Heineken looks to take development role in earthquake-stricken HaitiMay 2012
Heineken is planning to build schools and hospitals in Haiti in the latest sign of private-sector expansion into international development and public services.
The brewer looks set to exploit its experience on CSR projects such as its HIV/Aids programme in Africa to turn a profit in the disaster-struck Caribbean country.
Heineken is the latest multinational to expand its operations abroad in areas firmly outside its non-core business. Pharmaceuticals company Merck’s work on water in India and Nestle’s school-building programme in the Ivory Coast are two such examples, but Heineken may be one of the first businesses to use its CSR expertise in directly profit-making operations.
The news will encourage the UN, which has taken a number of steps on increasing the role of the private sector in development. Most recently, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon demanded that the organisation’s Global Compact foster an acceleration in private sector involvement in its goals (EP February 2012, p7).
It is also thought the company’s strong reputation on corporate responsibility internationally will also carry weight with the Haitian president, whom the brewer will meet this month to discuss the ventures.
The company, the third-largest brewer in the world, stresses that simple financial reward would not be the goal of any investment.
The move follows the company’s purchase of Haiti’s largest brewer, Brana. Heineken said at the time that it saw expansion possibilities given the country’s increasing political and economic stability that followed the devastating earthquake that struck in 2010.
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