Thursday, August 23, 2007

Translating CSR into business strategies

KUALA LUMPUR: Corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives are not only about philanthropy but translating these ideas into practical business strategies.
Securities Commission chairman Datuk Zarinah Anwar said Malaysian firms were at different levels of development and achievement in implementing CSR-driven efforts.
“It is not about donating money, but more importantly it is about integrating social and ethically practices into business strategies,” she told reporters after delivering the keynote address at the UNDP/ICR Malaysia Corporate Social Responsibility Conference Thursday.
She said Khazanah Nasional’s Silver Boo programme was an example that firms could adopt in their own business practices.
To a question, she said Malaysia’s Islamic funds have a lot in common with socially-responsible funds, which was an important aspect in promoting CSR among the investors.
Earlier in her speech, she said over the last few years, there was a growing trend for investment preferences to be increasingly geared towards ethically or socially-responsible investments.
“In Australia, managed socially responsible investment portfolios grew by 56% during the 2006 financial year.
“In Europe, there are 388 green, social and ethical funds as at June 30, 2006 compared to 280 funds in 2001,” she said.
According to Zarinah, the availability of social and environmental reporting indices such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index or ACCA’s Malaysian Environmental and Social Reporting Awards (MESRA) have allowed investors to focus their investment strategies on the benefits of socially and environmentally responsible investing.

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