There is a whole range of problems considered in the framework of Western corporate social
responsibility, which are of little relevance for Azerbaijan companies at the current stage of Azerbaijan’s
market development. First of all, there is excessive consumption of resources by a small group of
developed countries when compared to the scare access to resources in the developing world. Western
society debates as to what degree the West should be held responsible for delivering humanitarian aid and
contributing to development in the third world.
In our country the following question might be asked:
hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijan citizens still live below the poverty line?
which seems to be extremely expensive,
of Kura to prevent spring flooding, which subsequently caused enormous damage to the state and
population in 2003.
Nobody denies the need to support national cultural heritage, but it should not be done at the expense of
Corporate social responsibility envisions regular reporting by businesses to the society through media or
special publications. Namely, businesses should inform the general public of their activities that have an
environmental or social impact
. It is also important to publish an annual profit and loss statement with a
importance with the public at large. For example, in 2002-2003 organizations funding the export pipeline
of BP held consultations with the general public and discussed the impact of the pipeline construction on
the life of local communities. Local and foreign NGOs monitored the process of payment of
reimbursement to local population for the land plots in Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey.
Limits of corporate social responsibility
The obligations of businesses have reasonable limits. It is difficult to deny that an inefficient system of
social protection, high level of unemployment, and low income of population, together with relatively
low revenues of the private sector, do not allow our businesses to meet all needs of the poor. Business can
only help the state to alleviate poverty, but they cannot substitute for an effective system of social
protection. Another aspect to setting limits to social spending is the consequences of the so-called
“dependency” syndrome. Many people will not hesitate to accept free aid, even if the needs of other
people are much more desperate.
The Caspian Compassion Project eye clinics operating in Baku, offer low-cost, donor-subsidized service
Often in this country people believe that their connections to well-off or well-connected people give
who does not understand why he must pay for the education of the son of his neighbor in a private
university, when free of charge higher education is available or cover funeral expenses of all his relatives,
including providing them with ample food.
N. D. World Poverty, in Companion To Ethics, edited by P.Singer, Blackwell Publications, 1997, pp. 273-283
According to different estimates, between 60 and 80% of the total population live below poverty line
Please see a sample designed by Global Reporting Initiative at www.globalreporting.org
Wealthy People Cry As Well, a letter of businessman Samir Mirzoyev, Echo newspaper, 15 March 2003
included by their budgets. However, many companies do not have a clear policy. We would recommend
that businesses design an internal document containing the basic provisions and directions of a company's
social strategy. For example, this document might set out criteria for applicants for aid for one year. It is
possible to restrict consideration of applications for medical treatment or supply of food and clothes to
orphanages, houses for senior citizens and mental asylums.. Alternatively, a company may consider
applications only from a certain vicinity or take care of a concrete facility, for example, an orphanage.
Some businesses prefer to refrain from individual help and consider projects which benefit the general
public, for example, organization of festivities, repair of schools, donation of books to libraries. It is
reasonable to restrict the types of activities to which your organization will donate, for example, or to
establish an upper limit for the cost of an individual project.
Arguments against social expenditure
The most common argument against engaging in philanthropy is a lack of time and skills to implement
social programs. However, these difficulties can be overcome. First, a company can look for volunteers
among its staff or their family members, who might wish to volunteer after office hours. Second,
companies may seek partnerships with NGOs who have the necessary capacity and experience to
effectively implement social projects. It is also often argued that the public is not well informed of social
programs. This task can also be assigned to experts from media or NGOs.
Finally, companies need not preclude social expenditures due to the additional cost they represent, as
efforts with other like-minded businesses.
In Moscow many small businesses donated towards the construction of the church of Christ the Savior,
- Mr. Kurbanov, a Moscow businessman of Azerbaijan descent.
Russian surveys demonstrate that social spending often pays for itself through the positive advertising
Many small businesses do not
This is not quite true. One million manat
is sufficient to organize a good New Year’s party at an
products to local orphanages, or a photo shop can make free of charge photos of an orphanage party. A
final argument against social spending, typical of all of the post-Soviet countries, claims that it is
impossible to pay all taxes in full and still survive in the market. In addition, social costs might feed up
interests of numerous auditing agencies.
Many Azerbaijan businessmen make donations not on behalf of their firms, but on their own behalf and
to state that this prescription is not followed by many newly converted Muslims.
Donations can also be used to educate and encourage staff in social responsibility. For example, BP
affordable to the charity fund and BP added an equal amount.
there are good examples of a tradition of social spending in Azerbaijan, it is currently mostly foreigners
who feed our orphans and teach our children to collect toys for orphans. Azerbaijan people recognized
Zeynalabdin Tagiev with gratitude, even during the dark Stalin period. The list of projects supported by
Tagiev would fill a whole volume: the first public water pipe in Baku, the first secular school for Muslim
girls, the first public illumination of streets, a school for boys, about 500 scholarships for Azerbaijan
E.A. Utkin, Business Ethics, Moscow, Zertsalo Publishing House, 2000, p. 130
Equivalent of about $200 at time of publication.
Matching Funds Program, BP Azerbaijan Business Unit