March 30, 2015
CoCSR is the acronym for the project collaborating on Corporate Social Responsibility New Governance Opportunities. The project is co- financed by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the Program Financial Mechanism of European Economic Area (EEA) for NGOs in Cyprus. It took place last year, for 12 months. The main objective of the project is to embed the principles of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the day-to-day activities of NGOs, using ISO 26000 –Social Responsibility- as the main tool of guidelines for implementing corporate social responsibility.
Nowadays, the NGOs tend to have a key role in development and sustainability around the world. It can be argued that there is a global upcoming trend towards higher transparency and good governance. NGOs understand the importance of governance and transparency. A complete transparency and governance approach, will increase the reputation of the NGOs, the production level of NGOs, and increase the collaboration with stakeholders and customers.
The ISO 26000 defines good governance as the system that assists the organization to implement and to pursuit decisions. On the other hand transparency is defined as the procedure of the organization to disclose in accurately and clear manner its policies.
The frame study of the project examines the current situation in Cyprus on how NGOs perceive the good governance and transparency. Additionally it examines the existing situation in Cyprus, and how NGOs can strengthen their governance and transparency by adopting best practices of other NGOs outside Cyprus. The method that was followed was through questionnaires to examine the existing situation in Cyprus. Targeted questionnaires were delivered to NGOs and their stakeholders. The development of SWOT analysis of the questionnaires indicates the current situation of NGO operations.
According to the outcomes of the questionnaires it seems that NGOs tend to find difficulties to implement transparency and governance mechanisms. The SWOT analysis, explains the weakness of NGOs to implement governance and transparency methods. The main findings are the following are that NGOs seem to understand the importance of the implementation and disclosure of good governance and transparency. Additionally, NGOs realize the rapid increase of voluntarism in Cyprus because of the economic crisis. On the other hand there is slow performance of NGOs, as well as stagnant communication between stakeholders. Additionally there is absence of Sustainability reporting absence of Social Reporting and stakeholder engagement. Thereby, SWOT analysis outcomes outline the current situation on of NGOs and why NGOs have difficulties to implement governance and transparency. It is recommended that NGOs adopt a recognized framework for implementing a complete approach for governance and transparency.
The ISO 26000 implementation can assist any type or size of NGO to implement a complete approach for governance, transparency and best management practices. One of the main goals of ISO 26000 is to promote transparency and the value of public reporting.
To conclude NGOs should adopt best management practices of transparency and governance since it will increase reputation and engagement of NGOs with tis stakeholders. The ISO 26000 should be the guidelines framework to implement best practices of transparency and governance.
Author: Panos Demetriou CSR Consultant of CSR Consulting Company