CSR Centre

Commitment . Sustainability . Responsibility

Message from the CEO

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a well known term in most developed countries of the world today, but is still an evolving issue for countries such as Bangladesh where challenges of overpopulation, unemployment and illiteracy weigh heavy. Natural calamities, changes in Government, political strife and dependency on external factors create further bottlenecks in achieving the minimum standards let alone the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

In early 2001, the issues regarding CSR started to emerge in Bangladesh, especially by those sectors which were export-oriented such as the ready-made garments (RMG) sector. Understanding of the ten basic principles of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) – good governance, anti-corruption, human rights and labour, environmental issue – were increasingly becoming corporate concerns and were gradually developing into global agendas by the private sector and the development sector. Although driven by the UN, these principles were catalysts for changing the nature of progress and creating scope to access international markets.

Today, the CSR Centre plays the role of a facilitator in stimulating a more responsible private sector growth process. The vision of the Centre is to promote sustainable partnerships that can pave the way towards enhancing labour productivity through greener and labour-friendly working environment, promoting internal and external CSR, assisting concerned entities (national and multinational companies, financial institutions, academia, NGOs) on developing a customized CSR strategy and sustainability planning and building capacity on CSR implementation through trainings on CSR.

As countries are faced with resource constraints there is no right time to dive into the implementation of CSR. There must be a good understanding of what exactly is meant by corporate social responsibility. It is not philanthropy, although it is often mistakenly referred to as such, but rather a part of a company or entity’s core business strategy and practices linked to the way business is performed in order to gain future sustainability. It is where a win-win situation exists between workers and management and where there is transparency, information sharing and accountability to the customers.

Shahamin S. Zaman
CEO, CSR Centre