Thursday, March 9, 2006
GreenBiz.com, 6 March 2006 – Ethical Corporation magazine has released new research comparing attitudes on business-NGO partnerships in the U.S. and Europe. According to the report, while U.S. companies are avid philanthropists, giving generously and usefully to all kinds of charitable causes, European companies have taken the lead in meaningful engagement with NGOs, say both U.S. and European observers.
The findings were released ahead of the organization’s upcoming conferences on the same theme, to be held in London on March 28-29, and in New York City on May 9-10 2006.
The report is based on 100 interviews with business, NGOs, governments, trade unions, consultants, partnership “brokers,” think tanks, and academics. Respondents spoke on condition of anonymity.
One well-known U.K. partnership broker says: “European corporations are more open to working with NGOs. In the U.S., NGOs are seen as radical. [American] corporations don’t spend nearly as much time as they should on this.”
Many interviewees said they were tired of hearing about the well-known partnering success stories, and instead wanted to know about projects that have not been so glorious.
Many still remain quite skeptical about partnerships, believing that companies and NGOs should stick to their traditional roles rather than seeking some complicated and messy common ground.
However, a majority of respondents noted that attitudes on both sides were changing. For their part, NGOs are becoming more practical, flexible, less dogmatic and more eager to seek solutions from the business sphere. Businesses too have begun to see the potential of working more closely with NGOs.