How 4 Companies Are Improving Society: The 2012 “Citizens”

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CSR continues to become more sophisticated, more strategic, and undoubtedly, more effective. From American neighborhoods to the most remote villages in emerging markets, business is tackling core issues such as economic empowerment, community investment, and health & wellbeing.  This work adds significantly to the positive changes and improvements in our society.

Helping to share the story of how business makes a difference, BCLC honored four companies for their strategic approaches to societal challenges. DSM, Google, Qualcomm, and WellPoint accepted the 2012 Corporate Citizenship Awards on December 6, in the categories of Best Corporate Steward, Best Business Neighbor, Best International Ambassador, and Best Partnership, respectively.

What stood out among the 2012 winners is how each of the four “Citizens” clearly aligns its work with its core competencies and corporate value chain to achieve real results in society.

The Citizens nominees undergo rigorous expert review in three of the four categories, while one category’s winner – the Best Partnership Award – is selected in a public “people’s choice” voting system that is unique in the corporate citizenship field. In all, DSM, Google, Qualcomm, and WellPoint took top honors from among 20 finalist companies in 2012.

Here are the 2012 Citizens Awards winners:

DSM won the Best Corporate Steward Award for its holistic approach to societal challenges. As Hugh Welsh, president of DSM

Hugh Welsh, presidentof DSM, accepting the company's award for Best Corporate Steward

North America, stated, “CSR is not integrated into the business, it IS our business.” For example, DSM embeds sustainability into its corporate culture and its individual business units, making it driver in overall strategy. Through strategic global partnerships, such as the one it has with the World Food Program, DSM is using its unique capabilities in life science and materials sciences to combat micronutrient deficiency around the world.

Google received the Best Business Neighbor Award for its “Get Your Business Online” program. Statistics show that more than 97% of American Internet users look online for goods and services, yet 58% of small businesses lack a website. Operating in all 50 states, Google and its partners have helped 300,000 businesses begin the process of building an online presence.

Qualcomm accepted the Best International Ambassador Award for the work of its Wireless Reach program. In partnership with the Grameen Foundation, Qualcomm created Ruma, a social enterprise in Indonesia that brings telecommunications services and entrepreneurial opportunities to the most remote parts of the country. To date, more than 15,000 Ruma entrepreneurs (82% of which are women) have brought service to 1.5 million unique customers. Plus, 100% of Ruma entrepreneurs are profitable.

WellPoint Foundation, with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, won the Best Partnership Award as the result of “people’s choice” online voting. The voting public ushered WellPoint and Boys & Girls Clubs into the winner’s circle for the work they’re doing to address childhood obesity. WellPoint Foundation supports the Clubs’ “Triple Play” program, a wellness initiative to show youth and their families that eating right, staying fit, and forming positive relationships add up to healthy lifestyles. Through WellPoint’s grant, employee volunteerism, and healthcare expertise, Triple Play has now reached more than 1 million children and their families.

Each of these stories demonstrates the value of effective collaboration and the importance of business leadership in societal innovation. Through these examples and others, it’s more clear than ever that business is making a positive difference in society.

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