Regional CSR network: facilitating network and partnership building
UNIDO recently started the planning phase for the creation of a Regional CSR Network in Central, South and Eastern Europe (CEE and SEE).
This initiative was for the first time recommended at the UNIDO Regional Forum on CSR for Small and Medium Businesses in CEE, held on 9-10 March 2006 in Croatia. The network will aim at sustained and continuous improvement of the environmental and social conditions in SMEs operating in the Region’s industrial sectors, thereby enhancing their competitiveness and market access.
It envisages to assist local SMEs in the participating countries to conduct business in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. These companies will benefit from CSR through operational cost savings, partnership opportunities, better alignment with emerging consumer concerns, enhanced productivity and quality, and improved relationships with stakeholders. This in turn will increase their competitiveness in the marketplace. The network will also serve as a platform to foster the exchange of experiences and information on best practices and will play an important role in promoting partnership building between public and private institutions.
It is foreseen that following core services will be offered through the network:
- Awareness raising
- Technical assistance and in-plant assessments
- Training and diffused regional capacity building
- Information dissemination
- Promotion of cross-sectoral partnership building
- CSR policy advice
Through its linkages with UNIDO, its National Cleaner Production Centres, national standardization bodies, and the UN Global Compact, the regional network will be able to offer latest technical and managerial know-how on upcoming international trends. Strong ties with research institutions as well as universities in the region will support the process of CSR capacity building. In addition, a pool of experts will undergo special training to support the work of the network.