Private sector with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes

We reach out to companies with CSR programmes and offer tailor-made programmes.

The renewal of markets, industries and societies is driven and developed through competing innovative ideas and initiatives from companies, scientific researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs. But, although researchers, innovators, and entrepreneurs in lower-income countries present amazing ideas, their solutions are often unrecognised and unsupported.  Consequently, locally developed and locally adapted solutions are not implemented and local enterprises that would address the needs of the local people are not started. Therefore, these societies lack access to locally relevant scientific findings and innovations, products, services, and employment opportunities that would otherwise have improved people’s lives. This also limits the tax income to the government, why these countries tend to lack advanced education structures, social security systems, and resourceful institutions.
HR&S supports young or small, innovative and gender-equal companies in Sub-Sahara African countries (SSA) that, with the help of our support package, can validate, verify and develop their business and the solution the business is based on. The goal is to create conditions for social enterprises to develop their operations at locations where other support is difficult to obtain.
In the short term, we want to contribute to:
• Increased ability of young companies in SSA to build a business by interacting with the market, verifying and validating offers and business models.
• Increased awareness among young companies to work with sustainability and gender equality as competitive factors in their business.
In the long term, we want to contribute to:
• More companies from SSA that have developed their business acumen, grow and are profitable in national and international competition.
• More companies from SSA whose innovation contributes to creating value for the customer, the society and the environment.
• Sustainable and equal entrepreneurship that strengthens SSA’s competitiveness through innovations that contribute to the sustainability goals in Agenda 2030.

Services offered to companies with CSR programmes

  1. Seminars, workshops & webinars

We offer tailor-made seminars, workshops & webinars addressing the business niche and interest of our partner. We present areas of our programme that have overlaps with the business niche of our partner. We also present areas for collaboration.

2. Knowledge-sharing on-line sessions

We offer on-line knowledge sharing sessions between the CSR company and HR&S in Sweden and in African countries. We offer cross-cultural learning and seek advice on topics that are the expertise of the company. The topics are often related to “Help entrepreneurs in Sub-Sahara African countries to overcome challenges in growing their businesses.”

  1. Win-win collaboration

We offer partners to support with products, services or financially, targeting a certain programme that has overlaps with CSR company business niche while also supporting the company´s own agenda, ensuring a win-win situation. We offer workshops where we discuss a win-win collaboration and we offer coaching for the implementation in SSA. Partners can be invited to a series of workshops/webinars where win-win strategies are developed. Companies with CSR programmes shall be promoted in a way that increases their sales.

We research companies carefully prior to approching the company to assess whether they can actually benefit very well from HR&S programme.


Lessons learned & Informed decisions

CSR and business professionals don’t always speak the same language.

As companies continue to invest in corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives and incorporate sophisticated programs that enable employee giving and volunteering, they’re bound to run into a few snags. One of the most common – and unexpected – is the realization that social responsibility leaders have different objectives than typical business leaders, which lead to different methods of operating. CSR professionals’ overarching goals are outward-facing, meaning they’re focused on improving the state of the world, not (necessarily) the state of the business. This impacts how they define and measure success, as well as how they approach various challenges. For companies just starting on this venture, such a disconnect can stifle even the sincerest efforts for a company to give back.

The two parties, however, must see eye to eye for any CSR program to work. And a good first step toward alignment is to gain a mutual understanding of some common terms. Terms you thought were universally understood take on new meaning when used in a social impact setting. While this post focuses on three of them, the takeaway here is the underlying mindset that is required to overcome challenges in cross-sector collaboration, starting with clarity in communication. 

1. Return on Investment (ROI)

What businesspeople think of: How much money will this cost, how much money will this make, and how much time will we recoup after the initial investment?

What social responsibility leaders think of: How many people will get involved, and how much impact (i.e., good in the world) can we make?

For businesses, “return on investment,” is relatively simple. It’s measured in dollars and reflects how much money an investment brought into the company. But for CSR professionals, ROI is complex. It can be measured from three angles: output, such as number of dollars donated; outcomes, such as number of people served or helped; and, ultimately, impact, which is the sustainable, measurable change in the community, such as an increase in graduation rates or a decrease in the homeless population. Two different definitions, indeed.

For workplace CSR activities, ROI is also evaluated at the individual level, measuring how the lives of those involved, from employee volunteers to donation recipients, are impacted by the efforts put forth. If an activity met all other qualifications for ROI, but the volunteers or other parties walked away with a negative impression, that’s a failure.

Evaluate the intent behind the words “return” and “investment” exhaustively as a group for a positive outcome and strong relationship.

2. Collaboration

What businesspeople think of: Great! We’ll combine my skills and background with yours and make us both look amazing and deliver a win for the company!

What social responsibility leaders think of: Great! This is the beginning of a strong, long-lasting partnership. Together we can change the world!

With unlimited access to people and information, the idea of connecting and combining resources fosters infinite hope for success and impact. But collaboration has its blind spots. Often when two people enter a collaborative relationship, they focus on “how” and “when” they will accomplish their objective. They often skip the “who” and “why.” And by that, we mean who is sitting at this table right now, and why are they here?

Once you get those answers, you develop not just understanding, but empathy, which is critical to any relationship that unites people from vastly different backgrounds. This empathy leads to consistent understanding of the other’s approach and methodology, which will lead to smoother collaboration over the long-term relationship. Constantly reminding one of the perspective of others’ desired outcomes gives the partnership a better chance of success. 

3. Innovation

What businesspeople think of: An exciting execution of ideas, technology, and intelligence.

What social responsibility leaders (might) think of: A process that could potentially increase operational cost or affect the donor base.

Innovation can be very exciting. It represents the opportunity to turn our imaginations into reality. But with innovation comes change, and change is hard. We suggest clearly discussing what transformations will occur and how they will impact all parties involved, including the community.  

With philanthropic engagements, the key is to focus on the end game and the means to achieve it rather than the innovation itself. If everyone has a clear picture of the goals, they can accept some of the disruption required to reach those goals. However, when it comes to social responsibility, it’s important to remember that the decisions you make can – and likely will – affect communities in great need of help. Thus, it’s important to keep people and community service programs at the center of discussions. 

That’s not to say that innovation cannot thrive in the social responsibility space; but it may look a little different than what businesspeople are used to. Indeed, some of the most effective impact changes have come from not creating new technology but by thinking of problems differently and using existing technology. 

Bridging the communication gap

The three terms discussed here represent a small fraction of the differences between business-minded and giving-minded professionals. But with sincere intentions and a lot of patience, communication, and transparency, even the most money-driven companies can become serious forces for good.

Salesforce is doing its part in trying to help bridge this communication gap by providing a platform for CSR professionals to communicate with employees, connecting them with the causes and nonprofits they all care about. 

To help bridge this communication gap, our latest whitepaper, “The Business Case for Volunteering,” explains the benefits of CSR programs with a focus on volunteering in business terms. Download now!

People often think Corporate Responsibility is a company’s response when it’s asked to do the right thing. But corporate responsibility is quite the opposite of a defensive move. It’s about growth, common sense, culture, impact, and most of all, values.  

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is necessary vocabulary in today’s corporate lexicon. But what CSR really means within the walls of everyday corporate life remains subjective. As we shift toward more conscientious lifestyles, businesses are searching for a true understanding of the customer, partner, supply chain, and employee interpretation of purpose. Companies are exploring how purpose should manifest in business decisions, brand marketing, workplace values, and multi-sector partnerships. The shifts are promising: What was once narrowly considered a nod to environmental sustainability, supply chain management, water use, carbon footprints, and materiality indices, is now a multiplier for change. CSR, as a concept, is becoming a focused, strategic business muscle that touches every major stakeholder while creating sustainable community impact. CSR is here to stay. It makes business sense — and social sense. It is a corporate promise that is all about impact.


Problem-solving is sector-agnostic


The responsibility of changing the world used to lie with nonprofits. They were at the table first and have done the most to drive change. But today, problem-solving belongs to everyone. Gone are the days of bilateral or even trifecta partnerships. Multi-sector, collaborative CSR is gaining traction quickly. We are seeing media, governments, nonprofits (big and small), small businesses, tech startups, the entertainment industry, and multinational corporations all take their seat at the table to put their combined power behind urgent global challenges. In a world where the most prominent philanthropists are nations followed by wealthy individuals, the multi-sector approach may be the only way to solve many of the world’s problems.


It’s no longer just social responsibility


”Corporate responsibility” is a more apt description of the approach than “corporate social responsibility as it often involves functions that are simply about doing the right thing while making a profit. In this light, CSR means following a set of values that guide business decisions. This includes economic responsibility, gender equality, workforce ethics, consumer transparency, and legal compliance among other functions. For example, economic responsibility is about staying in business while still staying true to who you are as a brand — making a profit, paying employees fairly, supporting their families, delivering a quality product or service to customers, and if applicable, bringing value to shareholders.


According to Forbes, companies that invest in CSR initiatives paid no consumer product safety commission fines over the past three years and no FDA fines at all. They face 74% fewer employment discrimination cases, per dollar of revenue. And they deliver 8% higher return on equity than other companies. They also have an easier time recruiting, engaging, and retaining employees; they foster stronger brand reputations and inspire advocacy among consumers. They do better in nearly every way, in both the near term and long term.


Social impact can be a corporate goal


In taking on more responsibility, companies wield greater power to effect social outcomes beyond the walls of the business. Corporations that embrace CSR are led by impact-first thinking — not only impact in the business, but in the communities they support. A healthier, more vibrant world is, after all, good for business. Relationships with nonprofits, volunteers, partners, schools, supply chains, small enterprises, and more all define a corporation’s footprint on the health, economic opportunity, and future of communities. This is, in essence, a corporation exporting its business values to the community. Whether through volunteer time, donations, or in-kind support, CSR’s social side is proving that corporate impact is pivotal to businesses being accepted and valued in the world.


To that end, CSR often serves as the ethics gatekeeper, helping companies make business decisions that result in better social outcomes. Alberto Andreu Pinillos, global head of Organizational Development & Corporate Culture at Telefónica used the example of a textile factory collapse in 2013 and how it not only killed more than 1,000 workers but also affected the factory’s clothing partners because the collapse impacted the textile supply chain. By taking proactive steps to not partner with factories that allow for unsafe working conditions, those companies could have not only saved their supply chains but also, possibly, saved lives.


Make no mistake, this is still a business


It was once thought (and for some, still is) that filling the ethical and philanthropic duties of CSR cost a company more in the long run and that doing the right thing is less profitable than doing the bare minimum. Thankfully, there are countless examples that continue to prove that theory wrong. According to the CSR Resource Guide from Valor CSR, stock prices of companies with high social performance scores outperformed the lowest scoring companies by 6.24%. Even taking a stand on a divisive issue can prove profitable. In 2018 Nike unveiled a campaign featuring former NFL player and controversial kneeler Colin Kaepernick. The endorsement deal included a contribution to Kaepernick’s charity, Know Your Rights, which teaches youth self-empowerment, raises awareness on higher education, and educates participants on how to interact with law enforcement in various scenarios. While Nike’s campaign sparked an international debate, the brand saw a steep increase in revenue, surpassing all second-quarter sales expectations.


Blurry lines between purpose and global policy


As we saw with Nike, taking a stand can create newfound brand loyalty, but also brand advocacy (the Holy Grail of marketing goals), in which customers not only shop the brand but advocate for it. This led to increased market share among both athletic-wear shoppers and new customers outside the category — meaning people who don’t care about sports apparel may have purchased Nike just to show their support. It’s powerful stuff.


In general, we’re seeing more permeable lines between corporate purpose and policy issues. The time of the halo-effect public relations tactic of taking a public stance on issues has long passed. Consumers are demanding that companies address their role in the global fabric, and they’re putting their money behind those that do.


Companies are embracing CSR and delivering business and social impact in new ways. By flexing these new(ish) muscles, companies are bound to see and deliver meaningful change.

“It is the companies that will drive development in the world, and fight climate change. It’s you we’re hoping for now, not the politicians,” said filmmaker and UN ambassador Richard Curtis at a panel discussion at Dreamforce. According to an analysis published by the UN, business opportunities of 12 trillion dollars, corresponding to approximately 115 trillion kroner, are released if the UN’s 17 goals for sustainable development are achieved. Among other things, the goals deal with health, eradication of poverty, innovation and gender equality, and received a lot of attention at Dreamforce. Education of utmost importance 🏫 Phumzile Mlabo-Ngcuka, head of UN Women, highlighted at Dreamforce the importance of educating women. “We get big financial gains if we educate girls, and let women decide how many children they have. 2.2 billion women live today in countries that discriminate against them. By doing something about this, we can add $12 trillion to world GDP by 2025.” She directed a special call to tech companies to join in and solve the problems addressed in the sustainability goals. Philanthropy in the cloud ☁️ Richard Curtis, who during his film career helped create the cult figure Mr. Bean, painted a picture that CSR work is about to change. CSR is no longer something companies do just to be nice. As a good example, he highlighted Salesforce’s initiative The Philanthropy Cloud, which connects companies with associations that need help. “We are entering a time where companies take responsibility. It is possible to make money and be successful, and at the same time be part of a change. The new generation expects that from companies.” As consumers gain a greater understanding of how companies impact the world, they make more informed purchases. “My children think about what clothes they buy and where the food they eat comes from. They want their money to make a difference.” Money to earn 💰 But companies will face resistance when working on these issues – including in the form of legislation that hinders development. Companies will then go to the politicians and push for change, predicts Richard Curtis. “Politicians listen more to companies than to non-profit associations, because they can see that there is money to be made.” He urged all companies to build into their culture doing things for a good purpose. “The idea that you have the ability to improve people’s lives, it fundamentally changes the business,” said Richard Curtis.

ISO 26000

CSR is titled to aid an organization’s mission as well as serve as a guide to what the company represents for its consumers. Business ethics is the part of applied ethics that examines ethical principles and moral or ethical problems that can arise in a business environment. ISO 26000 is the recognized international standard for CSR. Public sector organizations (the United Nations for example) adhere to the triple bottom line (TBL). It is widely accepted that CSR adheres to similar principles, but with no formal act of legislation.

ISO 26000:2010
Guidance on social responsibility
is an international standard providing guidelines for social responsibility (SR, often CSR – corporate social responsibility). It was released by the International Organization for Standardization on 1 November 2010 and its goal is to contribute to global sustainable development by encouraging business and other organizations to practice social responsibility to improve their impacts on their workers, their natural environments and their communities.


It can be noted that HR&S does not generally engage in volunteering.
Reason being:
  • To take on volunteers demands a lot of effort from HR&S. Thus, to do work with volunteers, is in actual practice a significant cost.
  •  It will be very difficult for these volunteers, who are usually not professionals and usually only remains for a short period of time, to deliver in a way that generate impact and is actually useful for for HR&S.
  • This type of collaboration does not generate anything sustainable for the company.