Impact of COVID-19 on Corporate Social Responsibility in Georgia
On July 18, the UN Global Compact Network’s (UNGC) Georgia Office held its annual assembly. The executive director of UNGC and CiDA summarized the network’s activities in 2020 and presented the survey “Impact of COVID-19 on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Georgia”. The survey was conducted with EWMI ACCESS support and assessed 1053 business companies, from SMEs to large enterprises, to determine the impact of the pandemic-induced economic recession on their social behavior.
Despite the many challenges, findings show that corporate social responsibility has not deteriorated, and improvements are visible. Especially in 2020, businesses paid more attention to corporate social responsibility, engaging in joint projects and multilateral cooperation with NGOs and other unions.
While in 2019, only 28% of inquired companies cooperated with external parties, by 2020, this figure had increased to 40%. Moreover, companies are starting to appoint CSR managers to lead specific CSR activities separately from other departments.
Despite the recession, 70% of inquired companies did not change their CSR priorities, with the majority of large businesses not having reduced their CSR activities. The picture is more complex for SMEs, as most operated in survival mode during the pandemic, and many engaged only in one-time charity events or none at all.
The critical challenge for businesses in 2020 was maintaining their staff. According to the responses, 65% of the companies stated they did not lay off employees due to the pandemic; 14% had to lay off employees, and 21% had to send them on temporary unpaid leaves.
UNGC has prepared the database of its members (110 companies in total) listing their CSR priorities. Interested parties can review this database and contact relevant companies with initiatives.