Wednesday, September 9, 2009

No CSR Award for Tobacco Company

Companies that have socially damaging core-business should never be allowed to receive corporate social responsibility (CSR) awards. This is advocated by the Chairman of CSR-Philanthropy Trandisciplinary Action Group (CPTAG USM), Dr. Reevany Bustami.
His talk in a philanthropy conference held at Kuala Lumpur which carries the theme “Create More Givers: A Global Conference on Enhancing the Role of Philanthropy in Challenging Times” received coverage from the CSR Digest, an online portal on CSR development.
Enraged by the recent commendation and special mention under Association of Chartered Certified Accountants’ Malaysian Sustainability Reporting Award (ACCA MaSRA) received by the British American Tobacco Company (BAT) he argues whether a tobacco company, which produces a product that causes social defect could win an award on social responsibility.
“How is it possible for a company that produces ‘poisons’ could win an award on corporate social responsibility? There has to be a comphrensive review on how a CSR award winner should be appraised”.
He added that if BAT truly is trying to be ethical it should not apply for the award as it tarnishes the good name of CSR and CSR practitioners. This includes other organizations that run their company related on gambling, alcohol, weapons, the military and tobacco.
Dr. Reevany criticized the reasoning given by the organizer that the award was based on BAT excellent reporting, saying that most reports are neither transparent nor audited and only reflects the fine side of the organizations.
He also said that due to this poor and incomplete reporting standards, foreign SRI (Socially Responsible Investment) that has fund up to billions of dollars are passing by our country.
SRI defines an investment strategy which seeks to maximize both financial return and social good. In general, socially responsible investors favor corporate practices that promote environmental stewardship, consumer protection, human rights and diversity.
“There is a need for a transparent and audited report so that everything done by the organization is included in the report and not just their good deeds”, he avers.

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