National importance of CSR in the 21st Century

August, 20, 2014

CSR Sri Lanka will launch to facilitate sustainable nationwide initiatives 

In the recent decade the private sector has greatly increased the amount of resources allocated to activities classified as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). CSR, which is interchangeable for Corporate Citizenship, is linked to a company’s Triple Bottom Line Reporting and is used as a framework for

measuring an organization’s performance against economic, social and environmental  parameters. As such, private sector companies are being called upon to take responsibility for the ways their operations impact societies and the natural environment.

According to a local study, 40 private sector entities collectively spend Rs. 4 billion annually on CSR programmes across this nation. However, many of these programmes have, over the years been unsustainable due to various reasons.

In an effort to focusing on more productive and sustainable corporate social responsibility programmes, CSR Sri Lanka is encouraging all private sector companies to work together under one platform to ensure a more committed and long lasting approach that will benefit the nation at large.

CSR Sri Lanka, formed under the alliance of six pioneering partners: Hayleys PLC,  Brandix Lanka Limited, Unilever Sri Lanka,  CIC Agri Businesses (Private) Limited, Aitken Spence PLC, Singer (Sri Lanka) PLC, and Hatton National Bank has a current membership of over 40 private sector corporate entities to recognize and identify critical development projects of national importance that would bring development benefits to the society at large. These development projects come under six strategic pillars, Youth Empowerment, Water and Sanitation, Health Care, Education, Community Empowerment and Natural Disasters.

“The formation of CSR Sri Lanka is a result of significant awareness within the private sector for committed sustainable development amongst the communities we live and operate in,” said Chandula Abeywickrema, Chairman of CSR Sri Lanka. “We want the private sector to work together to encourage and ensure proper sustainable initiatives.”

According to him, CSR Sri Lanka will identify the nationwide needs and ensure proper measures are undertaken to facilitate long term and positive impacts on the communities and society.

Member companies of CSR Sri Lanka will share dividends, burdens and risks equitably and achieve mutual development for both the companies involved and the communities they work with.  The will, in return, provide technical support, knowledge, plans and strategies and volunteers to carry out these activities.

“The private sector is being encouraged to apply sustainability principles to the ways in which they conduct their business,” Abeywickrema averred.  “We want to encourage the private sector to view CSR as a part of their DNA and not just a feather in their corporate cap."

“But most importantly, they must understand that their CSR efforts must benefit relationships that a company has with its employees and other key stakeholders such as customers, investors, suppliers, public and governmental officials, activists, and communities.”