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Why corporate citizenship matters now more than ever

How Canadian companies can nurture a virtuous cycle of growth while giving back to their community

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many businesses did just that. But doing good isn’t only for times of crisis. It’s an ongoing commitment, and companies that inherently understand their responsibility to the communities they serve can be a force for good over the long term.

“The past year’s extraordinary events brought a new clarity to what matters and to the role that businesses and brands must play in society,” says Geraldine Huse, president of Procter & Gamble Canada. “P&G has had a longstanding commitment to make the world better by fostering equality and inclusion, supporting our communities, and protecting the planet through the products we create, and to drive positive impact through our brands and our company.”

Perhaps the biggest benefit of corporations doing good is that they can empower others to do the same. Companies that take purposeful action in terms of sustainability, equality, and inclusion earn the loyalty of consumers, which drives growth. “The more we grow, the more we can give back,” says Huse. “It’s a virtuous cycle.”

Impact through sponsorships

P&G has long used sponsorship to help bring big events to life while boosting awareness of its brands. But it also understands its responsibility to use sponsorship to generate broader and more meaningful impact. So, for example, when the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 were put on hold last year, P&G began showcasing the inspiring ways in which Olympic and Paralympic athletes were making a difference away from the field of play. And this serves as the central theme of the company’s campaign and new short film “Your Goodness is Your Greatness.”

After documenting the amazing stories of athletes doing good in the world, P&G was inspired to do even more. Alongside the International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee, the company provided grants to charitable organizations supported by Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Four Canadians were among the Athletes for Good Fund’s grant recipients, including rugby player Pamphinette Buisa, who teams up with SOLID Outreach, from Lekwungen territory (also known as Victoria, B.C.), to provide peer-based health education and harm-reduction support, and Para runner Marissa Papaconstantinou, who works as an ambassador and youth mentor for Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto. “It was fantastic to see Canadian Paralympic athletes receive grants through the Athletes for Good Fund to support the charitable organizations they work with,” says Karen O’Neill, CEO of the Canadian Paralympic Committee. “As this program continues through the support of P&G, we look forward to discovering more ways athletes are contributing to their communities.”

True allyship

P&G is also strengthening its long-standing partnerships with locally focused groups such as The 519, a non-profit that advocates for LGBTQ2S+ communities. For the past three years, the Toronto-based organization has worked together with P&G’s Crest brand to “create the right model—from a monetary and product-donation perspective—to support Canadian LGBTQ2S+ community members,” says Stacy G. Kelly, director of philanthropy for The 519. This year’s donation will allow The 519 to distribute meals and provide clothing and hygiene products, as well as harm-reduction supplies, to vulnerable members of the community. “And the #CrestSmileWithPride campaign has helped to start a conversation around strong allyship while celebrating the community.”

It’s a community that P&G has been supporting for more than two decades, including through its intra-company GABLE affinity group. Comprising LGBTQ2S+ and ally employees, the group reflects P&G’s commitment to inclusivity by recognizing that employees with diverse backgrounds, preferences, and ways of thinking can make a lasting impact on each other and on Canadians at large.

P&G and Crest celebrate Pride at the Toronto Pride Parade 2019. (Source: Crest)

Doing good daily

Another way that Canadians can take action on issues that matter is by visiting P&G Good Everyday. Powered by P&G brands, the new website invites users to take quizzes or scan receipts while collecting points that can be redeemed for rewards—including donations made by P&G to charitable causes like Tide Loads of Hope, Dawn Helps Save Wildlife, and Always End Period Poverty, as well as other featured charities including supporting WWF-Canada to help schools across Canada plant native gardens, and United Way Centraide to support calls to 211, a telephone line that connects Canadians to government and community-based, non-clinical health and social services.

“The platform serves as a hub for sharing our ongoing acts of good with Canadians,” Huse says. “At the same time, it encourages and enables them to join in our efforts to also make a positive impact.”

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