Regional Corporate Citizenship
A successful company requires an intact regional setting. Moreover, to have a viable future, every region needs competitive companies capable of providing jobs and, as a result, long-term prosperity. The challenges that regions face must therefore be addressed if the future of their communities is to remain bright. Companies, for example, need to use natural resources in a sensible manner, while robust infrastructure and reliable regulations are necessary for businesses to stay competitive. It is therefore in a company’s own best interests to get involved in its regional environment in a way that is effective and sustainable; by doing so, it is investing in its own long-term success. In addition, it can help society address pressing challenges such as demographic change, skilled labor shortages, lagging social integration and obstacles to achieving work-life balance.
Most German companies have long been engaged in the regions where they operate. By networking their activities with other businesses there and pooling their resources to address pressing social issues, they can greatly increase the effectiveness of their efforts. In their roles as entrepreneurs and leaders, many businesses still see themselves as creative, philanthropic -- and autonomous. Yet by combining their CSR activities with those of other companies, they have the opportunity to create a unique resource that can drive regional development, both rapidly and over the long term.
This happens primarily through non-monetary activities such as providing access to networks, materials and services, and making use of employee expertise, as well as through efforts to connect with others in more creative ways. Thanks to local initiatives and to regional partnerships developed in recent years by the Bertelsmann Stiftung, Germany is now home to the knowledge, partnerships and tools that businesses need if they are to contribute effectively on a regional level.
The initiative Companies in the Community supports businesses in their regional corporate service efforts. After all, companies are familiar with the regions they operate in and have experience generating creative, effective solutions there. The initiative’s Map of Engagement illustrates successful projects in order to make them more visible. Through this tool and others, the initiative wants to increase long-term cooperation among the political, business and social spheres.more
As Partners in Responsibility, companies pool and network their activities for social engagement on a regional level. Collaborating with other organizations -- local and district governments, trade associations, nonprofits -- they develop solutions for pressing regional challenges. The basic idea behind this approach is that problems in the areas of employment, social cohesion, education and work-life balance can best be addressed through cooperation. The project’s long-term goal is to become an independent, self-supporting business network.more
The Marketplace Method brings nonprofit and business organizations together for a few hours in a predetermined location. As in a traditional marketplace, “buyers” can find the relevant “sellers,” allowing them to enter into partnership.
In Germany, chance still plays a major role in whether businesses and nonprofit organizations come together and collaborate. Intermediary organizations can serve as expert “partnership brokers” between these two spheres.more