Home / Management/ Corporates urged to find the fit between CSR and innovation

Corporates urged to find the fit between CSR and innovation


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Monday, 11 December 2017 00:00


By Shehana Dain

As top corporates in the country bring Corporate Social Responsibility to the table in the quest for greater value and competitiveness, experts stress that corporate social innovation is the new CSR.

 Eardley Perera (left) and  David Bent

Commenting at Best Corporate Social Citizen Sustainability Awards 2017, Evaluators Panel Chairperson Eardley Perera stressed that innovation has not been embedded to CSR in the local business arena specifically as business had shown little focus on customers.

“Among your stakeholders you have customers and suppliers. There are some organisations which have given very little attention to the importance of customers. There was nothing extraordinary that you had done on behalf of the customer. You had replicated a lot of things you had done before, virtually replicated some of the things that have been done internationally and nothing innovative that we can talk about. In terms of the customer there is no wow factor in all the applications we have seen this year,” he added.

Leading local and multinational corporates and business consultants found common ground during the seventh annual Best Corporate Social Citizen Sustainability Awards ceremony held recently which was organised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, as they agreed that adhering to socially responsible business practices helps the long-term growth and sustainability of businesses big and small, while minimising operational costs.

According to Perera, the 27 applications which were submitted to the evaluators table amounts to just over 10% of companies which possess chamber of commerce membership.



For CSR to achieve its potential, it must focus on key areas of interaction between a firm and its environment and address value creation activities at the centre of the strategic agenda. The challenge is to get innovative CSR thinking on the table when business strategies are being explored and decided.

Emphasising on this issue, he said: “There seems to be a disjoint between some of the people who own and run the company and some of them who’re pursuing sustainability. This gap has to be eliminated. Boards of companies must have sustainability strategies and shouldn’t be ad hoc engagement.”

The chairperson of the evaluators noted that companies should stretch their strategic ambition to align with goals of national importance. Businesses have an impact on societies, thus there is a need to recognise the mutual responsibilities it entails.

“First priority while we do sustainability and productivity profitability – we cannot have all of them in an area of conflict we must get society’s minds across to reconciliation to ensure that we don’t have any conflicting area contributing in any way to dismantle this country’s progress. Sadly none of the applicants had articulated their attempts for reconciliation. This is a very sad situation because this is the cream of the country; you have to take the leadership so that the smaller companies such as SMEs can take you as the example for enthusiasm for reconciliation,” he added.

World-leading advisor on sustainable business based in the UK David Bent delivering his keynote speech echoed the belief that the smart partnering with stakeholders is vital to drive corporate social strategy forward. “Try to trigger positive feedback groups of all your stakeholder groups that you rely on and who rely on you. Imagine if you can galvanise and centralise and nurture your suppliers, staff, distribution channels and your customers, imagine how powerful they would be? Everyone being valued for choosing that direction and you can take a larger piece of the pie,” he said.

Smart partnering in CSR is known to focus on key areas of impact between business and society and develops creative solutions that draw on the complementary capabilities of both to address major challenges that affect each partner.

Bent also emphasised on the importance of offering support to losers in order to accelerate the transition in a circular economy. “In any profound change there will be winners and losers. One thing is that if you don’t support the losers they will keep that change from happening or object as the change happens.”

Pix by Shehan Gunasekara

 


Share This Article


DISCLAIMER:

1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.

COMMENTS

Today's Columnists

Finishing the job of ending poverty in South Asia

Thursday, 18 October 2018

“I have a four-year-old son back in my village. I want to make a better life for him,” says Sharmin Akhtar, a 19-year-old employee in one of Dhaka’s many flourishing garment factories. Like thousands of other poor women, Sharmin came down to B


Depreciating rupee: Avoiding a money-go-round

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Sri Lanka’s excessive reliance on foreign capital to finance investment under favourable external financial conditions is now leading to disruptions, as those conditions change in a decisive interest rate tightening phase in the United States. As U


Responsible water stewardship in Sri Lanka

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Unlike many of our regional neighbours, Sri Lanka is blessed with an abundant water table. However, many companies do not feel the full value of this precious resource due to the limited regulation and monitoring of fresh water extraction for busines


Economy in disarray, banks flourishing; can this be true?

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

It is earlier reported that the growth in bank credit accelerated in August despite the tight credit and money conditions and rising non-performing loans in the banking sector. It is further reported that the year-on-year (YoY) growth in credit accel


Columnists More