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Corporate Citizenship: The Social Responsibility of Businesses

There is no one clear, operational definition to understand the term Corporate Citizenship (CC). This concept is often composed of the same meaning as Corporate Responsibility or Corporate Social Responsibility. Corporate Citizenship describes the commitment of the citizens within a corporation.

In the United States, corporations who consider their social obligation as an important condition for the company’s success has become a matter of course. In Europe, mostly larger businesses are following this path and have given the idea of citizen commitment more thought. The motive for these corporations to take part in Corporate Citizenship differs. Some see it as their moral commitment, others as a way to give back to the community in appreciation of their success. Still others consider Corporate Citizenship as a way to insure their own existence.

Corporate Citizenship goes way beyond the scope of financially-orientated donations and corporate sponsoring. All the resources in a business such as money, human resources, technical know-how, organizational capabilities and even the existing knowledge beyond the core business could be made available to society on a certain scale.

In CC, multifaceted instruments find their use:

Corporate Giving Corporate Volunteering
Contributions/Donations Voluntary/Community services
Sponsoring Employee engagement
Foundations/Endowments Employee leave-of-absence
Financial resources Human resources
Material resources Temporary/seasonal resources

There is also an opportunity to work together with charitable non-profit organizations (social institutions, associations, societies…) in CC.

The following services are possible:
  • Donations, sponsoring, endowments/foundations, interest-free loans
  • Professional know-how, lobbying, information, contact procuration
  • Machine leases, building/space leases, office leases (encluding equipment, such as copiers, car pools, etc.)
  • Consulting services, order transfers
  • Material goods such as products
  • Voluntary positions, leave-of-absence, employee commitment, mentoring 
Businesses are straying away from money and product donations. As Corporate Citizenship is deemed to be more strategically relevant, services that can be associated with core competencies are being increasingly offered. Employees and other stakeholders are integrated in activities in order to create a connection between societal and business goals. With the idea of a win-win situation, mutual advantages ought to be generated.