In an multiparty democracy coalitions are often necessary to form a new government. In Holland its quite common for political parties on national level to start negotiations 24 hours after the elections, and it can take more than a hundred days before the parties agree on what to do and how to rule in the coming 4 years. The agenda for the coming for years is therefor formed by compromising in election promises and having to explain the settled agreement to the constituency for the rest of the governing period. It feels for parties in a multiparty democracy sometimes as a strained balance (certainly as a small party in a coalition) between the own ideals and the will to govern the Country in the right way. This strain would be unbearable if the parties would not feel responsible for the whole of the nation to have a good government, and therefor most parties in Holland have taken part in a Coalition Government in the past two hundred years. Power Play, compromise, ideals and responsibility are the main themes for the parties joining in.
In the past week, I have shown in my updates on LinkedIn some insights and trends in the Coalition process for businesses who are working on improving their Corporate Social Responsibility standards; there are some new trends going on, and I am working on one (maybe two) of them in the coming months, and would like to share here what the new trends are.
CSR Coalition 1.0: For Companies: Risk aversion, leveling the playing field
In the past twenty years, many coalitions on CSR have started and are continuing: The World Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) , the International Business Leadership Forum, (IBLF), Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), and the Sustainability Consortium all engage companies and business leaders to speak out and advocate best practices in the business. Especially multinational and consumer-end firms are willing to join (several) coalitions. Most of the coalitions are already hosting their fora and debates in an open meeting, so that stakeholders (NGOs) could discuss with them what’s on their mind. Companies want to make sure they all understood in their industry what their main problems were, and that the competitor in their market area what be aware and take the same (costly) actions to reduce the risks of angry stakeholders and bad industry image.
CSR Coalition 1.5: Companies and Stakeholders (NGOs) unite to reduce risk and pollution.
But many of the Coalitions mentioned above have also gone another step further: together with the NGOs they form a coalitions (including research institutes and government bodies) to study and debate and make new better standards in responsible business: main reason to do so, is still to level the playing field for all competitors and making sure everyone is together on the right track and good businesses are not making more costs than others who do not want to join in.
CSR Coalition 2.0: Companies and Stakeholders unite to enlarge their value. (Innovation as key)
The latest trend on Coalitions in CSR, is the Coalition for a business reason: Companies seek NGOs for their own advantage, because the NGOs provides certain market access or knowledge, that a company does not yet have access to: their is a business advantage to all the players in the Coalition, the NGO acts more as a Social Enterprises who have something to ‘sell’ instead of only seeking fundraising and raising questions. Key for these kind of Coalitions are companies who are strong in innovation and are open for dialogue, and who seek access to new markets in an unconventional way. Especially in the developing world, and the BRIC countries this new form of coalition is a very exiting new form of coalition, where companies are driven by their ‘good old’ market sense to do more business, and a good new sense of starting of with a dialogue with stakeholders.
Two Examples: Textiles and Toilets
The CSR Netherlands have launched the ambitious goal of being the most sustainable city (the Netherlands) in the world by 2020, needs all businesses in and focused on innovation to get there. One of the industry Coalitions that is heading towards a innovative way of doing business is the textile industry, and their website is sadly in Dutch (They are working on this,) but for contact on this you may contact Michiel van Yperen, firstname.lastname@example.org
Another example of this new form is the upcoming event in Singapore on Sanitation and the role of companies in targeting the developing world, here is a statement on this event I want to highlight: The Base of Pyramid World Convention: http://www.bopworldconvention.com/
The Base of the Pyramid (BoP) refers to the four billion people living in emerging economies. They are economically active as consumers, producers, employees and entrepreneurs.
At the same time, the BoP represents a blue ocean opportunity of more than US$5 trillion dollars, and tapping it would also mean improving quality of life for those most in need.
A Brave New Marketplace: Unleashing Opportunities at the Base of the Pyramid, the inaugural BoP World Convention & Expo is a unique forum that encourages key stakeholders from multiple sectors and industries to share knowledge, engage with issues and explore partnerships to bring sustainable and affordable solutions that could impact millions of lives.
For Contact for this convention:
Under: Photo of failed negotiations for a National Coalition in 2010 in the Netherlands (not all goes well!)…