IMITABLE CORPORATE ENTITIES
SHABBIR H. KAZMI
Oct 10 - 16, 2011
There is a general perception that corporate sector is all busy in minting money and paying lesser attention to the people who make it mint money, the community and the country in general.
However, there are examples leaving footprints to be followed by anyone who whishes to contribute towards social building besides organizational progress. It is easy others can also emulate their programs or join them in their endeavor. One point has to be kept in mind that people should not be shy of contributing even a penny after all raindrops make the oceans.
Engro Corp (formerly Engro Chemical Pakistan) was ranked Pakistan's leading CSR Company on January 28, 2010 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.
The initiative has been launched by CSR Asia, a leading provider of information, training, research, and consultancy services on sustainable business practices in Asia. The rating is done on the basis of their performance in areas of governance and policy, CSR strategy and communication, marketplace and supply chain, workplace and people, environment, and community 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 labor rights as well as environmental and anti-corruption practices.
GRI is the world's most widely used sustainability reporting framework for benchmarking organizational 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.
A message from chief executive of Hub Power Company best describes the prevailing situation around the globe as well as Pakistan. It says, "The world we are living in today is quite different from what it was even a decade ago. Social, political, economic, and technological changes have occurred at such a speed that all relationships have been transformed. Unfortunately, one of the few constants in the rapidly changing global environment has been the continuing decline in the quality of life for the less privileged peoples of this world. As global resources became scarcer day by day and global population continues to rise, the prospects of any improvement in living standards for the majority of people on this planet have become dimmer and dimmer."
In such a scenario, the responsibility to bringing about socioeconomic reform rests on many others beyond the government - at least on a moral level - including the corporate sector.
The execution of community welfare and development projects by the corporate sector is to an extent self-motivated. At the end of the day, it is the perceived image of the company that determines how successful it is in the marketplace, or at the simplest level, what people think about it.
To this end, companies get involved in a diverse range of activities to improve their public image. However, more often than not, the activities undertaken also have a clear marketing or commercial angle. Thus while some image building may be achieved, it is obvious that the motives are not entirely altruistic.
The Hub Power Plant is located in one of the least developed areas of the country. As such, the people of the area do not have access to even necessities of life. Fairly soon after coming into operation, HUBCO decided that it could not remain indifferent to this situation. The real needs of the people of the area were studied, with a view to bringing about a sustained and long-term change for the better. From this assessment, a social action program evolved.
HUBCO's social action program (SAP) is a singular example of a company caring for the local community without any consideration of a possible commercial gain. HUBCO's only product - electricity - has only one single buyer in the whole country. That is the Water & Power Development Authority, WAPDA. As such, HUBCO's SAP is not aimed at influencing the general public to buy its product. In this light, the SAP must be seen as a selfless endeavor to benefit the local community and as such, it is a shining example for others to emulate.
This program has been in place for several years on a continuous basis and is now being executed jointly with international power global development (IPGD), the company that is under contract to operate and maintain the Hub power station.
The SAP concentrates on three principal areas - health, education and the environment. The beneficiaries are the residents of the towns and villages in Hub, Gadani, Lasbela and the nearby Goths. The SAP is designed and executed to ensure that people, who do not have resources to meet their health and education needs, take benefits.
Pak Arab Refinery (PARCO) is a joint venture between the governments of Abu Dhabi and Pakistan. It operates the largest refinery in Mahmood Kot and two pipelines, one for black and the other for white oil products. It believes that philanthropy alone is not the only way forward in helping the deprived.
The company is committed towards investing in the areas which would bring in sustainable development for the institutions that become more helpful in the long run. In this regard, the company is working in the areas of health and education for the communities that are residing near its refinery, cross country pipeline and other operations.
The Schools and Clinics Support Program was initiated in 2007 by PARCO to improve its relationship with the adjacent communities by increasing the level of community involvement. Under this program, Parco provided assistance in-kind to around 42 government institutions along the pipeline and close to the stations and refinery. These institutions have been provided assistance in the form of developing infrastructure and procurement of equipment to help them sustain their operations of providing basic health facilities to the communities.
On the civil works side, the range of assistance included construction of classrooms, boundary walls, toilets, underground and overhead water tanks; repair, maintenance and refurbishment of existing facilities, electrification, boring for underground water etc. The institutions were also provided furniture items, water coolers, air-conditioners, deep freezers, fans, medical equipment, medicines etc. All the institutions supported under this program are in the government sector.
The program is an ongoing initiative during which more government schools and clinics will be identified and previous ones will be revisited. This is to assure the communities that PARCO will be there for help when they need it most. Parco's CSR program has given life to the community life in scores of remote villages.
Parco along with The Citizens Foundations (TCF) has established two purpose built primary schools where over 500 underprivileged children are receiving quality education free of cost. Parco is now constructing a secondary campus. This initiative will benefit TCF primary campus students to continue quality education and other adjacent schoolchildren. To support TCF's benevolent cause of education for everyone, Parco joined hands with TCF whereby Parcorians actively participated with dedication. Parco offers 100 per cent scholarships for four years program to two students at the Sargodhian Spirit Trust School in Sargodha.
Parco employees have established a community welfare clinic for adjacent communities, which are run by employees' contribution. Mobile clinics and eye camps are organized on regular basis for rural areas near the refinery. Groundwater sampling and monitoring of suburbs is done to monitor the quality of drinking water being used by the local community.
Parco joined hands with national highways and motorway Police to run campaigns on road safety where a booklet by the name of "Safar Asaan" in Urdu language, were distributed on national highways to motorists.
In this road safety project, Parco has assisted by printing 10,000 booklets. The booklets will also be distributed in areas that are proximal to Parco installations and stations, so that the adjoining communities also become aware of Parco's initiative in safe driving.
Contributing to sustainable development is integral part of Shell's business strategy. Shell is busy in meeting growing demand of energy around the globe and sharing benefits with the local communities and reducing adverse impacts of its operations, including tackling greenhouse gas emissions. To manage the impact of its operations and projects on the environment and society, it has a comprehensive set of standards and requirements covering health, safety, security, environment (HSSE) and social performance (SP).
The Shell general business principles provide high-level guidance and its commitment and policy on HSSE & SP reflects how it operates and involve communities close to its operations. All companies, contractors, and joint ventures under Shell operational control must manage HSSE and SP in line with the commitment and policy, and apply mandatory standards and requirements.
Shell considers environmental and social factors in its investment decisions and when planning major new projects including, for example, the expected future costs of emitting CO2. Before starting any substantial work on major projects or existing facilities, it performs an environmental, health and social impact assessment and also carries out subsequent reviews.
The need to tackle climate change remains urgent. Shell believes the best way to secure a more sustainable energy future is to take action today. Its efforts focus on four areas: 1) producing more natural gas, 2) developing lower-carbon bio-fuels, 3) helping in advancing carbon capture and storage technologies and 4) working to improve energy efficiency in its operations.
Shell Pakistan launched Shell LiveWIRE in 2003, with the local name 'Tameer' (which means 'to build'), with the aim of helping youth across the country towards their own socioeconomic development but also of their communities and Pakistan as well.
Shell Tameer encourages young people aged between 18-32 years to consider starting a business as a desirable and viable career option by providing free information, counseling, support and training on entrepreneurship.
Tameer program is committed to helping youth from all four provinces of the country, irrespective of socioeconomic, educational, religious backgrounds.
Tameer's slogan is "Building on Young Business Ideas". Tameer also develops an individual's entrepreneurial skills needed to plan, launch, and manage new business enterprises. Shell Tameer provides practical support to these young people through partnerships with business support, educational, financial and community organizations.
This is in no way a complete review of the entities having elaborate CRS programs. The narration can continue and may require hundred of pages. There was no deliberate effort to undermine the activities of other corporations. While many of those spending huge amounts prefer that their names should not be mentioned and others are bent upon attaining mileage on the smallest work they do. However, there is a need to recognize the services of those who are media shy and also discourage those who create organizations to serve the masses but the benefits remain confined to their own near and dear.