The result of the first project is the GERN report, a compilation of voices from around the globe in recognition of how local perspectives shape concepts of corporate citizenship and how it operates in practice. The GERN report is intended to serve as a valuable guide to the business strategist or corporate citizenship director with an interest in global markets, and to help in navigating the landscape of diverse expectations around the globe.
GERN members have agreed that corporate citizenship is not only a trend in the industrialized United States and Europe, but has a presence in almost every economy worldwide. The globalization of commerce has spread the concept and the need for greater corporate citizenship to all corners of the planet. But it also has indigenous origins and specific manifestations in different countries and regions. This publication seeks to advance the discussion of corporate citizenship as both a global and a local phenomenon.
Any examination of global corporate citizenship starts with the search for an accurate definition. On the one hand, there are a number of forces driving citizenship toward a common definition and practice platform. These include the growth of multinational corporations, the adoption of global codes of conduct and accountability, the global reach of media (especially the Internet) and the regular exchange of knowledge, ideas, and practices among and between business people, educators and researchers around the world.
There is no-one-size-fits-all approach to CSR
On the other hand, the respective roles of business, government and civil organizations differ around the world and the history, culture and social norms that infl uence corporate activities remain local. While stakeholders are increasingly becoming global (international NGOs, multinational bodies, etc.) the primary stakeholders of most companies – their employees, customers and communities – are closer to home. Because of the many variances in corporate citizenship from country to country, it’s hard to dispute a recent statement made by The Economist, that “a one-size-fits-all approach to CSR may not work.”
What began with a stimulating conversation has led to an analysis of the differences and similarities in the field of corporate citizenship across nine nations. This report is a compilation of voices from around the globe in recognition of how local perspectives shape concepts of corporate citizenship and how it operates in practice. Indeed, just as being a citizen has a different meaning from nation to nation, so does being a corporate citizen.