While running a business entails taking care of a hefty amount of responsibilities – from employee wellness to shareholder interests – another factor that business owners need to pay adequate attention to is CSR or Corporate Social Responsibility. CSR can be defined as “the commitment of businesses to work ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large”.
Therefore, Corporate Social Responsibility is every business’s responsibility to operate in a sustainable and ethical way and be mindful of its social and environmental impacts. This usually involves a careful consideration of the community, human rights, society and the environment in which the business operates. The importance of CSR in a company’s operations can’t be stressed enough. It’s a healthy practice for businesses which not only attracts stakeholders but also customers.
According to the Cone Communications/Ebiquity Global CSR study of 2015, 91% of consumers all over the world expect businesses to act ethically and responsibly and to actively participate in activities that address environmental and societal issues. Moreover, approximately 84% consumers said they seek responsible products while shopping. The statistics show that customers pay great attention to businesses that are mindful of their social responsibility and who not only care about their own profits but of the society at large.
As Pakistan continues to grow in regard to the number of businesses and SMEs, greater importance is placed on their CSR practices and the impact they have on the society and the environment.
Although it’s often argued that a majority of businesses in Pakistan lack CSR practices, there exist companies that continue to thrive while supporting the society and building a brighter future for the country. In this regard, JS Bank has been on the forefront of CSR practices.
Because of their endeavors in CSR, particularly in education, health and sustainable development, JS Bank received the award for ‘Best Environmental, Social and Governance Bank’, at the prestigious Pakistan Banking Awards 2017. Moreover, it received the honorary CSR award for its initiatives in community development. Engro is another company renowned for its CSR initiatives. Engro is signatory to the UN Global Compact (UNGC) and Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) for its initiatives in skill development, health, education, environment, philanthropy, relief efforts and emergency in Pakistan.
Moreover, PSO (Pakistan State Oil) also supports sustainable development in the country. PSO’s CSR activities focus mainly on education, community building and environment, healthcare and national disaster relief. The company especially focuses on the development of areas where it operates.
Corporate Social Responsibility is the way forward for businesses in order to have a positive impact on their society and environment and support their community. Businesses need to embrace CSR in their operations to have a more powerful impact not only in the local market but internationally as well. Businesses have a huge impact on everyday lives of millions of people and the way they understand the society and its problems is simply unparalleled. Through CSR, they can use this knowledge to make a true impact on lives, earn greater customer trust and respect, and promote a more humane society.
[box type=”note” align=”” class=”” width=””]The writer is M.B.A Researcher and Communication specialist[/box]