How the process for recognizing transparency has become more transparent itself.
By Richard J. Crespin and Elizabeth Boudrie
The two of us are old hands at research and analysis, but it has only been during the past year that we have taken complete control over administration of the CR’s “100 Best Corporate Citizen’s List.” Now modern corporate responsibility is a new field and few if any organizations have been rating CR longer than CR Magazine. So when we got the call to take over the List, we sat down to get "smart.”
We read the CR Magazine methodology. We met repeatedly with experts—CR practitioners, academics, NGOs, investors, regulators, and more—including those on our very own Methodology Committee. We also made an effort to learn about other research methods and other ratings systems, not just in CR, but in other fields as well: Fortune’s “500 List” and “Best Places to Work List,” even as far afield as college football's Bowl Championship Series.
The corporate responsibility movement is maturing rapidly. It’s time to pay closer attention.
BY STEVEN JORDAN AND B.J. PARKER
Corporate citizenship is still in its infancy. Its jargon can be opaque to outsiders. Even the definitions of key concepts are subject to debate. Nevertheless, it is possible to identify themes that will have a formative impact on the continuing development of the field.
First, the professionalization and systematization of the field have accelerated in the past decade and will likely continue to pick up pace. Almost every major company today examines its social and environmental impact. In addition, companies are increasingly sophisticated about dealing with major stakeholders; they know that if they do not manage their resources and activities actively, outside groups will take political or legal action against them.
Companies are not merely acting defensively or trying to ward off criticism, however. Business leaders recognize that reaching out to influencers, activist groups, and government agencies can help their organizations in multiple ways, whether in terms of R&D, market sentiment, idea generation, or access to information.
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