Sunday, October 21, 2018 | ePaper

Social services by MNCs in Bangladesh

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Syed Farhad Khasru :
SOCIAL duties are an inseparable part of a society that a company needs to perform. It is mandatory for companies to conform to these legal responsibilities, which are prescribed by law. These ethical responsibilities of corporations are essential tasks besides making profit. This sense of benevolence arises due to an obligation that a company has to perform for the welfare of the society. Like any other country, the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibilities) activities in Bangladesh are equally important. In the recent years, there has been a rise in CSR initiatives in Bangladesh promoted by Multi-National Companies (MNCs). These days, companies are expected doing their social duties such as promoting human rights, adopting business ethics, resorting to eco-friendly policies. CSR for MNCs in Bangladesh are there to ensure these.
The importance of the CSR activities is being realized by all the multinational corporations all over the world, not just within Bangladesh. The pressure on MNCs to endorse such programs is of paramount importance in today's world. CSR, particularly in the export sector, is difficult to ignore nowadays. However, CSR practices in Bangladesh are still in its infancy.
Bangladeshi companies should focus on CSR for not only improving corporate governance, labour rights, fair treatment of workers, community development, and environment management, but also for industrialization and global market access.
The government of Bangladesh has taken initiatives to promote CSR practices across the country. The objective of CSR is to encourage the businesses to carry out the good citizen-like activities with the aim of reversing the perceived trend of businesses that includes a commitment to society.
A number of corporations are now performing many social commitments under CSR activities instead of only making profit. For example, some organizational programs of CARE Bangladesh, Katalyst and Bangladesh Enterprises Institute (BEI) are being done at the forefront of CSR activities.
These organizations are preparing Corporate Social Audit catering to small/medium enterprises. Though these initiatives are more discretionary in nature, but they have resulted in the creation of jobs and value-added services to communities. BATA and CARE are showcasing their CSR programs in action.
As global standards are used to judge Bangladesh, CSR activities in Bangladesh should, therefore, be taken into account for a fair assessment. Currently, about 90 percent of the top 10 MNCs in Bangladesh is involved in CSR activities.
Among them, GrameenPhone Telecommunications Ltd, HSBC, BATB, SCB, IDLC, P&G are noteworthy. There are some other MNCs involved in many kind of CSR activities all over the country. CSR thus ushers a long-lasting relationship between Bangladesh and MNCs who work not for the profit only, but for the people also.  
In the present context of Bangladesh, the MNCs can come forward in assisting Rohingya refugees with rations of foods, clothing and so on.
The six lakh Rohngya people may not return to Burma soon. They might even be granted Bangladeshi citizenship. Thus, they are potential customers in a sense. And with commencing the CSR activities, MNCs will not only be able of providing relief for the refuge Rohingyas, but also can promote their brand image to Bangladesh. Therefore through CSR activities, MNCs can do social services and promote their good and services to everyone simultaneously.
Moreover, customers today prefer companies that have higher contribution to society. CSR is very important in this regard and so companies should participate more in CSR activities.

(Syed Farhad Khasru, Department of Business Administration, East West University, email: farhadkhasru12345@gmail.com)

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