“Good corporate citizenship and EHS go hand-in-hand,” said Jim Cross, director of process safety at Dow Corning Corp. During a Sept. 12 session at the America’s Safest Companies Conference in Chicago, Cross discussed how companies can be good corporate citizens on both a local and global level.
“Good corporate citizenship and EHS are tightly connected an integrated,” Cross continued. “What we’re doing within our own fences can be implemented effectively in our communities and beyond.”
Dow Corning has made strides both near and far in corporate citizenship and sustainability. Through the Dow Corning Citizen Service Corps, employees from around the world may apply for a 4-week service project in India to discover, serve and innovate. Employees from different geographies and work functions are selected to work together on renewable energy projects, improved agricultural methods and more, all to make a difference in emerging communities.
The company also reaches out on a local level. “We want to make sure we’re doing all we can to improve the quality of life to live, work, grow and play in our communities,” Cross explained. “We’re working to build integrity and trust. If we don’t, our efforts to be good citizens are going to fall short.”
Cross offered the following advice to help build that trust and integrity:
Informing to proactively educating stakeholders. “Inform and educate your community about who you are and what you do,” Cross said. “Build personal and professional relationships with the local community.”
Investing both time and money. “It’s easy to get involved with money by donating to schools or nonprofits, but for me, investing in the community is about more than money. You don’t build trust and a lasting relationship with money.”
Infusing the community with the company’s talents to make it stronger. Cross suggested training with external agencies, such as fire departments and law enforcement, and “allow these efforts to become personal and professional development opportunities” for the community.
Influencing through thought leadership and advocacy. “Present your organization in a unified manner, emphasize issues critical to your business and share key topics and initiatives of your company,” he said.
“If we do this right,” Cross concluded, “we can make a different locally and globally.”