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Breakout Sessions | Corporate Citizenship Conference

The 2019 International Corporate Citizenship Conference breakout sessions are organized into tracks to help you choose the ones most relevant to your work. All of the breakouts are outstanding opportunities for learning. No need to stick to just one track, we encourage you to mix and match to maximize your experience.

*Each breakout session is also notated with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that align most with each topic. Learn more about the SDGs on the UN website.

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Leading change: How to drive progress from wherever you sit

No two corporate citizenship departments are the same. Some are housed in communications or public affairs, others are situated with HR or legal, while some report directly to the CEO. No matter where you sit, every CSR professional must work across the organization to achieve business and social value. In this session, experts will share both the advantages and constraints of their particular organizational structure, as well as the skills and methods they’ve developed to gain buy-in, increase engagement, and achieve success.



Lean mean CSR machines: How to punch above your weight

Corporate citizenship professionals are masters at achieving a lot with a little. Whether working with a small budget, a small staff, in a small company—or all of the above—the field is full of success stories that illustrate the immense progress that can be achieved by even the smallest of teams. In this session, CSR leaders from small but mighty departments will share how they’ve tapped into their networks, leveraged their resources, and developed creative solutions that deliver major results.



Leveraging corporate citizenship to attract and retain employees

From internal efforts such as employee relief funds, wellness programs, and employee resource groups to community involvement initiatives such as sabbaticals, pro-bono programs, and volunteering and giving efforts, companies are developing innovative programs that attract employees now and keep them for years. Join this session to learn how your peers have developed and communicated strategic corporate citizenship programs that appeal to job-seekers and increase human capital in companies.



The next step for diverse and inclusive workforces

While CSR professionals recognize the value that diverse workforces offer, many struggle with advancing from diversity by the numbers to an inclusive culture. By challenging embedded norms and adopting formal processes and programs, some leading companies are achieving progress, diversifying not only the talent pipeline but also their upper ranks, thinking outside the employee base to suppliers and partners, and broadening the concept of diversity to include intersectional issues. In this session, CSR leaders will share how they’ve moved their companies beyond counting differences to embracing the different contributions of every mind.




Building stronger communities: Collaboration and collabotition

Strategic corporate citizens know that their companies are only as strong as the communities they serve, that’s why many are choosing to create unique partnerships—with nonprofits, government agencies, and even their competitors. These alliances connect the very best of the public and private sectors to deliver progress that could never be achieved by one sector alone. Join this session to hear how CSR leaders have worked with other sectors and competitor companies and organizations to address industry-specific issues, advance shared objectives, and foster healthier and more vibrant communities.



Giving for growth: Building nonprofit capacity

Nonprofit partners are vital to any community involvement program. They offer both expert insights and unique capabilities that help companies create strong and vibrant communities. As efforts to elevate communities become more strategic and complex, however, nonprofits are under increasing presser to deliver more, faster, with less overhead, and with more comprehensive metrics. To help sustain and scale the critical work of nonprofits, many companies are turning to grants that help build nonprofit capacity. In this illuminating session, you’ll hear how your peers are strengthening the systems that support nonprofits through staff training, technology improvements, board development, strategic planning, communication, strategy development, program evaluation, and more.



Looking forward to the future of community involvement

Over the past few decades, community involvement has evolved far beyond checkbook philanthropy to become a strategic business lever that delivers strong returns for both communities and companies. In this session, join experts from the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship—as well as leaders in the field—to learn what community involvement professionals are prioritizing in their programs now, and where they expect their efforts to lead. The discussion will include a deep dive into the Center’s 2019 Community Involvement Study, a research report that has examined the field since 1995.



Preparing for a new normal with disaster prevention, recovery, and relief

Scientists around the world have issued a clear message: Natural disasters are on the rise, and are only expected to become more frequent, and more severe. Now, many companies are working to examine and reprioritize their community investments to foster stability in advance, and are deploying life-saving resources, expertise, and technologies when disasters do strike. Join this session to learn how your forward-looking peers are creating adaptable strategies and cultivating rich partnerships to help communities prepare for and recover from natural disasters.




Detangling disclosure: Simple steps to start sustainability reporting

While the value of sustainability reporting is clear—improved reputation, retained consumers, and stronger market value—executing reports sometimes isn’t an easy path. Though it may seem as though the reporting landscape is only becoming more complex, you can find out which method and framework will work best for your company and how to get internal stakeholders involved in the reporting process. In this session, learn how reporting veterans got their start, and how they are leveraging CSR reporting to limit impacts, meet goals, and achieve success.



Making the most of your network: How to build and nurture a community of colleagues who will drive corporate citizenship success across the organization

Effective corporate citizenship is a company-wide endeavor—and getting everyone involved is half the battle. The key to cultivating a powerful network dedicated to create sustainable change lies in understanding what matters MOST to each department—and framing your corporate citizenship program to deliver on those objectives. In this session, experts will share their secrets to connecting successfully to colleagues across their companies. Learn how to convert agnostics and detractors into ambassadors.



Storytelling and statistics: How to paint a vivid picture of success

People love stories and need the facts. As corporate citizenship professionals, you have the privilege of telling some of the most inspiring stories your company has to offer. To establish credibility and galvanize further action—from executives, employees, and external stakeholders—these stories need to convey information and touch emotions. This session will dive into how you can select, integrate, and communicate important facts through compelling story-telling—so you can paint a powerful picture of sustainable success.



The next step in reporting: Future trends

No matter where you are in your reporting journey, all CSR professionals recognize the growing expectation for greater transparency on both financial and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) dimensions. It has become widely accepted that sustainability reporting works to meet those expectations and more—offering an essential tool for strategic decision-making and stakeholder engagement. In this session, leaders from throughout the field will explore the future of reporting and lend their expertise to put you ahead of the curve.




Examining the ESG horizon: Attracting investor attention now and in the future

Investors are increasingly evaluating corporate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) efforts—both in response to growing stakeholder interest AND as a measure of how firms manage future risk. By understanding what ESG metrics your investors are most interested in, you can better plan for, measure, and communicate the impacts of your programs. This not only benefits your company’s bottom line now, but also encourages future investment in ESG initiatives. In this session, experts will share how investors are focusing their attention now, and what trends are expected in the future, so you can maximize the impact of your efforts.



From survive to thrive: The future of environmental sustainability

Too often the case for corporate environmental efforts is focused on mitigating potential damage. While limiting impacts continues to be vital—some forward-looking companies are flipping the script, proving that business can actually contribute to ecosystem services, and in doing so, protect natural resources and also their own operating environments. Join this session to hear from peers who have navigated the particular challenges posed by environmental programs and are now tapping into the trends shaping the future of the field. You’ll walk away with tools and tactics to create your own virtuous cycle of sustainability.



The role of corporations in addressing climate change

With world leaders, CEOs, and the media issuing urgent calls to action, the task of addressing climate change can seem daunting. Like any other force of nature, it offers challenges and opportunities to every aspect of business that must be considered by strategic CSR professionals. Join this session to learn how companies are stepping up and banding together to face climate change head on, and how you can embed climate considerations into your own work to mitigate risk, deliver value, and preserve the planet.



When Zero = A+ : Innovative ways to eliminate waste

Today, many companies are attempting what seemed impossible only a few years ago, creating innovative programs to drastically reduce—and even eliminate—waste from their operations. Now, CSR teams are leading their organizations to set ambitious goals, take part in collaborative efforts such as RE100, and engage employees to develop creative solutions that get to zero. In this session, you’ll learn directly from the experts how to create impactful initiatives—from carbon pricing to efficiency upgrades to upcycled products—so you can guide your company toward a more sustainable future.




ALLIANCE DATA | Data for Good: Maximizing Impact through Data-Driven Nonprofit Partnerships

Today’s corporate citizenship professionals are faced with the ongoing challenge to demonstrate the ROI for their philanthropic investment. Operating in an environment that scrutinizes every dollar puts the burden of proof not only on CSR leaders, but their nonprofit and community partners as well. Frequently overwhelmed and under-resourced, nonprofits are expected to readily deliver to corporate donors metrics and measurable progress. Hear from both sides in this session and learn about dynamic data-driven tools that are sharpening the return-on-investment.



TJX | Cracking the engagement code: The TJX Associate Engagement story

Engaging employees is a highly individualized job – one often tasked to corporate citizenship professionals. Far from being a one-size-fits-all endeavor, companies have to look at their business priorities, company culture, and their employees’ passions to develop an effective engagement plan. So what is the best way to individualize an engagement framework? Join us for an in-depth look at how The TJX Companies created an Associate Engagement framework from the ground up through a partnership with Edelman Business + Social Purpose. We will walk through the journey from start to finish – the planning, the set-backs, the stakeholdering, communication, successes, and vision for the future – to help you improve engagement no matter where you are along the engagement path. Attendees will leave this session with many great ideas, inspiration, and actionable engagement framework tools and resources.



VANGUARD | Community evolution: From good intentions to strategic alignment

Corporate responsibility takes many forms at leading companies, from volunteer programs to corporate grants all the way to diversity and inclusion and responsible corporate governance. Vanguard has traversed the spectrum of corporate citizenship activity and has successfully navigated the path from good intentions to strategic alignment. Find out how they evolved their traditional employee giving and volunteering programs into a community engagement strategy that finds the sweet spot for both the company and the community. Where are you in your journey? Are you looking to keep the momentum going? This interactive case study will give you actionable tools to discover where you are along the evolution continuum and help move your company along the journey to strategic alignment.



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Read slides and summaries from the 2018 Conference breakout sessions. View Highlights