Facilitating Cooperation between the Business Sector and CSOs through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Club
One of the hallmarks of EWMI ACCESS’s “Civic Week” was the establishment of the Corporate Social Responsibility Club. On May 27th, leaders from some of the most prominent businesses and CSOs in Tbilisi gathered to sign the club’s charter and commit their organizations to working in solidarity to benefit the Georgian population. To date, several Georgian businesses have been implementing their own social responsibility programs with lower interaction with CSOs. While CSOs serve and work with various social groups and maintain the most up-to-date information about the needs of their beneficiaries the club provides great potential for synergies between the two sectors that would result in more efficient social initiatives and improve environment for social responsibility in Georgia.
The CSR Club serves as an informal union of representatives of leading businesses, national Civil Society Organizations, and media organizations; the Club’s mission is to promote socially responsible business practices and encourage sustained, coordinated social initiatives that benefit citizens across Georgia. The Club will also strengthen the business community and Civil Society Organizations partnerships on future initiatives.
The CSR Club put its ideas of social responsibility to work after flooding devastated Tbilisi’s neighborhood along the river of Vere in June this year. Within days of the disaster, CSR Club members have collectively donated over 10 million GEL to affected families and relief efforts. Additionally, members were quickly on the scene of the disaster using their skills, contacts and resources to organize volunteer cleanup efforts and meet urgent needs of the disaster- affected families – It is safe to assume without the agreed-upon structure of the CSR Club (information-sharing system and close coordination of relief needs among the member organizations) such solidarity could not have been so quickly and efficiently organized. This resulted in a better sense of the specific needs of the victims and prevented duplication of efforts. Furthermore, the club has maintained a database of donations made by members and other companies to properly catalogue the stunning response of the business and CSO communities to the disaster. It is times like this that members are reminded why the club was created.
On September 29th, the CSR Club held its second meeting where it reflected on the successes and challenges of its first four months of operation and plan the future activities.
In total, there are 71 members of the Georgian business and CSO community who became members of the Club and have committed their companies to the virtues of social responsibility. The club is led by a governing board of eight core founders, including TBC Bank, Bank of Georgia, Borjomi, Aversi, GPI Holding, and GEPRA, as well as some of the most prominent CSOs in Georgia including Transparency International (TI) Georgia and the Civil Development Agency (CiDA).
The club currently maintains a website, where patrons and anyone interested can learn about volunteer events organized though the club, and learn more about what the businesses and CSOs are doing to better the lives of Georgian citizens.