NGO to Western Retailers – CSR Policies Can Harm The Poor

World Growth Announces Global Program to Create Development-Friendly CSR Policies

WASHINGTON—World Growth today announced a global sustainability program to assist multinationals to create development-friendly Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs.  World Growth has issued letters and a questionnaire to nine of the world’s leading retail and consumer goods companies surveying their CSR policies and warns that many leading Western retailers’ CSR policies will do more harm than good to developing countries.

Ambassador Alan Oxley, Chairman of World Growth, said the program has been established after research on the CSR policies of nine leading global companies across three continents revealed that most did not take into account the social or economic development interests of poorer countries.

“Most CSR policies of global consumer goods companies and retail chains, such as Tesco, Unilever and Nestle, reflected the concerns of non-governmental activists in rich countries.  On environmental issues for example, they focus on climate change and overlook disease and ill health from failure to remove solid waste and pollution of air and water way,” said World Growth Chairman Ambassador Alan Oxley.

“The result was that companies were cutting off trade with producers in major industries in developing countries such as paper from Indonesia, timber from Congo, and palm oil from Malaysia because they were incapable of independently assessing inaccurate and unsupportable claims of environmental damage by politically- motivated western NGOs.”

“It is in the commercial self interest of these multinationals to develop properly balanced CSR programs.  For some, the emerging markets were already their biggest and fastest growing markets.  Pats on the backs from ENGOs based in Amsterdam, London and San Francisco won’t win them loyalty from producers and consumers in Sao Paulo, Jakarta or Mumbai If they don’t demonstrate concern for the interests of producers, workers and consumers in those markets.”

World Growth recently circulated its report – Corporate Social Responsibility – How Global Business is Getting it Wrong in Emerging Markets – to leading global companies analysing their CSR policies and has invited them to join a global program to improve CSR policies to meet the real needs of developing countries.  The CSR policies of the following companies were reviewed in the report:  Carrefour, Coles, Nestle, Proctor and Gamble, Staples, Tesco, Woolworths, Unilever and Walmart.

Click here to view the questionnaire.

To speak with World Growth’s experts or find out more about its work, please email media@worldgrowth.org or call +1-866-467-7200.

World Growth is a non-profit, non-governmental organization established to expand the research, information, advocacy, and other resources to improve the economic conditions and living standards in developing and transitional countries. At World Growth, we embrace the age of globalization and the power of free trade to eradicate poverty and create jobs and opportunities. World Growth supports the production of palm oil and the use of forestry as a means to promote economic growth, reduce poverty and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. World Growth believes a robust cultivation of palm oil and forestry provides an effective means of environmental stewardship that can serve as the catalyst for increasing social and economic development.  For more information on World Growth, visit www.worldgrowth.org.

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