The CSR model developed by Solventor was presented by Martti Kouhi to an international audience of experts earlier this month at the Bahrain International Corporate Social Responsibility conference, and feedback from the audience and the other experts invited to present in the conference was quite positive. Solventor’s presentation was the only one in the three day event that defined the big picture of CSR from the company management perspective, in addition to focusing on integrating CSR into the management system and managing related reputation risks. The presentation can be viewed online here.
Corporate responsibility means different things to different people. If you ask five people to define it, you are likely to get at least six different answers. This was also reflected in the program of the conference, that covered a very wide spectrum of topics. Many had to do with the philanthropic aspect and community development projects, whilst others focused on particular elements of CSR and the competitive advantages entailed. Because of this, many participants felt the need to get a grip of the total picture, as presented in the model.
a The conference was part of a determined effort within the Persian Gulf states to increase focus on CSR. It is openly stated that there is a business motivation behind it; in international trade the importance of reputation and responsibility is a growing trend. On the other hand, there is also a strong tradition of corporate philanthropy in the region. For example in Bahrain, where the conference took place, most companies pay no corporate tax at all, but they are expected to support community projects and charities via donations.
There is also strong support from the government in advancing CSR, reflected in part as sponsorship of this event. Whether motivated by business goals or a tradition of charitability, the increased focus on CSR has to be a good thing for both the society and the management of companies.