Friday, November 09, 2007

CSR for Moldova: Too Soon, Too Late?!

Eurasia Foundation, American Chamber of Commerce and United Nations Development Programme in Moldova joined their efforts and organized an international conference Corporate Social Responsibility for Moldova on November 8 in Chisinau City. An outstanding fact is that this project was financed primarily from corporate sponsorship. Eurasia Foundation came with the idea, attracted two like-minded partners - the AmCham and UNDP - and conducted a fundraising campaign, which resulted in 10 companies making financial contributions to cover related costs.

The funds came from companies, the skills came from the non-profit sector. Who benefited? Because the actual value of this Conference – knowledge and information about CSR practices abroad and in Moldova – is inherently a public good accessible directly to participants and indirectly to a wider audience - via media outlets that covered the event, this blog, private and public discussions, and debates – it is difficult to identify and quantify beneficiaries. Although knowledge about CSR – and for Moldova CSR is new knowledge – is important, there is something even more important for Moldova. Cooperation as process, cooperation among sectors – pubic, non-profit, private, media – towards achieving a mutually advantageous societal goal – be it knowledge creation/dissemination, or policy implementation, or job creation – was the most valuable Conference result of all.

Genuine CSR practices exist in Moldova, and this was the most vocal conclusion of the Conference. CSR is good for companies and society at large, both internationally and in Moldova. Government needs to understand this and encourage CSR-friendly policies and laws, media needs to learn to distinguish between CSR and corporate publicity, and the non-profit sector needs to take initiative and be at the right place, at the right time and with the right idea. Then, CSR will be at home even in Moldova. Here is a TV7 news report on the Conference.