Karachi: The American Business Council of Pakistan (ABC) recently concluded its first annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Survey. The survey found that ABC member CSR efforts were focused predominantly on education, healthcare and on environment conservation. It was also learnt that survey respondents had spent in excess of PKR 124mn on CSR activities in 2014 and that cumulative CSR efforts had positively impacted more than 12mn lives across the country over the last 3 years.
The survey was aimed at mapping out the focus areas of CSR initiatives undertaken by member companies and promoting the concept of Responsible Entrepreneurship at the chamber and within the business community. While each member company has its own individual CSR program and areas of focus, the ABC survey made it possible to identify the focus areas for members as a group.
It was noted that while larger sized enterprises tend to have more structured CSR policies, small enterprises also have a strong impact on their immediate community and surroundings. It was also learnt that only a small percentage of member companies communicate their CSR activities to stakeholders.
“Every day, American companies serve as a powerful force for good around the country,” said Arshad Saeed Husain, President of the ABC. “Addressing critical community needs, such as increasing access to education and healthcare and helping the development of Pakistan, is a part of our higher purpose that binds ABC members as responsible corporate citizens.”
With member companies supporting and encouraging volunteer work, the ABC CSR subcommittee has initiated “ABC Assists”- a program aimed at promoting skills-based volunteering opportunities within the private sector. “ABC Assists” connects selected not-for-profits partners to the specialized skills and talents of individuals employed by ABC member organizations. A skills-based volunteering program stimulates corporate involvement in community development by matching volunteers with tasks or responsibilities in which they have knowledge, expertise, or professional experience.
“We are extremely excited about launching “ABC Assists”. In order to ensure the success of this program we will be putting a mechanism in place to treat the program like any other business process with proper reporting methods to measure the social impact created”commented Mr. Husain.
The ABC is one of the largest investor groups in Pakistan with 68 members – most of them represent Fortune 500 companies. They operate in various sectors i.e. healthcare, financial services, information technology, chemicals & fertilizers, energy, FMCG, food & beverage, oil and others. ABC members have cumulative revenues of US$ 3.73 billion. ABC members contribute a sizable amount to the national exchequer every year as direct and indirect taxes – last year they contributed Rs. 77 billion. The ABC members also employ over 34,000 people directly who support 140,000 dependents and indirectly employ nearly one million people with agents, distributors, contractors, etc.