Through adopting the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), companies redefine their role while taking into account the broader responsibility towards society in partnership with the government and civil society organizations. CDS' Partnerships Program promotes the CSR concept and provides a framework for supporting and challenging businesses to mobilize their technical and financial resources, improve their CSR performance and have a positive impact as well as sustainable results in the communities where they operate.
There is a growing recognition of the impact that private sector enterprises have on society; on employees, customers, communities, the environment, competitors, business partners, investors, shareholders, governments and others. It is becoming increasingly apparent that firms can contribute to their own wealth and to the overall societal welfare by considering the effects they have on the community when making decisions.
To realize this goal our Partnership Development program focuses on four thematic areas:
The workplace core competencies include:
- Engaging employees in CSR activities at the workplace,
- Improving employees' skills and enhancing their knowledge and competencies.
The marketplace core competencies include:
- Highlighting the business case of CSR at the marketplace level
- Supporting companies to develop a strategy that adopts the CSR concept at the marketplace.
Community issues are the key social issues affecting them. Strategic corporate community investment should lay out how a company will maximize its positive and minimize its negative impacts on the community. At the same time, it should prioritize those that are most relevant to its core business, products, services, employees and customers, both in the short and long term.
The community core competencies include:
- Supporting companies to identify their corporate cause and gradually develop their CSR strategy at the community level
- Supporting companies to implement cost effective and innovative as well as sustainable development projects that meet the community's needs
- Evaluating companies' community projects to improve the implementation of their CSR activities in a way that supports their wider strategic goals.
The environment-based CSR projects provide substantial financial benefits as well as improve the firm's image as an environmentally-aware company.
The environment core competencies include:
- Conducting initiatives to promote the concept of minimizing the greenhouse gas emissions
- Highlighting the importance of conservation of resources,
- Supporting companies to develop their CSR strategy in the area of environment.
In our Partnership program we work closely with the private sector to design innovative and successful community engagement, support and challenge companies operating in the MENA region to integrate responsible business, and increase the range of services that help promote the CSR concept among civil society organizations as well as the public, civil society and private sectors.
The approach of CDS towards CSR creates and created a network of change among entrepreneurs, local development agencies, and donors. The intermediary roles CDS plays among various stakeholders leverage the collective knowledge of the network to accelerate innovation and action in response to common interests and needs.
In addition of the above mentioned thematic, the partnerships program works to promote the CSR concept through:
- Developing CSR related articles.
- Documenting companies' best practices.
- Developing companies' CSR reports.
- Conducting CSR related researches.
The Partnership Development program has a strong and wide network of private sector companies. The program's clients include large local corporations as well as multinational companies from different sectors such as telecommunication, IT, automobile and banks. Following are some examples of our partnerships' initiatives:
Program theme: Workplace
A pilot phase of this project currently implemented by CDS in three Levi's' factories and is targeting around 5500 female factory workers.
It is believed that the project will yield increased productivity and Returns On Investment of female workers as well as reduce staff turnover and absenteeism. The project will create awareness among employers and female workers that would ultimately lead to behavioral changes towards occupational health and industrial safety and provides business case of investing in women's labor rights. (2009-2011)
The program was comprised of three main components:
1. skills acquisition through a nine-month leadership and advocacy training program that included information and communication technology, English, interpersonal skills development, women's rights, development values, and democratic principles; 2. opportunities for the participants to apply the acquired skills to real-life situations in private, public, and civil society sectors through designing their own projects/initiatives; 3. capacity building and technical assistance services to the six partner NGOs and their resource centers. Towards the end of the project, participants were able to run for seats in local municipal councils and participate effectively in decision making processes. (2007-2009)
The residents of Mit Rahina village also suffer from limited access to clean water, causing chronic diarrhea, and renal and liver failure. This project was implemented in partnership with Mobinil and aimed at improving the environmental and health conditions of the village in order to increase its tourism
potential through a number of sustainable initiatives that include:
- Building two water treatment units to improve the quality of drinking water
- Cleaning the piles of garbage accumulated in different corners and spread across the village
- Establishing a sustainable garbage removal mechanism
- Planting a number of trees for the beautification of Mit Rahina village
- Organizing an environmental health campaign to raise the community's awareness on the negative health risks associated with poor environmental practice. (2010)
Through the SECI, school teachers were trained on how to design environmental messages and themes, environmental activities, and environmental campaigns. Each teacher worked with a group of pupils on developing and implementing an environmental campaign to disseminate what they have learned.
The environmental campaigns included tree planting inside the schools, , cleaning up of the schools' surroundings as well as the streets of their villages, establishing a recycling unit, building of a green house and a mushroom production unit. The training of teachers and the income of the production and recycling units ensured the project's sustainability and its replication. (2010)
CSR Research and Publications
CDS conducted the quantitative research required for the Global Compact Business Solutions for Human Development 2006 report. This publication aimed to improve the understanding of the CSR concept and illustrate the relationship between business and poverty reduction among a wider business community, government, civil society organizations, and academics. Among CDS' early work in the area of CSR several research papers were published: 'Corporate Social Responsibility in Egypt: Past, Present and Future' and 'Understanding the Corporate Social Responsibility Concept: The Private Sector's Role towards Environment and Natural Resource Management'. These papers were the result of research conducted with to learn more about the potential contribution of CSR to sustainable development, map the status of CSR in Egypt, define CSR challenges, needs and opportunities for a more enabling environment, and provide guidelines to advance the concept and its application in the context of Egypt. Other examples of our work in this field include:
Egypt CSR guide, Procter & Gamble
In the program's effort to promote the CSR concept, and with the support of Procter & Gamble (P&G) and the American Chamber of Commerce, CDS developed the Egypt CSR Guide. This guide is intended to provide a framework that helps corporate CEOs, senior managers, management teams, board members and front-line employees make informed decisions regarding the most appropriate ways to adopt the CSR concept. In addition, the guide aims to facilitate the communication channels with stakeholders using a shared language and offers examples of best practices in order to illustrate the substance of CSR. (2010-2011)
The first Procter & Gamble Egypt CSR Report
In order to help companies to strategize their CSR policy, CDS has supported Procter & Gamble (P&G) to document the company's CSR efforts and work in the "the first P&G Egypt CSR Report". Documenting P&G's CSR performance helped the company to paint a picture of how the company perceive and express its responsibility towards the community, the marketplace, the workplace and the surrounding environment in which they operate.
The report illustrates how the P&G's CSR management and implementation process is developing and moving from philanthropy to adopt an integrated approach of the CSR concept. (2007)