CSR Centre

Commitment . Sustainability . Responsibility

Chairman's Message

While debate continues regarding elements that define CSR, few can deny that CSR practices improve operational efficiency, increase standards and reliability in the supply chain and positively affects employee motivation and loyalty which, in turn, leads to greater productivity. It is important to note, however, that CSR practice is not exclusively for large companies. Nor is it only for those whose concerns are in the export business. Such prevalent misperceptions need immediate rectification, particularly in Bangladesh, where all businesses, both large and small, can enhance their competitiveness through greater adoption and implementation of CSR. By embracing the values of CSR, the Bangladesh private sector can send a strong signal to the global market that they are ensuring their commitments to society.

CSR practice in Bangladesh is a relatively new phenomenon and there is a clear lack of integration of CSR with core business strategy. Perhaps the greatest challenge in CSR implementation is the fact that CSR practice is perceived by many as a cost or a threat rather than as a business opportunity. There is also a lack of quality data and resources to develop a business case for CSR and enable the private sector to relate better by learning from peers.

It is these observations and learning that led us to develop the CSR Centre. Through the Centre, we hope to make available better products and tools that will increase awareness on the benefits of CSR, and will also help quantify the intangibles of CSR. By championing CSR under a specialized institutionalized framework, we hope that the CSR Centre will have greater economic impact and value addition that have so far eluded businesses in Bangladesh.

It is very true that few of us have the luxury of committing additional resources to new initiatives. That is where the benefits of CSR come to the fore. CSR is about partnerships and sharing resources, and is not limited to just financial commitments. Partnerships based on equity principles, where businesses can reach out to others with complementary strengths, is a cornerstone of good CSR practice. Through such resource collaborations, businesses can find long term win-win solutions to complex problems, expand their network and find new business opportunities in an increasingly competitive world, and more importantly, free up resources to concentrate on core competencies.

Strategic CSR practices, consistently applied in Bangladesh, will improve the general competitiveness of the private sector vis-à-vis global competition, as well as develop Bangladesh's international image as a responsible global manufacturer and service provider.

Farooq Sobhan
Chairman, Board of Trustees
CSR Centre