CSR AN IGNORED OBLIGATION

KANWAL SALEEM
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)
Oct 4 - 10, 20
10

In any country, banks and industries as a whole are the cause as well as beneficiary of socioeconomic stability and prosperity. After the industrial revolution and establishment of national and multinational corporations, wealth accumulation in limited hands has been an important manifestation. Therefore, it is obligatory for corporations, industries and businesses to reinvest some portion of their profits back to society to ensure that society survives so that a perpetual profit generation is ensured.

The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a tool to deliver for the society to earn respect but in countries like Pakistan CSR has been nothing more than a joke where important social issues are ignored and overlooked.
In Pakistan, due to a lack of awareness, people so far have not pressed the corporations, banks and industries to fulfill their obligations to society. The ongoing devastating calamity floods requires them to rise to the occasion and play their much needed role for revamping, rehabilitation and reconstruction of society in general and the economy in particular.

The floods caused much devastations in the country posing serious economic challenges for the government that alone cannot handle the gigantic task of meeting this challenge. In the flood stricken areas, the sources of livelihood, i.e. agriculture, livestock, fisheries, tourism, road network, bridges, electricity, communication, schools, mosques, hospitals and dispensaries have either been washed away or rendered worthless by the gushing flood waters. It will take longtime for the complete restructuring of the infrastructure if serious efforts are put in place that are yet to be mobilised. The fragile state institutions, already lacking the capacity to perform in normal circumstances, neither would be expected to perform at their best nor should be blamed.

A comprehensive strategy to initiate microfinance projects in all flood-hit areas is necessary to provide individuals with low income loans, especially women, to restart their domestic income generation and earn a livelihood.
Pharmaceutical companies should also be pressed to modify their marketing strategy for one year and instead of investing millions of dollars on pleasure trips to seduce doctors, they should pay that amount in-kind and should freely provide medicines to the government as well as philanthropists to save the lives of millions of people in need.

According to experts, the key to sustainable development lies in the establishment of an effective partnership between the public and private sector, which in today's challenging environment enables organisations to successfully exploit various economic opportunities. Such partnerships are an important tool that can be used to make private sector led growth (pro-poor growth) i.e. a growth that is inclusive and therefore, sustainable.

In this critical juncture of country's history, the role of the public sector will be to put in place the right policy, legal and regulatory environment to ease the risk perceptions that shy away the private investor and at the same time, rationalise the profit seeking behaviour of the private sector with public concerns and concern for corporate responsibility, they said adding, governments must maintain macroeconomic stability and promote appropriate structural policies.
Engro Corporation Limited (formerly Engro Chemical Pakistan Limited) has recently been ranked Pakistan's leading company for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), in the first Asian Sustainability Rating (ASR).

Engro also achieved the distinction of being the only Pakistani company included in ASR's top 50 Asian companies.
The ASR ranks 200 of the largest listed companies in 10 countries across Asia on the basis of transparency and disclosure of their CSR policies and practices.

CSR Asia, a leading provider of information, training, research and consultancy services on sustainable business practices in Asia has launched the initiative.
The rating compared companies for their performance in areas of governance and policy, CSR strategy and communication, marketplace and supply chain, workplace and people, environment, and community and development. Engro has the distinction of being in a select group of companies, which are signatories to the UN Global Compact (UNGC), as well as being part of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).
UNGC is a voluntary, strategic policy initiative encouraging companies to incorporate principles of human and labour rights as well as environmental and anticorruption practices. GRI is the world's most widely used sustainability reporting framework for benchmarking organisational performance on economic, environmental, and social dimensions.
Engro's efforts in building sustainability in Pakistan are demonstrated by its commitment to consistently contribute one per cent of profits before tax towards social investments. Engro's major social spending is in the areas of skill development, education, health, environment, emergency relief efforts and philanthropy.