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What is CSR

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been defined as many things lately. Simply put, it is the commitment of a business or company to continuously upgrade its processes, systems, products and services by behaving responsibly and creating value for local communities they operate in, and by enabling its employees, existing and potential customers to improve their standards of living. Positive impact CSR is also about transparency, saying no to and rooting out corruption, complying to international human and labour rights laws, environmental and fair business practices and regulations, as well as giving it back to the society in the form of initiatives and projects that directly benefit and have a positive impact on the lives of local communities and all stakeholders of a company. Good for society and business In recent years, major international and national businesses have realised that CSR is good for society and good for business. Better understanding of the potential benefits of CSR for the progress of individual companies and national economies could encourage the spread of CSR, especially in developing countries that are in desperate need of community and socio-economic development programmes and initiatives. Hearts and minds Prudent global and regional organisations use corporate contributions not only to benefit their communities and helping themselves fulfill the role of a good corporate citizen, but also to help improve their profits. Businesses and companies that align their growth with that of their employees, communities they operate in, as well as their customers and consumers are destined to be more successful and profitable. They achieve their business goals in a transparent and ethical manner by living in the hearts and minds of their stakeholders and customers. Competitive edge For ambitious businesses with regional and global expansion plans, the nature of their reputation is a major factor in their ability to gain competitive edge over existing and future competitors. International companies are seeking and developing new markets in developing countries. Effective CSR strategies could assist them in establishing a positive identity with each of their key stakeholder groups, and indirectly help expand and grow the business.

CSR in Pakistan
Philanthropy and corporate philanthropy have been in practice for decades in Pakistan, but it is only recently that leading corporates have started moving towards integrating CSR into their strategic business, as well as social and community development strategies. Limited Knowledge Many businesses in Pakistan still view CSR as mere philanthropy, charity, social or community development work. Only a handful of companies are signatory to the UN Global Compact or comply with the 10 guiding principles for conducting business in a responsible manner and becoming a socially responsible corporate citizen. They lack the knowledge and expertise to implement CSR programmes and consider doing so as an added responsibility they believe they could do or live without or at least delay

until they are ready to fulfill it. Most businesses in Pakistan give charity and make donations for noble causes. They are faced with many challenges, especially corruption, and are not able to conduct their business without paying bribes or cutbacks to unscrupulous government officials and departments. Immense Opportunities Nevertheless, Pakistan offers a wide range of tangible opportunities for responsible businesses seeking to make a difference in the lives of ordinary people through CSR initiatives and programmes. The unequal distribution of wealth and lack of employment opportunities in and outside major urban centres are taking their toll and choking Pakistani cities. This is increasing pressure on the healthcare, education and sanitation facilities in big cities, creating pollution and seriously challenging the sustainability of resources. Pakistan is the worlds sixth most populous country and more than 70 per cent of its 180 million people live in the rural areas. Development of infrastructure and community improvement programmes in small towns and villages could reduce migration to big cities, as well as bridge the widening gap between standards of living of the urban and the rural population. Need for Infrastructure There are several successful models of sustainable urban development in the developed world that could be emulated and tailor-made to suit the development needs of Pakistans rural and remote areas. The poor infrastructure and lack of basic amenities in rural areas is a major challenge, which was exacerbated by the devastating floods that hit a large part of the country in late July 2010 and left more than two million people homeless. Rural areas account for more than 75 per cent of the registered voters in Pakistan. They could only produce better leadership to represent them at the federal level if people are able to make informed decisions. If they have security and protection of law, access to education, healthcare, water and sanitation, roads and telecommunications facilities, as well as awareness about individual and collective human rights and duties towards community and country. Expanding Market Businesses working on developing a long-term presence in an expanding market face many challenges to sustain their operations and meet the rising demand for basic goods and services. The growth opportunities for doing responsible business outnumber the odds in key sectors including energy, alternate energy, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), pharmaceuticals, textiles, sports goods, livestock and dairy development, food chain business, banking, telecommunications, mining and industrial manufacturing. Good practice of CSR in Pakistan could more than double its exports to major international markets, as well as see the development of joint ventures and strategic partnerships for the transfer of expertise and technology between international and Pakistani companies and businesses. The opportunities are immense, but the pace of their realisation is contingent on peace, security and political stability in Pakistan and its surrounding areas. Telecom companies in Pakistan are seen working towards the social improvements in the society under their CSR activities. The popular ones from last year include: Telenor Khuddar Pakistan initiative for the persons with disabilities. Ufone Child Healthcare Initiative which will revamp Children Ward and Children OPD in major hospitals nationwide with the goal of making it more hygienic and comfortable. Ufone has started with a revamp of Children Ward/OPD

at the Federal Government Services Hospital, Islamabad commonly known as Polyclinic. Warids GIVE and National Polio Immunization Drive with Rotary Club. Recently under the Khuddar Pakistan, Telenor Pakistan supported Special Talent Exchange Program (STEP), Handicap International and other NGOs/DPOs to organize the tournament.

Last week Mobilink aimed to make Pakistan Polio Free by taking a novel initiative that will help Polio Control Cell in tracking missed areas and children this year via an SMS-based service. Through this SMS service, Mobilink subscribers will be able to report missed areas and children by texting POLIO to 7654. The Polio Control Cell will then contact the concerned polio teams to take action to ensure that the respective health authorities immunize the missed children in their localities.

The latest is another Mobilinks initiative to mark 2010 as Pink Year for Pakistan. The Pink Ribbon is the symbol for breast cancer and Mobilink has been actively promoting Pink Ribbon Breast Awareness Campaign since 2008 and in last two years Mobilink has educated over 250 female employees about breast cancer by regularly hosting Pink Ribbon Breast Cancer Awareness Seminars in Mobilink offices across Pakistan. They not only supported Pink Ribbon Campaign to spread awareness among their female employees but they have gone extra mile by promoting the Breast Awareness Campaign to their customer base as well. Each year

Mobilink sends flyers to its customers inserted in their bills in hopes of spreading breast cancer awareness to a much wider audience. We need more of the socially awareness responsibility and hope that companies keep coming forward with more of such campaigns.
This post is based on an original post by Saad Khan at Green & White. Simply put, corporate social responsibility is more than sponsoring concerts or donating for worthy causes. It is active participation in long-term and sustainable development of the society in which these companies do business. Heres more from S. Khans post: Corporate social responsibility or CSR as it is fondly called is a relatively newer concept in Pakistani corporate sector. The international market is adopting newer and innovative ways to show that they care for the humanity. Pakistani CSR scene leaves much to be desired. I just went through this thoughtful article in which CSR in Pakistani corporate sector is discussed in ample details. I think the concept of giving back to the community is developing in Pakistan. Corporate social responsibility is a little complex issue. If a company sponsors a sporting or performing arts event, it has short term effects. Whereas lets say, if a company launches a scheme aiming at poverty alleviation or educational improvement, then that is definitely a better investment. Ill limit my discussion to IT sector. Mobilinks efforts must be applauded in this regard. The Mobilink PCO scheme is working quite well, thus providing employment opportunities to so many people. Their endeavor was lauded in a post on G & W, as it was a nice initiative. Recently NBP Karobar has joined forces with Mobilink in generating jobs for young Pakistanis. Telenor has also launched theirPCO offering in cooperation with National Rural Support Program. Most of Telecom companies, especially Mobile operators are also working in many other fields like donation to hospitals, Schools etc which is commendable. It seems that they have accepted their CSR. As far as supporting the Sports and Entertainment Industries of Pakistan, I think all the Mobile companies are up to the mark in these fields. These days youll notice that most of the sporting or entertainment events are sponsored by some telecom giant of Pakistan. So lets hope that these trends will continue in future too. I am waiting for the comments of our readers to enlighten us further about the CSR scene in Pakistan, especially within technology sector.

Mobilink is not only Pakistans largest provider of Global System for Mobile (GSM) services with over 28 million subscribers, it is also working proactively to create

socio-economic development opportunities for a maximum number of people in the country. As one of the largest and most successful subsidiaries within the Cairobased Orascom Group, a leading telecommunications and real estate conglomerate in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region, Mobilink has been providing GSM services in Pakistan for over a decade. Its corporate culture is built on the belief that real business success is not just about profits measured in numbers, but also how those numbers are achieved. Our corporate strategy reflects our commitment to sustainable business practices and balancing responsibility alongside growth and productivity. Our CSR goes beyond philanthropy and donations. We take into account the impact of our business decisions on all stakeholders and on the environment. We try to understand what is expected of us as a responsible corporation and then, where possible, to act on the insight in the larger interest of the community we live in, says Rashid Khan, President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Mobilink.

Telenor Pakistan launched its mobile telecommunications services in 2005 and is now the second largest operator in the country. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Oslo-based Telenor Group, listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange. The Telenor Group started out as a public company in Norway in 1855. Today, it has more than 170 million mobile subscriptions through operations in 13 countries and a combined workforce of about 40,000 people. Aside from being a leading global provider of telecom services, Telenor has been at the forefront of CSR in each market it operates in. We believe in taking responsibility for our actions, in affecting change through technology, and in helping communities help themselves. All our initiatives, programmes, projects and business functions act responsibly, maintaining a balance towards all stakeholders, says Jon Eddy Abdullah, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Telenor Pakistan. Jon says that each industry should consider its challenges and opportunities to best contribute to social and environmental objectives. CSR projects make a bigger impact if they directly contribute to making a positive difference in the lives of ordinary people.