Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative header Harvard/JFK School of Government Logo
Home The Initiative Partners Programs Publications Contact Us   Site Map
RESEARCH PROGRAMS BUSINESS & INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT Print this page
Image of Light Bulb
SEARCH CSRI:

BUSINESS & INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM

Increasingly, business is engaging in international development issues individually and in partnership with others.  Engagement is taking place through core business activities, traditional philanthropy, and new multi-stakeholder alliances.

Multi-stakeholder alliances have emerged because of a realization that many of today's social, economic and environmental challenges are too complex for one sector to tackle alone. They require new models of dialogue, consultation, and cooperation among nation-states; local, state and national governments within countries; civil society organizations; and private sector enterprises. To date, relatively few multi-stakeholder alliances have been subject to rigorous empirical analysis and evaluation. The CSR Initiative researches global alliances and company-led partnerships that aim to build public capacity and support the achievement of national development objectives through systemic interventions.  We seek to collect and share lessons of what has and has not worked to date.

The CSR Initiative's research in the area of business and international development currently focuses on the following areas:

Developing Human Capital
Expanding Economic Opportunity
Corporate Responsibility in the Middle East
Strengthening Public Health Systems
Rebuilding Communities after Disasters

Developing Human Capital: Some of the most basic, accessible and crucial resources needed to achieve and sustainable competitive advantage and social development in the 21st Century will be human assets. As the global economy evolves, the sophistication and skill level of consumers, workers and business partners is increasingly shaping the innovation and productivity that feed competitiveness, and ultimately, a nation’s standard of living. CSRI's work on developing human capital includes research on: (1) business partnerships for developing human capital that focuses on the importance of ICT deployment for human capital development, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education, entrepreneurship education, youth development and empowering women and girls in achieving development goals; and (2) business partnerships for building NGO capacity, particularly where governance institutions may lack the resources and ability to strengthen NGO capacity.

Expanding Economic Opportunity: The CSR Initiative’s Economic Opportunity Program is a program of research and outreach on mechanisms for collaborative action among companies and other actors to expand economic opportunity in developing countries. The program aims to understand how these mechanisms work and how effective they are at catalyzing large-scale, systemic impact on local economic development—at creating the conditions for the poor to manage their assets transformatively, rather than defensively, in ways that generate incomes, options, and future opportunities.

Our research focuses on models that leverage the positive economic impacts of large corporations, such as creating jobs, cultivating inter-firm linkages, supporting local enterprise development, enabling technology transfer, improving productivity, building human capital and physical infrastructure, and making a variety of products and services, such as ICTs, available to consumers and other businesses. Each of these impacts, in turn, triggers multiplier effects in society more broadly. Many large firms also play key leadership roles in shaping enabling environments conducive to economic growth – by sowing the seeds of entrepreneurship and innovation, for instance, or by engaging in progressive public policy dialogue.

We are focusing particularly on initiatives that have achieved systemic impact and scale or the potential for scale in the above areas. Over the next two years, the research will be carried out in three stages.

Stage One of the research will map leading collaborative initiatives to expand economic opportunity around seven key industry sectors: information and communications technology, including telecommunications; financial services; extractives; food and beverage; hospitality; healthcare; and utilities (water, energy, and waste management).

Stage Two will focus in greater depth on individual collaborative initiatives which appear to have achieved impact on international, national or sector-wide scales. These initiative studies will aim to uncover and understand the factors that have enabled scale to be achieved, with recommendations for business and government.

{back to top}

Corporate Responsibility in the Middle East: Together with the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), and in partnership with the World Bank Institute, International Business Leaders Forum, the United Nations Fund for International Parternships, and AccountAbility, the Initiative hosted a November 2008 Leadership Dialogue on Corporate Social Responsibility and Competitiveness. The dialogue
aimed at sharing good practices and exploring new types of partnership between Middle Eastern and
Western companies, with a focus on issues relating to human capital development, education,
entrepreneurship and women's economic empowerment. These dialogues formed part of a broader Saudi Arabian Responsible Competitiveness Initiative (SARCI), designed to advance responsible business practices through dialogue and the development and application of robust performance metrics.

In April 2008, Jane Nelson and Simon Zadek visited Jordan to meet with advisers of Queen Rania
to explore educational and corporate leadership opportunities aimed at supporting the goals of
sustainable development and competitiveness in Jordan and the Middle East.

In 2009, the Initiative traveled to the West Bank to study business partnerships facilitating development. Business Partnerships for Development: The Case of the National Beverage Company in the West Bank and Gaza (CSRI Report No. 42) resulted.

Strengthening Public Health Systems : Research identifies and examines cases in which public- and private-sector institutions are working collaboratively to build capacity to address HIV/AIDS, micronutrient deficiency, and road safety.  HIV/AIDS, in addition to posing an unprecedented public health challenge, threatens to reverse improving standards of living, employment rates, and market expansion in developing countries. Micronutrient deficiency – the lack of proper vitamins and minerals in diet – is a hidden epidemic with disastrous effects on human capital. Road deaths will likely become the world's third leading cause of death by 2020, outpacing AIDS, malaria, and war, if current trends continue. Our research documents promising new approaches to addressing these critical problems.

{back to top}

Rebuilding Communities after Disasters: The CSR Initiative is studying different practical and policy-related ways that companies can support disaster recovery efforts in cities such as New Orleans. This effort is part of the joint commitment that the CSR Initiative and its founder companies have made, with Shell, Walter Shorenstein, Doug Ahlers, and others, to the Clinton Global Initiative. Together with these partners, we are focusing efforts on Broadmoor, a neighborhood severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina. We are also conducting research on corporate efforts to support the recovery after the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti.

{back to top}

CSRI Publications related to Business & International Development Research:

Corporate Partnerships for Entrepreneurship: Building the Ecosystem in the Middle East and Southeast Asia Shannon Murphy | December 2010 | CSRI Working Paper No. 62

Emerging Nations and Sustainability. Chimera or Leadership? Simon Zadek | November 2010 | CSRI Working Paper No. 61

Corporate Responsibility in African Development: Insights from an Emerging Dialog Maya Forstater, Simon Zadek, Yang Guang, Kelly Yu, Chen Xiao Hong and Mark George | October 2010 | CSRI Working Paper No. 60

Extraterritorial Jurisdiction: Lessons for the Business and Human Rights Sphere from Six Regulatory Areas Jennifer A. Zerk | June 2010 | CSRI Working Paper No. 59

Mobile Money Summit 2010: Unleashing the Power of Convergence to Advance Mobile Money Ecosystems Piya Baptista and Soren Heitmann | 2010 | CSRI Report No. 45

The Millennium Development Goals and Human Rights: Companies Taking a Rights-Aware Approach to Development The Business Leaders Initiative on Human Rights, with contributions from The Institute for Human Rights and Business, and CSRI | 2010 | CSRI Report No. 44

Trade Agreements, Business and Human Rights: The case of export processing zones
Andrew Lang | April 2010 | CSRI Working Paper No. 57

Business Partnerships for Development: The Case of the National Beverage Company in the West Bank and Gaza. 2010 Shannon Murphy and Jane Nelson | CSRI Report No. 42

Corporate Partnerships for Entrepreneurship: Building the Ecosystem in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. 2010 Shannon Murphy | CSRI Report No. 41

Accelerating the Development of Mobile Money Ecosystems. Jonathan Dolan | 2009 | CSRI Report No. 39

Responsible Business in Africa: Chinese Business Leaders’ Perspectives on Performance and Enhancement Opportunities
Simon Zadek, Chen Xiaohong, Li Zhaoxi, Jia Tao, Zhou Yan, Kelly Yu, Maya Forstater, Guy Morgan | November 2009 | CSRI Working Paper No. 54

Business and Philanthropy Partnerships for Human Capital Development in the Middle East
Shannon Murphy | October 2009 | CSRI Working Paper No. 52

Developing Inclusive Business Models: A Review of Coca-Cola's Manual Distribution Centres in Ethiopia and Tanzania Jane Nelson, Eriko Ishikawa and Alexis Geaneotes | 2009 | CSRI Report No. 38

Business Linkages: Enabling Access to Markets at the Base of the Pyramid A report of a roundtable dialogue
Beth Jenkins with Eriko Eshikawa | July 2009 | CSRI Report No. 35

Corporate Social Responsibility in Saudi Arabia and Globally: Key Challenges, Opportunities and Best Practices. A Report of the First Leadership Dialogue
Jane Nelson and Shannon Murphy | Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative | 2009 | CSRI Report No. 33

Developing Mobile Money Ecosystems
Beth Jenkins | International Finance Corporation and Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative | 2008 | CSRI Report No. 30

The Role of the Private Sector in Expanding Economic Opportunity through Collaborative Action. Report of a Leadership Dialogue, Oct. 18 & 19, 2008.
Jane Nelson and Beth Jenkins | Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative | 2008 | CSRI Report No. 29

The Role of the Utilities Sector in Expanding Economic Opportunity
Christopher N. Sutton | Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative | 2007 | CSRI Report No. 24

The Role of the Tourism Sector in Expanding Economic Opportunity
Caroline Ashley, Peter De Brine, Amy Lehr, and Hannah Wilde | Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative | 2007 | CSRI Report No. 23

The Role of the Information and Communications Technology Sector in Expanding Economic Opportunity
William J. Kramer, Beth Jenkins, and Robert S. Katz | Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative | 2007 | CSRI Report No. 22

The Role of the Health Care Sector in Expanding Economic Opportunity
Adeeb Mahmud and Marcie Parkhurst | Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative | 2007 | CSRI Report No. 21

The Role of the Food & Beverage Sector in Expanding Economic Opportunity
Marc Pfitzer and Ramya Krishnaswamy | Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative | 2007 | CSRI Report No. 20

The Role of the Financial Services Sector in Expanding Economic Opportunity
Christopher N. Sutton and Beth Jenkins | Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative | 2007 | CSRI Report No. 19

The Role of the Extractive Sector in Expanding Economic Opportunity
Holly Wise and Sokol Shtylla | Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative | 2007 | CSRI Report No. 18

Expanding Economic Opportunity: The Role of Large Firms
Beth Jenkins | Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative | 2007 | CSRI Report No. 17

Business Linkages: Lessons, Opportunities, and Challenges
Beth Jenkins et al. | Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative | 2007 | CSRI Report No. 16

Business as a Partner in Overcoming Malnutrition: An Agenda for Action
Jane Nelson | Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative, The Conference Board and International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF) | 2006 | CSRI Report No. 14

Business as a Partner in Strengthening Public Health Systems in Developing Countries: An Agenda for Action
Jane Nelson | Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative, The Conference Board and International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF) | 2006 | CSRI Report No. 13

Viet Nam: Lessons in Building Linkages for Competitive and Responsible Entrepreneurship
Tamara Bekefi |  Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) | 2006 | CSRI Report No. 10

Tanzania: Lessons in Building Linkages for Competitive and Responsible Entrepreneurship
Tamara Bekefi | Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) | 2006 | CSRI Report No. 9

Building Linkages for Competitive and Responsible Entrepreneurship: Innovative Partnerships to Foster Small Enterprise, Promote Economic Growth, and Reduce Poverty in Developing Countries - Executive Summary
Jane Nelson | Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) | 2006 | Executive Summary | CSRI Report No. 8-EXEC

Building Linkages for Competitive and Responsible Entrepreneurship: Innovative Partnerships to Foster Small Enterprise, Promote Economic Growth, and Reduce Poverty in Developing Countries
Jane Nelson | Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) | 2006 | CSRI Report No. 8

Business as a Partner in Tackling Micronutrient Deficiency: Lessons in Multisector Partnership
Tamara Bekefi | 2006 | CSRI Report No. 7

The Global Road Safety Partnership and Lessons in Multisectoral Collaboration
Tamara Bekefi | 2006 | CSRI Report No. 6

Meaningful Change: Raising the Bar in Supply Chain Workplace Standards
Roseann Casey | November 2006 | CSRI Working Paper No. 29

Operating in Insecure Environments
Jane Nelson | August 2006 | CSRI Working Paper No. 25

Beyond Corporate Codes of Conduct: Work Organization and Labor Standards in Two
Mexican Garment Factories

Richard Locke and Monica Romis | August 2006 | CSRI Working Paper No. 26

Does Monitoring Improve Labor Standards?: Lessons from Nike
Richard Locke, Fei Quin, and Alberto Brause | July 2006 | CSRI Working Paper No. 24

Governing Collaborative Governance: Enhancing Development Outcomes by Improving Partnership Governance and Accountability
Simon Zadek and Sasha Radovich | April 2006 | CSRI Working Paper No. 23

Leveraging the Development Impact of Business in the Fight against Global Poverty
Jane Nelson | April 2006 | CSRI Working Paper No. 22

Investing in Social Innovation: Harnessing the Potential of Partnership between Corporations and Social Entrepreneurs
Jane Nelson and Beth Jenkins | March 2006 | CSRI Working Paper No. 20

Public Sector Capacity, Corporate Responsibility, and Corporate Profitability in Africa
Malcolm F. McPherson | April 2005 | CSRI Working Paper No. 12

Building Public Sector Capacity to Address HIV/AIDS: The Role of the Private Sector
Jane Nelson | January 2005 | CSRI Working Paper No. 8

Business and International Development:  Opportunities, Responsibilities, and Expectations
Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative, International Business Leaders Forum, and Edelman | 2005 | CSRI Report No. 5

HIV/AIDS and Business in Africa and Asia: A Guide to Partnerships
The Center for Business and Government, Social Enterprise Initiative, World Economic Forum and UNAIDS | 2004 | CSRI Report No. 2

{back to top}