Organizations for Corporate Responsibility


Established in 1995, AccountAbility is the leading international non-profit institute that brings together members and partners from business, civil society and the public sector from across the world.  It is committed to enhancing the performance of organizations and developing the competencies of individuals in social and ethical accountability and sustainable development. Accountability has 300 members in 20 countries, mostly non-US companies.

AccountAbility is dedicated to promoting accountability for sustainable development by:

  • The development of innovative and effective accountability tools and standards, most notably the AA1000 Series.
  • Undertaking cutting-edge research that explores best practice for practitioners and policy-makers in organisational accountability.
  • Promoting accountability competencies across the professions
  • Securing an enabling environment in markets and public policies

AA1000 Framework

Launched in 1999, the AA1000 framework is designed to improve accountability and performance by learning through stakeholder engagement.  It was developed to address the need for organizations to integrate their stakeholder engagement processes into daily activities. It has been used worldwide by leading businesses, non-profit organizations and public bodies.

The Framework helps users to establish a systematic stakeholder engagement process that generates the indicators, targets, and reporting systems needed to ensure its effectiveness in overall organizational performance.  The principle underpinning AA1000 is inclusivity. The building blocks of the process framework are planning, accounting and auditing and reporting. It does not prescribe what should be reported on but rather the ‘how’. In this way it is designed to complement the GRI Reporting Guidelines.

AA1000 Series

The AA1000 Series builds on the AA1000 Framework, adding a series of specialized modules for accountability practitioners, as well as other supporting documents.  The AA1000 Series builds on the core principle of inclusivity and is based on three propositions:

  1. Stakeholder engagement remains at the core of the accountability processes of accounting, embedding, assurance and reporting
  2. Accountability is about ‘organisational responsiveness’, or the extent to which an organisation takes action on the basis of stakeholder engagement.
  3. This responsiveness requires the organisational capacities to learn and innovate effectively on the basis of stakeholder engagement.

Business for Social Responsibility

BSR is a non-profit global organization that helps member companies achieve success in ways that respect ethical values, people, communities and the environment. BSR provides information, tools, training and advisory services to make corporate social responsibility an integral part of business operations and strategies.

Business Roundtable Institute for Corporate Ethics

This is an independent entity established in partnership with the Business Roundtable – an association of CEO’s of leading corporations and leading academics of the best business schools. The institute brings together leaders from business and academia to fulfill its mission to renew and enhance the link between ethical behavior and business practice through executive education programs, practitioner-focused research and outreach.

The Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College

This is a member based research organization committed to helping business leverage its social, economic and human assets to ensure both its success and a more just and sustainable world. The Center works with global corporations to help them define, plan and operationalize their corporate citizenship. The Center offers publications including a newsletter, research reports, and white papers; executive education, including a Certificate program; events include an annual conference, roundtables and regional meetings. As of June 2006 it has about 350 corporate members.

The Center for Neighborhood Technology

The Center for Neighborhood Technolog (CNT) promotes the development of more livable and sustainable communities. CNT strives to recognize, preserve, and enhance the value of hidden assets and undervalued resources inherent in the urban environment to make households, neighborhoods, and regions more efficient, more economically viable, and more equitable.

CNT’s organizational model is part think tank, part incubator. While the organization carries out complex research and analysis, it’s the application of that research for the benefit of real neighborhoods and real people, especially those most in need, that really drives the organization. Sometimes this application is about changing markets, and other times public policies. Sometimes it requires changing both.


Ceres is a national network of investment funds, environmental organizations and other public interest groups working to advance environmental stewardship on the part of businesses. Ceres’ mission is to move businesses, capital, and markets to advance lasting prosperity by valuing the health of the planet and its people.

Ceres works closely with a select group of companies that have made public commitments to stakeholder engagement, public disclosure, and performance improvements. The 85-member Ceres coalition and our 70-plus partner companies share these core beliefs:

  • environmental stewardship and company value are strongly linked;
  • the bedrock of sound corporate governance is measurement and disclosure;
  • responsible companies must provide their investors and stakeholders complete and transparent information about their environmental performance.

In 1997, Ceres launched the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), which has now become the de-facto international standard for corporate reporting on economic, social and environmental performance.

Corporation 2020

This non-profit seeks to answer the question – What would a corporation look like that is designed to seamlessly integrate both social and financial purposes? Its goal is to foster corporate designs that move social purpose from the periphery to the heart of future business organizations.

Corporation 2020 acts as:
  • A forum of leading thinkers, practitioners and activists.
  • A visionary building long-term, coherent pictures of the future corporation.
  • An advocate for fulfilling such visions.

Dow Jones Sustainability Index

The DJSI was launched in 1999 to track the performance of sustainability leaders on a global scale. Sustainability indexes provide objective benchmarks for the financial products that are linked to economic, environmental and social criteria. They offer both, a performance baseline as well as an investment universe, for the increasing number of mutual funds, certificates, separate accounts and other investment vehicles which are based on the concept of sustainability.

Currently 56 DJSI licenses are held by asset managers in 14 countries to manage a variety of financial products including active and passive funds, certificates and segregated accounts. In total, these licensees presently manage over 4 billion EUR based on the DJSI.


Ethics Resource Center

Founded in 1922, it’s the oldest non-profit in the US dedicated to the advancement of organizational ethics. They help leaders impact their organizations by identifying ethical risks and establish systems to emphasize higher standards for business conduct by:

  • Advancing knowledge through research
  • Assisting organizations through advisory services
  • Connecting professionals to solve problems
  • Preparing the next generation of employees
  • Providing resources and advocating for their stakeholders
Ethics Resouce center conducts a national business ethics survey.


International Chamber of Commerce

The world business organization, headquartered in Paris, with member companies in more than 140 countries. The ICC represents the interests of business at the highest levels of inter-governmental decision-making including the World Trade Organization, the G8 and the United Nations. ICC is a leading advocate of the benefits of globalization – convinced that international trade and investment and the market economy system are powerful forces for peace and prosperity.

Since its inception more than 80 years ago, ICC has promoted the market economy and the greatest possible economic freedom for business, based on self-regulation and responsible business conduct. ICC strongly encourages voluntary corporate responsibility initiatives by companies.  As such, good corporate citizenship involves spreading best practice among customers and employees, suppliers and business associates in areas such as labor, the environment, and human rights. 

The ICC believes that responsible, long-term entrepreneurship is the driving force for sustainable economic development and for providing the managerial, technical and financial resources needed to meet social and environmental challenges. Government’s role is to provide the basic national and international framework of laws and regulations for business operations.


Global Compact

Global Compact is a voluntary initiative of the UN that seeks to promote responsible corporate citizenship so that business can be part of the solution to the challenges of globalization. It works to advance its 10 principles in the areas of human rights, labor, the environment, and anti-corruption. They are:

Human Rights — businesses should:

1. Support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights.
2. Make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.

Labor Standards — businesses should uphold:

3. The freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining.
4. The elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labor.
5. The effective abolition of child labor.
6. The elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

Environment — business should:

7. Support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges.
8. Undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility.
9. Encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.

Anti-corruption — businesses should
10. Work against all forms of corruption, including extortion and bribery.

Net Impact

Net Impact’s mission is to improve the world by growing and strengthening a network of new leaders who are using the power of business to make a positive net social, environmental, and economic impact. With more than 125 student and professional chapters on 4 continents in 75 cities and 80 graduate schools, a central office in San Francisco, and partnerships with leading for and nonprofit organizations, Net Impact enables members to use business for social good in their graduate education, careers, and communities.


OCEG is a nonprofit organization that seeks to help organizations drive performance by enhancing corporate culture and integrating governance, risk management, and compliance processes via:

1.  Guidelines and Standards

  • Summary of legal requirements
  • Process guidelines and standards to address requirements
  • Technical standards
  • Both high-level and detailed guidance

2.  Evaluation Criteria and Benchmarks

  • Program effectiveness (design and operation)
  • Program performance
  • Continuous program benchmarking

3.  Community of Practice

  • Online space where professionals can collaborate
  • Online tools and resources
  • Groups to discover, create, and evolve guidelines
  • Forums for discussion and exchange

Sustainable Business Institute (SBI)

SBI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization founded in 1994 by business leaders dedicated to bringing about increased understanding of, and commitment to, the concept of business sustainability worldwide. SBI educates the public to make more informed choices promoting sustainability within companies.

Tellus Institute

Formed in 1976, Tellus is a non-profit research and policy organization. Its core mission is to advance the transition to sustainable, equitable and humane global civilization. Tellus has a close partnership with The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and hosts SEI’s Boston Center.

Tellus has developed a suite of software tools for strategic planning, including:

  • LEAP: Energy-environment planning
  • WEAP: Water planning
  • PoleStar: Sustainability planning
  • WastePlan: Solid Waste planning
  • DSTAIR: Anti-corruption analysis

Tomorrow’s Company

Tomorrow’s Company is a not-for-profit research and agenda-setting organization committed to creating a future for business which makes equal sense to staff, shareholders and society. It achieves this through:

  • Acting as a networking hub for organizations
  • Identifying and exploring the future of sustainable success
  • Undertaking and publishing agenda-setting research
  • Promoting the adoption of new ideas and concepts.

Its current program of publications, events and activities focuses on three issues fundamental to the future success of business:

  • An improved investment system
  • An inclusive approach to leadership and governance
  • Closing the gap between business and society.

Winning Workplaces

Winning Workplaces is a not-for-profit providing information, training, consulting, and easy-to-use, affordable tools to help small and midsize organizations create high-performance workplaces. Its mission is to help organizations create great workplaces by providing small and midsize employers with proven, practical, and affordable people practices. Because the information and resources needed to create a high-performance workplace are out of reach for all but the largest organizations, Winning Workplaces seeks to change that by offering employers affordable consulting, training and information. It helps employers assess needs and develop strategies to improve their workplace practices.


World Business Council for Sustainable Development

The WBCSD brings together some 180 international companies in a shared commitment to sustainable development through economic growth, ecological balance and social progress. WBCSD’s mission is to provide business leadership as a catalyst for change toward sustainable development, and to support the business license to operate, innovate and grow in a world increasingly shaped by sustainable development issues.

WBCSD objectives include:
  • Business Leadership – to be a leading business advocate on sustainable development
  • Policy Development – to help develop policies that create framework conditions for the business contribution to sustainable development
  • The Business Case – to develop and promote the business case for sustainable development
  • Best Practice – to demonstrate the business contribution to sustainable development and share best practices among members
  • Global Outreach – contribute to a sustainable future for developing nations and nations in transition.

World Economic Forum – Global Corporate Citizenship Initiative

The objective of the GCCI is to increase business engagement in corporate citizenship as an element of business strategy. GCCI concentrates on defining and facilitating the leadership role of CEO’s and boards in integrating into business practice policies that respond to the evolving expectations of society regarding the responsibilities of companies in a global economy.

As of June 2006, GCCI has over 40 member companies.

WRI’s BELL (Business, Environment, Learning and Leadership)

The goal of BELL (Business, Environment, Learning and Leadership), a World Resources Institute program, is to make sure promising business leaders of tomorrow have the skills necessary for making companies more competitive by viewing social and environmental challenges as unmet market needs that can provide business growth opportunities through innovation and organizational change. BELL achieves this by working together with educators, researchers, and managers to create and generate new knowledge about management strategies and techniques and disseminating those through cutting-edge business educational programs.

BELL activities are focused on the long-term growth aspects of sustainability in a business context related to innovation, repositioning, and shared visions. This includes topics such as technological innovation, clean technology, technological commercialization, BOP market development, and economic capacity building. This approach is in contrast to most programs found at other NGOs or reflected by a great deal of private sector consulting work that addresses short term sustainability issues related to costs and public perceptions.  Those issues include risk and cost reductions, reputation building and efforts to establish legitimacy and tend to focus on corporate social responsibility (CSR), environmental management, environmental/health/safety (EHS), and ethics.