Dissemination of CSR principles and practices to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).
The «Hermes» programme was designed and is implemented by the Hellenic Network for CSR, with the objective of supporting Greek Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in applying and successfully adopting CSR practices as a means of reinforcing their long-term competitiveness. Taking into account the results of the Multi-Stakeholders Forum on CSR, specialised studies and research on corporate social responsibility, as well as the development taking place on all levels of society (global, local, sectorial), this project will utilise the Hellenic Network for CSR’s existing knowledge and experience, and, through selected actions and in conjunction with organisations for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, will clear a path for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises to obtain information and gain experience on this issue.
The main objectives of the HERMES programme, which is co-funded by the European Commission, are:
- to actively support the in-depth understanding of the significance of Corporate Social Responsibility,
- to develop the capacity of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises to adopt responsible business practices, integrated into their business strategy and adapted to their own individual circumstances and priorities, which will allow them to create comparative advantages and sustainable development,
- to create infrastructures for the active participation of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in a wider national and trans-European dialogue that is already is progress, regarding the role of businesses in social cohesion and progress.
Expected results are the inclusion of CSR actions in SME strategies, and their adoption of good practices adapted to their own, individual structures and circumstances.
DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAMME IMPLEMENTATION
The actions selected for achieving the project’s objectives include, in brief, the following:
- Conducting research into understanding the current situation and identifying the specific needs and obstacles of Greek Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, in terms of implementing CSR actions.
- Designing and implementing a comprehensive strategy for informing and raising the awareness of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises about corporate social responsibility, including educational meetings and seminars.
- Systematically promoting the exchange of experiences between Small and Medium-sized Enterprises or between Large businesses and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, especially through the supply chain, as well as between businesses of the private and public sector.
- Recording and utilising knowledge and existing experience, as well as transferring and propagating the above to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.
- Assessing and presenting conclusions and examples of good practices.
- Developing special tools for propagation, information, communication and education for interested groups, regarding CSR issues.
Successful businesses are those who are able to control and use the ardour, skills and knowledge of their staff and collaborators. Subsequently, the Project’s target group is the greatest possible number of Greek Small and Medium-sized business executives, through the organisations and networks that represent them – business consultants and service providers, new entrepreneurs’ Associations, etc. In order to achieve this, we will collaborate with organisations that not only represent the country’s SMEs, genuinely expressing their positions and views, but also whom the SMEs trust.
These organisations are:
- The Union of Hellenic Chambers of Commerce (UHCC) that represents, without exception, all businesses in the country which, by law, register with Commercial and Industrial Chambers
- The Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), with 70.000 member businesses, the majority of which are very small (>10 people)
- The Greek Toy Manufacturers Association (SEVPPA) with 154 small and medium-sized enterprises as its members
- The Hellenic Association of Pharmaceutical Companies (HAPC), with 65 member companies, and
- The National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce (NCHC) that represents the country’s commercial businesses, the majority of which are SMEs.
The need of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises for services aimed at including CSR in their daily activities is directly related to the ability of intermediary organisations to promote CSR and related services as part of the basic actions and services they offer SMEs.