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Updated Investing in Society Endeavors to Keep Up with Evolving Corporate Social Engagement Space

By André Solórzano and Alison Glaser, Manager, Data Insights, CECP; Communications and Marketing Fellow, CECP

CECP is thrilled to bring you the 2018 year-end edition of Investing in Society, a digital collection that endeavors to focus on the most crucial insights of how the corporate sector is faring beyond where the Dow closes. Initially launched in July 2018, Investing in Society has been updated to provide a comprehensive look back on the biggest trends and insights that defined 2018.

The corporate social engagement (CSE) space continues to evolve at a dizzying pace. For instance, in 2017, 60% of polled CEOs felt equipped to meet expectations in the current business and sociopolitical environment. In 2018, that proportion of confident CEOs climbed to an encouraging 93%. Companies and their leaders are rising to the challenge of looking at social issues material to their long-term success and addressing those problems by also creating business value.

Indeed, in this modern age, expectations of companies go beyond financial performance. CECP aims to bring fresh research, thought leadership, and insight to private sector practitioners to help them meet and exceed these expectations. These sections cover a rich repository of information collected throughout the year by CECP and other external sources.

The Five P’s

Investing in Society organizes insights in five areas – Priorities, Performance, People, Planet, Policies – with compelling and practical examples of business at its best. The release is an analysis of the current efforts of business as a force for good, and what it means to lead in a world where roles and sectors are increasingly blurred. For example:

  • PRIORITIES: While companies and their leaders are expected to speak on pressing social issues, companies are taking a more measured and thoughtful approach to appeal to a broader diversity of opinions, points of view, and set of stakeholders. Corporations are approaching issues in collaboration with other companies and nonprofits, showing a united front on issues that make sense given their skills and expertise. Companies are considering their long-term business plans as they identify megatrends that require their activism.
  • PERFORMANCE: CECP’s Strategic Investor Initiative continued to scale its efforts to provide a venue for CEOs to share their long-term strategic plans with audiences of long-term investors with nearly 30 CEOs from companies including Johnson & Johnson, Humana, BD, Medtronic, and Unilever making CEO Investor Forum presentations to investors representing more than $25 trillion in AUM.
  • PEOPLE: CECP, Imperative, and PwC have published new research on the employee experience around purpose, higher meaning, and fulfillment at work. A staggering 96% of surveyed workers believe that achieving fulfillment at work is possible, and they see their role in making it happen.
  • PLANET: Companies recognized their potential to help in times of crisis after 2017’s unusually devastating run of natural disasters, along with the need for customized, disaster-specific responses. In fact, Giving in Numbers found that Disaster Relief was the program area that increased the most in 2017, doubling in terms of aggregated cash contributions and tripling in terms of median cash giving versus 2015.
  • POLICIES: Companies are concentrated on ensuring effective corporate governance through top-line decisions, such as management responsibilities, internal incentives at the executive level, and employees’ rights. Research has demonstrated that companies with more diverse boards produced a higher return on equity, and companies agree.

Bookmark Investing in Society

We aim to keep Investing in Society up to pace with the changing CSE space, which means it will be released on a biannual schedule: in the summer and at the end of each year. In refreshing and updating frequently, we hope Investing in Society becomes your go-to resource when you are seeking a current, 360-degree view of the corporate sector’s role in solving some of the world’s most pressing issues. Please stay tuned for the upcoming release of the PDF version of Investing in Society. We hope it provides an opportunity to reflect on the past, as well as inform your company’s long view going forward.

Do you have an inspiring story to share of business making an impact? Do you have ideas for what you would like to see in the 2019 edition of Investing in Society? We welcome feedback. Share your ideas at