The Seventh Annual ICCSR Symposium is intended to discuss corporate innovation as it relates to poverty alleviation in local communities in developing countries.
Poverty remains a big development challenge today. The rise of global poverty has reinvigorated the idea that corporations must embrace wider roles and responsibilities, and respond to poverty and development challenges afflicting communities. The proposition of businesses playing proactive roles in solving development and poverty challenges is widely accepted, and increasingly, corporations are viewed as an integral part of the solution to sustainable livelihoods of low-income communities (WBCSD, 2007). Corporate Community Involvement (CCI) remains a popular approach employed by companies towards sustainable community development, and increasingly, to demonstrate companies’ corporate social responsibility credentials (Moon and Muthuri, 2006). However, whether, and if, CCI is actually delivering on its „development? agenda, and importantly, whether CCI initiatives are designed to tackle poverty or just accommodate poverty (Leisinger, 2007) is a key question.
CCI practices such as corporate donations and strategic philanthropy have been criticised as inadequate means of addressing development challenges of low-income communities especially those in developing countries (Manteaw, 2007; Muthuri, 2008). But as community development and poverty reduction agendas move from the periphery to the heart of strategic business thinking (WBCSD, 2007), there is a need to strengthen the emerging critical perspective to corporate social action, and reconceptualise the role of business in the local communities that goes beyond philanthropy and towards sustainable community development (Idemudia, 2008). Such an agenda demands that we examine the extent to which corporations facilitate, support and promote i) interventions and ii) institutional mechanisms and structures, for building the natural, economic, social, cultural, and human forms of community capital which help address development challenges, and advance self-determination of local communities (Kolk and van Tulder, 2006; Muthuri, et al., 2008; Hamann, 2006).
There is need to address further the following questions:
- What is the role of corporations in eradicating extreme poverty?
- What constitutes „business? and „poverty? and how different types of businesses may affect different aspects of poverty?
- What types of institutional logics inform corporate innovation in community development?
- How do corporations impact sustainable community development, and to what extent is sustainable community development central to the business strategy in across industry sectors?
- How are corporations engaging in promoting institutions that are fundamental for local communities? participation in development processes?
- What market mechanisms promote and enhance sustainable livelihoods in the community?
- What are the limits of market mechanisms for sustainable community development, and how might these challenges be resolved?
- What are the a) ethical, and b) governance dilemmas and implications of businesses taking on responsibility for poverty alleviation?
- How do we measure social impact of corporate community development?
- How can sustainable community development initiatives? be scaled-up, and what are the boundaries?
The Seventh Annual ICCSR Symposium is intended to discuss corporate innovation as it relates to poverty alleviation in local communities in developing countries. We are interested in conceptual, theoretical or empirical papers that present new research insights and ideas on business models, strategies and stakeholder engagement processes that respond to a) factors that contribute to poverty; and b) that which advance sustainable community development in developing countries. We are inviting multidisciplinary papers which contribute knowledge on how companies are engaging the communities across the value chain. The papers can cover, but not limited to, the following areas:
- Corporations and community enterprise development
- Corporations and community asset-building
- Business approaches towards community empowerment and capacity building
- Stakeholder engagement for sustainable community development.
Confirmed Keynote Speakers are:
Dr. Chris West - Director, Shell Foundation
Dr. Mick Blowfield - Smith School of Enterprise & Environment, University of Oxford