Cummins CEO Linebarger: Corporate responsibility good for communities, good for business

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Cummins Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger recently spoke to an audience of more than 200 community and economic dev140_TOMelopment officials in Indianapolis at Ball State University’s Building Better Communities Primacy of Place Conference. His speech focused on corporate responsibility and how it is a fundamental part of the Cummins business model.

Linebarger began his remarks with a history of Cummins and the values our early leaders instilled in the company from the beginning. He went on to highlight J. Irwin Miller’s belief that Cummins is only as healthy as the communities where we do business, a view that was well before its time among American businesses.

Miller cemented the point in the 1972 Cummins Annual Report in which he wrote, “Business has a very large stake in the quality of the society within which it operates. We flourish only as we are rooted in a society which is healthy, orderly, just, and which grants freedom and scope to individuals and their lawful enterprises.”

Linebarger went on to say that today, as Cummins continues to grow and expand across the globe, “Corporate Responsibility is just as important as it was in the early years and just as important as it was during the transformational years.”

Not only is Corporate Responsibility important, he continued, but it helps make our business more sustainable by focusing on solving critical problems in our communities. For us to thrive globally today, we need to help strengthen the communities in which we live and work and he named a few reasons why. Those include the following:

  • Strong communities help Cummins attract values-driven employees who want to give back to the community
  • Great employees are more likely to stay with Cummins when they have access to good schools and great quality of life that comes from being a part of a strong community
  • Strong communities create a stronger marketplace to sell our products
  • Corporate responsibility generates good will within our communities – when we support them, they support us

“The bottom line,” he said, “is that when our communities are successful, we are successful so it is in our best interest to put forth resources to help them get there.”

Linebarger then went through some of the ways that Cummins engages with communities including the Every Employee, Every Community program and the three areas of focus for corporate responsibility: education, social justice and the environment. “Man hours make the most impact,” he said. He noted that with 221,000 total volunteer hours, Cummins employees logged a record number of EEEC hours in 2012.

In closing, he said that Corporate Responsibility is not just a nice thing to do, but it is “our plan to be successful in the marketplace.”

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