Friday, December 16, 2016
Shantel Talbot, Corporate Responsibility Associate
Planning to expand your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program beyond North America, but do not know where to start?
The International CSR Resource Hub is for companies that are expanding into new regions and want to enrich their current CSR efforts by connecting with the legal and cultural landscape, and tapping into what other corporations are doing in that region.
This resource, while by no means comprehensive, highlights websites that are information hubs for law/policy and news of CSR triumphs. While some of the websites are created by consultants who are offering a fee-for-service, they each offer helpful resources that can be accessed without being a member.
As a well-prepared CSR practitioner knows, researching the local culture, laws, and best practices, and connecting with in-country NGO partners and CSR peers, is the best approach when rolling out a program in a new region.
Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) recently published country-specific do’s, don’ts, cultural norms and resources for employee engagement in five countries: Brazil, China, India, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. The resulting research, the Global Employee Engagement Report, draws attention to some practical, but not intuitive, insights into cultural and governmental norms in those countries. Some examples include:
1) Volunteer time off (VTO) policies often exist but are not utilized in India
2) Collection drives are popular in Brazil while cash giving is less popular
3) Company-supported volunteering has the highest participation rate in South Africa, 3% higher than fundraising and collection drives, and 6% higher than time off for volunteering
4) Giving and volunteering are often considered private matters in the U.K.
5) Year-long matching gifts programs are not common in China as most giving is done following natural disasters
While it does appear that a strong company culture can overcome some societal or cultural norms, it is imperative to gain insight into the local CSR context in order to maximize the impact of your CSR program. A great way to start this is to conduct research and the following are some things to keep in mind:
- There seems to be a trend for country-specific or region-specific websites now popping up that are dedicated as CSR resource hubs
- Some are run by governments; others are run by NGOs or conglomerates of CSR practitioners in a specific region
- Be aware of the search terms and the language barriers that may arise
- For example, while the acronym “CSR” is widely used in Western Europe and Asia, it translates to “RSE” (Responsabilidad Social Empresarial) in South America
- There is a profusion of different search terms in addition to “corporate social responsibility” that may be useful to research. A few are listed below:
- Corporate Citizenship
- Community Involvement
- Community Partnership
- Corporate Sustainability
- Employee Engagement
- Many countries also have CSR-themed Facebook and LinkedIn pages (hooray!), although they are not included in the resource
Corporate philanthropy experts at SVCF have written articles focused on avoiding potential pitfalls when building international CSR programs [International Charitable Giving: Do You Know the Rules?], and some that recommend solutions to potential snags [International Charitable Giving: The Benefits of Intermediary Organizations]. Every corporation should, of course, have an attorney or an intermediary organization like SVCF to assist with compliance; however, this resource hub can help you begin your research and get started.
Click here to view the International CSR Resource Hub.
For more information on how SVCF can help your corporation navigate this landscape please contact us at Donate@siliconvalleycf.org.