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Businesses need more CSR


Corporate social responsibility (CSR) remains limited in Thailand because not all business parties are willing to play their part in promoting sustainable business growth, according to an academic.

Pipat Yodprudtikan, a director of the Thaipat Institute, said in a recent seminar at the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) that corporate governance had become more important over the past decade as global economic liberalisation had encouraged international corporations to shift operations to developing countries.

The private sector in Thailand had been engaging in CSR activities on behalf of the public sector, Mr Pipat said, but the question remained how much each enterprise should contribute?

''There's not really a limit or a standard for CSR, since it's purely about how much you care and want to contribute, or give back to society,'' Mr Pipat said.

At present, social responsibility investment (SRI) is worth around US$2 trillion, which indicates that there is untapped opportunity in this area.

SMEs spend less on CSR, while some big firms use it as a marketing tool.

However, Mr Pipat said, real CSR emerged from goodwill in operations, not through a feeling of obligation.

CSR is a commitment to behave ethically and to build a sustainable economy by working with all relevant stakeholders to improve business and society at large.

Corporate governance scandals involving firms such as Enron profoundly affected capital markets worldwide, and highlighted issues such as ethics, accountability and transparency within business, regulation and policy agendas, he said.

Strategic capacity building was imperative to achieve CSR, Mr Pipat said, in order for companies to access new markets and improve competitiveness in the most socially responsible and ethical way.

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