In an increasingly globalized world overwhelmed with climate change, unprecedented advances in technology and staggering levels of poverty corporate social responsibility are a no-brainer. It is no longer possible for corporations to shirk away from ethically sound business if they are to remain relevant.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a key component to what constitutes a sustainable business. In an age of civilian journalism, it is safe to say that we no longer live in a world of passive audiences and consumers who blindly accept products and subliminal corporate messaging. Insidious marketing, product deception, lack of quality and environmental impacts are closely monitored by robust online audiences in Pakistan and around the world.
According to an article published on Gallup, “Today’s consumers are skeptics — and becoming increasingly so. That’s partly because companies have been far better at making big promises than they have been at keeping them.”
This is especially relevant for millennials. Forbes accounts for this with,
Millennials are most likely to seek information about the products they buy and according to a 2015 Nielsen report over 70 percent of millennials say that they are willing to pay more for products that create positive social and environmental impacts.” There are multiple examples of effective corporate social responsibility that can and should be emulated by corporate conglomerates and even startups.
A case in point is IKEA which follows a multilevel CSR policy in the form of gender equality based employment, tree planting initiatives, eco-friendly manufacturing in its storage and recycling implements.
Toy company LEGO is dedicated to the use of renewable energy sources in the form of parent company investments amounting to DKK 6 billion in renewable energy in 2017 alone.
A local case study is Nestlé which, as an international corporation, has developed community-centric initiatives for maintaining public health and nutrition. In its dedication to the production of high-quality nutritional products it is particularly commendable of Nestlé to align its corporate mission with local involvement. Nestlé’s dairy farming extension program which facilitates the capacity building of local farmers to maximize the quality of their milk products promotes the management and entrepreneurial talent of local farmers.
The propagation of global nutritional expertise and high-quality standards onto local platforms allows a twofold CSR strategy that targets public health deprivations and income scarcity of local farmers. Nestlé provides financial assistance for farmers to utilize their skills in a sustainable development scheme. In a similar initiative Nestlé Pakistan’s Rural Women Livelihood Program tackles malnutrition, health and wellness along with financial exclusion to enhance the quality of life among marginalized women. As a consequence of Nestlé’s various public health schemes and its high quality product standards, the company has garnered national praise in Pakistan from public health regulatory bodies, academics and experts.
This is highlighted in a recently released video which reflects the high level of public trust generated by the organization’s nutritional standards. More than 2000 stakeholders who visited Nestlé Pakistan’s entire value chain, have endorsed products to be safe for consumption as the Company complies with all applicable laws and standards of food safety as well as quality parameters determined in local laws.
It is crucial for international organizations to establish sustainable solutions at the ground level in Pakistan to foster public trust and to increase customer satisfaction. Nestlé has brought international standards and quality to Pakistan and has gained the trust of millions of consumers worldwide and nationally throughout its years of operations.
There is also ample opportunity for local corporations in Pakistan to follow Nestlé’s suit in the maintenance of product quality while empowering local communities. Corporate social responsibility can no longer be a last-minute calculation in company ventures. It is the human face of corporations and the essence of meaningful corporate relationships.
Nestlé’s Report on their recent initiatives in 2018 can be accessed here.