Pakistan requires more than one mega water reservoirs to cater to the increasing needs of water and power sector.

KHALID BUTT, Bureau Chief, Lahore
Dec 25 - 31, 2006

The local branch of ICMA organized a seminar on "Corporate Social Responsibility" last week, where Chairman WAPDA Tariq Hamid was the chief guest and the guest speakers comprised Dr. Pervez Hassan, Advocate Supreme Court, President Pakistan Environment Association, Dr. Baela Raza Jameel, ex-Consultant UNICEF, Chairperson ITA, Pakistan, Mr. Zaigham Mahmood Rizvi, Chairman/MD House Building Finance Corporation (HBFC), Mr. Nazir Ahmad Shaheen, Executive Director SECP, Islamabad, Mr. Kashif Mateen Ansari, Chief Operating Officer, Army Welfare Trust, Dr. Shahid A Zia, Director Lahore Stock Exchange, Mr. Mutee-ur-Rheman Mirza, Vice President ICMAP and Ms. FaryaI Zafar of ACMA.

The speakers maintained that in the past a company's merit was based solely on its financial performance. "Stakeholders are now beginning to better understand how corporate behavior affects social, political, and natural environments. With this increase in understanding, comes an increased pressure from investors, consumers and employees for companies to consider social and environmental criteria while making business decisions.

"This has created momentum for using an environmental and financial data while evaluating business operations. Increasingly, stakeholders are concerned that companies they support have business practices that positively impact society while achieving financial success. CSR can involve almost any aspect of a company's operations. Every company has a story to tell that sets it apart. It is important for every company to find its story and to tell it.

"A company that is considered a good corporate citizen in one that demonstrates a commitment to its stakeholders through socially responsible business practices and transparent operations. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has emerged as a discipline that aligns business operations with social values. CSR integrates the interests of stakeholders - all of those affected by a company's conduct - into the company's business policies and actions.

"CSR focuses on the social, environmental and financial success of a company - the triple bottom line, with the goal being to positively impact society while achieving business success."

WAPDA Chairman Tariq Hamid said that Pakistan requires construction of more than one mega water reservoirs to cater to the increasing needs of the country in the water and power sector. He said that Pakistan was fast heading towards a situation of acute water shortage due to the rapid growth in population and depleting storage capacity owing to sedimentation, thus making the construction of mega reservoirs inevitable without any further delay.

"Pakistan has a storage capacity of 9 percent of total water availability, whereas the average storage capacity worldwide stands at about 40 percent," he observed and warned that Pakistan might become a water-starved country as like Chad and Ethiopia by the year 2012, if storage capacity was not enhanced.

"Having a cultivable land base of 77 million acres, Pakistan has a potential to bring 22.6 million acres of land under cultivation provided additional water is made available," the chairman added.

Talking about the power sector, he said that the annual growth in electricity consumption during the last four years had risen by 9.8 percent. He said that the load on the WAPDA grid increases by 2000 MW during peak hours from 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm. "To address the problem of possible shortage of electricity in the coming years, we have to generate sufficient electricity at an affordable rate and it is only possible through the construction of big dams", he maintained.

Earlier Mr. Khalid Mahmood, ACMA Chairman, ICMAP Lahore Branch Council, in his address of welcome, highlighted the aims and objectives of the seminar with special reference to its theme.

At the end, Mr. Asif Majeed Sheikh, FCMA Vice Chairman, Lahore Branch Council, presented vote of thanks.