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Foreign investors, on the other hand, are serving as role models with respect to social engagement and helping to raise awareness of this topic. French companies are particularly numerous in the Moroccan market. Among the German companies that have been active in Morocco for many years are Siemens, Bayer, BASF, Beiersdorf, Lufthansa and TUI.
Morocco offers a variety of opportunities for CSR projects. So far, vocational training has been a particular focus. German companies recognize that they need to provide basic and further training for their employees, since the Moroccan system is not producing enough skilled workers. German companies might also take advantage of their experience in such areas as environmental technology, water treatment and renewable sources of energy.
Politicians are urging the adoption of European environmental standards and regulations, since this is essential if Moroccan exports – especially textiles, shoes and food – are to remain competitive. The European Union’s Neighborhood Policy and preparations for the free-trade zone to be launched in 2012 are having a significant effect on Moroccan industry. Businesses in Morocco are striving for responsible and sustainable corporate management, not least because of the influence of the European market.
International organizations, too, are raising awareness of CSR: The MENA Responsible Business Forum is an initiative of the MENA-OECD Investment Program; its objective is to assist the governments of the regions in creating the necessary conditions for investments in sustainability and social development. This program is funded by InWent, the UN Development Program, the World Bank and the Bertelsmann Stiftung, among others.
Intermediaries such as GTZ are involved in public-private partnerships to help companies meet international standards (“mise à niveau”). For example, GTZ conducted a market study for the Argand’Or company, which partners with women’s cooperatives to produce hand-pressed argan oil using traditional methods.