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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability

Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability and Green, all at once! Market observers tend to look to Sweden as a CSR success case, thanks in no small part to the government playing an active role in coordinating Corporate social responsibility policies and integrating them into trade and foreign policy strategies.

Late last month Chile's economy minister, Pablo Longueira, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Sweden's commerce minister, Ewa Björling, for the latter to collaborate with the Latin American country in terms of corporate social responsibility (CSR) development. The idea, according to Longueira, is to submit a proposal on social responsibility to President Sebastián Piñera by year's end.

For example, according to the KPMG International Corporate Responsibility Reporting Survey 2011, Sweden is a leading country when it comes to corporate responsibility initiatives, with 72% of its top 100 companies reporting. Another ranking - the Responsible Competitiveness Index by AccountAbility - puts Sweden at the top out of 108 countries regarding their performance in promoting responsible business practices.

Sweden's government was the first worldwide to require state-owned enterprises to publish sustainability reports, based on guidelines from the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). In so doing, it looks to lead by example and aims to inspire private sector firms to focus on sustainability, encouraging the private sector to follow OECD guidelines for multinational companies, and to apply the 10 principles regarding respect for human rights, employee rights, environmental responsibility and anti-corruption from the UN Global Compact.

Sweden has been recognized internationally as a leader in gender equality at the workplace and in combating climate change while promoting the development of "cleantech" - innovations that help to cut down on emissions or energy consumption. This has also led domestic firms to export environmentally friendly production techniques, especially in industrial production, to other countries. Swedish firms - the likes of Electrolux, H&M, Atlas Copco and SCA - have consistently led the global list of socially and environmentally responsible companies.

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Comment by Dan Johnson on January 29, 2013 at 8:35pm

Sweden, try Iceland. 

Comment by kaustubh phadke on January 29, 2013 at 11:08pm

I agree to all points mentioned by Henry Klen. The Swedish Institute is also doing excellent work in CSR.

Comment by Taylor Searcy on February 11, 2013 at 5:53am

This further convinces me that I should study Sustainable Development at Uppsala University. I plan on attending in Autumn 2014!

Comment by Daniel C. Ajamiseba on February 11, 2013 at 4:18pm

It really boils down to upholding human integrity and character on the part of decision makers in the corporate world and in the non-profit world, not only in words and/or slogans but in concrete actions when it comes to respecting Human Rights, Employee Rights, Environmental Responsibility and Anti Corruption.


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