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Corporate Responsibility

ICF partners with our clients to conceive and implement solutions that protect and improve the quality of life all across the globe.



Motivated by Our Legacy

ICF International was founded as the Inner City Fund in 1969, a venture capital firm whose mission was to finance inner-city businesses. The firm's consulting business (energy and environmental policy consulting) proved more successful than raising venture capital, and in 1972 we reorganized as ICF Incorporated, a consulting firm. The work of our founder, Colonel “Lucky” Lester, a Tuskegee airman, remains evident in our business today as we continue to address issues related to energy and the environment, as well as economic, health, and social challenges of inner cities and beyond. ICF’s legacy challenges us to continue responsible corporate citizenship today and into the future.

ICF's CR Mission Statement

While supporting our clients in addressing some of today's most challenging issues, ICF is committed to being a good corporate citizen. We demonstrate this by:

  • Investing in our employees
  • Serving our clients with integrity
  • Creating long-term value for our shareholders
  • Minimizing our impact on the environment
  • Giving back to our communities and society

We've established an integrated governance process to underscore our commitment to this mission. That governance is embedded in each division and reports to our COO. We're committed to these goals because they make ICF a more desirable employer, consultant, and neighbor; increase shareholder value; and protect the planet for future generations.

Governance—What Makes CR Real at ICF

To be effective, CR must be more than a box on an org chart. CR must be imbedded in every operating group and corporate function. We have organized our CR Steering Committee to ensure our CR mission is integrated into all of our operations, with representation from every division and major corporate function. Where it is relevant and appropriate, we will continue to formalize the connections and reporting between operations and our CR function. We will also ensure that any Steering Committee initiatives complement or reinforce the ICF Code of Business Ethics and Conduct.

Transparency and Responsiveness—What Makes ICF's CR Program Effective

In the spirit of transparency, ICF voluntarily reports on our corporate citizenship activities in our 2011–2012 Corporate Responsibility Report. This is our first-ever CR report.The report details our approach to corporate citizenship, our performance, and serves as a baseline for future performance.

Responsiveness is important to our CR program. We need the participation and feedback of our stakeholders—employees, clients, shareholders, and communities. We do not achieve our CR goals alone. Let us know how we can improve our performance. Contact our Corporate Responsibility Steering Committee with feedback.

2011-2012 ICF Coporporate Responsibility Report Cover

Learn about ICF's commitment to Corporate Responsibility in our 2012 report.

Featured Awards

How ICF Implements Our CR Mission

Investing in Our Employees

Our employees define who we are as a company. Each person plays a role in accomplishing ICF’s mission and goals. For that reason, we implement policies and practices that enable us to recruit and retain the best people. Our practices include:

  • Total rewards that set us apart—Our total cash compensation programs are competitive for the industry and we have award-winning benefits that have been recognized four years in a row by the CARE Award for family-friendly policies.
  • Flexible work environment—ICF offers latitude in the work environment to enable employees to be most productive. Approximately 30 percent of our employees telework on a regular basis, and from time to time, nearly every employee takes advantage of the program to cover emergencies. Our telecommuting program includes flex-time schedules, laptops, computer support, and the use of hotel offices.
  • Commuter benefits—ICF is recognized as one of the Best Workplaces for Commuters and by Commuter Connections for offering a wide variety of commuting incentives to encourage the use of public transit, ridesharing, bicycling, and teleworking.
  • Competitive recruiting—ICF recruits through every available resource, such as online services, Facebook, LinkedIn, professional networks, employee referrals, and veterans’ organizations. We proactively pursue young talent at leading colleges and universities, including historically black schools. We offer significant referral bonuses to our staff.
  • Professional development—ICF encourages staff to attend training for professional development at no cost. More than 75 courses—linked to our employee performance management system—are available through the ICF Learning Institute. In 2011, we spent $3.3 million on training. More than 400 employees used the tuition assistance program—an investment of $675,000.
  • Career advancement—The outcome of our staff development is the advancement of employees’ careers. ICF’s promotion rate is 17 percent, which exceeds the top 75 percent benchmark of promotion rates, according to a study by the Corporate Leadership Council.
  • Equitable work environment—ICF provides an environment where employees from a wide diversity of backgrounds, culture, race, and gender flourish. An example is the number of women at the senior levels of our organization. Thirty-one percent of our executive officers are women as compared to the average of 14.1 percent among Fortune 500 companies (2011 Catalyst Census: Fortune 500 Women Executive Officers and Top Earners).
  • Commitment to staff retention—ICF’s investment in our staff has resulted in a turnover rate that is significantly lower than the industry average: only 10.3 percent, as compared to the average of 16.1 percent among our peers (HumanR, Inc., 2011 research on retention rates among federal contractors with more than 1,000 employees). High staff retention contributes to ICF’s stability and helps retain our knowledge leadership.

Serving Our Clients with Integrity

Integrity is fundamental to any relationship—including the relationship of ICF with our clients. To cultivate trust, ICF endeavors to be consistent in our stated values and actions and to serve with excellence. We ask our clients to judge our performance. We elicit their feedback and improve by responding to their comments.

At ICF we care about the issues we’re addressing and want to provide impartial, high-quality solutions for our clients. Meeting client requirements is only the baseline of our performance. Below are some of the ways our clients benefit from ICF’s values. Read more about how we cultivate client trust in our 2011–2012 Corporate Responsibility Report.

  • Consultants trained in ethical business practices—ICF offers highly credentialed and motivated consultants who complete training on ICF policies regarding ethics, conflict of interest, timekeeping, security awareness, and anticorruption. Employees must certify annually that we know and comply with the policies and that we will report any suspected violations.
  • Quality management—ICF conducts a quality review of nearly all projects in our largest operating division, using corrective feedback to improve services and products. With a customer satisfaction rating of 94 percent, we’re in the process of standardizing quality reviews in other divisions. We are establishing an enterprisewide program management office in 2013 to ensure consistent standards, reviews, communication, training, implementation, and client surveys.
  • Sustainable, long-term  solutions—Short-term fixes aren’t enough to tackle some of the world’s most vexing issues. ICF helps our clients achieve long-term program success in environments that demand optimal performance under tight budgets, strict regulatory mandates, and unforgiving marketplace pressures. We measure our success in these and other engagements by the volume of repeat business (ICF won more than 90 percent of our public sector recompetitions during 2011 and 2012) and the duration of our client relationships—many lasting decades.
  • Carbon neutrality—ICF maintains carbon neutrality to ensure that our services contribute to our clients’ sustainability, for we are part of their supply chain. During 2013, we are beginning to examine our own supply chain. Read more about how ICF minimizes our environmental impact under the Environment tab on this page
  • Impartial advice—ICF provides impartial, practical advice and solutions. We don’t advocate particular viewpoints. We conduct research that reflects the best available practices for getting the right answer.
  • Research investments—ICF invests in the development of an extensive library of proprietary tools and research that we use to more efficiently and effectively solve our clients’ problems.

Creating Long-Term Value for Our Shareholders

Shareholder value is not created in a vacuum. It isn’t only related to profit and loss. Shareholder value is influenced by trust, reputation, and relationships. Investors know a link exists between responsible corporate citizenship and long-term value, as described in a report by the Social Investment Forum Foundation that 85 percent of money managers responding to a 2010 survey cited “client demand” as the reason for integrating environmental, social, and governance criteria into their investment decisions.

For ICF, meeting our growth and profitability targets is only one measure of our performance. ICF’s responsible business practices offer our shareholders the following indications of long-term health:

  • Risk mitigation through sustainable and transparent business practices, including governance structures to enforce rules of governance, and a Corporate Responsibility Steering Committee that reports to the COO.
  • Accountable relationships with our clients and employees, where we solicit their input through surveys and other feedback mechanisms and consider their comments as part of our process improvement.
  • Operational efficiency resulting from changes to minimize our impact on the environment and respond to stakeholder feedback.
  • Continued support from institutional investors that apply environmental, social, and governance criteria.
  • Increased brand value derived from a reputation for good corporate citizenship—measured through repeat business (won more than 90 percent of our public sector recompetitions in 2011 and 2012), a low employee turnover rate (10.3 percent compared to the 16.1 percent average of our peers), and recognition from our communities, clients, and industry (see Awards and Recognitions).

Minimizing Our Impact on the Environment

ICF specializes in developing sustainable solutions for our clients, so ensuring that we minimize the environmental impact of our own operations is critically important to us. Our strategy for minimizing ICF's impact on the environment includes:

  • Carbon neutrality—ICF began tracking our carbon emissions in 2006, and we were the first professional services firm to become carbon neutral. We’ve been carbon neutral each year since.
  • Award-winning commuter benefits—To reduce the number of cars our employees use for commuting, ICF invests in a generous subsidy for those who use mass transit. About 900 employees took advantage of this benefit in 2011 and 2012 at a cost of $540,000 to ICF each year. We also offer a subsidy for those who bike to work, and we have prenegotiated discounts for car-sharing programs in the United States. In both 2011 and 2012, the National Center for Transit Research named ICF as one of the “Best Workplaces for Commuters” for our wide variety of incentives to encourage the use of public transit, ridesharing, bicycling, and teleworking.
  • Other transportation emissions avoidance measures—ICF has a generous telecommuting policy; approximately 30 percent of our employees telecommute on a regular basis. To reduce business travel, we maximize the use of virtual online conferencing, teleconferencing, and video conferencing— for which we have sophisticated video equipment in 14 locations.
  • Green criteria for building leases—In 2010, ICF revised our leasing procurement documents to include criteria for sustainability. Future ICF facilities will meet minimum requirements regarding energy efficiency, use of recycled building materials, proximity to mass transit, and other sustainable characteristics. A result of our green facilities policy: Two ICF offices are in LEED Gold certified commercial space—Rockville, Maryland, and Beijing, China. The Rockville office has a LEED Platinum certified interior.
  • Energy reduction—Each year, ICF takes incremental steps to reduce energy use at our facilities. We work with our landlords to ensure HVAC systems are used most efficiently and only during working hours. We replace old equipment, appliances, and light fixtures with more energy-efficient models, bulbs, and motion sensor controls. In 2010, we consolidated data centers by closing several and significantly reducing the size of others.
  • Water conservation—ICF installed high-efficiency toilets and upgraded faucet aerators in some of our largest offices. The devices are expected to reduce water usage by up to 50 percent in these locations. Our goal is to install this equipment wherever it is not currently used.
  • Waste minimization—As a tenant in all of our facilities, ICF isn’t able to measure waste. But we still work to reduce waste by recycling, reusing, and composting. Across our offices globally, participation is high for our recycling programs. Several offices started composting programs, diverting waste that would have gone to landfills to instead enrich farmland. We initiated default duplex printing in most U.S. offices, decreasing our use of paper by an estimated 25 percent. We’re working on expanding that to all offices. Many of our office kitchens have replaced disposable utensils and dishes with reusable materials.
  • Material conservation—When possible, ICF uses products made with recovered materials and reuses or repurposes equipment. Our office supply catalogs offer more sustainable versions of many products, and ICF purchasers are encouraged to buy green. We print our stationery on 100-percent recycled paper, stock only recycled paper, reuse printer cartridges, and extend computer life by one to two years through refurbishment.
  • Green Team empowered to implement green initiatives—ICF's volunteer-run Green Team has a mission of making ICF operate in a more sustainable way. The ICF Green Team educates and engages colleagues in conservation and waste minimization. The team identifies opportunities to improve ICF’s sustainability and may receive funding to implement its ideas. Many of ICF’s initiatives to operate in a more sustainable way are attributable to the Green Team, such as replacing vending machines, water heaters, and office electronics with more energy-efficient mechanisms.
  • Smart investment in carbon offsets—Although we work hard to reduce our carbon emissions as much as possible, ICF's climate change experts apply stringent criteria to ensure the quality and efficacy of projects in which ICF will invest to offset our carbon emissions. Examples of our investments include wind power generation in Greensburg, Kentucky, and Gujarat, India; a landfill methane destruction project in Clinton County, New York; and a biogas brick kiln in Wewoka, Oklahoma.

Giving Back to Our Communities

There are many valid reasons to give back to society—it forms good relationships—a healthy society expands business opportunity—your  neighbor today could be your client tomorrow—it’s the right thing to do—and the list goes on. ICF accepts all these rationales, but our primary driver is that we want to give back. We want to stay true to our legacy (founded as the Inner City Fund to revitalize neglected urban areas). We want to address the problems surrounding health, education, social programs, and veterans’ issues—just to name a few of the challenges. We want to continue attracting employees who are equally committed to solving these problems, and who compel us to do more. Here are some of the ways we’re giving back:

  • Financial support—During 2010 ICF supported scores of charities focused on health, the environment, veterans, and a wide variety of other organizations important to our employees. We also made a significant donation for relief in Haiti following the earthquake.
  • Fundraising and gifts in kind—ICF employees raised money and in-kind donations for health, hunger, homelessness, human and family services, education, the environment, global poverty, and animal rescue.
    • Employees across the firm raised money for Haiti and challenged colleagues to meet giving goals.
    • D.C. area staff hosted an annual charity auction that raised $25,000.This event has raised a cumulative $140,000 since first initiated.
    • Calverton, Maryland, staff donated 260 pounds of food to the Capital Area Food Bank.
    • Fairfax, Virginia, staff collected nearly 500 gifts for Toys for Tots.
    • ICFers were running, walking, and cycling to raise money for their favorite charities that fight cancer, AIDS, and climate change and support health, education, and affordable housing.
  • Volunteer support—Whether the need is to paint an inner city school, pick up trash along a river bank or roadside, stock the pantry at a local food bank, donate blood to the American Red Cross—our employees are there and eager to help.
    • San Francisco and Oakland, California, employees sorted and packaged food at the San Francisco Food Bank for those in need.
    • Denver, Colorado, staff planted 150 willows and 30 alders in the Arkansas Headwater Recreation Area for the Colorado Riparian Association and Trout Unlimited.
    • San Diego, California, removed invasive plants at the San Diego River Park. Volunteers removed enough plants to fill a 40-cubic-yard dumpster.
    • Fairfax, Virginia, employees supported ICF’s Adopt-A-Highway program by picking up trash along the roadside.
    • Sacramento, California, harvested 1,200 acorns for Sacramento Tree Foundation’s “Seed to Seedling.” Third-graders plant acorns, then replant seedlings, in local schools and parks.
  • Board service—Another form of volunteer service by many of ICF’s senior managers is serving on the board of directors of nonprofits or serving in other leadership roles. ICF managers donate their time to organizations focused on education, health, housing, social services, emergency services, crime victims, the environment, wildlife, and the arts.

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