Responsible governance

The corporate sector and environmental responsibility

Corporate sector fails to be responsible
Corporate philanthropy

The corporate sector needs to take care of the environment and fulfill its own social responsibilities in order to achieve sustainable economic growth, proclaimed speakers at the Corporate Social Responsibility Summit 2014.
 
Emphasising the importance of CSR, the speakers said that failure to own responsibility will result in the failure of the corporate sector itself.
 
“The corporate sector needs to make a shift from cost accounting to full-cost accounting,” said Saad Amanullah Khan, CEO Gillette Pakistan and the president of the American Business Council.
 
Explaining the concept of full-cost account accounting, Khan said: “There was a time when companies used to care only about their profits and losses; now the demands of the time have changed and companies have started adding the health of the environment and social responsibilities to their profit/loss calculations.”
 
According to Khan, since 80 percent of the world’s GDP is in the hands of the private sector, it needs to increase its CSR activities instead of waiting for governments to play a role. “Governments come and go; the private sector remains in all seasons,” he said. “Sustainable development is the route to business sustenance.”
 
Sharing examples of corporate philanthropy across the globe, Dr. Junaid Ahmed, chairman of National Management Consultants, said that Pakistan attracted only R619.2 million from US philanthropists till 2013 while India has attracted $8.3 billion in just the last 10 years.
 
However, while former federal minister for information Javed Jabbar agreed on the need for corporations to give more, he insisted that philanthropists educate themselves on who they are giving the money to and for what purpose.
 
“Terrorism is the result of blind philanthropy people used to make in near past,” he said, a point echoed by Commissioner Karachi Shoaib Siddiqui, who also stressed on the need to make philanthropy visible and documented.
 
However, Parvez Ghias, managing director and CEO of Toyota Indus Motors, said that the canvas of CSR should be expanded beyond just philanthropy. “We need to implement good governance and polices, take care of the environment, pay taxes as per our obligations etc,” he said. “We should not keep CSR activities limited to the giving of financial assistance to NGOs and similar organizations.”
 
Ghias believes that building the relationship between business and government is the way forward.
 
Meanwhile, Shahrukh Hasan, Group Managing Director of the Jang Group, used the example of Aman ki Asha, a joint initiative of the Jang Group and the Times of India, to illustrate how CSR efforts can be deployed to address even wider foreign policy issues.
 
“The restoration of peace, harmony and prosperity in the region depend on the resolution of pending political and economic issues – including the Kashmir issue – between Pakistan and India,” said Hasan. “Accordingly, Aman ki Asha is facilitating peace by using its wide platform for initiating honest and sincere dialogue on all contentious issues; by aggressively advocating economic collaboration through increased trade and investment; and by facilitating greater people-to-people contact through cultural exchanges.”
 

 

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