Scrooge and CSR: a reluctant conversion to philanthropy

Fitting with the season I am concluding my blog this year with one blog on Philanthropy on CSR, and what philanthropy can mean for a business and the society.  I wasn’t planning on doing anything on philanthropy and CSR, because adding  philanthropy to a company strategy is the least of all improvements a company can make in a year: Companies are made to make a good product, or good service, in a sustainable way, and that is their most effective way of making a better world. And if they want to give some money to society back, well, how about paying taxes, not bribes. 

But then, this early spring a young lawyer from the Netherlands came up to me and asked for some help on her adventurous journey to bike from Istanbul to Beijing 12.500 kilometers, to study the Corporate Social Responsibility issues and international relation issues on track of this huge undertaking. What a great Idea! I had no idea how to help and gave a few names, but a few weeks later I had contact with a major business hotel here in Beijing that probably would have some spare rooms during the low season of the summer.. So I asked them if the bikers could stay at their hotel for a few nights for FREE after arriving in Beijing after 12.500 kilometers of biking (and the bikers would be dirty and tired). And they said yes, that’s fine that fits into our CSR strategy to promote CSR to young people.  Wow.

The hotel was very gracious, the students who came to Beijing after sleeping in crappy hostels for weeks on end, were blown away by the luxurious treatment (think: You are reading a book by the pool, and you started to cough- someone brings you a glass of water…) I really enjoyed to hear the story of their finish in Beijing, and what a difference it made for these bikers: a hotel manager just being generous like that, that is a virtue to take back home and think about. So philanthropy; yes, I must admit, it works, and I will promote is as part of a CSR strategy. Have a Blessed Christmas!


The study road will start with their next biking trip from Istanbul to Beijing this spring, see the link for details.