Centro Ecuatoriano de Derecho Ambiental (CEDA)
Social responsibility: a commitment to cross learning
20 June 2013
CEDA sought to promote innovation in the management of civil society organisations (CSOs) based on the experiences of the private sector and through the creation of new channels of dialogue and learning between them. This new space for dialogue would allow sharing specific experiences of social responsibility, analysing and discussing its implementation in the civil society and social sector.
CEDA has been working on positioning the corporate social responsibility as a management model which could allow for a better accountability for CSOs, and this dialogue between CSOs and private companies in Ecuador built on the private sector's interest in actions based management models in social responsibility.
The dialogue gathered 61 participants from CSOs, companies and local government.
Discussions and presentations tackled different perspectives on social responsibility, notably on what companies are doing on corporate social responsibility in Ecuador, what can be applied to CSOs and how partnerships can be created between the private sector and civil society. On this last point, expectations were high among participants to actually find new partners. In that sense, this process managed to connect sectors which usually don't relate to one another. One of the lessons learnt was that corporate- CSO partnerships take time and effort to be established. Usually, companies don't want to be solely donors but also want to be active in the execution of the common project. This requires flexibility, trust, shared vision and transparency from both sides.
Also, a commonality between CSOs and companies is that they both hire staff; and corporate responsibility has a lot to do with recruitment, capacitating and creating a work space conducive to personal growth. CSOs and companies can also share the same environmental concerns. This forum was a first step in bringing together stakeholders who share similar interests in their communities and want to create a space where trust can be built.
CEDA and its partner, Consorcio Ecuatoriano para la Responsabilidad Social, will follow-up on this dialogue and the expectations of its participants. This will be done notably with the project "Construyendo transparencia en la práctica: de la prédica a la acción de las OSC. II Fase", through which CSOs will be capacitated on transparency and accountability processes and methods inspired by corporate social responsibility examples. They will also carry on providing the space for the definition of joint agendas for CSOs and companies on the implementation of mutual collaborative actions.