Link CSR to environment, workers welfare and good governance, The Independent, 16 July 2012

CSR experts Sunday said business organisations should focus on the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a policy to link core business strategies to the environment, human rights, workers’ welfare and good governance issues. They made the comments at the launching ceremony of a report named “Report on CSR in Bangladesh: Practicing Responsible Business for Mutual Benefits” at the conference room of Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI) in the city. CSR Centre, a non-profit organisation, based on its working experience published the report on CSR aiming to


the private sector to expand their CSR activities and responsible business practices in ways that create business benefit and contribute to overall national development.

William Hanna, ambassador and head of delegation of the European Union in Bangladesh, attended the launching ceremony as the chief guest while Saleemul Huq, senior fellow of International Institute for Environment and Development, SK Sur Chowdhury, deputy governor of Bangladesh Bank, and Ragne Birte Lund, ambassador of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Dhaka, among others, were present as special guests.

Farooq Sobhan, chairman of the Board of Trustee of CSR Centre and also president of BEI, presided over the event and Shahamin S Zaman, chief executive officer of CSR Centre, presented the overview of the published report.

Shahamin said, “At present, global businesses set their own standards to make them competitive in their sectoral markets by implementing strong CSR strategy, which is linked with their core business objective.” “This helps a corporate house make greater profit and also enhance brand image leading to a sustainable growth,” she added. She also gave importance on moving out of the traditional approach of equating philanthropy with CSR and said far-reaching education and awareness programmes are needed to create a common understanding of CSR across sectors and geographies.

The report finds out that among CSR’s four dimensions – society, economy, environment and business – social CSR activities are most prevalent among the companies in the country, she said.

“On the other hand, only one-third of the companies interviewed specifically mentioned economic CSR activities such as creating employment opportunities,” said Shahmin.

Chairman of CSR Centre Board of Trustees Farooq Sobhan said, “CSR activities exceed philanthropy…it begins from in-house and goes on through engaging different stakeholders such as employees, shareholders, customers, suppliers and communities.”

Head of the European Union delegation to Bangladesh William Hanna said the world have now been focusing on incorporating ethical considerations in the CSR because of people’s loss of confidence on businesses and financial institutions following the economic meltdown in most of the European countries.

Stressing on integrating the human rights issue in CSR strategies in the developing world, he said and added that European Union countries are increasingly putting together an ethical approach in their foreign policies that stress on human rights.


16 July, 2012