Category Archives: Global Economy

Pamela’s Response to the Rana Question in The Economist

Dear Living and Giving Members,

It’s a challenging situation in Rana, but one that we can be honest about. If we want perfection, then we can only operate within our backyard, up to the neighbor’s fence. It may be safe, but is it Corporate Social Responsibility?

As Corporate leaders, I don’t think we can do everything within a perfect boundary and perfect results. We do have to have quality, and we need to take every element of what we do seriously.

With that in place, we take very, very well-educated risks to serve. But we still can’t have perfection. Excellence and honesty, yes.

Please read below for my response to the Economist article on the Rana Plaza, which has been retweeted much in our CSR realm. A link to the full Economist article is below.

As always, we look forward to serving you with excellence, experience and trust, all over the world.

Warm Regards,
Pamela

Pamela’s Comment in Response to Economist Article: “Disaster at Rana Plaza”

Thank you for some good points on the action that can be taken to improve CSR.

However, CSR doesn’t promise to be utopian. There is no setting of expectations in perfection; no business indeed can be.

Companies sometimes release products that are faulty. They make mistakes. They have to recall them.

In CSR, we do strive for excellence. What CSR’s objective is is to help companies operate with effectiveness, both in building their brands, their products, and in helpful service to the community. We do this every aspect of our business: services, manufacturing, marketing, CEO messaging, sustainability, giving and volunteer programs, product donations.

Sometimes in CSR, we have so many battles to fight. We can’t make it our full-time business to go about rebuilding buildings all across the world.

Or, if we locate to a ‘safer’ country — did we just take away 15,000 jobs from people – the most impoverished, starving people and their families, people who are already dying… the people who need it the most?

Places that have safer buildings have a higher standard of living, more resources, higher building codes.

Losing lives is not acceptable.

We’ll have to do better.

There is no easy answer.
Pamela Hawley

See original article and comment here:
http://econ.st/18yHhNs

Photo Credit: Priyo News

Ethiopia Rising: How Great Leaders Have to Build and Maintain Their Success

Ethiopia is one of the few countries that has taken aid and put it to work.

Meles Zenawi came from the People’s Liberation Front, from the north. Deeply involved in Ethiopia, he experienced hardships in his country, such as famine, which allowed him to relate to his people. He saw an ineffective government structure that could do more to help, and he vowed to overturn the feudal system as it existed.

And that he did. GDP has since grown by 10.6% each year (WorldBank). Exports have taken off, as well as the industries of agriculture and manufacturing.

A leader has his impact in many areas. Meles also took it beyond economics to aid. He made it clear to the outside world what the terms of aid in could be; he made it clear to the inside authorities how it would be used.

From both of these approaches, Ethiopians affected by severe poverty have dropped by nearly one half. Keep in mind that that poverty is 60 cents per day, so even attaining $2 per day can significantly change a life. Every penny counts.

File:Blue Nile Falls 01.jpg

Ethiopia’s Blue Nile Falls

A beautiful example of success…and yet we have to continue to safeguard it, never take it for granted. Progress is for today, and must be cherished again tomorrow to keep it. We still have much to learn from developing nations and their political systems. Government-wise, Meles continued to hold onto power and a successful democratic transition was not assured. People who wished to have a voice were silenced. Rather than multiple groups leading, the ruling party controls nearly 100% of seats in Parliament.

My hope is that as leaders grow– and we are all leaders, and all growing — that we are able to serve in more holistic ways. If we serve well in one capacity, we can transfer that principle of good governance and judgment to another area. It’s something I am working on now. Whatever we cherish as good, let’s continue to protect it, maintain it — and expand it — to all the areas of life we touch.

Meles Zenawi Asres (1955 – 2012) was the Prime Minister of Ethiopia from 1995 until his death in 2012.  From 1985, he was the chairman of the Tigrayan Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF), and the head of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). He was President of Ethiopia from 1991 to 1995 and became the Prime Minister of Ethiopia in 1995 following the general elections that year. While his government was credited with reforms such as those that led to a multi-party political system in Ethiopia, introduction of private press in Ethiopia and decreased child mortality rates, his government was also accused of political repression and various human rights abuses, curbing freedom of the press  and dissent.  Meles was a Co-Chairperson of the Global Coalition for Africa (GCA.)The Global Coalition for Africa brings together senior African policy makers and their partners to deepen dialogue and build consensus on Africa’s priority development issues.

Bio source: Wikipedia

Opportunities in This Tough Economy

Here is my response to an Economist article on what entrepreneurs and companies have to do in this gritty economy.  And this is what Embrace is doing!

All my best,

Pamela

Comment:

I love that you are being positive. A lot of cost-effective innovation is taking place here — and locally grown, locally serving. Even if the group is national and international, they know they have to relate locally and culturally. That’s the key, whether in economics, philanthropy or Corporate Social Responsibility.

Thank you -

Pamela

Read the article:Gold-hunting in a Frugal Age

Africa Is Rising

Africa is rising up as it should.  What amazing stats here. What this means for us: As countries get richer, in-country philanthropy rises.  At the same time, we have to be aware of the challenges and corruption.

We should watch developing nations in dire straits – whose economies are burgeoning. Those who profit can give back.

Sincerely,
Pamela

Consumer Goods in Africa: A Continent Goes Shopping (The Economist, August 2012)

  • Africa’s middle class, spending $2-$20 per day, has grown from 27% in 2000 to 34% in 2010 according to the African Development Bank
  • South Africa offers a sound base to slowly penetrate the rest of the continent. In most of the continent besides South Africa, companies have to dig their own wells and generate their own electricity. Other countries also face greater corruption. Many bosses have to pay bribes to ship perishable goods.
  • Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum, says companies are becoming more optimistic about working in Africa. Policies are more business-friendly than they were a few decades ago.

Update on Synergos Global Philanthropists Circle and President Clinton (Part Two)

PART TWO

This is Part Two of our series on the Synergos Global Philanthropy Meeting, focusing in the Middle East.    Synergos “addresses global poverty and social injustice by supporting and connecting leaders so they can work in collaboration to change the systems that keep people in poverty.” Pamela was invited to attend the New York Meeting of Global Philanthropists.  Read Part One here.

From abroad… The UK is coming up with more and more innovations in philanthropy.  I just read that their cultural minister is trying to allow people to make a donation when they are at ATMs. I am so heartened to see such good exploding across the world… :) in so many ways, that affect our lives practically!

Then we went on to a dinner session.  The session was 20 tables related to CSR, health, innovation and education, and then all different country areas.  I was put at the Middle East table, and it was amazingly fascinating.  I wanted to see how UniversalGiving could support more projects in philanthropy in the Middle East, in this burgeoning area.  Many of the forprofit people felt, interestingly enough, that an authoritarian government structure was better than a democracy.  They felt these countries were living in anarchy with no government, and it would be better to have their lives ruled by some sort of government structure.

I’ve long known that just because a dictator is toppled, that doesn’t mean democracy will immediately exist.  We have to be conscious of the fact that when America was created, it was called a “grand experiment.”  No one had had this type of structure before, and we were fighting tooth and nail to prove it could work.  I’m grateful that this structure, no matter how many “dents” it has, is still in place. It preserves so many freedoms for us, in the way that we operate, both in our personal lives and business.

Here’s too, an example of just one individual.  Ron Bruder is a high net-worth donor working on providing employment opportunities for young professionals in the Middle East.  He’s built shopping centers all over the U.S., and is now devoting himself full time to this effort.)    It’s incredible. He’s giving hope to so many in Syria, Tunisia, Lebanon.  Tunisia, he says, is the easiest… they just get it and in-country investors (important) match his funds, with positive government support, too.

I love sharing with you about these philanthropic insights in different areas across the world.   Please comment on what you are doing. We’d love to hear from you!