CSR in South America: Fostering the Dialogue

William M. O’Keefe (Management Consultant, USA & Hsu O’Keefe, Fairleigh Dickinson University, USA)

Social Responsibility Journal

ISSN: 1747-1117

Publication date: 1 January 2007

Abstract

Little attention has been given by researchers to the participant progress reporting database established by the UNGC to function as a transparent and easily accessible repository of program information and ready source of best practices for the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) participants across the globe. The purpose of this paper is to assess the current database utilization practices of Compact participant organizations in the South American Region and identify steps that can be taken to enrich the dialogue and exchange of best practices among member organizations. For purposes of this study, only those South American countries with Company and Small and Mid‐Size Enterprise (SME) members were included. Due to the rapid rate of change in UNGC membership, the analysis was limited to the documents and links posted on the database as of September 10, 2006. Data analysis was done by country, followed by a detailed analysis of the reporting practices of the two countries with the largest membership, Argentina and Brazil. This study found that four of the ten nations with UNGC membership, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Peru account for 434 of the 482 Company and SME members. Organizations in Brazil led the way to membership growth at the establishment of the Global Compact in 2000, followed by significant growth in membership across the region in 2003 and 2004. Argentina has the highest proportion of active members (51%), followed by Chile (36%), and then Brazil (26%). Peru has experienced the highest rate of inactivity, with 41 of its 57 member organizations, all of whom joined in 2004, having been recently declared “Non‐Communicating” by Compact administration. The comparative analysis of Brazil and Argentina COP reporting practices reveals that the UNGC members in Argentina, with a 51% reporting rate, have universally adopted a short standardized easy‐to‐read reporting format, while those in Brazil, with a 26% reporting rate, utilize a diverse range of reporting formats involving much longer and more detailed CSR‐related reports. There just 27% of the 33 members posted reports utilizing Portuguese exclusively, while 81 % of the 95 Argentina members utilize Spanish only. The study concludes with a discussion of the implications of these findings on the fostering more effective utilization of the UNGC database in order to help member organizations in South America make Corporate Social Responsibility an integral part of their business strategy.

Keywords

Citation

O’Keefe, W. (2007), "CSR in South America: Fostering the Dialogue", Social Responsibility Journal, Vol. 3 No. 1, pp. 17-22. https://doi.org/10.1108/17471117200700002

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Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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