Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


Recommended actions to foster the adoption of CSR practices in SMEs

January 2009

Carlo Cici & Federica Ranghieri. Free download. Inter-American Development Bank.

Since wading into Latin America’s corporate responsibility arena some six years ago, the US-based Inter-American Development Bank has made small and medium-sized enterprises a key feature of its attentions. That makes good sense, as more than nine in ten businesses in Latin America are small, and they provide half of all jobs.

Analyzing the uptake of CSR by SMEs in eight different countries – Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela – this report reveals considerable variation across the region. Brazil and Chile lead the pack, with Argentina close behind and Venezuela lagging behind.

Where the diagnostic becomes interesting is in its list of recommendations, arguing primarily that business associations should take a major role in fostering CSR among SMEs, as must multilateral development agencies.

Newcomers to the region will also find invaluable data on key stakeholders in each of the eight countries. But one oversight is a lack of information on the role that individual companies can play in advancing the responsibility cause through their supply chains. Business associations can only do so much. If there’s one set of stakeholders an SME will listen to, it must be its main corporate customers.

Oliver Balch

Oliver Balch | Global | SMEs (Small and medium-sized companies)

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