May 18, 2013
30 April 2010
Even a successful business organisation could fail when it comes to CSR, as business strategies are in stark difference from those of CSR. A wrong vision can lead to wrong strategies, and implementing the strategies could lead to a failure or low effectiveness
CSR and business activities differ in targets. A business succeeds in selling products and services, if the products and services can compete to find limited buyers. In the fierce business world, there are both winners and losers.
But the goal of CSR is not limited. It could be extended to cover community or social problems. Competition in business sense thus can’t be applied in CSR.
As such, no business stands to lose or gain from CSR activities. While the market itself reaps total investment gains, as none is wasted in the competition.
A challenge in launching CSR activities in 2010 is how to integrate all resources for total gains. As CSR market is unlimited, it could suck (limited) resources of a company but promise little gains. Even a rich company could not turn desert into a sea.
Once a company realises that available resources could be just a drop of water, it is reasonable to combine resources with other companies to create an oasis. The joint efforts will ensure the growth of trees and plants, or even the self-sustainable ecology.
A company may try to answer these simple (or hard) questions to review the effectiveness of its CSR activities:
Starting a CSR activity without considering the after-process would never lead to sustainable development.
Kicking off something is a start of the sustainable development, but we do know that dropping a water into the desert would never lead to sustainability. The business world is thus in the turning point in mobilising cross-organisation efforts, if it really wants to create an oasis.
To achieve the goal, a company needs to drop its identity and the obsession to create a difference without taking into account the context. If it can overcome the challenge, it will lead to the sharing of resources, just like what we witness in the logistic and IT areas where many players – even those in the same business - are allowed into a single network.
The question is if any company realises that our CSR can be jointly implemented like the backoffice services. Most companies do not. They remain committed to their own CSR programmes, singly seeking public awareness through different or outstanding activities. To them, CSR is simply a PR tool and this lessens the true meaning of CSR. With this perception, they win or lose from their own CSR.
But if companies realise the value of sharing this backoffice service, this would ensure the high effectiveness to stakeholders – clients, consumers, community, and etc. This in turn will strengthen their identity and uniqueness.
Companies in several industries like automobile, electrical appliances and electronics have started to combine forces in the supply chain. Parts manufacturers, distributors, service centres are put together. If the sectoral initiative could happen with CSR, CSR would not be just a buzzword but the initiative for concrete value to society.
Cooperation like this can be cross-sectoral, to encompass companies which share utilities or a similar target groups. Companies can join hands to address a shared social issue.
Yet again, when launching sectoral and cross-sectoral CSR initiatives, companies should also take into accounts undesirable and unexpected consequences. None of us wants an initiative that would weaken communities.
By Pipat Yodprutikarn
The Japanese government, under its grant assistance for grassroots human security projects scheme (GGP), is providing Bt1.88 million for waste-management centres and promoting waste recycling in Samokhae sub-district in the Muang district of Phitsanulok province.
Richard Abela, country president of Novartis (Thailand) has donated Bt473,000 to the Pattaya Redemptorist School for the Blind, under the patronage of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
General Motors vice president of global manufacturing and president of international operations Tim Lee recently joined GM Southeast Asia president Martin Apfel to hand out 130 virtually indestructible footballs to schoolchildren in Chon Buri.