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World Economic Forum statement

One of the notable features of the 2002 World Economic Forum, besides the choice of New York as a venue, was the drafting of a joint statement entitled Global corporate citizenship: the leadership challenge for CEOs and boards. Thirty-six chief executives from multinational giants including Coca-Cola, Siemens and Renault signed the document, whose key message was that CSR needs to be made a central component of any business strategy.

'The frameworks we adopt for being a responsible business must move beyond philanthropy and be integrated into core business strategy and practice,' it argues.

Furthermore, the task of ensuring that this happens rests at the top of the organization: 'Although it is essential that we assign clear responsibilities, resources and leadership roles to our managers for addressing these issues on a day-to-day basis, ultimate responsibility rests with us,' it stresses.

As well as assigning responsibilities, the statement sets out a detailed framework for putting the principles of CSR into practice (see below).

1. Provide leadership

Set the strategic direction for corporate citizenship in your company and engage in the wider debate on globalization and the role of business in development.

  • Articulate purpose, principles and values internally and externally;
  • Promote the 'business case' internally;
  • Engage the financial sector;
  • Enter the debate on globalization and the role of business in development.

2. Define what it means for your company

Define the key issues, stakeholders and spheres of influence which are relevant for corporate citizenship in your company and industry.

  • Define the issues;
  • Agree on company's spheres of influence;
  • Identify key stakeholders.

3. Make it happen

Establish and implement appropriate policies and procedures and engage in dialogue and partnership with key stakeholders to embed corporate citizenship into the company's strategy and operations.

  • Put corporate citizenship on the board agenda
  • Establish internal performance, communication, incentive and measurement systems;
  • Engage in dialogue and partnership
  • Encourage innovation and creativity
  • Build the next generation of business leaders

4 Be transparent about it

Build confidence by communicating consistently with different stakeholders about the company's principles, policies and practices in a transparent manner, within the bounds of commercial confidentiality.

  • Agree what and how to measure;
  • Develop a graduated program for external reporting;
  • Be realistic.

Click here to download a PDF copy of Global corporate citizenship: the leadership challenge for CEOs and boards.

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