CSR Reporting Leaders in the Greater Boston Area

Downtown Boston

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It’s no secret that Boston, a liberal, academia-saturated city, is not only the central business hub of the New England region, but is becoming ever more conscious of the importance of green projects and socially responsible programs. It comes as no surprise, then, that Fortune 500 companies whose headquarters reside in the greater Boston area take social responsibility reporting quite seriously.

A total of eleven Forbes Fortune 500 companies call Boston home, and many are well known nationwide (Liberty Mutual, Staples, TJX Companies, to name a few). Of the top ten companies, seven currently have a 2011 CSR report online. Three reported to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) for 2011, and two reported in 2010. Four companies have been selected to Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s 2012 Top 100 Best Corporate Citizens List.  So who in Boston are the top reporters and performers?

 Top 10 Boston Companies Ranked in the 2012 Fortune 500

State RankCompanyFortune 500 RankCityRevenue (in $ millions)CSR ReportGRI ReportCR Magazine 2012 Top 100
1Liberty Mutual Insurance Group84Boston34671
4Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance121Springfield24226.4X
7Global Partners182Waltham14835.7
8Thermo Fisher Scientific225Waltham11780.2XX
9State Street Corp.262Boston10207XX83
10Boston Scientific335Natick7622X


Insurance Sector: Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance
While there is no CSR report on Liberty Mutual’s website, the company does devote space to its numerous philanthropy and community assistance opportunities. As chairman Ted Kelly said, “Corporate responsibility takes many different forms; and social responsibility means many different things to different people and different institutions. Liberty Mutual does not strive to conquer the latest fad in ‘corporate social responsibility.’ We don’t follow the trends; nor do we strive for some sort of recognition or visibility. We do strive to do the right thing.” Massachusetts Mutual lists its community and social responsibility reports for the past year as well as details its actions within the four categories of community, culture, people, and planet.

Retail Sector: Staples, TJX Companies, Inc.
Staples’ responsibility program, Staples Soul, emphasizes the company’s commitment to making positive impacts on its customers, peers, and planet. Its comprehensive report goes on to explain Staples’ diverse successes and future aims within four “pillars”: ethics, community, environment, and diversity. TJX organizes its 2011 report through “VALUE“: Vendor Social Compliance, Attention to Governance, Leveraging Differences, United with our Communities, and Environmental Initiatives, and incorporates scientific and financial data to provide an all-encompassing document.

Financial Sector: State Street Corp.
State Street Corp. has been reporting using the GRI since 2004 and the 2011 report was an externally assured to be at the B level. Various improvements and commitments to giving, volunteering, and sustainability can be viewed on its Corporate Citizenship page. State Street strives to improve social investments and increase renewable energy purchases.

Technology Sector: EMC, Raytheon, Thermo Fisher, Boston Scientific
EMC adheres to the GRI model in its reporting efforts, and has an extensive site devoted to ongoing initiatives. Reports from 2010 and 2011 are currently available for viewing. Raytheon also features its current report as well as its sustainability goals through the year 2015. Community relations, diversity, information technology, and stewardship are the company’s main focuses. Thermo Fisher Scientific makes not just 2011’s sustainability report available, but also Carbon Disclosure Project responses and business roundtable report responses for the past two years. The company’s overall goals are to be healthier, cleaner, and safer in several capacities. Boston Scientific reveals its dedication to several causes, among them community involvement, patient advocacy, compliance and ethics, and environment and sustainability. Their 2011 annual report is also available for perusing.

Oil/Fuel Sector: Global Partners, LP
Global Partners, LP provides its 2011 Annual Report, which details the company’s financials, however, no report regarding social responsibility appears to be available. The company’s website does, however, emphasize its goal of diversification.

For the most part, these Boston-based companies are more than willing to reveal their success (and even failures at times) in the realm of corporate social responsibility. Of course, CSR  reporting need not be limited to Fortune 500 companies, but they certainly act as models and motivators for smaller businesses and local peers to report their actions and plans. It is likely that as CSR reporting becomes more prevalent, the GRI model will become the standard and expected mode for reporting.

For those companies that did report to GRI, their reports can be found here.

Speed up the process by joining the GRI Certified Sustainability Reporting Course led by ISOS Group and in cooperation with us (3p) and Kleinfelder’s in the greater Boston area September 13-14!

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Samantha is a graduate of Boston University with concentrations in English, Biology and Environmental Policy. After working in higher education textbook publishing for some time, she turned to the freelance writing world and now reports on corporate social responsibility, green technology and policy, and conservation for TriplePundit.

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