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Is the current economic environment affecting the way organizations approach corporate social responsibility?

United Arab Emirates

At Nokia, we expect that the mobile phone market will be negatively affected by a slowdown in consumer spending in 2009. This means that consumers will buy less. But when they do buy, they will buy from brands they trust.

We all know that CSR activities (such as community involvement) are hugely important when it comes to building a powerful brand and creating a strong emotional bond between the consumer and the brand. So we will continue to be actively involved in communities around the world to create tangible societal benefits.

The issue of environmental sustainability will be equally important this year. In the current economic environment, consumers will, for example, expect their mobile phone to be as energy-efficient as possible. Nokia's latest phone chargers already use up to 94 percent less energy than their Energy Star requirements. We plan to set the bar even higher for environmental performance.

Elisabeth Tanguy

Senior manager, employee communications, Middle East and Africa

Nokia Corp.

Dubai

Belgium

Inevitably, CSR budgets will be decreased temporarily. But some organizations have already integrated CSR into their strategies and made a commitment to both people and the planet. Initiatives were set up, responsibilities taken. These organizations have to keep up the authentic image of trust and credibility. They don't want to risk damaging their identity as an ethical business. The CSR goals of organizations do not have to change, but budget limitations will challenge those organizations to think and act more creatively. They will have to develop alternative approaches to handle the balance between people, planet and profit.

Larisa Thuije

Global PR manager

Safmarine Container Lines N.V.

Antwerp, Belgium

Italy

The global economic crisis could affect how much money some companies spend on CSR activities. Great companies, however, really understand the reasons why they engage in CSR and their commitment to it. They not only fundamentally believe it is the right thing to do, but also appreciate that it benefits the health, well-being and morale of their employees, and therefore the strength of the company and its ability to cope during difficult and uncertain times.

Pietro Jarre

Vice president, business development

Golder Associates Corp.

Turin, Italy

South Africa

CSR (and all other communication functions) is being negatively impacted by the current economic meltdown, without a doubt. In South Africa, working with nonprofit and corporate clients, we've seen a slowdown in corporate giving and a downward trend in personal giving and time spent volunteering. One car manufacturer went so far as to take back all sponsored vehicles without much notice from six children's homes! Ethics, the way things are communicated to and from companies, and the value of real relationships are key points of discussion that we focus on with our clients. When CSR is questioned, it's helpful to have measurable results of the positive impact on the bottom line of successful CSR campaigns and projects. Community relationships are a core function of any business today. It's up to us to prove the value of CSR by cultivating relationships along the way and making sense of business and responsibility for our clients, communities, charities and causes.

Mari Lee

Founder and CEO

Development Communication Solutions

Pretoria, South Africa

Guatemala

South American companies and organizations will have to be more conservative with their budgets this year. Nevertheless, this beautiful developing region has pledged its firm commitment to sustainable development. Recently, six national corporate social responsibility organizations in Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala demonstrated this commitment by launching IndicaRSE ("RSE" stands for Responsabilidad Social Empresarial, Spanish for CSR; IndicaRSE is a play on words meaning "to indicate yourself"). A tool for competitiveness, IndicaRSE is an integrated regional set of CSR indicators that all types of organizations can use to evaluate their own CSR efforts. This regional initiative is well in line with the "values-based globalization" proposals discussed at the Davos World Economic Forum early this year.

Graco Paredes

Corporate affairs manager

Grupo Progreso

Guatemala City
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Title Annotation:global perspectives
Publication:Communication World
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:May 1, 2009
Words:661
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