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CSR plays vital role to achieve SDGs

  • Our Correspondent
  • 17 January, 2022 12:00 AM
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RAJSHAHI: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can play a more important role with public-private partnership, in the country’s development, particularly in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The central bank’s recent guideline seems to have veered into that way with the aim to direct CSR into a more structured framework.

The guideline, meant for all the scheduled banks and non-banking financial institutions (NBFIs), asked these organisations to focus more on healthcare and environment issues, to help ensure the country’s sustainable development.

A comparison study conducted by the CSR Centre found that a national CSR drive can add substantial value to Government’s development plans in Bangladesh as the country move towards becoming a middle-income nation.

In its 2021 annual report the CSR Centre published a number of case studies showing that CSR during the pandemic moved a lot towards healthcare and pandemic related management.

Dr Md Elias Hossain says that the government may think about setting targets for the private sector to reach through CSR activities.  “I think we have achieved a lot in alleviating poverty and hunger. We now need to emphasize on areas like climate resilience and environment,” said Hossain, who is professor and the chairman of the Department of       Economics at University of Rajshahi.

Hossain believes Bangladesh can achieve some of the SDGs by 2030 and directed CSR activities can help.

To work on the climate vulnerabilities, said Hossain, Bangladesh will need to collaborate more with its international networks.

“We have to have more public-private partnership. The government cannot achieve these on its own. We will need international partners.”

Attention also should go toward developing human skills and creating platforms for research.

“When there is a synergy between the government and the private sector — that the government creates the environment in which private organisations can contribute toward development — then you can capitalise on the contribution of the private sector,” he said.

In recent years, Bangladesh has seen a huge growth in corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects by both local and multinational firms, resulting in spending of hundreds of millions of taka under CSR.

A 2018 study by the Safety and Rights Society found that most CSR practicing companies practiced CSR in their own specific way, and that few companies have separate units for providing CSR or get advice from CSR experts.