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CSR in Hungary: On the rise

After my recent Bulgaria trip to talk about embedding CSR, this week I ventured to Budapest to meet some Hungarian companies and talk about excellence in CSR.

The conference was organised by the impressive consultancy Braun and Partners. I found Robert Braun and his colleagues to be a very interesting bunch of well informed CSR experts.

The conference was a step change from my Sofia visit. I spent some time hearing about companies aiming at advanced GRI reporting, which surprised me.

I spent some time arguing the case for not spending too much time on ‘standards’ and box ticking over taking meaningful action.

The attendees were well informed and knowledgeable, and we had some great discussion about the future of anti-corruption enforcement in Europe (slow but picking up), stakeholder engagement techniques, and how companies manage key CR issues.

Overall I was impressed with the level of debate. Hungarian companies seem up there with the best in Poland, at least. And I met a couple of interesting Romanian companies too, who are also getting more traction with their CEOs on CSR.

So whilst being a wonderful city to stroll around, I can also recommend Hungary for its emerging debate on responsible business. Braun and Partners likely deserve much of the credit for this.

I left hopeful about the future of corporate responsibility in Hungary. If 100 business people can pay for a conference in these tough times, that bodes well for the future.

My friend and colleague Mallen Baker told me today he is off to Kiev shortly to do some CSR workshops.

If CSR can survive and appear to thrive in these tough times in countries hit much harder by the downturn than Western Europe, we should really celebrate the fact.

The tidal wave has been building for many years. We’re not close to the crest of it yet, but its rise and momentum is now clearly inexorable.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Toby,
    I am very pleased you enjoyed your stay in Hungary, Budapest. It is also good news for us, that you feel CSR in Hungary is on the rise. Though there are still problems, since many companies still look at CSR as a new name of philantrophy, they organise stakeholder panels, but do not give enough info to those invited before the event, use GRI as a target not as a tool, and unfortunately stakeholder pressure still does not exist, so there is little if no pressure on companies to really do what they claim to be doing. And the responsibility of CSR consultants is very high in this I think.
    But, of course these problems also exist in other countries, and at least something is happening. There are now other consultants on the platform as well, like ourselves (www.alternate.hu), and we hope to help our clients find the right way of doing CSR.
    Best wishes Katalin Urban

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