In an era of rising stakeholder expectations and increasing transparency, Canadian companies should look to Corporate Citizenship to accelerate business performance, says Tom Zara, Interbrand’s Global Practice Leader for Corporate Citizenship. Speaking at Interbrand Canada’s Best Global Green Brands Summit in Toronto, in collaboration with Deloitte, Zara shared key learnings from Interbrand’s 2014 Best Global Green Brands Study, released last month, and urged Canadian firms to take the lead to close the gap between perception and performance.
“The world is moving toward a new center of balance, where impact is just as important as profits,” Zara said. “There is no question that Corporate Citizenship, when aligned with Business Strategy, drives Brand Value, particularly in B2B environments. In previous research that formed the foundation for our practice area, we found that an incredible US$11 billion in brand value of the top 15 global brands was attributable to Corporate Citizenship. Related data shows that 94 per cent of consumers would switch brands if one carried a cause and one did not.”
“Corporate citizenship is especially relevant here in Canada, where an acute sense of social responsibility forms the fabric of our society,” said Carolyn Ray, Managing Director, Interbrand Canada. “By extending our global expertise in Corporate Citizenship to Canada, we can learn many valuable lessons from the world’s top brands, and help Canadian organizations close the gap between performance and perception. Corporate citizenship also presents a huge opportunity for employee engagement, and can yield great benefits for the employer, employee, and the community. Organizations know that being a good corporate citizen is important in creating a positive brand that retains and attracts both consumers and top talent.”
In his remarks, Zara outlined four key macro trends that are accelerating the need for business to embrace and redefine Corporate Citizenship as a driver of business strategy, including:
-Authenticity: Trust in institutions, particularly corporations, continues to decline across the globe, and is lower in Canada than in other markets.
-Purpose: The access to information today has increased public awareness of socially related causes. Consequently, people are taking action with a greater purpose, one that goes beyond only generating a profit.
-Participation: The mass adoption of technology and social media has allowed consumers to actively converse with others, both near and far. Consumers are now engaging with brands and causes in customized ways that allow them to establish their own rules of participation.
-Empowerment: As the economy has faltered in several regions across the globe, people are empowered to pursue different projects, careers and lifestyles that provide a greater sense of fulfillment.
To become one of the top 50 Best Global Green Brands, organizations must perform well in terms of both sustainability performance and perception. This year’s top five brands included: Ford, Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Panasonic. Brands are measured against two sets of criteria: Performance: Organizations must demonstrate that they source, produce, and distribute products and services in an environmentally responsible manner; and Perception: Organizations must work to build value amongst key audiences by credibly conveying the benefits of their environmental practices. Interbrand defines Corporate Citizenship as the perception people have of a company’s positive contribution to society based on the way in which it treats the core elements of its business: Its employees, customers and suppliers; the communities in which it operates; the governments that influence its operations; and the planet it relies on for its existence. To learn more visit: http://interbrand.com/en/tags/13/corporate-citizenship