Thai CSR Network

(www.thaicsr.com)

Moving social contributions from '2G' to '3G'

Darana Chudasri

Listed companies and market regulators have been promoting the importance of corporate social responsibility for many years now, with mixed results.

While some leading firms appear to have genuinely absorbed CSR planning into their corporate DNA, too many still offer only lip service.

CSR proponents now hope that a new voluntary programme, called CSR Day for Directors, will make board directors more aware of the benefits.

The initiative is one of several programmes run by the Stock Exchange of Thailand, the Corporate Social Responsibility Institute and the Thaipat Institute (The Foundation for Thailand Rural Reconstruction Movement Under Royal Patronage).

Executives from two listed firms, DTAC and Bangchak Petroleum, met with listed company directors last week to share their experiences in CSR.

Pipat Yodprudtikan, director of the Thaipat Institute, said that participants spend one or two hours per session discussing CSR concepts.

Content is structured under three core areas: global CSR standards, techniques for introducing CSR into corporate policies, and putting policy into practice. Each presentation is tailored to best match the circumstances and industry environment of the participants.

"CSR isn't just about budgeting money for charity or a public relations exercise or allowing staff to do volunteer work. It relates to all parts of a company, and must be embedded into the organisation's culture," he said.

Chaiyoot Chamnanlertkit, executive director for the SET's industry development centre, said the CSR Day for Directors programme would help company directors better understand best global practices.

"We are in a globalised economy. Companies must strive to compete to world-class standards," he said.

Wattana Opanon-amata, a senior executive vice-president for Bangchak Petroleum, said CSR in Thailand was akin to "2G" cellular networks now used in the country. "Donations represent the first stage. The second stage is CSR processes - looking inside our companies to review each business process and its impact on society, followed by making improvements and corrections," he said.

"When we get to 3G, we hope to see connectivity among companies, with the mindset shifting from internal to external. At this stage, companies will look to outside social problems and use their resources to deal with them."

Mr Wattana said the upgrade from 2G to 3G, however, was impossible without clear understanding from top corporate leaders.

Perapong Klinla-or, vice-president for corporate social responsibility at Total Access Communications (DTAC), said the impromptu turnout of many Bangkok residents to help clean up after last month's riots was a good example of "3G" CSR.

Last year, the SET and Thaipat Institute drew more than 5,000 employees and 120 companies to its CSR Day programme.

For further information about CSR Day for Directors, contact the SET CSR Institute at 02-229-2394 or see http://www.csrday.com. The Thaipat Institute can be contacted at 02-930-5227 or e-mail info@csrday.com


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