Sorry _insert company name here_, this is not a CSR Report…

On a recent trip to Lebanon, I came across a magazine called Responsible Business published by CSR Lebanon.  Before I get to the specific article I want to write about today, I have to say that it was inspiring to find a magazine dedicated to CSR in a country like Lebanon, mostly because on that trip I found  a lot of similiarities between Armenia and Lebanon (not to suggest that the main difference between our two countries is that we don’t have a CSR magazine in Armenia… yet).  My better half spotted an ad for the magazine while we were in the city and then pointed out an issue to me in a book store… thanks! :)

Anyway, issue no. 3 (July-September 2012) of Responsible Business had a very interesting article titled Sorry Bank Audi, this is not a CSR Report.  The article was authored by Khaled A. Kassar, founder and CEO of CSR Lebanon, and was basically an analysis of the first CSR Report by Bank Audi.  As the title suggested, the author was not particularly happy with the report, and with good reason.

The article contained commentaries by Oliver Dudok van Heel (whom I have the pleasure of having met) from Radley Yeldar and the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (where I have the privilege of having studied) and took apart Bank Audi’s report for the following main reasons –

  • No clear outline of CSR strategy
  • Lack of information about stakeholder engagement
  • No distinction between CSR and Philanthropy (I told you Armenia and Lebanon were similar!)
  • Lack of information about the impact of the company’s CSR activities
  • No demonstration of CSR integration across the various business functions
  • No benchmarking

… and more.

Tellingly, article says that the report reads more like a “feel good brochure” and “reflects a lack of understanding and commitment to CSR.”

Armenia does not (yet) have as rich an experience of companies with CSR reports as Lebanon, but if I could wave a agic wand and make companies in Armenia produce CSR reports today (of course, in some countries there’s government regulations that do that, so no need for magic wands) the current situation is such that one could probably use the title of this blog entry with most of the companies in the country.  Which is perhaps why it is probably better that the number of so-called CSR Reports in Armenia is currently close to zero (I’d written about one such “report” early on in this Blog’s lifetime – the later reports from that company have been in the same vein).

I look forward to the (inevitable) days when the first up-to-the-mark CSR reports are published in Armenia, and seeing other companies in the country follow suit.  Meanwhile, I highly recommend this article in Responsible Business and the magazine as a whole – it’s a fascinating read about CSR from a country where the concept does not yet have a strong foothold (very similar to Arm… well, you get the  idea).

P.S. For readers interested in CSR reports by other companies around the world and critiques of these reports, a couple of links I would recommend are the dedicated sections on CSR Wire and EthicalCorp.

This entry was posted in CSR in Armenia.

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