Carlos Magariños, Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Ambassador Rudolf Schaller, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to UNIDO have signed a Letter of Agreement to implement a project aimed at improving the compliance of Small and Medium-scale Entreprises (SMEs) with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) principles, in countries with developing and transition economies. This project should demonstrate that implementation of environmental and social standards by small enterprises at local level can facilitate their access to international markets.
Growing attention is being placed on how the corporate sector adopts socially acceptable forms of
behaviour (Corporate Social Responsibility) including protection of the natural environment, the safety
and well-being of workers and transparency in their relationships with public institutions.
This demand comes from international civil society groups as well as from the market itself. Indeed,
social and environmental standards can govern access by developing country firms to international
markets. Demonstrated conformity to those standards can offer an opportunity to enhance market
access. Therefore, there is a need to support enterprises in developing countries and countries with
economy in transition to comply with these norms and standards.
Building on its mandate on SMEs within the United Nations Global Compact established by the United
Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan in 1999, UNIDO will identify and disseminate good practices to
enhance SME participation in the CSR movement. Project activities will focus on four developing
countries and will last three years, with a total budget of USD 1,757,602 from the Swiss Agency for
Development and Cooperation.