I was delighted to attend the Start Network’s annual conference Start for Change. During the event, we announced a new partnership between Start Network and GlobeScan, aiming to make progress toward the creation of a global humanitarian aid movement and to make strides toward enhanced engagement with stakeholders. The Start Network focusses on collaboration within the humanitarian aid system across three areas: Financing for emergency response (Start Fund) Strengthen civil society capacity (Start Build) Innovation through partnerships and learning (Start Beta) … “Start for Change: Collaboration to Future-Proof the Humanitarian System”
During the May 7th webinar, Robert Blood from SIGWATCH, along with Chris Coulter and I, discussed the changing place of NGOs in the mix of strategic stakeholders (click here for the full recording and presentation slides from the webinar). As Chris proved, stakeholder engagement has solidified its position as a strategic management tool for companies that are serious about thriving in our overpopulated, uncertain and volatile world. He convincingly made the case that there is an expectation that these collaborations … “Three Reasons Why NGOs Have Lost Some Attractiveness as Partners for Companies”
Multi-stakeholder collaboration is increasingly positioned as a way to manage global risks, make progress and help companies and societies become more resilient. In turn, NGOs have become the ‘go to’ stakeholders for companies seeking to resolve product challenges, policy conflicts and bolster their public image. Is this a good thing, and does it actually work? On May 7, 2015, GlobeScan and SIGWATCH hosted a webinar on The Changing Importance of NGOs as Stakeholders for Companies. When reviewing the recording and slides … “Webinar Recap: The Changing Importance of NGOs as Stakeholders for Companies”
Debate at the recent Mining Indaba Sustainable Development Day in Cape Town, South Africa was a continuation of the discussion from the 2014 forum. The key takeaway from 2014 was that there is an onus on business to engage with affected communities in order to progress the development agenda. This year, Her Excellency, Graça Machel, President of the Foundation for Community Development shared her vision for the world, and Africa in particular, in a very engaging conversation with Dr. Anthony … “How NGOs Can Build “Trust Bridges” Between Stakeholders in Africa”
Winnie Byanyima is Executive Director of Oxfam International. She served 10 years as a member of the Ugandan parliament. A recognized women’s rights advocate, she founded the still-thriving civil society organization, Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE). Ms. Byanyima served at the African Union Commission and as Director of Gender and Development at the United Nations Development Programme. As part of her drive to bring women’s perspectives into core development issues, she co-founded the Global Gender and Climate Alliance and … “Recognizing Leaders: Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam International”
In uncertain and volatile times, global organizations need greater insight on how to better manage risks and capitalize on opportunities, build trust with their stakeholders and society, and exert a greater influence in shaping their external context. Faced with these challenges, what can those charged with managing companies and their reputation do to stay ahead of the game? To help equip corporate leaders to take on these challenges, we are publishing 14 sector intelligence reports (covering Automotive, Banking, Beer, Chemical, Clothing, Electricity, Food, IT/Tech, Media and Entertainment, Mining, Oil and Petroleum, Pharmaceutical, Supermarkets, and … “Understanding Views on Business – GlobeScan Radar Infographic and Sector Intelligence Reports”
More than 1.6 billion people around the world rely on kerosene lamps as a source of light. Kerosene is a toxic fuel oil that can irritate the skin and adversely affect the central nervous system, contributing to the nearly 2 million premature deaths caused by indoor pollution related illnesses. Kerosene fuel also adversely impacts the environment. A recent report shows that 7-9 percent of the kerosene used in lamps is converted into black carbon, a powerful climate change pollutant, and … “Life Is Better With Luci: How Solar Lanterns Help Keep Haitian Communities Safe and Healthy”
One of the biggest trends in corporate social responsibility at the moment is the partnering of large corporate players with charities and NGOs. Initiatives such as Swiss Re’s work with Oxfam, CARE’s work with Unilever and Save the Children’s collaboration with Procter and Gamble have variously been cited as models for this sort of association. Yet while such partnerships meet approval among CSR professionals, GlobeScan’s research suggests that the public themselves take a more sceptical view. When asked as part … “Despite favourable attitudes among experts, public equivocal about NGO-corporate collaboration”
The past few years have seen growing hostility in the Russian government towards the NGO community. New laws passed last summer by the Duma, the Russian parliament, required NGOs funded from abroad to re-register themselves as “foreign agents,” a move that has prompted a great deal of international criticism by bodies such as Amnesty International. The government maintains that NGOs are vehicles for foreign interference in Russian affairs—charges that are strongly rejected by the organizations in question. GlobeScan’s data indicate … “NGOs in Russia: a challenging environment”
As businesses seek ways to project credible messages about responsibility, many have been turning to partnerships with NGOs. This is not surprising—GlobeScan’s tracking indicates that public trust in NGOs continues to outstrip trust in business by a very significant margin, and most citizens in our global survey say that they would have increased respect for companies that choose to partner with NGOs.
However, GlobeScan’s latest monitoring of public sentiment on the issue suggests that the issue of partnerships is becoming more hazardous—for NGOs. A majority (53%) of those polled earlier this year across 23 countries say that their respect for a charity/NGO would go down if it chose to partner with a company. And this increased skepticism appears to be more pronounced in some major developing economies. Notably, the proportion in China who say they would lose respect for an NGO engaged in a corporate partnership has risen from 46% in 2003 to nearly four in five (78%) this year. There have also been significant rises in the proportions of such skeptics in India and Russia.
With the reputation of private business in these countries having been tainted by many high-profile corruption scandals, this may reflect public fear that NGOs’ independence and ability to act as rallying points for social change could be compromised. The rise in skepticism may also reflect misgivings about the coherence of existing corporate/NGO partnerships. On a recent GlobeScan webcast, SC Johnson’s Kelly Semrau stressed the importance of retaining “authenticity” when businesses and NGOs work together. These findings show this is also a preoccupation for consumers.
Finding from the GlobeScan Radar, Wave 1, 2012