The American Chamber of Commerce in Latvia (AmCham) introduces a CSR mentoring program. In this program, members with experience in implementing CSR share their best practices with interested other members. On request, an expert visits the interested company for an hour of knowledge sharing. Another option is company visits to show how CSR implementation works in practice.
Among the mentoring sessions available at the start of the program are Aris Dreimanis from Nasdaq OMX who gives tips on increasing business transparency and both Ieva Keviesena from Coca-Cola Hellenic and Laura Mikelsone from Cemex who will share their expertise on being a green company, including eco driving and green IT.
‘The suggestion to implement this program comes directly from our members,’ says Liga Smildzina-Bertulsone, managing director of AmCham. Sharing best practices is something that a membership driven organization like AmCham is best at. ‘Our members have a tremendous amount of expertise in carrying out responsible business practices, and several of them are ready to share it directly with their fellow members.’
Members of AmCham are encouraged to sign the statement of good corporate citizenship, another example of how AmCham prefers leading by example over lecturing others. The statement covers four area’s – Ethics & Transparency, Human Resources, Philanthropy, the Environment – that also form the structure for the mentoring program. Smildzina-Bertulsone: ‘I am sure many of our members have a great story to tell, hence this program. I hope it may also serve as an inspiration for other companies.’
Much like the statement of good corporate citizenship, the mentoring program is focused on AmCham members, but available as an open source tool to others. The statement, as this mentor program will also be, is offered to the Foreign Investment Council in Latvia (FICIL), other chambers of commerce and sister AmChams in Estonia and Lithuania. ‘At the same time, we recognize that raising awareness can be done in various ways, and need not be pursued by all business organizations in the same way,’ says Mrs Smildzina-Bertulsone, ‘I am sure, business organizations such as ours share the same view with respect to promoting the development of a healthy business environment in the Baltic region.