The commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility – CSR – is an acknowledgement by companies that they are part of their social and natural ecosystem, and that they should protect it and help it thrive. Within its small means, ASEAN UP today takes a small step to foster CSR in ASEAN and further.
The dangers of irresponsible business
The irresponsible conduct of business can lead to disastrous consequences for people, for businesses big and small and for the environment . In this matter, ASEAN is not different from the rest of the world: Corporate Social Responsibility – CSR – is a major challenge for ASEAN companies to acknowledge and embrace, and consider themselves first through their involvement with people in local and global communities.
Within emerging economies, some think that the more developed countries and their businesses have damaged the environment for decades to grow themselves, so they are the ones who should heal it now. In this perspective, emerging countries could let their businesses do whatever they need to develop themselves and their national economies.
This reasoning is wrong.
First, because making profit by all means usually ends up damaging the local environment and communities. Most of the time, that leads to negative consequences in the medium or long term for the faulty business: pollution resulting in staff diseases, regardless of their rank, lawsuits, employees’ strikes, bad reputation… Which also affect in the parent country in the end.
Second, as late comers into the economic game, developing countries’ businesses can benefit from better, cleaner and cheaper technologies. Even more so, they are much more aware that consequences on the environment or people of such or such practice can be harmful. They would therefore be “more” responsible of bad behavior than previous generations of less understanding businesses would have been.
Third, and foremost, developing and developed countries, in ASEAN or elsewhere should make a stand for a ethical practices. The 21st century is an age of sharing knowledge and advanced science and technologies. Being officially engaged towards progress and social welfare can lead to a competitive advantage in the eyes of new, responsible consumers.
A new breed of socially responsible consumers
Throughout the world, there is an emergence of new socially and environmentally aware consumers. Still in its infancy, this global movement towards consuming safer products, more natural and more responsible production, is starting to make a significant impact on developed economies, and appearing in developing ones.
These people are conscious about how they consume, spending their money as a way to encourage positive principles and business practices. It could only be a matter of time before this consumption trend becomes mainstream. “Ethical”, “clean”, “safe” and “natural” could soon become the norm that would push anything else out of business.
It is time for small companies and large corporations to make a stand for their people, and their environment. Not only can they help protect people and the environment, but they can also benefit from using and offering new technologies and products, smarter services and ways of doing business.
When it comes to doing good, every little thing counts.
ASEAN UP’s little input for CSR
In this beautiful new world, ASEAN UP doesn’t pretend to be anything big. It is a website dedicated to empowering the business community of ASEAN: providing resources, news and tools that can help businesses and professionals in ASEAN.
Yet through theses small means, ASEAN UP will try to make a little difference by bringing more attention to the contents that can be considered to have a positive effect.
What does it mean concretely? From now on, ASEAN UP will bring extra visibility by creating a new category for Corporate Social Responsibility resources, represented by this cute little Vietnamese girl with a crown of leaves, in which will be integrated all resources that promote any of the following topics:
- social welfare: people’s health and education, safety and understanding, empowerment of women, promotion of peace and openness of society
- environmental consciousness: protection and restoration of wildlife and natural environments, enhancement of urban and work environments
- ethical conduct of business: sound corporate governance, transparent business practices and fight against corruption, protection of social rights and fostering of professional skills development
Hoping that this little push for Corporate Social Responsibility will draw some attention towards responsible business conduct, ASEAN UP will remain attentive in order to help and promote more CSR activities whenever possible.