Businesses everywhere are introducing corporate social responsibility frameworks as a measure of giving back to the community of customers that makes their business viable.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can take many forms. Some businesses support environmental activities and some target social needs such as water or solar electrification projects.
CSR is an important element of the Green Economy. In the Green Economy model Business is still there to make a profit but it is meant to keep the planet (that provides resources) and the people (that provide labour) in a healthy balance. To ensure the health of both planet and people, businesses are encouraged to re-invest some of their profit in activities that help the environment and society.
What’s in it for business?
Through their CSR activities, businesses are sending out the message that they care about the people and planet. This is both a positive public relations exercise and also a reinvestment in the planet and people that support the business through their resources and labour. Positive public relations also ensures the loyal support of customers and gives companies a comparative advantage over others that are not so engaged in the community.
There are already a number of Pacific based businesses that are investing in their corporate social responsibility. These include Vodafone ATH Foundation, the Fiji Water Foundation and the Bank South Pacific.
A number of Pacific companies already have well developed CSR policy. Those wanting to develop their own CSR policy may get some inspiration from this template.
Pacific Environment and Climate Exchange
The Pacific Islands Development Forum is working with the Pacific Environment and Climate Exchange (PECX) to provide a platform where businesses can find projects in the Pacific that can be supported as part of their corporate social responsibility efforts. This will help smaller businesses that are not in a position to establish their own foundations to also honour their corporate social responsibilities by having the PECX link them up with grassroots action. It is envisaged that the PECX portal will be developed soon and be an integral component of this Pacific Green Business Portal.