The South Korean Embassy in Dhaka and the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Centre hosted a conference on Sunday aiming to raise awareness about CSR and private sector’s increasing role in sustainable development.
Arranged in partnership with Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) Dhaka office, the theme of the Korea-Bangladesh CSR Conference 2021 was “CSR for Human Resource Development and Economic Growth.”Planning Minister Muhammad Abdul Mannan joined the event as Chief Guest. Kamal, President of Korea Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KBCCI) and Chairman of Meghna Group of Industries (MGI), and Resident Representative of UNDP Bangladesh Sudipto Mukerjee attended the event as Special Guests.
Korean Ambassador Lee Jang-keun and Farooq Sobhan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the CSR Centre, co-hosted the virtual conference.
In his welcoming remark, Ambassador Lee mentioned three reasons for hosting the conference: raise awareness about CSR and the private sector’s increasing role in the sustainable development, share good CSR practices by Korean companies in Bangladesh, and invite others to join and make further efforts to contribute to the community.
Focusing on the importance of human resource development including education and vocational training in achieving Sustainable Development Goals, Ambassador Lee shared with the audience Korea’s various ODA programs such as KOICA-sponsored three vocational training centers in Dhaka, Chattogram and Rajshahi, National Institute of Advanced Nursing Education and Research, and 100 IT labs in secondary schools in Dhaka.
He added that the Korean government launched a project with Dhaka University this year to establish an education and training center to promote creative youth entrepreneurship in Bangladesh. The startup support programme with Bangladesh ICT Division is ongoing to cultivate entrepreneurship and foster innovative startups among the Bangladesh youth.
After the remarks by Chief and Special Guests, representatives from Youngone, Samsung Electronics, Samsung R&D Institute, Hyundai E&C, and Dohwa Engineering presented their respective CSR activities.Youngone Chairman Sung Ki-hak spoke about KEPZ’s Blue and Green Initiative, which planted 2.5 million trees and created 25 lakes and water bodies, and the ongoing 40-MW rooftop solar power project to meet the electricity demand within KEPZ as well as the local community.
Youngone’s other significant CSR contributions include the conservation of royal Bengal Tigers in the Sundarbans, employment of over 75 percent female workers, construction of student dormitories in Mymensingh, support for autistic children through the contribution to the expansion of Proyash, establishment of the first computer graphics lab in Dhaka University, promotion of Bangladeshi art, and the multimillion-dollar restoration of Baro Sardar Bari in Sonargaon, which was recently inaugurated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Representatives from Samsung Electronics, Samsung R&D Institute, Hyundai E&C, and Dohwa Engineering shared the various CSR projects conducted over the past years, including the establishment of community clinic and livelihood support for Matarbari residents, donation of PPEs against COVID-19, donation for train accident relief, support for flood victims, afforestation in the Khulna and Sundarban mangrove forest, reconstruction of schools and donation of sports equipment to schools, hosting of student field trips to project sites, IT training sessions for students/teachers, sponsoring of coding contests, establishment of IT lab in BUET, and provision of education and IT materials to underprivileged students.
After the presentations, the guests and participants discussed ways to further deepen Korean companies’ engagement with the local communities.
By sharing best CSR practices by Korean companies operating in Bangladesh, the conference revisited the importance of the private sector’s role in maintaining a balanced and sustainable society and promoted the strong bilateral commercial ties between Korea and Bangladesh.