The Service Effect

November 27, 2017


Tim McClimon

Recently, American Express published The Service Effect, a comprehensive report on the company’s social responsibility programs and activities in 2016-2017. The report highlights the company’s efforts to create social, environmental and economic value for its stakeholders as well as to operate ethically and responsibly.

“Since our freight-forwarding days in 1850, we’ve earned a reputation as a company people can trust to do the right thing and stand behind our promises,” said Kenneth I. Chenault, Chairman and CEO, American Express Company. “We will continue to look for ways to reimagine, reinvent and raise the bar – all while remaining true to the core values that have always sustained us.”

The report describes how service has shaped our efforts and the strides we’ve made over the last year to honor and strengthen our commitments to our stakeholders. For example, we:

  • Were rated as one of Ponemon’s Most Trusted Companies for Privacy for the past 10 years, and number 1 in financial services in 2017.
  • Expanded paid parental leave to 20 weeks for all U.S.-based regular full-time and part-time salaried employees – both mothers and fathers.
  • Celebrated Small Business Saturday’s seventh year, a day we created to support local businesses that helps create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods across the country.
  • Reached several long-term philanthropic milestones, including granting nearly $60 million to train more than 50,000 social purpose and nonprofit leaders globally since 2008, and engaging over six million volunteers in more than 27 million hours of service in their communities during 2016.
  • Exceeded our goal of reducing absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent globally (compared to 2011 baseline), by reducing our carbon footprint by more than 30 percent during the last five-year period. 100 percent of the electricity procured for our U.S. data centers and global headquarters is now carbon free, and by 2020, all of our employee business travel will be carbon neutral.

In addition:

  • 85 percent of our employees who responded to our annual survey said they would recommend our company as a great place to work.
  • We scored 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index based on our policies and practices that support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) inclusion.
  • From 2010 to 2016, American Express Card Members donated $84 million in dollars and Membership Rewards Points to charitable causes through our Members Give Program.
  • Customer satisfaction has increased 24 percent since 2011 based on Card Member feedback.
  • 97 percent of the paper used in our U.S. direct marketing efforts in 2016 was certified as being from sustainably managed forests, and over 50 percent of our global real estate portfolio was green-building certified.

American Express is reporting in alignment with the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) G4 Guidelines. To learn more about American Express corporate social responsibility efforts and to review the Corporate Social Responsibility Report, visit

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