Celebrating 35 years of corporate citizenship

As we approach the New Year and a new decade, the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship marks another significant milestone—our 35th anniversary of supporting you and all of the important work you do to build better businesses and a better world.

Our world has changed dramatically since the Center’s founding in 1985. Thirty-five years ago, scientists were just starting to understand the mechanics of climate change with the discovery of a hole in the ozone layer. Now, world leaders are mobilizing to save our planet by meeting the standards set by the Paris Agreement, and companies are taking steps reduce GHG emissions and support the Paris objectives. In 2000, we saw the UN Global Compact establish Millennium Development Goals. Now, the successor Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)are working their way into corporate strategies as companies align their CSR goals with the targets outlined by the 17 SDGs.

As our world’s challenges have gotten bigger, corporate citizenship has risen to meet them. A majority of business executives now understand the value of investing in well-designed and effectively executed corporate citizenship to create business and social value both. In the forthcoming State of Corporate Citizenship 2020 study, new data suggest that greater numbers of executives understand the value of corporate citizenship and that the most effective corporate citizenship programs connect directly to company purpose and operating context.

With the growth of the corporate citizenship in companies, the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship has also grown. In 35 years, we have gone from a small membership of just 35 people in 35 companies to serving 500 member companies and almost 10,000 individuals through our network each year. That is an inspiring number, and a reflection of the evolution of corporate citizenship from “nice to have” programs to strategic business imperatives.

No matter how the context changes, the challenge before us remains constant: To make a better world. This goal is at the heart of the Center’s work with all of you. We are here to help you be well informed, prepared, and fortified to tackle the issues in front of us all

Whether you are learning from colleagues at networking events such as our International Corporate Citizenship Conference and Accelerated Certificate Summit, reading  research, or tracking evolving regulatory updates, or exploring issue briefs—our purpose is to increase knowledge and improve outcomes by creating a strong community of practice.

In my 10 years here at the Center, it has been inspiring to see the momentum of this community—how corporate citizenship professionals use their influence, expertise, and grit to propel change. In our 35th year (and for many more), we will strive to continue to help you know more, do more, and achieve more with your corporate citizenship so that we can create the world in which we want to do business and the world in which we want to live.