While many businesses support healthcare and environmental concerns as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR), education is under-represented as a cause among private companies. This needs to change.
Former president Bill Clinton officially launched the Business Backs Education campaign at the Global Education & Skills Forum in March 2014, supported by co-chairs Jim Hagemann-Snabe, CEO of SAP, and Majid Jafar, CEO of Crescent Petroleum.
Led by the Varkey Foundation, UNESCO and Dubai Cares, the Business Backs Education campaign is steadily convincing companies across the world that education and CSR go hand in hand, securing much-needed funding for global educational initiatives.
Why does education CSR matter?
Evidence suggests that global corporate giving to healthcare is currently 16 times greater than to education. Although business gives far more readily to healthcare, most companies acknowledge that an educated and skilled workforce is critical to commercial success, and to the development of a peaceful and stable society.
How we're helping
We're asking private sector businesses to come together to support global education. To turn our goals into a reality, we're tackling increasing global education CSR in lots of different ways, including:
- Holding summits with key business leaders
- Working with private companies to increase investments
- Undertaking global research to provide a clear picture of current global corporate giving to education
- Promoting closer relationships between businesses and schools by publishing a guide created in consultation with head teachers from around the world
- Encouraging philanthropy
- Highlighting the sustainability of supporting education
- Showcasing the positive social and economic impact of giving to education
- Leading discussions about corporate citizenship
A challenge to the private sector
Business Backs Education is throwing down the gauntlet. We are challenging the businesses to start actively working towards the following targets for better education CSR:
- By 2020: Help to double overall global business CSR spending towards education initiatives by persuading other business leaders to commit greater resources. This will take current CSR education spending from $548 million to $1,096 million. Commit at least 20% of CSR budgets towards education initiatives, prioritising the countries and groups most in need.
- Overall: Work to contribute to core areas of education need such as:
- Access to quality education
- 21st century skills
- Global citizenship
- Professional development of education professionals.