Corporate Leaders Meet for Dialogue on Strategies for Advancing Social Progress

13th annual Board of Boards concludes in New York City
Feb 27, 2018 5:00 PM ET
Press Release

NEW YORK, February 27, 2018 /3BL Media/ — Fifty-two CEOs who are a part of CECP: The CEO Force for Good–a coalition of leading companies that collectively represent $6.2 trillion in annual revenue–met at CECP’s 13th annual Board of Boards to examine critical success factors in building the business for the long-term. Key takeaways from this closed-door session included:

  1. Speaking Up: CEOs are increasingly being asked to speak out on major issues; they must be careful, but to say nothing is to say something.
  2. Stakeholders: The employee base remains a key business asset and infusing purpose has become a direct corporate focus. Diversity in the workforce is central to innovation.
  3. Focus:  The range of vital issues requiring attention demands companies to focus on where they can make the greatest impact based on their skills and resources. Corporate mission and values are a company’s “true north” when deciding where to help, and when to take a stand.
  4. Long-Term: Leading companies are rebalancing their approach to levering their resources, tapping the passion and future vision of company, which requires a change in the way a company thinks about growth and strategy. While this may require upending traditions, particularly on Wall Street, if companies carry a consistent message about how they will manage for the long-term and delivers on expectations, leading investors will ride with them through the quarters.

Participating companies generated $664 billion in revenue last year, represent approximately $1.2 trillion in market capitalization, employ 1.92 million individuals around the world, and have led cross-sector initiatives on disaster relief, public health, sustainability, education, employee engagement, diversity and inclusion, veterans, and more.

Live-polling results of attending CEOs show:

  • Ninety-three percent of CEOs feel equipped or somewhat well-equipped to meet expectations in the current business and sociopolitical environment.
  • Asked to identify what bold moves they could make toward sustainable business leadership, 37% of CEOs said “further integrating my company’s values into incentives and practices,” while 30% percent reported that they could “speak publicly, in my own voice, on what my company is doing, and why,” up from 17% in 2017.
  • CEOs were relatively split among their company’s status on how they plan to use savings from the corporate tax cut. Only 19% said they had announced plans and 25% reported plans were under consideration.
  • When asked how much of the corporate tax cut savings a company will use for long-term social investments, one-third of CEOs said their companies would be applying 20% - 49% of savings, and another 12% of CEOs said they would be applying most savings to social investments.
  • A key question in the Edelman Trust Barometer 2018 asked, “which action most effectively builds trust in a company?” When asked that same question at Board of Boards, 45% of CEOs in attendance said, “ethical business practices” and 36% said “treat employees well.”

CEO Force for Good honorees who were recognized at the event and led discussions among attendees included:

Harold (Terry) McGraw, Chairman Emeritus, S&P Global and Director Emeritus of CECP was honored the evening prior on Sunday, February 25, 2018 for his long-standing service to the organization at the annual Chairman’s Reception at the Empire State Building.

Additional conversation leaders during Board of Boards included:

“Board of Boards provides a powerful opportunity for CEOs to discuss the case for driving long-term business and real-world social strategies,” said Daryl Brewster, CEO, CECP. “The morning’s conversations were inspiring and motivating. They offered a clear view on what we can expect from corporate sector leadership as they pursue solutions to systemic social issues in ways that propel sustainable value.”

During a series of board meeting-style conversations, CEOs exchanged ideas and best practices on subjects vital to the world’s leading and most enduring companies, including: C-Suite advocacy, the business case for investing in organizational culture, internal collaboration for external social progress, diversity and inclusion as competitive advantage, and a special focus on the Minnesota culture of corporate collaboration. See photos from the event.

CECP also released its new Strategic Scorecards tool, a collection of performance measurements and principles leading companies can use to measure corporate performance against Financial, Environmental, Social, and Governance metrics. In addition to providing recommendations to define principles of content and structure when defining internal scorecards and a template for companies interested in developing their own strategic scorecard, the Strategic Scorecards includes the Fortune® 500 Scorecard Analysis, a performance snapshot of CECP companies versus other Fortune® 500 companies. In a comparison between CECP companies and non-CECP companies, CECP companies:

  • Do better financially (as measured in revenue, EBITDA (Multiple), and Market Cap);
  • Use fewer resources and care more for the environment;
  • Have less employee turnover, more women in their workforces, and contribute a higher percentage of pre-tax profits to social programs; and
  • Are more likely to have women on their Boards of Directors and social supply chain risk management policies in place

After the morning sessions concluded, CECP welcomed Michael R. Bloomberg, Founder, Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies and 108th Mayor of New York City for a fireside chat. Mr. Bloomberg offered his perspective on the need for the financial industry and the corporate sector to embrace long-term-oriented strategic planning and reporting and participated in Q&A with the audience.

Following the Board of Boards, CECP ‘s Strategic Investor Initiative (SII) hosted the third CEO Investor Forum, convening in the same venue. CEOs of Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Medtronic, Unilever, and UPS presented to more than 250 investors focused on the long-term. Presentations were live-streamed and can be watched anytime. See photos from the event. Email Mark Tulay for more information.

The convening was held at the Time Warner Center in New York City and the event was limited to CECP CEOs. The agenda and list of attendees can be found here. An Executive Summary including live-polling results, images, and highlight videos will be available on the CECP website following the event.

The date of the 2019 14th annual Board of Boards is February 25 in New York City.

CECP is grateful for the generosity of the event supporters Newman’s Own Foundation, PwC US, and USAA. CECP also thanks the Empire State Building for lighting in CECP blue on Monday evening.

Note to Editors: Select CEO attendees, including award winners and speakers, and CECP executives are available for comment following the event. Please contact Jackie Albano,, 646-863-1926 to arrange interviews.   

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About CECP: The CEO Force for Good

CECP is a CEO-led coalition that believes that a company’s social strategy — how it engages with key stakeholders including employees, communities, investors, and customers —determines company success. Founded in 1999 by actor and philanthropist Paul Newman and other business leaders to create a better world through business, CECP has grown to a movement of more than 200 of the world’s largest companies that represent $7 trillion in revenues, $18.6 billion in societal investment, 13 million employees, and $15 trillion in assets under management. CECP helps companies transform their social strategy by providing customized connections and networking, counsel and support, benchmarking and trends, and awareness building and recognition.