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OAS Concludes Workshop on Expand Corporate Social Responsibility in SMEs in Ecuador

  March 20, 2013

The Organization of American States (OAS) held a workshop entitled "From Awareness to Action: Implementing CSR in SMEs" in Quito, Ecuador, on March 18 and 19, with the aim of training Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country to incorporate Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) into their business models.

More than 40 corporate representatives from various sectors of Ecuador participated in the workshop, an initiative that is part of the program for the "Promotion of Social Responsibility in Small and Medium Enterprises in Latin America and the Caribbean," which receives financial support from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), and the collaboration of Ecuadorian Consortium for Social Responsibility (CERES) and the Red Pacto Global Ecuador. During the event, the participating companies agreed to implement an action plan under the guidelines of CSR, which aims to increase competitiveness and enable access to new markets.

During the opening ceremony, the Executive Secretary for Integral Development of the OAS, Sherry Tross, highlighted the key role played by SMEs in the development and welfare of the region, and said they are one of the cornerstones for constructive and sustainable change. The Canadian Ambassador to Ecuador, Pamela O'Donnell reiterated the commitment of Canada on the issue and said that companies engaged in CSR are more successful.

For her part, the President of CERES, Augusta Bustamante, said that CSR is an investment, not a cost for SMEs, while stressing that it is not an exclusive practice of large companies, and that small and medium companies can incorporate the practices into their management. Zakaria El Goumiri, Head of the CSR Program of the OAS, said Corporate Social Responsibility in SMEs is less formal and more intuitive than in large companies. "This does not make it less valuable. The challenge is to get more SMEs to implement it," he added.

During the closing ceremony, Mike Calvert, International Trade Specialist in the Department of Commerce of the United States, said the workshop provides the resources and tools necessary to ensure that SMEs can launch their own CSR programs, which will help improve the future prospects of the Ecuadorian people.

The workshop was led by Celina Pagani Tousignant, speaker and trainer with extensive experience in CSR worldwide. SMEs that participated in the workshop stressed the importance of the tools presented, enabling them to incorporate different strategies that will be reflected in social, environmental and tangible economic benefits. Participants received a certification by the OAS, CERES and Pacto Global Ecuador, and will receive an active follow-up on the implementation of the action plans that were created during the workshop.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-105/13