Russell 1000. The data was gleaned from publicly available information and each company was ranked in seven categories: • Environment; • Climate change; • Employee relations; • Human rights; • Corporate governance; • Financial performance; and • Philanthropy and community support.

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Building a Greener World

shutterstock_338532854 Four best practices leading companies can implement to improve their sustainable construction strategy. By Marta Chmielowicz In a society that is increasingly aware of the importance of sustainability, “green” building is quickly becoming a top priority. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, buildings are the largest consumers of energy worldwide, accounting for nearly 40 percent of total U.S. energy use and carbon dioxide emissions. Given this vast impact, it is no surprise that responsible building practices have seen such rapid growth, with a 2016 Dodge Data & Analytics study reporting that demand for green buildings continues to double every three years. “Green building is evolving to become the new normal,” says Curt Radkin, senior vice president and sustainability strategist at Wells Fargo Corporate Properties Group. “It is becoming a part of consumers’ baseline expectations and will eventually not be seen as a differentiator, but a requirement.

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Responsible Construction

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A business’ commitment to CR starts within its own walls. Here are the top sustainable headquarters serving as prime examples of green construction.

By The Editors

Companies today are looking to improve their sustainability track records in every way possible, including the structures in which they operate. Building in accordance with specific environmental standards allows corporations to position themselves as CR leaders. The following is a list of organizations that best represent responsible construction. This list was compiled from editorial research and nominations that were vetted by CR Magazine staff.

Click here to view the 2017 Most Sustainable Corporate Headquarters list.

Alternative Plans

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Leading power providers are doing better business by utilizing clean energy.
By Christa Elliott
Once confined to the realm of idealistic buzzwords, the phrase “alternative energy” has evolved into a concrete and actionable business objective for major companies around the globe. This is especially true for utility companies—which were some of the first to answer the call for renewable resource use— because of product nature and the sheer scale of environmental impact. Despite the costs and long-term, strategic planning involved in providing sustainable energy, companies that make the right investments will find clean energy initiatives help get consumers interested in their brand, illustrate a commitment to the world in which they operate, and even improve the bottom line. Continue reading →

The Meat of CR

064288a The executive director of the Arby’s Foundation talks ‘opportunity’—and how an effective corporate responsibility platform speaks to every stakeholder. By Allie Williams Arby’s is more than just hamburgers. The Arby’s Foundation was founded in 1986 as a way for the company to give back to the communities it serves. It has donated more than $80 million to various charitable causes across the country, and since 2011 has focused its mission to ending childhood hunger in America—contributing nearly $25 million to hunger relief organizations in the U.S. Chris Fuller, executive director of the Arby’s Foundation, discusses what drives CR at the company and how the future of its philanthropy looks “PurposeFULL.” Allie Williams: As a practitioner, how does telling the CR story feel different from everyday sales and marketing? Chris Fuller: The key is to create a level of consistency where the story may be different, but your voice is the same.

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Embedding Sustainability

Screen Shot 2017-04-18 at 1.37.23 PM How companies can create a strategic advantage by implementing CR with key stakeholders. By Suhas Apte And Jagdish N. Sheth Achieving a lasting, sustainable, competitive advantage through sustainability itself requires both consistent and persistent efforts on the part of every business and industry. As its respective market performance bars are constantly raised, an organization’s efforts will need to go far beyond just upgrading to energy-efficient light bulbs or recycling office paper, for example. To fully embrace sustainability as a competitive advantage, businesses must create transformative change in traditional approaches and practices. A business must embed sustainability into its corporate culture—its own DNA—and strategically invest in new and innovative processes, practices, and systems. Only those company leaders that embrace sustainability in a holistic, transformative, and balanced way—so as to engage and energize stakeholders—will be able to deliver triple-bottom-line benefits to the businesses.

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What Came First: The Chicken Or The Egg?

shutterstock_143551261 Supply chain lessons learned from the challenge of the 'cage-free' trend. Nick Anderson In late 2015, a small group of food companies declared they would transition to using exclusively cage-free eggs by 2025. This type of announcement was not a new for food companies, but it did set off a snowball effect of animal welfare policy changes and commitments throughout the food industry. Today, nearly every major food company, restaurant, and food retail business has some form of cage-free egg policy. Many factors contributed to this significant and rapid industry shift, but a few of them were key: increasing consumer interest in farm animal welfare practices; companies’ willingness to commit to changes to build or protect their brand image; and, perhaps most importantly, consumers reacting positively to the term “cage-free.” Let’s face it: cage-free sounds wonderful. Of course consumers don’t want chickens locked up in cages. Who doesn’t prefer freedom to the alternative? The chickens, most likely.

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Going Beyond the Product

2b72c36 Scott Tew, director of the Ingersoll Rand Center for Energy Efficiency & Sustainability, discusses the evolving role of CR at the organization. By Allie Williams As a global company, Ingersoll Rand is responsible for meeting the needs of stakeholders everywhere. This means operating as a responsible company is a critical business objective. Scott Tew, director of the Ingersoll Rand Center for Energy Efficiency & Sustainability and business strategy, talks about how the organization is telling its CR story while pushing ahead—and leading the way—toward its 2020 goals. Allie Williams: As a practitioner, how does telling the CR story feel different from everyday sales and marketing? Scott Tew: Telling the corporate responsibility [story] does not feel all at that different than talking about sales and marketing because it is woven into all that we do.

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Editor’s Letter: Corporate Responsibility is Essential Today

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Politics have overtaken our everyday lives in 2017. You can’t turn on the news or go online without seeing headlines about new executive orders, different legislation, and overturned regulations. Try as I might to stay away from opinion-based writing, I feel it’s time to speak out on some issues I see developing today. Lately, some individuals have been questioning science itself; for example, there is a lot of discussion and debate on whether climate change is “real” or not. According to NASA, the EPA, and multiple other government and environmental agencies, it is. Facts are important; I am glad I am a journalist employed at a publication that prides itself on providing timely, fact-based articles from experts in the field. And our field is extremely important right now. Corporate responsibility is essential for all businesses to operate ethically today, period. CR is comprised of multiple topics that all intertwine, including the environment, employee relations, human rights, corporate governance, finance, and philanthropy.

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CEO’s Letter: Are There Only 100?

clark For the 18th year, Corporate Responsibility Magazine is publishing the 100 Best Corporate Citizens List. In my Jewish faith, 18 is a mystical number. The letters used to represent the numbers one and eight also spell the word “life.” In some respects, as I reflect on the importance of measuring corporate responsibility, the list does promote life. Life in our communities, life for our planet, fairness for investors, and respect and well-being for employees and neighbors are all part of the outcomes from responsible corporate behavior. I am often asked what the significance of the ranking is. We are the only ranking or rating of CR behavior that is not dependent on self-reported data. We get clarifications and allow companies to review their data files, but we do not let them add to the trove of over 260,000 data points that we collect on the entire Russell 1000. Being free of self-reported data makes this listing free from accusations of conflict of interest or tempting corporate officers to paint a rosier picture than their actual behaviors warrant.

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