+229 95 28 52 20 contact@ecobenin.org

The ‘CSR café’: where business meets civil society

What if civil society organizations could meet up with business in an informal way to share best practices on social and environmental programs? This idea sparked the creation of the CSR café: a friendly space where business meets civil society. Gautier Amoussou of Eco-Benin tells us about this highly successful concept.

Gautier: “The idea for the CSR Café originated during a training that we took as part of the Shared Resources, Joint Solutions program with the support of IUCN NL. It is a training focused on how civil society organizations (CSO) can collaborate with businesses to protect biodiversity.
After the training, I got in touch with local organizations that shared our vision and ambition on this aspect of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Together with the director of the regional CSR network in Benin, we composed a committee to organize the first edition of the Café, which was funded by IUCN NL. Since then other organizations joined our initiative, and it works.”

Encourage and motivate companies

The aim of the Café is to encourage and motivate companies to take action and become more aware of their social and environmental responsibility. It invites these companies to present their activities and good practices to the participants, while at the same time allowing for discussion and strategic feedback of their programs.

Low threshold
From the onset, the organizers thought it important to create an equal level playing field for all parties involved. They also knew they had to lower the threshold for companies or they would otherwise be hesitant to take part. Participation is therefore voluntary, free of charge and companies can join, or leave, at any time.

Collaborative way of thinking
Gautier is keen to clarify that they aimed to counter preconceptions and mistrust between CSOs and companies. Because, in the end, they both have the same goal.
Gautier: “Companies depend on natural resources. We must work with them so that these global public goods (biodiversity, water, nature) are protected.”

This collaborative way of thinking has been productive and the organizers notice that companies are now much more willing to share information such as environmental audit reports.

The CSR Café is not a court condemnation of negative company impacts but a space for co-construction and sharing of good practices.

Gautier: “The trust between companies and civil society organizations arose from the fact that participation in the CSR Café is voluntary and without obligations, but the other important aspect is that companies have realised that the CSR Café is not a court condemnation of their negative impacts but a space for co-construction and sharing of good practices. Everything is relaxed, and everything happens in an atmosphere of conviviality to create confidence.”

Match-making platform
Today the CSR Café initiative is evolving into a match-making platform. Gautier: “We will move towards a system where companies that need support to carry out activities within the framework of their CSR policy can connect to civil society organizations that are able to offer them the necessary expertise and support on the ground.”

Win-win situation
Participants feel this is a win-win situation for everyone involved including for the people in the communities and the environment. Because when companies and CSOs collaborate on developing more effective CSR programs they will have more impact on the ground.

Gautier: “Today, we are in the process of developing a CSR charter that will be broken down into tools to help companies develop action plans and implement these plans.” Thanks to this action, the companies now have a better understanding of what good CSR policies are and they have a closer working relationship with the civil society organizations.
Gautier: “Benin has internalized the Sustainable Development Goals and has planned to carry out concrete action towards SDGs 8, 9, 10 and 11 by 2030. If CSR improves business performance, the national economy will grow and this improves the welfare of all citizens.”

Guiding companies in the right direction
For Gautier Amoussou, it is important for companies to be aware of their dependence on natural resources. Moreover they must work to reduce their impacts in order to make their activities sustainable. In this sense, the CSR café seems to guide companies in the right direction.

Potential to go global
In conclusion, does the CSR café have the potential to go global? Gautier is certain that it does. In fact, he has started to share his experiences with neighboring countries.
Gautier: “Eco-Bénin is a member of the Deltas Collective of the Gulf of Benin, a platform that brings together civil society organizations from Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria. At our various meetings, we’ve shared our experience with the CSR café and our international colleagues seem motivated to develop the initiative in their respective countries.”


Partager via :

Voir aussi

  • 65
    Atelier Bilan 2019 : Grand-Popo accueille la Team Eco-Benin pour son exercice annuelFidèle à sa tradition depuis plus d’une dizaine d’année, toute l’équipe de l’ONG Eco-Benin s’est retrouvée du 20 au 23 janvier 2020 au Centre Nonvignon pour faire le bilan de l’année 2019. Ce lundi 20 janvier 2020, tôt le matin, toute l’équipe d’environ 25 personnes ont rejoint Grand-Popo depuis les antennes du nord, du sud et d'Abomey-Calavi siège de l’ONG. Premier escale : le Collège Privé d’Enseignement Technique Agricole KOBERCIDE International CPETAKI implanté dans la…
    Tags: a, dernières, publications
  • 64
    A- Catalogue actuel de nos voyagesPour voyager avec nous au Bénin et en Afrique de l'Ouest, veuillez consulter notre catalogue ci-dessous. Notre catalogue de voyages responsables et solidaires 2018-2020 vient de paraître en prélude à notre prochaine participation au salon Vert Bleu Soleil à Liège en Belgique en février 2018
    Tags: a, dernières, publications
  • 63
    Adaptation aux changements climatiques, sept communes s'intéressent aux foyers WanrouLe mercredi 30 octobre 2019, les communes de Bohicon, Toffo, Savalou, Péhunco, Klouékanmè, Bassila et Djakotomey ont effectué une visite d’échanges et de partage d’expériences dans la Commune de Matéri, dans le département de l’Atacora.  La présente visite des autorités communales a pour objectif de mieux découvrir l’expérience de la diffusion des foyers améliorés Wanrou conduite depuis 2013 par l’ONG Eco-Bénin dans les departements de l’Atacora et de la Donga. En effet, les 11 et…
    Tags: a, dernières, publications
  • 63
    Initiative Café RSE, la feuille de route harmonisée de la Taskforce adoptéeL’initiative ‘’Café RSE’’ conduit par ECOBENIN, RSE BENIN et CREDI ONG avec l'appui de l'UICN-NL, mobilise désormais tous les acteurs engagés dans la démarche RSE au Bénin. Aujourd’hui, le processus est davantage renforcé avec la mise en place de la Taskforce RSE, une plateforme regroupant le Conseil national du patronat, l’Etat béninois à travers le Ministère du Plan et des ONGs (RSE BENIN, ECOBENIN, HANDICAP INTERNATIONAL, CREDI). L'ensemble de ces acteurs réunis au sein de…
    Tags: dernières, publications
  • 62
    Entreprenariat touristique intégré : Ouidah accueille un séminaire de formation et d’orientation des acteurs territoriaux.Ouverture, ce jeudi 16 juillet 2020 à Diaspora Hôtel de Ouidah, du séminaire stratégique de formation et d’orientation des acteurs territoriaux. Cette rencontre qui a connu la participation de 15 communes du Sud du Bénin s’inscrit dans le cadre de l’initiative « Entreprenariat Touristique Communal Intégré (ETCI). Organisée par l’ONG ECO-BENIN et ID TERRITOIRES avec l’assistance technique et financière de l’Organisation Internationale du Tourisme Solidaire (ISTO), Ambassade de France au Bénin, African Tourism Organisation (ATO),…
    Tags: dernières, publications

Poster un commentaire