Saturday, July 4, 2009

You dont have to be BIG to do CR

I often hear questions about whether CR is relevant to SME's.
I often hear criticsm that UNGC participation is not a powerful driver of action as it has no enforcement clout. My position of course is that CR is absolutely relevant to SME's and the UNGC is a very significant framework which is changing corporate behaviour. And i found a perfect example with a Communication on Progress (they actually call it a Social Responsibility Report) issued in the Republic of Moldova .

This Moldova COP is from the SME PTC BIOPROTECT . Read it here. It is a 12 pager Communication on Progress reporting on activities in alignment with the UN Global Compact Principles and a charming and wonderful example of leadership in a small country known as the poorest in Europe, independent since 1992, with 4 million inhabitants and a GDP of around $1200 per capita, average wage $250 per month, and 25% of the polulation living on below $2 a day . Landlocked and devoid of any significant natural assets, this country depends largely on agriculture for its economic prosperity, so perhaps it is no coincidence that CR should show up in the agricultural sector.

PTC Bioprotect is an importer-exporter of agricultural products founded in 1993 and employing 28 people. They joined the Global Compact in 2006 and have embraced the 10 principles wholeheartedly. Their report is about small-scale impact in their local business environment - worlds away from MNE scale and leverage - but equally important. The kind of impacts reported are :
  • support for 130 orphans in the town of Falesti with Easter gifts such as " sweets, sports equipment, towels, A4 format paper, bags and ribbons.".
  • support for 15 students to attend an International Conference on Chemistry, Chemical Technology and Environmental Protection
  • sponsoring a prize for entrants in National Contest of Business Plans for Young People, 2008
  • participation in the International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (IPECL) of the (ILO) to combat child labor in the agricultural sector of the Republic of Moldova by financing the purchase of two digital cameras and two Micro SD cards that were sent to the Labor Inspection to be used in the documentation of child labor cases.
  • collaboration with other 12 Moldovan UNGC participating companies to expand the green sites to the leisure areas in the city – THE GREEN DAY – BECAUSE WE CARE - in the public garden from Botanica sector of Chisinau. In addition to personal volonteering, the Company provided 26 shovels, 42 rakes and 108 pairs of gloves for the execution of works of cleaning and digging around the trees.
  • focus on agricultural product offerings which are more environmentally friendly
  • support for the national campaign „You can stop corruption” organized by the Government of the Republic of Moldova
These impacts might seem small against a global backdrop, but they are BIG at a local level. I applaud PTC Bioprotect as an exemplary model of reponsible behaviour which supports the fact that CR is for SME's and UNCG is a route to developing a more comprehensive CR approach.

And if you haven't tasted Moldovan wine lately..... try a glass while you read their report ..... it goes well with Chunky Monkey ....

elaine cohen is the joint CEO of BeyondBusiness, a leading reporting and social-environmental consulting firm based in Israel, and an active supporter of the UNCG (though having less than 10 fulltime employees, regretfully, we cannot be signatories) . Visit our website at:

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