A Conversation on Corporate Citizenship and Women’s Empowerment at Democracy That Delivers for Women
At the Democracy that Delivers for Women conference, the conversation on corporate citizenship was particularly insightful, offering examples of how adhering to good corporate governance standards and implementing corporate social responsibility programs can improve the business environment for women. The session was moderated by Taryn Bird, Manager of the Global Corporate Citizenship Program and Corporate Relations at the Business Civic Leadership Center, and included panelists Eileen Kaufman, Executive Director of Social Accountability International and Angel Fraile Coracho, Sustainable Development Manager at Endesa.
Eileen opened up the discussion with a description of SAI’s experience with corporate citizenship, paying particular attention to the SA8000 standard and From Principles to Practice: The Role of SA8000 in Implementing the UN Global Compact, a series of case studies developed with CIPE. She emphasized how the incentives for adhering to SA8000 – increased worker retention, increased product quality, better handling of grievances, better working conditions and shipping savings – can compel businesses to comply with the standards and subsequently create a better working environment for women.
Angel continued the conversation with an overview of his company and its implementation of a corporate social responsibility program aimed at, among other things, the integration of women. He acknowledged that at one time women were largely absent from the energy sector in Latin America; however, it became apparent that in order to remain a sustainable company Endesa needed to adopt a new strategic approach including greater participation from women. He described internal and external factors contributing to the program’s success, such as support from top management, commitment from the public, and training for men to raise awareness about women’s issues and for women who demonstrate a strong potential for success. He closed by asserting that while major improvements have been made internally, continued work is necessary to integrate women on boards and increase external measures.
More information about Democracy that Delivers for Women and photos from the conference can be found on the conference website.
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