AmCham report shows impact of US companies on Belgian society

Summary

A new report issues by the American Chamber of Commerce in Belgium shows the impact employees of US companies have on Belgium outside of the office

Volunteer projects

American companies contribute to Belgium not only through their economic activities but also through their “deep engagement in local communities,” according to a new report issued by the American Chamber of Commerce in Belgium (AmCham).

AmCham carried out a survey of 75 American companies of varying sizes, which employ nearly 70,000 people in Belgium – just under half of the US company total. The survey aimed to find out about community involvement and gathered information on 150 projects, including sports programmes, training, clearing up litter and home maintenance for the handicapped. Projects were typically a mix of volunteer work and donations of cash, goods or services.

Community impact projects, says the report, “are an effective tool for employee engagement, building pride in one’s employer and developing a bridge between employees and the local community,” and can benefit a company’s core business.

Projects tended to focus on youth issues. Employees were encouraged to volunteer on company time, and senior management took part in four out of five projects. Brussels and Antwerp together accounted for nearly 56% of projects, with Flemish Brabant and East Flanders adding another 23%. Examples included the recycling of electronic waste in East Flanders by Temco, workshops for IBM employees to help immigrants integrate in Brussels and volunteers for the Special Olympics in Antwerp by staff of Coca-Cola.

“US companies demonstrate their commitment to Belgium not only through their high value-added economic activities, but also through their deep engagement in local communities,” said AmCham chief executive Marcel Claes.

Photo courtesy Orca