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CSR conference: Good business for all

Michael Jarvis's picture

Proponents of CSR – myself included – argue that effective corporate responsibility programs are good both for the firm and the communities in which they operate. This sense of responsible business' ability to foster a stable social and business environment will come under the microscope at the IV Inter-American Conference on CSR, taking placing in Brazil, December 10-12.  This year's event, themed "Good Business for All", will attract the great and the good of the CSR world from across Latin America.  And this year, there is the added attraction of the beaches in beautiful Salvador. Brazil is a fitting venue for the regional event given that Brazilian
firms and institutions are among the leaders in CSR efforts in the
region.   

From the sustainable sourcing of cosmetics firm Natura, the leadership of ABN AMRO on sustainable investment, or the sustainability index of the stock exchange BOVESPA,
Brazilian firms are leading the charge. The country's most recent
example of socially responsible business is highlighted in this month's
Ethical Corporation: Sao Paolo based Amanco's
new sustainability report (PDF in English) emphasizes the value of eco-efficiency
savings, environmental certification, targeted product development for
poor communities, stakeholder engagement and backing for collective
transparency measures. The latter will feature in a session at the
conference alongside several working groups to focus on business action
to combat corruption.  Others include one being organized by the World
Bank Institute together with Wharton and the US Department of Commerce.

Comments

With all the attention CSR has (justifiably) received, it is worth mentioning that small businesses also play a crucial role in the environmental and social well-being of their countries. A study of SMEs in the UK shows that these small enterprises account for upwards of 50% of all pollution! An event in Sao Paulo on Dec. 16th will address the impact of these companies as well as present sustainable business models that are highly profitable. Details to come at http://www.new-ventures.org Great post Michael, and I hope to hear your insights on the SME sector in this blog!

Submitted by Christine on
Derek, Thanks for sharing the info about New Ventures. Hope you'll let us know how the conference goes. You're absolutely right that SMEs have a part to play - it's a shame that good CSR policies are so often perceived as a luxury that only big companies can afford.

Derek - just to echo Christine, thanks for the comment and info on the New Ventures event. You are quite right on the importance of building capacity for sustainable approaches among SMEs, not least in Latin America where SMEs and microenterprises often form as much as 90% of the economy. I'll keep an eye out for relevant new research on CSR for SMEs. You might also want to look at the World Bank Institute program on the topic at: www.developmentandbusiness.org/smes

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