Greek firms improving in corporate responsibility

No more than 10 percent of Greek enterprises have a comprehensive strategy on corporate social responsibility (CSR), whereas in the rest of the European Union this figure stands at 37 percent, according to the chairman of the Federation of Industries of Northern Greece (SVVE), Georgios Mylonas. In the presentation of the catalog «Corporate Social Responsibility, 50+ good practices» last week, Mylonas called on the state to offer incentives for the exercising of CSR policy (e.g. favorable taxation for donations and sponsoring or using social and economic criteria in assessing investments). He also expressed optimism that Greek industrialists will gradually adjust to new values since the majority of the founding members of the Greek Network for CSR are from the industry sector. The Exporters’ Association of Northern Greece (SEVE) president, Evgenios Plalis, suggested that «CSR is a new notion which unfortunately is missed by the majority of enterprises. The question is how the mentality of Greek firms can change and mainly how smaller enterprises will also proceed to CSR activity.» Nevertheless, the Greek Network’s course shows that more and more companies are involved in CSR. Its vice president, Rena Koumantou, stressed that although the network was set up in 2000 based on the interest of 13 Greek companies and three collective bodies, today it has grown considerably. «In its short presence to date [the network] has increased its membership to 83 companies (62 of which are full members) and six collective bodies; additionally it participates actively in the realization of the European business campaign for the proliferation of CSR,» Koumantou said, adding that «we should not underestimate the social reputation of enterprises as a competitive advantage and a factor which affects the choices of institutional investors.» Koumantou branded the new catalog as the first organized and systematic presentation of practices used voluntarily by companies that are Network members and presented it in the context of the company’s strategy to incorporate CSR in business activities. The catalog includes 52 selected examples of practical application of CSR in 27 enterprises. With its publication the network aims to spread the CSR notion broadly and to create a learning tool for all enterprises interested in adopting similar practices.