Doing “good” also means taking hard decisions and being accountable for ones actions

Some people tend to think that if you are doing good you somehow do not have to be accountable for you actions. It would seem that it is like that ones you are “goodness industry” it is automatically a license to bypass the normal channels of communications and scientific standards. But with the growing number of stakeholders there is however an urgent need for more transparency also on the other side of the fence.
Very few of the stakeholder groups like NGOs or CSOs that I know of have a standardised method and understanding of how to report findings. Most often they god for a headline approach where what ever fits the main thesis is included in the reporting and all that contradicts will be left out. It is not that I think that they do this to be evil or that they are trying to twist the facts in a conscious way it is just that they are unaware that for anything to be true it needs to be transparent and capable of being reproduced. Unfortunately this is frequently not the case.
We often hold the most transparent companies accountable for their actions and dig into their annual and sustainability reports in order to find inconsistencies that we can explore but it rarely is the other way around. The possibility are explored that there is a discrepancy between what the company says and what they are actually doing. And when a flaw is found we make sure that everybody knows about it either through the press of using dedicated campaigns.
The Haitian earthquake disaster provides a good case for. NGOs and to some degree CSOs came under fire from locals who claimed that not enough had been done to transform temporary shelters into permanent homes, or to provide access to drinking water and sanitation services. In some camps run by NGOs, people were still dying from cholera a year after the disaster struck and by that actually doing more harm than good. Of cause it is not all NGOs that are active in Haiti that did wrong but it goes with the case that they cannot be left without some form of control and accountability for their actions.
Another example comes from Cambodia where international NGOs actively contributed to corruption, which was documented in the documentary “The Trap of Saving Cambodia”.

The film puts a spotlight on some of the troubling issues facing this country: government sponsored forced evictions; corruption on a massive scale; the underground trafficking of women and children. And maybe even as disturbing is that local NGOs with the finances of the World Bank, joined by huge donor countries are contributing to the continuation of these problems by providing access to billions of dollars in aid where most of the money is going to officials rather than to the people in need.
There are still NGOs that think the accountability is not for the “Goodness”-industry. Or as Mango a UK based NGO puts it “Research has shown that results-based management is not an effective way of managing and reporting most NGOs’ performance.” And Goes on to list why they should not held accountable for the results that hey produce. To a large extend reminding me of the discussions in the private sector in the 80 ties and 90 ties about quality management.
NGOs need to shape up if they are to continue to be the beacons of truth and uprightness that we have come to know them. They will need to shape up their processes and weed out the organisations that does not live up to the basic criteria of accountability, transparency and good governance or the whole sector will be dragged down into the mud from where it will be difficult of not impossible to escape.

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A.P. Moller-Maersk and strategic philantrophy

A. P. Moller-Maersk Group

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The Danish oil, shipping, airline and retail giant A.P. Moller-Maersk (APM) donates free transportation to victims of the earthquake in Japan. It is not the first time that APM steps up and helps out using its core capabilities in line with strategic CSR.

Senior Consultant in APMs CSR department Jens Munch Lund-Nielsen was quoted by Reuters to say that the offer of free transport is sent out via diplomatic channels from the Danish Embassy in Japan. The beneficiaries are governments and organizations.

“We have allocated one million U.S. dollars for relief ship transport. So far we have received response from the UN and an Eastern European country that will send emergency relief. In this situation we can do what we do best” says Jens Munch Lund-Nielsen.

The donation follows A.P. Moller-Maersk same line as the flood disaster in Pakistan last year and the earthquake in Haiti, where it also sailed with free emergency assistance. At the same time the Danish Red Cross can look forward to a nice cash donation from APM and the many thousands of employees in more than 130 countries.

“We have started a collection among the staff through the Danish Red Cross. It runs until 15 April. The sum of this collection among the staff is being doubled up by the company” says Jens Munch Lund-Nielsen.

APM have for several years have been lacking on the CSR front but one of the things that the company always have done well it is to use it resources and knowledge as strategic philanthropy.

With the company ideally situated as the biggest freight forwarder in the world it can use it ships and terminals to help at a fraction of the expense that other companies would have to pay for a similar service. While APM have plenty of other issues that it have to deal with around the world especially related to Human and Labour rights this is one instance were the company really does things well.