Corporate Social Responsibility

Manila Bulletin, April 11, 2009 | Go to article overview

Corporate Social Responsibility


Introduction: Investment in human resourceA large part of educational services must consist of the development of human and labor resources. This is called investment in human capital because, in an economic sense, it is very much the same as investing in machines and other material capital. We need additional product output to more than repay the new investment costs. Similarly, it pays for an individual to invest in human capital – additional education – because the increase in education can increase the earning power of the person being educated by more than the cost of additional education.Investing in human capital is easier said than done. For those who have the financial and intellectual capabilities to invest, with the end in view of making money out of their investment, such an investment can be a worthwhile move. In contrast, to those who are poor and consequently, uneducated, this kind of investment will not be a wise choice. But if they are supported by generous donors, the poor who have potentials can make a difference.What is corporate social responsibility (CSR)?Corporations are now viewed as integral parts of society whose role is to help society develop which, in turn, insures to a great extent the long-term viability of the corporations. The values, visions, and strategic objectives of corporations should be compatible with those of society and the community. Hence, there must be congruence in purpose between and among these entities, not to mention the interests of stakeholders. In simple terms, this is the essence of corporate philanthropy or corporate social responsibility.Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an organization’s obligation to be accountable to all its stakeholders in all its operations and activities with the aim of achieving sustainable development not only in the economic dimension but also in the social and environmental dimensions. It aligns business operations with social values.How is CSR construed in the Philippines?From July to early October, 2007, Newsbreak Magazine conducted a survey among 104 large-scale companies, local and multinational, asking them 11 questions with triple-choice responses and ranking options. Out of this number, 54 companies responded. The questions were so formulated to determine if CSR was embedded in the company in terms of structure and leadership, funding and logistics, and reporting and assessment. Follow-up interviews were conducted.Here are the key findings: (1) In most of the companies, the CEO initiates CSR programs; (2) The entry point for CSR practice has been concentrated on two aspects: community work and PR; (3) Getting the other functional groups involved in embedding the CSR strategy into the way the company plans and implements products and services is rare; (4) Many companies leave the CSR implementation to the corporate foundation, while half say they let the public relations or corporate communications group take the lead; and (5) Next to the community, the employees are the stakeholders that the companies target for their CSR. Investors are low priority.In the 2007 Philippine CSR report, 19 billion pesos were poured by the business sector into social development programs for the last ten years. Of this, 46 percent went to human services development, especially education and training; 27 percent was spent on livelihood and employment; and 25 percent was allocated to the environment.Inculcating CSR among university studentsSometime in 2007, 130 students of the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) were engaged animatedly in discussing a problem – how to find ways for a fictitious mining company to preserve the ecosystem of a small island located in Southern Philippines, to improve the lives of its 350,000 residents and to ward off unwanted attention from rebel groups and corrupt officials. Putting together students from government, business, and NGOs, sectors which have traditionally distrusted each other, the simulation was the latest attempt of AIM to teach CSR in an engaging way. …

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