Companies in Germany are accustomed to accepting social responsibility, and the respect that the designation “made in Germany” enjoys is due not least to these German companies’ success in combining economic productivity with social engagement. As globalization has continued, more attention has been paid to the question of how companies can contribute to global prosperity as well as to social and ecological progress. It is nothing new, but rather a well-established tradition for German companies to take on social responsibilities as they pursue their business endeavors worldwide. Direct investments by German enterprises create jobs and help improve social standards, environmental protection and education, thus raising the standard of living of the people in the countries concerned. Through their voluntary corporate engagement throughout the world, German companies play an important role in shaping globalization in a socially responsible way.
The information portal “CSR WeltWeit – German Business Global Citizen” was created in 2008 at the initiative of the German Federal Foreign Office and Bertelsmann Stiftung, and in cooperation with partners from the policy and business communities. Its goal is to promote social engagement by German companies abroad and to highlight the socially and ecologically responsible activities of these companies.
“CSR WeltWeit” provides a wide range of information to assist companies in tailoring their CSR activities to the social needs of target countries. It also provides an effective platform for publicizing their successful CSR efforts and initiatives, thereby motivating other companies to follow their lead.
The portal’s primary target group includes management personnel at German small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are active abroad as well as, at large companies, representatives of foreign branches and officials with responsibility for sustainability, business development and foreign operations.
The portal was initiated by Bertelsmann Stiftung and Germany’s Federal Foreign Office. Within the framework of its Corporate Social Responsibility program, Bertelsmann Stiftung has been active in this field since 2004, developing considerable expertise and gaining recognition as an opinion leader in Germany. Its responsibilities include the conception, development and financing of the portal.
With more than 200 embassies and consulates general, Germany’s Foreign Office represents German interests abroad. This also means providing the best possible support for German companies as part of its efforts to promote foreign trade. In this project, it serves as a political liaison to foreign countries and coordinates the gathering of information about individual countries. Its diplomatic missions are a point of contact for German companies and provide information on the political, economic and social situation of the respective partner country.
An overview of the initiators of “CSR WeltWeit”:
Partners in the “CSR WeltWeit” portal include important German political institutions and the leading organizations of German industry. The role of these partners is to provide information on specific countries and practical guidance on the implementation of CSR activities, through their experts at home and abroad.
In addition, the partners serve as important multipliers for the portal vis-à-vis companies and organizations in foreign countries, and they provide advice on the future direction of the portal.
An overview of the partners in the “CSR WeltWeit” project: