Reflect, Recognize, Reignite

Nov 4, 2010 5:45 PM ET

A Time to Reflect, Recognize ... And Reignite

By Stephen Jordan, U.S. Chamber BCLC Executive Director

So the pundits weren’t too far off – last week Real Clear Politics predicted that the Republicans would take 60 seats in the House and 48 seats in the Senate. They didn’t miss by much. Which means today everyone in Washington is wondering what divided government will look like this time around.

As I mentioned last week, whether there is compromise or gridlock, the circumstances are going to lead to even more of a spotlight on corporate citizenship, public-private partnerships, and business solutions for social and environmental problems.

This is why it gives me real pleasure to preview this year’s Corporate Citizenship Awards, which will take place November 30 at the U.S. Chamber’s historic Hall of Flags in Washington, DC.

We have chosen Reflect – Recognize – Reignite as the theme for this year’s Annual Corporate Citizenship Awards, and the theme is apt in more ways than one.

This was a difficult year.The combination of the Haiti earthquake, the Nashville and Pakistan floods, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and the prolonged economic hardship that many people faced shaped the narrative.

There were some bright spots, like the rescue of the Chilean miners, and it was heartening to see so much innovation taking place in the fields of information technology, biotechnology, and alternative energy development. But cyber-security, privacy, doping, greenwashing, financial machinations, foreclosures, political uncertainty, and other issues affected the business & society landscape this year.

Reflecting on the state of business and society relations is important, but so too is recognizing the role of the corporate citizenship field.  There have been significant shifts in philosophy and strategy this year.  More companies than ever are seeing their vital roles in contributing positively to society. The walls are breaking down, and companies are self-consciously trying to create not just economic capital, but social value as well.

And the 2010 Corporate Citizenship Awards Dinner, coming as it does after this grueling election season, couldn’t arrive at a better time to reignite and jump start some of the ideas and initiatives that have been tabled for the past few months.

The Corporate Citizenship Awards finalists offer some truly inspirational examples>>