For SMEs, Size Shouldn’t Matter when it comes to CSR

For SMEs, Size Shouldn’t Matter when it comes to CSR

Smaller firms should take up the challenge of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and not leave it purely to multinationals and large companies, Minister S. Iswaran from the Prime Minister’s Office, told the Singapore Compact CSR Summit, suggesting that all enterprises can benefit from paying more attention to the social and environmental aspects of their businesses. CSR Asia hosts a two day summit in Kuala Lumpur with the theme “Asian Growth: Global Responsibility”, 27 /28 September.

Jonathan Kwok  in The Straits Times (6 September 2011):

Smaller firms urged to focus on social responsiblility too

SMALLER firms should take up the challenge of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and not leave it purely to multinationals and large companies, Cabinet minister S. Iswaran said yesterday.

Mr Iswaran, who is Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade and Industry, suggested that all enterprises can benefit from paying more attention to the social and environmental aspects of their businesses.

“Well-considered and implemented CSR programmes can help companies engender confidence and goodwill among diverse stakeholders, strengthen brand equity, and enhance their standing as preferred employers,” he said.

Mr Iswaran cited the example of pest management company Origin Exterminators as a local small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) that has embedded CSR in its operations.

Instead of traditional methods of pest control, which release large volumes of insecticides and other chemicals into the environment, Origin develops new methods that reduce environmental damage, said Mr Iswaran.

“In turn, such sound business practices that promote sustainable development have won Origin support from the more discerning customers, at home and in the region,” he added.

“Origin’s CSR activities have also earned the loyalty and fuelled the passions of its staff.”

Many large firms also have CSR programmes. For example, energy giant Royal Dutch Shell established the Shell Foundation as its CSR arm.

“CSR is Shell’s way of giving back to the community, and in turn, a strong CSR culture has enabled Shell to continue to attract and retain top talent,” said Mr Iswaran.

He quoted the chief executive of Shell in saying that responsible behaviour and the profitability of companies go hand in hand.

Mr Iswaran was speaking to about 365 delegates at the two-day International Singapore Compact CSR Summit at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel.

CSR, or the focus of businesses on the social and environmental impacts of their operations in the bid for sustainable development, has been gaining traction in recent years.

Mr Iswaran noted that many countries have set specific sustainable development targets.

A 2009 blueprint for Singapore set a target of a 35 per cent improvement in energy efficiency from 2005 levels by 2030.

By that year, the country also wants a 70 per cent recycling rate and a reduction of fine particles in the air and sulphur dioxide levels.

Singapore Compact for CSR, the national organisation charged with promoting CSR, has reported a 60 per cent increase in the number of members over the past two years, to 366.

More than 70 companies now provide a sustainability report in some form or other, said the Singapore Compact in a statement yesterday. Three years ago, there were no such reports.

In June, the Singapore Exchange introduced a Sustainability Reporting Guide to encourage listed companies to get in on the act.

Singapore Compact vice-chairman Simon Tay called the guide “a significant step in encouraging public-owned companies to look at business strategies and risk management in a more holistic way”.


CSR Asia Summit 2011 Themed “Asian Growth: Global Responsibility” To Be Launched in Kuala

Lumpur, Malaysia

Singapore, July 22, 2011 — The ninth CSR Asia Summit, the annual flagship event of CSR Asia, will be

launched at the Hotel Istana, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 27th

September 2011. Themed “Asian Growth: Global Responsibility”, the two-day Summit will take place from 27thto 28th

September 2011. The CSR Asia Summitaims to be the most innovative and thought-provoking on corporate social responsibility (CSR) in Asia.

More than 400 delegates from multi-disciplinary backgrounds around the world are expected to attend the Summit to discuss key CSR issues and strategies, as well as provide new insights for businesses, governments, CSR practitioners and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Delegates of CSR Asia Summit 2011 will understand the latest CSR issues, address challenges and opportunities, learn from leading sustainability practitioners, and acquire crucial tools and resources to build sustainable business strategies in Asia.

The CSR Asia Summit 2011 is designed to address findings from “CSR in 10″, a research project by CSR Asia that provides insights into emerging trends and issues for CSR over the next decade. The research revealed that according to 80 interviewees, who are CSR experts in the Asia-Pacific region, the top CSR concern from companies in Asia is Climate Change and Water Issues, while others are Corporate Governance, Disclosure and Reporting, as well as Supply Chains.

Based on these findings, renowned speakers from local and international corporations as well as NGOs will focus on four themes at the CSR Asia Summit this year. They are:

1. Asian CSR Strategies

2. Environmental Issues

3. Community Investment

4. Sustainable Supply Chains and Food Security

An annual highlight of the CSR Asia Summit is the announcement of the results from the 3rd”Asian

Sustainability Rating™” (ASR™). Since its launch in 2009, the ASR™ has built a strong track record in becoming an ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) benchmarking tool for use by Asian companies, investors and other stakeholders. It is an essential reference that has helped to add value and enable companies to integrate a sustainability dimension to their business models through the years.

Richard Welford, Co-Founder and Chairman of CSR Asia said, “With the robust economic growth of Asian countries such as China and India, the spotlight is cast on the region to start taking the lead on CSR efforts. We believe the CSR Asia Summit will provide insights as to where the CSR opportunities lie in Asia, especially for growth markets, to enable companies to model their businesses to take on CSR responsibility on a global level.

The CSR Asia Summit is also tailored to empower companies to meet industry experts to exchange CSR ideas, innovative solutions and experiences. It is CSR Asia’s goal to ensure each CSR Asia Summit is an effectiveplatform that thought leaders can benefit from to develop long-term CSR solutions or initiatives, which would help them meet the growing expectations of their stakeholders.”

In Malaysia, Bursa Malaysia will launch an Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) Index in late 2012.

While in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited will draft an ESG Reporting Guide which outline recommended best practices for listed companies in Hong Kong. Singapore Exchange Limited (SGX) also launched its Sustainability Reporting Guide on 27thJune (1). All initiatives demonstrate how governments and corporations in Asia are stepping up to take on greater responsibility to build a more sustainable world. Both have roles to play in their contributions as they build regulatory and business policies around CSR. To enable governments and corporations to make more informed decisions on sustainability, the CSR Asia Summit 2011 will cover topical issues across four different themes. Some of the topics at the Summit are “Reporting and issues management”, “Adapting to climate change – addressing the real challenges”, “Should companies invest in schools?” and “Food Safety and Stakeholder Trust”.

More than 30 speakers from a wide range of industries are already confirmed for the CSR Asia Summit 2011.

Darrel Webber, Secretary General, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, and Paul Hoff, Director of Business Development, Asia, FTSE Group will be the keynote speakers at the Summit. Other opinion leaders from local and global corporations as well as NGOs have also confirmed their speaking participation at the Summit.

Other than networking opportunities and speaking sessions, delegates of the CSR Asia Summit 2011 will get to view exhibits of CSR projects and initiatives.  Delegates also have access to the Summit’s unique “CSR Bazaar”session on the second day, where a selection of eight CSR presentations and case studies will be presented concurrently in different plenary rooms.  On the final day, delegates will be brought together in roundtables at “The World Café”, which is yet another special feature of CSR Asia Summit and a highly commended sessionsince its inception in 2009. A table host will facilitate group discussion on the key outcomes of the Summit so delegates can enjoy a valuable session where they are able to consolidate and discuss their learning from the Summit.

For more details about CSR Asia and the Summit, please visit


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