Magazine article Stanford Social Innovation Review

Editors' Note

Magazine article Stanford Social Innovation Review

Editors' Note

Article excerpt

NONGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS HAVE LONG been at the forefront of mobilizing opposition to human rights abuses by corporations and governments. But until recently, most NGOs have been wary of helping corporations change their ways. That is all changing. Today, NGOs are partnering with corporations to help them create new policies and practices that improve their environmental and human rights footprint. In some instances, NGOs are even helping to monitor and enforce these agreements.

These new partnerships are multiplying. Fair Trade organizations have partnered with coffee producers, distributors, and retailers to create and monitor human rights standards for coffee growers. Rainforest Alliance and Chiquita have partnered to create similar reforms in the banana industry. Some NGO leaders are even joining corporations to effect change. Hannah Jones, Nike's vice president of corporate social responsibility, for example, is a former European manager for Community Service Volunteers, a U.K. NGO.

There is every reason to believe that these partnerships reflect a fundamentally new way of doing business. Driving this point home, the authors of our cover story, "The Responsibility Paradox," argue that "the standards for global CSR will be just as international as corporations themselves." They further predict that "the European Union will set the tone for product and environmental standards, the United States will largely shape governance guidelines, and international nongovernmental organizations will drive human rights and labor rules. …

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