ArcelorMittal steps in to push Liberian CSRMarch 2010
A Corporate Responsibility Forum has been formed in Liberia by the steel multinational ArcelorMittal and the German sustainable development company GTZ.
The forum, which hopes to have 75 members within the year, aims to promote SRI and good corporate citizenship in the African country, and to develop strategies for conflict-sensitive business operations.
It will share research, define best practice in the private sector, and pool member organizations' resources to support the Poverty Reduction Strategy, a government project to improve conditions in a nation that has more than 85 per cent unemployment and, after two civil wars between 1989 and 2003, largely relies on foreign aid.
ArcelorMittal, which operates iron ore mines in the country, says a main aim will be 'the co-ordination of programmes with an emphasis on capacity building'.
Marcus Wleh, corporate responsibility director for ArcelorMittal's Liberian operations, said: 'Without skilled and capable Liberian colleagues our business operations cannot be sustainable over time.'
Liberia's president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, said: 'Government cannot, by itself, achieve the vision for Liberia that is enshrined in our Poverty Reduction Strategy. We need the participation of the private sector – one that will bring in sustainable investment and promote good corporate citizenship.'
ArcelorMittal has long encouraged the private sector to be more proactive in shaping Liberia's sustainability strategy.
Along with the forum, the company has agreed a separate deal to pay $3million (£2m, €2.2m) annually to the country's Social Development Fund, which aims to improve infrastructure.
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