The Stories We Love to Tell

I am proud of the progress we have made in Citizenship throughout the last six years. Our Citizenship journey has been an evolution, not revolution, in which we incrementally improve year to year in incorporating Citizenship into our culture.

Today, Citizenship needs to be integrated into a company’s purpose and strategy, much like any other company function. Our times demand it as governments, communities and companies move on concerted fronts to achieve specific sustainable development and shared responsibility goals. As a result, Citizenship has evolved from a “nice to have” to “a must have” as reflected in our own experience:

  • Our employees want to volunteer in the communities where we operate and believe we should continue to improve in how we operate our offices sustainably based on our FY16 Citizenship survey.
  • Reporting frameworks and disclosure standards incorporate supply chain accountability and transparency as part of the evaluation criteria.
  • Clients use third-party platforms to evaluate the environmental, economic and social impacts of their business partners.
  • Governments increasingly incorporate sustainable purchasing into their contracts and bid processes and establish requirements from minimum wage and human rights to recycling and energy efficiency.

Managing these complexities to meet stakeholder expectations in our fast-paced, connected global economy requires new approaches. To better navigate them, we are pivoting to four new missions: Rethink our global responsibility. Inspire change locally. Strategize for collaborative impact. Establish partnerships for good. We believe this subtle pivot lets us move from a “license to operate” to a “license to lead” in Citizenship.

This year’s report tells the stories we love to tell about how we are evolving from a Citizenship function to a Citizenship culture in which we embed Citizenship in everything we do. And I’m proud of the progress we made. We introduced the Ruth Edelman Citizenship Award this year as part of our Culture Awards to recognize the best Citizenship pro bono program globally at Edelman. We shrank our aggregated carbon intensity for our hub offices by 21 percent from FY11, outperforming our target 5 percent reduction goal by 16 percent. We also became the first public relations firm to receive Carbon Trust certification worldwide.

Through our Citizenship Score we provide accountability on Citizenship-related policies and projects. For the second year we achieved our goal of reaching a global Citizenship Score of at least 8 out of 10.

I hope you will continue to be part of our Citizenship journey and the stories we love to tell.

John Edelman is managing director, Global Engagement & Corporate Responsibility.