CSR is a business investment
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) concept has been here for decades and I am gladto see some companies adopt and implement their own. However we need morecompanies that are for profit and at the same time help to solve social economic problemsof the country.With the economic hardships in this country, local communities are swamped with problems such as poverty, homelessness, pollution, lack of quality education and other social disparities. Government social programs do not last due to lack of funding. Non- profits fill the gap, which is a great alternative, but they rely on grant and donations tooperate. Recently many NGO’s or Civil Societies in the country are experiencing funding problems straining further the implementation of their programs.Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), one of the biggest local donor organizations in the country has been preparing for this long time ago. I was lucky towork with them in the past and I can fully remember well the agenda of the organization -to make companies active participants in social development. PBSP have realized thenthat sooner or later Donor funds would certainly become scarce, thus, the CSR programwas pushed as a strategy to sustain the development initiatives. Meaning, the businesssector is seen as a viable asset in poverty alleviation efforts. Aside from their naturaladvantages such as fund, technical expertise and network, their stakes are naturally highif social situation deteriorates.There are companies that converted their pubic relations department into CSR centers andcreated foundations to manage their resources and implement projects to communitieswhere they operate. We are thankful for their CSR programs, but I am worried of thegrowing pattern that their projects and their implementation are very similar to those of the Civil Societies. These company foundations that are supposed to be the expression for their corporate social responsibility are in fact competing with local NGOs in accessingdonor funds particularly foreign sources.It is not entirely bad, but I am afraid that this has departed from the CSR philosophy.Corporate Social responsibility to my understanding is fundamentally an essentialstrategy for business sustainability. It is solidly founded from the fact that poor socialconditions affect business viability. CSR concepts should transcend from mere marketingor image building strategy to get customer loyalty and public support, but an exercise of responsibility just like any good citizen of a country – helping improve people’s lives thatin return create good dividends which is called business opportunities. To be honest aboutit, CSR is strictly business investments and good practices aimed to improve business profits. The only difference is that investments in CSR are meant to bring social change.I am afraid, companies could be easily accused of using public funds (foreign assistanceare inherently public funds) for their own ends. Sounds familiar? Yep, not different from politicians using projects financed by public funds to prop-up their chances on the nextelection.