A Corporate Social Performance Report Card for Well-Being and Health Equity

This project is funded as part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s solicitation, “Engaging Businesses for Health,” which seeks to build the evidence base for private-sector investment to help build a Culture of Health. The goal of this project is to inform strategies and best practices for engaging businesses to contribute to building a “culture of health.” Corporate social performance (CSP), defined by management scholar Donna Wood (1991) as “a business organization’s configuration of principles of social responsibility, processes of social responsiveness, and polices, programs, and observable outcomes as they relate to the firm’s societal relationships” is a well-studied theoretical concept.  In addition, empirical research suggests a sound economic justification for responsible corporate behavior, and the public health impacts of certain corporate practices like family health benefits have also been documented.  However, less attention has been given to measuring the holistic health impacts of a corporation’s entire set of business practices, including manufacturing, marketing, pricing, and hiring.  This project will build on a typology of corporate actions that affect public health developed by the PI through systematic reviews of relevant literature. It will address two questions: (1) How do large U.S. corporations report their contributions to well-being and health equity in their public-facing social responsibility reports? And (2) Do the measures in these reports allow for an assessment of a corporation’s impact on public health?  Deliverables will include a project work plan and annual and final narrative and financial reports. The grantee will also produce paper(s) suitable for publication and present findings at national research meetings and other to stakeholder audiences as appropriate, including the business sector and federal and state policymakers, as part of the deliverables for this grant.

Grant #74321

Grant Period: 02/01/2017 – 01/31/2019

Budget: $260,020