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  • Will the Middle East become more responsible?

    8:05 am on February 3, 2011 | 0 Permalink | Comment
    Tags: , corporate citizenship, , , , , Middle East, Revolution, , , ,

    Is the Middle East ripe for sustainability? Corporate Knights, “the magazine for clean capitalism” just published The global 100, its take on the world’s most sustainable corporations. Not one of them is based in the Middle East, nor has there been an entry from this region since the list began in 2005.

    Unfortunately, Transparency International‘s Global Corruption Report 2009 paints a dire picture for the MENA region: “Corruption is prevalent and widespread in the MENA countries… it is deeply rooted in the political infrastructure of the state (mainly military dictatorships, totalitarian regimes or monarchies); the institutional infrastructure of the public … and develops as a result of the relatively limited opportunities for public participation. Several other factors that contribute to providing opportunities for corruption and encourage limited transparency in the region include regional and/or national insecurities, the prevalence of conflict and heavy dependence on oil revenues.” Yet we’d like to believe there is a chance that this will soon change.

    Monumental are the demonstrations in Northern Africa where people are expressing their discontent with the way things are. They are demanding a change of leadership—one that will respect human rights, freedom of speech and improve living conditions for all, not just a few. Beginning in Tunisia, the so-called Tunisia effect has inspired similar demonstrations in Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon, Yemen and now Egypt where there is real potential for dramatic change.

    For the moment, sustainability, let alone corporate responsibility, is not top of mind as fed-up citizens fill Cairo’s Tahir Square in support of a more sustainable social system based on freedom and an end to corruption. Might a more transparent and responsible government allow for more transparent and responsible business too? At a minimum, more attention to this matter? Northern Africa’s hot and dry climate make it particularly vulnerable to climate change.

    There is hope. A new survey of the region’s corporations by the Sustainability Advisory Group, suggests that although sustainability reporting has a long way to go (too many of the business leaders they surveyed did not see climate change, water conservation and waste as important to their business) strides are being made. More companies are recognizing the benefits of corporate responsibility. To assist them there are organizations like Carboun an advocacy initiative promoting sustainability and environmental protection in the Middle East and SBAan international NGO active in the promotion of sustainable and environmental action in the Arab and West African countries. This and the promise of new leadership make this area ripe indeed.

     
  • CR Oscar Contenders

    4:28 pm on April 19, 2010 | 0 Permalink | Comment
    Tags: corporate citizenship, , , sustainabilit communications

    No other media has the potential to captivate quite like film. With the chance to reach wider audiences through the Internet, and the costs of video production a realistic option, even for constrained CR budgets, film has become the medium of choice to trigger curiosity among those we’re not succeeding in reaching with words and colorful diagrams.

    The Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship picked up on that trend and launched a film festival to showcase American corporate citizenship in action. They pared down their list to 10 finalists and invited readers to vote for their favorite.  Among them was Accenture,  Dow, and ITT. But FedEx was the clear winner.
    FedEx Haiti filmFedEx and humanitarian relief in Haiti
    The film focused on how FedEx logistics expertise supported efforts of humanitarian organizations following January’s earthquake in Haiti. Free from violin strings and other heart rendering drama techniques, the film presents their initiative through straightforward, engaging journalism. The key messages:  strong partnerships, sharing the expertise of their core business, engagement on the floor and bringing results where they’re needed. And something that other award contenders were sorely lacking, tangible results of their engagement:

    PriceWaterhouse Coopers Announced on Monday night, this year’s award went to Price Waterhouse Coopers, which told the story of 100 university students that, sponsored by PWC, travelled to New Orleans to help rebuild areas of the city still destitute after Hurricane Katrina.

     
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