The increasing influence of multinational corporations on state policymaking; private ratings agencies downgrading the security of national debt commitments; private contracting companies providing military support to troops in the Middle East.… Like it or not, the private sector has carved a significant role for itself in twenty-first-century daily life of us all.
As this role becomes more and more prominent, private entities have capitalized on the opportunities presented by Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs. These corporate departments are dedicated to activities that ensure the company is operating in aresponsible way toward its local, national and global environments (for example, a company might work to counteract externalities like pollution, or create a foundation dedicated to providing educational grants to students who would otherwise be unable to afford college).
CSR is a key facilitator of cultural diplomacy, helping to building dialogue, understanding and trust between companies and their clients (and potential clients) all over the world through grants, exchange programs and sponsored community initiatives. The stronger the relationships between a company and its clients, the more trust will grow, and the easier it will be to foster both consumer activity and general goodwill toward a corporation.
Corporate cultural diplomacy also helps present a more accurate and comprehensive picture of particular corporate environments and the ethical standards a company subscribes to. By initiating campaigns to counter misconceptions regarding its activities, a company can increase its credibility and legitimacy while simultaneously heightening its local, national and global profiles. This strategy can go a long way toward mitigating potential conflicts.
The Institute for Cultural Diplomacy (ICD) has designed the Corporate Cultural Diplomacy Project in order to draw attention to and further debate about the importance of these diplomatic efforts of the private sector for both corporates and communities.