Social and Environmental Responsibility of Business

The Role of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in Advancing the Global Sustainable Development Agenda

27-28 October 2010

Vienna International Centre, P.O. Box 300, 1400 Vienna Austria




The Vienna chapter of the Society for International Development (SID)[1] and the International Network for Educational Exchange (INEX)[2] have drawn up a programme on sustainable development, with particular emphasis on corporate social responsibility, (CSR) for students from four Vienna-based universities (WU-Wien, TU-Wien, BOKU, Uni Vienna). The students have obtained credits for participating in the INEX Sustainbility Challenge that took place in summer semester 2010 and therefore receive the opportunity to participate in a high-ranking sustainability conference.

A core feature of the programme will be a workshop on the social and environmental responsibility of business, focusing on the role of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in advancing the global sustainable development agenda. The workshop will be organized by the Vienna chapter of SID and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) over the period 27-29 October. The first two workshop days will take place at UNIDO headquarters in Vienna.


Responsible business – also often referred to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) – is about business behavior that enhances the positive impacts of business for the economy, environment and society, whilst minimizing negative impacts. At a general level, the idea of sustainable development – understood as an integrated approach to pursuit of economic development, environmental protection and social justice – is a helpful touchstone for understanding ‘responsible business’. However, the substantive content of sustainable development is not uniform around the world, and how trade-offs (e.g. between economic growth and environmental protection, or poverty reduction and conservation) are managed, or who has a say in deciding what the overall outcomes of ‘responsible business’ should be, are highly context-dependant.

The CSR debate to date has largely focused on big companies. But nothing inherently limits its applicability to large enterprises. On the contrary, CSR ought to speak to the widest possible range of enterprises – from cooperatives, to partnerships, to limited liability companies of various kinds, or even to those enterprises that reinvest their profits for social purpose or that operate in the informal sector. Currently, it often fails to do so, for a variety of reasons. Principally, these relate to a failure to adequately take account of the specific challenges of smaller enterprise size and, secondly, to the challenge of ensuring that it is not only the concerns of stakeholders based in high income countries, but also those close to the ground where businesses operate in emerging economies, that effectively shape expectations, tools and practices.

Given SMEs’ economic, social and environmental significance globally, extraordinarily little systematic analysis is available on responsible business practices in these firms, nor on how entrepreneurs themselves understand the idea of responsible business. But CSR is already having an impact on SMEs around the world as they come into contact with international supply chains and the CSR policies of foreign investors. At the same time, the problem of effectively making CSR more relevant to SMEs has frequently been identified. At the same time there is also an important, though less well understood, body of responsible business practice within the large majority of SMEs that produce exclusively for domestic markets in emerging economies.


The workshop will be conducted at UNIDO’s headquarters in Vienna International Centre. The in-room sessions are scheduled to take place on Wednesday (27 Oct 2010) and Thursday (28 Oct 2010). The site-visits will take place on Friday (29 Oct 2010).


The goal of this conference is to promote a constructive dialogue between academia, business representatives, and policy-makers responsible for driving sustainable development objectives through the Corporate Social Responsibility movement in Europe and abroad.

Given that a long-term perspective is key to the very concept of sustainable development, the involvement of those who will ultimately assume developmental responsibilities in the future, i.e. students and future entrepreneurs/managers, in this dialogue, is essential. Therefore, this event forms part of the project titled “Sustainable development, the role of CSR” and thus complements a series of seminars, which are being held at selected universities in Vienna, Austria, and deal with topics related to sustainable development issues.

Students from participating universities will have the opportunity to interact with policy makers as well as with businessmen and women with experience from developed and developing country context. The specific (and to date only marginally discussed) focus on the role of smaller enterprises in this movement, will not only provide the audience with new insights and pieces of thought, but will give stimulus for independent work on that subject (e.g. diploma thesis, journal articles,..), which would be difficult to obtain from other sources due to the limited coverage of SME related issues.

As a final result, participating students will be asked to write papers and/or prepare presentations on topics related to sustainable development, CSR and the role of SMEs, which would vary according to the specific foci of the universities involved. The conference presentations and working group discussions will serve as an input to the work to be undertaken by the students and offer a forum for dialogue with experts in various fields.


Direct beneficiaries will be students and young academics from the participating universities as well as business representatives and policy-makers from developing countries. Indirect beneficiaries will be companies in Austria and contiguous countries through the contacts they establish with their counterparts in developing countries.

6.     AGENDA (Summary Outline)

Day 1:

08.00 – 09.30 Registration of participants
09.30 – 09.40 Mr. D. Piskounov (Managing Director, Programme Development and Technical Cooperation Division, UNIDO)
09.40 – 09.50 Mr. Uwe Schubert (Vice President, SID)
09.50 –  10.00 Ms. F. Babinsky (Head of Program Development, INEX)
INTRODUCTION – challenges and issues (Chair: Mr. Uwe Schubert)
10.00 – 10.30 “Corporate Social…what? Setting the context: “Origin, approaches, drivers and institutional leaders in a socially responsible corporate setting” Mr. A. Martinuzzi  (Vienna University of Economics and Business)
10.30 – 11.00 “The institutional backcloth: Compacts, standards, norms and certification schemes – A blessing or a curse for developing country entrepreneurs?”Ms. M-F. Houde  (OECD)
11.00 – 11.30 Coffee break
11.30 – 12:00 “Scaling-up – or why the integration of small businesses in developing country contexts is crucial in view of the MDGs”Ms. N.  Weisert (UNIDO)
12:00 – 12.45  Panel -Questions and Answers
12.45 – 14.00 Lunch
INTRODUCTION – challenges and issues, continued (Chair: Mr. M. Vlasak)
14.00 – 14.30 “ CSR- SME’s  approaches from  around the world” Ms. O. Panfil (Consultant for UNIDO)
14.30 – 15.00 “CSR, corruption and crime-the challenge of smaller firms, on how to be responsible without being pushed out of business”Ms. T. Santucci (UNODC, Vienna)
15.00 – 15.15 Coffee break
15.15-15.45  CSR and education-the integration into the curricula of business schools and vocational training bodies”Ms. S. Ascigil (Middle East Technical University, Ankara)
15.45– 16.15 “CSR and public policy- the role of policy makers in tapping the potential of business”Mr. R. Steurer (University of Life Sciences, Vienna) 
16.15- 17.00 Panel -Questions and Answers, Wrap-up and closure


Day 2:

OPENING  (Chair: Ms. N. Weisert)
09.00 – 09.30 “Responsible supply chain management- the sphere of influence or how far it could go?Mr .G. Palazzo ( University of Lausanne) 
09.30 – 13.00(incl. 30 minutes coffee break) Working Group 1: Different company approaches to CSR based on SME’s- case studies Chair:  G. Schall (Austrian Development Agency) 
Working Group 2: “Responsible Supply Chain Management and Innovation” Chair: M. Hauser (University of Life Sciences, Vienna)
Working Group 3: “Education – The integration of CSR into the curricula of business schools, universities and vocational training bodies”Chair:  U. Brändle (University of Vienna) 
Working Group 4: “CSR & public policy – The role of policy makers in tapping the potential of businesses to contribute to sustainable development objectives”Chair: W. Tertschnig (Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and the Environment, Vienna) 
13.00 – 16.00 Lunch and poster show by participating companies, networking
Reporting-Back  to the Plenary 
16.00 – 16.15 “Working Group 1”Rapporteur
16.15-16.30 “Working Group 2”Rapporteur
16.30 – 16.45 “Working Group 3”Rapporteur
16.45 – 17.00 “Working Group 4”Rapporteur
17.00 – 17.15 Wrap-up and closure

Day 3:

Visits in Austrian companies by participants from emerging economies will be organized during the last day of the event.


The workshop will last three days.

The first day will provide an introduction to the issues and challenges that practitioners and companies need to take into consideration when adopting socially responsible approaches or when elaborating policy proposals that contribute to the adoption and application of those approaches. The introductory session will be supplemented by a session focusing on the review and analysis of selected case studies. Speakers would come from UNIDO and selected countries in Europe and the South.

The second day will be dedicated to interaction between company representatives from Europe and developing countries, policy-makers and the participating students. The dialogue will take place in small working-groups which will discuss specific aspects of relevance to CSR and SMEs. The four working groups will address the following issues:

  • Working group 1:  Different Company approaches to CSR based on case studies
  • Working group 2:  Responsible supply chain management
  • Working group 3:  CSR and education
  • Working group 4:  CSR and public policy

In addition, a poster show will be presented, in which the participants from companies and policy making bodies offer information on their activities. This session will also provide networking opportunities. 


  • Each working group will report the outcome of its deliberations to a plenary meeting and the issues raised will be discussed.
  • The third day will provide an opportunity for participants from developing countries to visit some of the companies located in the vicinity of Vienna on the basis of contacts established during the conference. This part will be organized by SID.

Topics to be addressed

The main issues will be:

  • Origins, approaches, drivers and institutional leaders in a socially responsible corporate setting, including sustainable business concepts for enhanced competitiveness
  • The institutional backdrop: compacts, standards, norms and certification schemes,
  • Integration of small businesses in developing countries and their crucial contribution to the MDGs.

In the afternoon of the first day presentations will be given on:

  • Different company approaches to CSR
  • Supply chain management
  • CSR and education
  • CSR and public policy
  • CSR, corruption and crime

In the course of the workshop, the following issues will also be taken into consideration:

  • Public-private co-operation in CSR
  • Matching partners and CSR- CSR and gender mainstreaming
  • The role of consulting
  • CSR as a vehicle for promoting innovation in companies
  • Reporting and auditing in a CSR setting
  • CSR and human rights
  • Evaluation of CSR programmes
  • Evaluation of CSR projects and micro credits, creation of companies: a role for CSR?


The most important contribution consists in taking part in the discussions, in the plenary sessions as well as in the working groups and to use your experiences and ideas for your arguments. The participating students will ask questions concerning your activities related to sustainable development as well as CSR; the answers will constitute a primary “data base” for their seminar papers. The results of the working groups will the basis of the documents prepared to disseminate the results of the workshop.

There will be an opportunity to present SMEs activities to all interested parties during the poster show scheduled on the second day of the program. The space we can allocate for this purpose will be rather limited, i.e. a small table for you to present brochures or similar printed materials as well as a poster to be put up on a wall (more details to follow later). Again, the most important contribution will be to answer participants’ questions and your readiness to talk to them, rather than an elaborate presentation of your company/institution.

In addition to the seminar papers to be submitted by the students at the end of the semester and their presentations during the course, a report on the workshop and its findings will be prepared, printed and disseminated.


After the event the PDF form of the presentations will be available on the SID website ( )


As of now the Workshop will be attended by participants  from about 10 countries.   The estimated participation is 80-100 people.

11.         LANGUAGES

The Workshop will be conducted in English.


Air Tickets

The organizers will make the reservations for air travel. In this respect, the participants will receive copies of their e-tickets.  

For the confirmed participants, a round trip air ticket between home country and Vienna International Airport for the most direct and economic route shall be provided through SID in Vienna, Austria. The participant should await an e-ticket from the organizers and should, under no circumstances, purchase their own tickets. Any additional cost incurred resulting from deviations from the authorized route shall be covered by the participant. In this context, kindly proceed with informing the organizers about your travel dates and send them a copy of your passport. The organizers will not be financially responsible for earlier arrivals or late departures.

Subsistence Allowance

The organizers will not pay any other expenses apart from air-travel for the  invited participants from overseas (as mentioned in the relevant paragraph above), and accommodation for the workshop period.

Other Costs

Participants will be responsible for all other expenses incidental to travel abroad incurred in the home country, e.g. passports, visas, required medical examinations, inoculations and other such miscellaneous expenditures, as well as travel to and from the airports of departure and arrival.

Neither the organizers nor the host country will  assume any responsibility for any other costs, including the following expenditures but not limited to those, which may be incurred by participants:

  • Compensation for salary and any related allowance during the period of the Conference.
  • Costs incurred if there is a deviation in the routing after approval of the itinerary by  the organizers
  • Travel and other costs incurred by dependants.
  • Costs incurred in respect of travel and accident insurance, as well as medical and hospitalization bills in connection with attendance at the Conference.
  • Compensation in the event of death, disability or illness.
  • Loss or damage to personal property while attending the Conference.
  • Purchase of personal belongings and compensation in the event of damage caused by climatic or other conditions.
  • Other unforeseen costs.


Prior to leaving their home country, participants are requested to make their own arrangements for entry visa, or travel permits, that may be required for the entire travel (including for the countries in transit) to Vienna, Austria. A Letter of Assistance from the organizers will be available upon request, to facilitate the receipt of visa. Should you require such a letter, kindly fill in your details in the Annex 1 at the end of this document and return it to us as soon as possible together with a scanned copy of your passport. We’ll sign it and provide you with an e-copy.

More information on visa requirements is to be found in Annex 2.


Arriving in Vienna

Options to reach Vienna from Vienna International Airport:

Arriving at VIC

The Headquarters of UNIDO is located in the Vienna International Centre (VIC), Wagramerstraße 5, 1220 Vienna and can best be reached by underground (U1 – exit Kaisermuehlen/ Vienna International Centre). Please follow the signs to the VIC not the Austria Centre. Please be aware that security checks (airport type) are being performed at the entrance, which may take a bit of time (kindly take this into consideration and have your passport at hand!). Please enter the VIC (Vienna International Centre) via Gate 1 where you will receive a pass from the Security Officer.  Then proceed to Meeting Room M2 (building M). 


We reserved in advance rooms at a hotel in Vienna for all participants coming from outside the region. Reservations are from October 26 (arrival) to October 30 (departure). The premises are: “Hotel Lenas Donau”, Wagramerstrasse 52 Vienna, Austria 1220 (www:

The Hotel cost will be covered by SID, for 4 nights. Check out date will be automatically scheduled for the morning of Saturday, 30 October 2010.

Important notice: If you plan or require staying longer, you must immediately inform the hotel and change your reservation, to prolong your stay based on your personal preference.

The daily transfer from the hotel to the event premises (walking distance) will be under your responsibility and can require the use of public transport. Public transport costs will not be covered separately by the organizers.

Punctuality will be appreciated in order to allow for a timely start of the workshop.

Vienna Metro Map

for a full picture of the Vienna public transport system, go to:

Routes by public transport in Vienna:

Emergency numbers

  • Europe Wide Emergency Number – 112
  • Fire Department – 122
  • Police – 133
  • Ambulance – 144

15.         CONTACT PERSON

 All communications with regard to the event, including confirmation of participation, should be addressed to the main organizer of the event




[1] The Society for International Development (SID) is a global network of individuals and institutions concerned with development which is participative, pluralistic and sustainable. SID has over 3,000 members in 80 countries and 45 local chapters. It works with more than 100 associations, networks and institutions involving academia, parliamentarians, students, political leaders and development experts, both at the local and international levels. This makes SID one of the few organizations that has a holistic, multidisciplinary and multisectoral approach to development and social change. As one of the SID local chapters, the Vienna chapter is part of those endeavours.



[2] INEX promotes inter-university co-operation. It educates leaders of tomorrow on the challenges posed by a globalised world and promotes sustainable development through innovative learning experiences.