Corporate Citizenship (CSR)

Corporate citizenship is often narrowly understood as philanthropy. The CIPE-ADFIAP international workshop on institutionalizing responsible corporate citizenship in financial institutions, which took place July 4-8 in Manila, Philippines and brought together nearly 30 DFI representatives from 10 countries, strove to re-define this limited perception.

Corporate social responsibility has traditionally been equated with philanthropy. At the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), however, corporate citizenship means more than just supporting charitable causes in communities where a company operates. As corporations develop global supply chains that extend deeper into countries with less developed political and economic institutions, many have experienced first-hand the problems that endemic corruption, lack of respect for the rule of law, and weak or non-existent property rights can have on foreign and domestic businesses alike.

Globally competitive businesses cannot thrive in unstable and poorly governed countries. To ensure the integrity of their global supply chains while operating ethically and responsibly, these firms need to move beyond a view of corporate social responsibility as charity toward a comprehensive vision of corporate citizenship that encompasses all of the institutions that affect economic growth in the places where they work. Good corporate citizens recognize that one of the most useful contributions they can make is to help improve these institutions through leading by example when it comes to corporate governance and internal anti-corruption mechanisms, and through collective action to voluntarily commit to the highest ethical business standards.

Companies can work to advance good corporate citizenship through codes of ethics, supply-chain codes, better internal controls, triple bottom line reporting, and adopting international standards such as Business Principles for Countering Bribery. As an extension of individual efforts, CIPE partners also work through associations to help introduce guidelines for members’ ethical behavior, and partner with civil society organizations and the government for greater impact. Such initiatives pay off not only in terms of the company's bottom line, but also by generating more economic opportunities for everyone.

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