CAIRO: The idea behind CSR is that companies carefully consider the impact their operations have on the environment and people – including employees, customers and the local community.
As the business corporation grew exponentially in the post-war period, its ability to generate great wealth and, simultaneously, great suffering became increasingly apparent, particularly in less developed countries lacking robust labor and environmental protection laws.
At the same time, the growth of the corporation’s size and influence has underlined its potential to help alleviate problems like poverty, disease and environmental devastation, not least by moderating its own actions.
The American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt together with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) launched Egypt’s first Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Summit. The event is the first of its kind in Egypt.
Several high-profile speakers have been invited to speak at the conference taking place Dec. 11-12 at the Semiramis Intercontinental Hotel.
Among the speakers is Jeffery Sachs, renowned American economist and director of the Earth Institute at Colombia University in New York.
The Minister of Investment Mahmoud Mohieldin, the Minister of Social Solidarity Aly El-Sayed El-Moselhi, and Minister of Trade and Industry Rachid Mohamed Rachid all addressed the summit.
Representatives from several local companies as well as multinational corporations such as Coca-Cola, Microsoft and ExxonMobil, along with NGOs, health and environmental workers, industrial analysts and academics are also attending and partaking in the conference’s chaired debates and discussions.
Attendees at the summit in Cairo are discussing CSR with regard to a wide range of issues including education, the environment, health and employment.
Experts will give lectures on the science of CSR – how to formulate partnerships with local communities, what standards to apply and the tools required to do so, monitoring and evaluating progress, and working with the environment in a sustainable manner.
Irresponsible planning along Egypt’s Red Sea coastlines has already been blamed for the disappearance of much of its coral and sea life – one of the area’s main attractions.
And as the economy continues to soar and the presence of large multinationals grows throughout the country, the CSR summit comes at a pivotal time in Egypt’s development.