Domestic Private Companies Filling Gaps in Lebanon
In the aftermath of a 15 year civil war, which ended in 2006, Lebanon has "an urgent need for social development, relief, and reconstruction."
Some of these needs are being met by domestic private companies, who "consider community resilience as a viable investment for their long-term growth objectives."
"In 2006, three private companies took up the charge to rebuild three of six bridges, destroyed in the war, that offer national rural-urban connectivity and thus are geographically and socio-economically important.... As a result, these bridges had restored connectivity by July 2007, providing significant benefits to isolated communities."
"Since 2006, Alfa Communications has been providing a donation via call or SMS service to its 1.2 million subscribers in order to support programs catering to children with special communication needs, who are differently-abled or autistic. The company has used proceeds to fund NGOs, sponsored community awareness events and festivals for children to participate more actively in society."
"The Bank AUDI and Bank Byblos support the Children‟s Cancer Center in Beirut by providing financial, logistical and administrative support. In 2010 Bank AUDI started three new programs for health and safety. The Bank‟s Conscientious Driver program promotes road safety; six cultural, art and sports clubs were opened to improve employee health and well-being and the Bank‟s work space became smoke-free and employees were extended assistance to quit smoking."
"The Lebanese Canadian Bank (LCB) sponsors a variety of initiatives, such as promoting road safety, drug use awareness and prevention, medical assistance for AIDS patients, as well as support for mentally challenged youth. LCB has been sponsoring events to promote children‟s health and education."
"[Banque Libano-Francaise] promotes entrepreneurship capacity among youth by running the MOT Arab Business Plan Competition."
"Bank AUDI sponsors vocational skills training and education programs, such as AUB Business School and UNICEF “Adopt a School” program."
These Corporate Social Responsibilty initiatives are limited because "only large-scale companies are involved; the majority of [Lebanon's] companies are small to medium scale and do not value CSR as a viable investment."
Also, "[the citizenry] distrusts the intentions of private sector programs unless NGOs are involved," but "companies and NGOs do not utilize networks and multi-sectoral partnerships effectively, there is a general lack of know-how on how to choose, invest and expand the most effective community development projects."
SFG argues that CSR initiatives will may be an increasingly viable source of capacity building, because they are coordinating to increase impact.
"In 2011 the private sector organized a nation-wide CSR conference, sponsored by the World Trade Center Beirut, to develop private sector partnerships, which will aid in consolidating and expanding the effectiveness of the sustainable CSR initiatives. Banque Libano-Francaise is trying to build a multi-stake holder partnership in the nation so that various actors from civil society, the public and private sector can team up to achieve their common social goals... Their foray into multi-sector partnership and community participation indicates that the trend of CSR initiatives in the country is likely to continue and also the programs potential for greater positive impact will increase to provide greater benefits to the Lebanese community."
Sources:SFG June 2011, pages 5, 6: