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Issue 11 Responsible Business Around the World

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It is a pleasure to invite you to enjoy this ‘Responsible Business Around the World’ edition of the CSR360 Global Partner Network (CSR360 GPN) Magazine.

In this issue, we begin by celebrating 10 Years of the ENGAGE campaign. When ENGAGE was created in 2002 by IBLF and BITC its aim was to increase the quantity and quality of employee volunteering worldwide.

The state of employee volunteering in the world was at a very different stage than it is now.

In 2004, a piece of ENGAGE research demonstrated that employee community engagement was developing in countries across Europe to differing degrees and evolving according to the national context in which it occurs.

Socio-economic and historical factors such as the role of the church, historical/political development of volunteering; size of the NGO/voluntary sector; extent of state welfare provision, unemployment rate; legislative frameworks; the 35 hour week ; the perception and trust in business and the presence of multinational companies were all influencing the pace at which employee volunteering was evolving. Even as recently as 2006, it was difficult to find examples of excellence in many European countries.

This is not the case anymore; innovative and impressive programmes have been and continue to be developed all across Europe. In 2011, BITC coordinated a consortium of European partners to run the first European Employee Volunteering Awards programme in 22 countries. In the Case Study Report produced as a result you will see astounding examples of good practice across the continent from Ireland to Georgia and from Spain to Estonia. Furthermore, this evolution and expansion of the quantity and quality of employee volunteering has occurred not just in Europe but worldwide.

ENGAGE Key Cities bring together community partners and companies internationally to work in collaboration on employee community engagement projects. Our ENGAGE Key Cities overview highlights the fantastic examples of programmes taking place around the world, for instance those in Hong Kong and Beijing, each addressing different social issues by bringing together the skills and efforts of local and international companies.

What is fascinating about the ENGAGE Key Cities model is that by facilitating collaboration in these cities between an NGO partner and groups of local and international companies, the activity created happens on the ground and is appropriate to local social issues and plays to the strengths of the companies coming together while benefiting their bottom line. The innovative solutions created so far to address local problems in different countries have been fascinating to watch and support. The year 2012 marks the 10th anniversary of the ENGAGE Campaign which we highlight through the articles on the always growing and innovative ENGAGE Valencia and ENGAGE Frankfurt, the latter being one of the first ever ENGAGE Key Cities programmes. It is from this experience that we modelled the way collaboration among businesses would work in all ENGAGE Key Cities.

After that, we take you on a mini global tour to look at the current CSR focus of a few organisations in the CSR360 GPN. We learn about programmes encouraging responsible business around the world through pieces by Acción RSE in Chile, IARSE celebrating its 10 years in Argentina, FIBS in Finland, OSGD in Turkey, BITC Ireland, The Ufadhili Trust in Kenya and the very impressive sustainability work done by Ethos in Brazil.

Catherine Sermon’s piece on BITC’s cutting edge Visioning the Future programme is a bit of futurology to inspire us to collaborate and find a way to build a sustainable future and face the 9 billion challenge. Through this programme, BITC is encouraging businesses to consider the long term challenges that will drive their future business models, in order to build a prosperous world.

Last but not least, David Halley’s blog includes some reflections on the development of the ENGAGE programme. I was very lucky to manage the ENGAGE between 2006 and 2009, when the ENGAGE Key Cities were scaled up and when the first non-European Cities were developed. Since then Jenny Todd has been in charge and has done a fantastic job. Jenny will transition to a new job in September. During the last two years she has taken care of ENGAGE Key Cities massively improving the cross-learning, launching ENGAGE Johannesburg, ENGAGE Madrid and ENGAGE Beijing so it’s only appropriate to say good bye to her with this special edition of the CSR360 GPN Magazine.

We hope you enjoy the CSR360 Global Partner Network Magazine!

Maria Jose Subiela,
International Projects Director, Business in the Community

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