CEOs Listen to Consumer Concerns as They Set Social Agendas; Investors Show Little Engagement

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CEOs Listen to Consumer Concerns as They Set Social Agendas; Investors Show Little Engagement

CEO Conference Discussion on Who Enables and Inhibits Progress on Community Engagement
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CEO Conference Discussion on Who Enables and Inhibits Progress on Community Engagement
Tuesday, February 28, 2012 - 6:45pm

CONTENT: Press Release

(3BL Media / the CSRfeed) February 28, 2012, New York, NY – While investors exert a large amount of pressure on the quarterly earnings results of a company, they do not weigh in on or act as barriers to the long-term socially sustainable efforts of a company.  Nearly 60 CEOs from Fortune 500 companies, including special delegations from Brazil and India, met Monday at the Board of Boards CEO Conference to discuss the community engagement levels of investors, as well as another important stakeholder group—consumers.  They agreed through an interactive session that consumers hold companies accountable for engaging in behaviors that reinforce the well-being of society.  CEOs called for better measurement standards for socially sustainable business practices so they could engage investors by communicating program value.

The Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) – the only international forum of business CEOs with a mission to raise the level and quality of corporate philanthropy –hosted the seventh annual Board of Boards CEO Conference on Monday, International Corporate Philanthropy Day. 

 “The CEOs participating in the session today spoke candidly about where they feel pressure, where they see obstacles, and who motivates them to do more,” said Charles Moore, Executive Director, CECP.  “CEOs largely agreed that consumers are active and engaged on community engagement issues and inspire them to do more, while investors are neither motivators nor barriers to CSR efforts.”

Interactive polling among CEOs at the event found the following:

  • 59% of CEOs reported they felt consumers were demanding greater levels of transparency regarding their companies’ community engagement initiatives. 
  • 69% of CEOs felt their companies’ community engagement efforts were rewarded by consumers, yet most cannot measure those rewards. 
  • 45% of CEOs selected companies as the agent for change in leading progress in the marketplace toward long-term societal well-being, as opposed to consumers (32%), government (18%), investors (0%), and other (5%). 

Additional poll results can be obtained upon request. 

The conference, which has been ranked as one of the world’s leading executive events, convened close to 60 of the foremost global CEOs to discuss the theme “Next Generation Community Engagement: A Transformative Business Opportunity” and focused on changing the business model to one that simultaneously pursues strategies that create value for a company and address pressing societal challenges. The event featured two panels consisting of:

  • Angela Ahrendts, CEO, Burberry Group PLC;
  • Daniel Doctoroff, President and CEO, Bloomberg;
  • Hikmet Ersek, President and CEO, The Western Union Company;
  • Shelly Lazarus, Chairman, Ogilvy & Mather.


CEOs also noted the important role of a stakeholder audience not formally on the conference agenda—employees.  Many CEOs noted that employees can do just as much as consumers in motivating companies to contribute to societal well-being.  And employees benefit as well.  CEOs noted that when a company is deeply engaged in socially sustainable practices, employees report higher levels of engagement and feel connected to a larger purpose.

“The CEOs in the audience took responsibility for change and understood their role in pushing for and leading transformation,” said Margaret Coady, director of CECP. “While they talked about the importance of consumers in keeping companies accountable, they realized their leadership was necessary for providing vision and clarity on that community engagement plan.”

Nader Mousavizadeh, CEO of Oxford Analytica Ltd, moderated the session and David M. Cote, Chairman and CEO, Honeywell International Inc. addressed attendees at the executive luncheon immediately following the conference.  The conference welcomed international delegations of leading global CEOs from Brazil and India; the Brazil delegation was led by Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Brazil’s former President, who delivered opening remarks.

About the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP)

The Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) is the only international forum of business CEOs and chairpersons focused on raising the level and quality of corporate philanthropy. Membership includes over 180 CEOs and chairpersons representing companies that account for over 40% of reported corporate giving in the United States. For more information visit


Media contacts:

Tara Kozak Lindsay, GolinHarris: +1 212.373.6020
Lee Ann Zondag, GolinHarris: +1 212.373.6054
Sara Appleyard Adams, CECP, +1 212.825.1252

Keywords: Business & Trade | CECP | Corporate Social Responsibility | Philanthropy | Socially Responsible Investing | Spending | Sustainable Investment | icpd

CONTENT: Press Release