2023 was a year of innovation and deeper commitment to sustainability and social impact. In the face of corporate challenges like shrinking budgets, national pressures to take a stance, changing regulations and greater staff capacity needs, Colorado companies continued to grow their impact. Learn more about four trends Colorado companies will lead into 2024:
1) Finding a common language with data.
Our work is described in many terms: CSR, ESG, social impact, sustainability, corporate citizenship, responsible business. But no matter the label, data can be used to demonstrate business for good. The SEC’s proposed climate disclosure requirements have already influenced companies of all sizes to begin benchmarking data on their environmental impact. Measurements for social impact are not yet standardized, but companies like Bellco Credit Union, Lockheed Martin and Vail Resorts are tracking quantitative points including volunteer hours, percent of funding allocated per company focus area and number of participants impacted through programs.
Want to learn more about the SEC’s proposed requirements? Watch the B:CIVIC Summit session “SEC Climate Disclosure Roadmap: Timing, Metrics and Data Sourcing.”
2) Embracing the intersection of purpose and people.
It’s about more than quality employee benefits. Employees are paying attention to company purpose, and companies can use this to their advantage. As we explored through the panel “Aligning Your Values Throughout the Workforce Journey,” utilizing Employee Value Propositions while recruiting and developing Employee Resource Groups can help attract and retain top talent. Companies are pushing even further by integrating DEI into their overall purpose and business operations.
Consumers will continue to have a large influence as they gain access to information and make purchases based on a brand’s alignment to their personal values. Authenticity and purpose are currency in today’s employee and consumer markets.
3) Creating intentional impact through giving.
Companies are beginning to shift their giving strategies to reflect what Summit keynote speaker, Kevin Martinez, Vice Chief of Corporate Citizenship at ESNP, labeled “cause, not charity.” This practice entails identifying the fundamental why, or purpose, for your company’s giving. With a clear and intentional giving strategy, companies can better showcase their impact to their stakeholders and direct resources in the most beneficial way possible.
Strong relationships with nonprofit partners—for example the trust-based philanthropy model between Bank of America, Civic Center Conservancy, Denver Housing Authority and Youth on Record—are critical for demonstrating clear cause-driven outcomes. As communities face evolving needs and pressures, partnerships that are trusting, flexible and proactive are more likely to be resilient and meet the needs of the moment. These qualities are seen particularly in partnerships addressing disaster response and preparedness.
4) Crafting a community narrative.
While data is a helpful standardization tool, it doesn’t always capture the complete—or the compelling—story. Colorado media experts recommend going beyond impact reports and press releases to frame CSR and ESG stories with the human element at the center. It is particularly powerful to share a story in the language of the community who experienced it.
B:CIVIC investors have advanced many ESG and CSR strategies in their organizations, and the above trends have emerged as top concerns for the upcoming year. Throughout conversations and programs in 2024, B:CIVIC can help your organization strengthen your CSR and ESG efforts around these trends and our focus areas: Making the Business Case; Employee Experience; Community Impact; and Telling Our Story.
B:CIVIC, an affiliate of the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation, empowers organizations, like yours, and their people to build stronger communities. B:CIVIC provides a community where you can access connections, expertise, trainings and tools and inspires action around corporate social responsibility (CSR) and environmental, social, governance (ESG). We’ve been growing an ecosystem where companies are better equipped to address critical community, environmental and social issues in Colorado.
Written by Olivia Barrows.