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Companies Forge Ahead with Community Efforts

Submitted by: Center for Corporate Citizenship

Categories: Business Ethics

Posted: May 15, 2002 – 12:00 AM EST


May 15 /CSRwire/ - Boston, Massachusetts - Corporate investment in community involvement is holding steady, and in some cases is on the rise despite the sagging economy, according to an annual survey by the Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College.

The Community Involvement Index shows that senior level support for corporate citizenship efforts continues to increase. Some 49 percent of respondents said their top executives support the company’s citizenship efforts, up from 42 percent in 2000. At the same time, 41 percent of respondents reported an increase in their community involvement budget, while two-thirds said their company factors corporate community involvement into its overall strategic plan.

"These numbers show that companies are not only acknowledging the importance of corporate community involvement, they’re backing their commitment with dollars," said Center Executive Director Bradley K. Googins. "Increasingly, companies are viewing these efforts as a strategic
business investment, rather than as a soft, expendable ‘add-on.’"

The 2002 Community Involvement Index is The Center's seventh annual snapshot of community involvement trends and issues. Based on the results of surveys completed by those attending The Center's executive education programs during the previous year, the report looks at the strategic direction of community involvement; its internal support; programming resources and policies; and critical social issues drawing corporate attention.

Other highlights from this year's report include:

- Respondents are much more concerned about environmental issues than in previous years, listing it as second in importance, up from ninth place the previous year. For the fifth straight year, K-12 education is the social issue about which respondents are most concerned. A first time entrant to the list this year is homelessness, ranking as the fifth most critical issue. Health care dropped from the top 10 after placing in the top five for the past three years.

- Twenty-seven percent of respondents reported an increase in the number of community relations staff, the same as in 2000 and 1998, but still remaining above the 23 percent increase in 1996.

- More than three-quarters of respondents said their company features their commitment to the community in their annual report.

- The number of companies offering employee volunteer programs has risen to 83 percent, up
slightly from the year before. Of those, 42 percent have a formal policy for compensation or
time off for volunteer work, up 6 percent from the previous year.

- Cause related marketing is becoming more popular, with 64 percent of respondents currently reporting its use compared with 56 percent in 2000 and 57 percent in 1998. For a copy of the Community Involvement Index, please visit The Center’s web site at www.bc.edu/corporatecitizenship. The Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College, part of the Carroll School of Management, provides leadership in establishing corporate citizenship as a business essential, so all companies act as economic and social assets to the communities they impact. It provides research, executive education, consultation and convenings on issues of corporate citizenship. The Center has more than 300 corporate members across the globe.

For more information, please contact:

Cheryl Kiser The Center for Corporate Citizenship
Phone: (617) 552-8948


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