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July 2006

Companies Serve as Environmentalists

Because medium-sized businesses were unprepared for the globalization wave, many unfortunately let environmental protection and social responsibility slide somewhat. As a way of offering such businesses help and incentives, the Munich initiative Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) was launched in 2005. The aim of the initiative is to motivate companies to balance their economic, ecologic and social goals. Because the rather cloudy discussion of “corporate responsibility” is usually held at more lofty political levels, the CSR has come out with a handbook for local businesses: Münchner Beiträge zur nachhaltigen Entwicklung (Munich’s Contributions to Sustainable Development). With this booklet, the CSR hopes that in revealing which local companies set a good example, others will follow suit. The Rischart bakery, for example, sends its organic waste to a biogas plant, and has replaced its baking pans with ones that will save 5,550-kilowatt hours per year. Another company offers continuing-education courses in dental care and ergonomics, in order to help their employees take more responsibility for their own health. At a time of globalization and predatory capitalism—and here it is appropriate to point an angry finger at the likes of McDonalds, Starbucks and the Deutsche Bank—such an approach may be somewhat unusual, but it certainly seems to serve humanity better than opening yet more “cookie-cutter” coffee shops on every corner. For more information, visit

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