Corporate social responsibility: a challenge for the donor community

As corporate social responsibility (CSR) increases in large corporate organisations, a genuine approach to sustainable development is often best achieved through the supply chain. This is directly applicable to North-South supply chain interactions (private sector organisations, NGOs, and donors). CSR has adopted techniques from their `development' usage, yet a reverse flow is not observed back to the `development' sector. This is unfortunate. Private sector organisations and NGOs (especially the larger ones) are well placed to take advantage of the increase in CSR relating to developing countries. More importantly, donors of all types would have increased influence if they took up CSR principles. Opportunity costs are not high and the advocacy potential is huge. This paper reviews CSR techniques and argues for donors to accept the challenge of incorporating them into their operations to influence more efficiently the process they seek to change.