Corporate Social Responsibility Has Evolved Beyond the Concept of Philanthropy
For more than a decade now corporations around the word have been told that it’s part of their civic duty to give back to the communities in which they do business, which meant that every civic-minded business had to allocate a portion of their proceeds to causes that they deemed worthy. These allocations were largely viewed as philanthropy and went towards supporting the work of various foundations and charity organizations in their communities.
Today however, the definition of corporate social responsibility had evolved tremendously. It is no longer viewed as an act of charity that takes place in a vacuum but is rather an intrinsic component of the day-to-day operations of a business. Standards of governance and social responsibility are now clearly articulated and applied throughout operations, transactions and investments. EFG Hermes has been at the forefront of this new broadened and expanding role of social responsibility.
Over the past 10 years we have allocated more than EGP 100 million to community development projects through the EFG Hermes Foundation which we established in 2006. Since its inception the Foundation has worked on integrated development projects to rehabilitate some of Egypt’s most impoverished rural villages. We not only fund the reconstruction and renovation of dilapidated homes in these villages, we also work with local governmental and non-governmental organization to build basic infrastructure and health facilities so that the upgrades that we have initiated remain sustainable long after our projects have come to a close.
Beyond the work of the Foundation which has also invested heavily in various healthcare and education initiatives in Egypt, our company has become increasingly conscious of the impact of our investment decisions on the environment, the economy and the community. As we expand into new emerging and frontier markets we are keenly aware that we must make responsible investments that will help create new jobs, further the transfer of knowledge, and develop infrastructure; all areas that can eventually help citizens break out of the cycle of poverty.
For example, our private equity division has been incrementally investing in clean energy for the past 3 years through Vortex, a new platform that now manages 822 MW in net capacity across the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Belgium and Portugal, making it one of the largest renewable energy focused investment managers in Europe with projects in both wind and solar energy. Last year we also acquired Tanmeyah, a homegrown Egyptian company that provides microfinance solutions to people who would otherwise have no access to financing.
These types of investments are examples of the broadened scope with which we approach corporate social responsibility and they illustrate the concrete steps that we have taken to consolidate the standards of sustainability within all our lines of business to ensure that our growth and profitability does not come at the expense of society and the environment.
Head of CSR at EFG Hermes,
CEO, EFG Hermes Foundation