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Corporate Social Responsibility

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Corporate Social Responsibility: opportunities and challenges

1125 words

24 April 2006

Business Recorder


© 2006 Business Recorder. All Rights Reserved.

The above statement is a reflection of the changing role of business. Whereas for Milton Friedman a few decades

back the business of business was business for Anita Roddick today the business of business is responsibility.

The changing role of business has serious implications for Pakistani businesses. The main aim of businesses in

Pakistan has always been profit maximisation. Now due to the increasing pressure of western consumers, media

and local NGOs as well as globalisation Pakistani businesses have been forced to think about whether they need to

look beyond profit maximisation. Our fish sector is at crossroads.

The carpets and sports sector despite the best efforts of business community and the government of Pakistan still

have to do a lot of work to overcome the reputation damage caused by the child labour issue. The business

community has been criticised for polluting natural resources like air and water. Our textile and leather industries

have lost lucrative contracts to EU consumers due to non-availability of effluent treatment plants and waste

disposal management systems. All these issues have resulted in a number of questions being asked.

A question commonly asked at different discussion forums is that can our industries create waste that damages

the health of our citizens and not be responsible to the citizens? Can our industries deprive us of natural resources

like water or pollute water and not even acknowledge the damage to water? Do the businesses have no role in

promoting education among our masses?

The business community of Pakistan has answered these questions by undertaking certain corporate social

responsibility initiatives like donating money to earthquake victims and various charities. These activities which

can be classified as community investment or corporate philanthropy have subsequently resulted in criticism from

certain quarters.

They have questioned whether by donating money to charitable causes is the business community fulfilling its

responsibility towards society or whether the business community need to look beyond community investment to

community services.

As business in Pakistan explore the option of adoption of corporate social responsibility, they need to realise

that the challenge as well as the opportunity for the businesses of Pakistan is to move towards a challenging

measure of corporate responsibility, where they need to judge results by the difference they make to the society



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