‘Strategic Focus’:
Aligning Private Sector CSR
Efforts to National Priorities
for Development
Saman Kelegama
Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka
CSR Conference: Responsible Corporate Growth-Strategic Focus –
Resilience, 03 October 2014
 Background
 The need for Strategic Focus
 Identifying National Development Priorities: Focusing on
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
 MDGs based National Development Priorities: Key areas
to focus CSR activities on
 Private Sector as a Partner in Development
 General national development priorities
 CSR Challenges
 The Role of CSR Lanka in helping companies align CSR
activities according to national development priorities
Background: What is Corporate Social Responsibility?
 EU Definition:
“A concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental
concerns in their business operations and in their interaction with their
stakeholders on a voluntary basis”
 At the centre of this definition are three key themes:
(1) CSR involves voluntary initiatives by enterprises which go beyond simple
compliance with the law
(2) CSR involves the whole business process rather than simply focussing on
corporate philanthropy or charity
(3) CSR involves a close understanding of and involvement with appropriate
 “Responsible businesses go beyond what is required by law to make a positive
impact on society and the environment through their management, operations and
products and through their engagement with stakeholders including employees,
customers, investors, communities and suppliers”
Background: Trends in CSR
 From philanthropic activity to a more mainstream approach
 From charity to creating social value
 The social value linked to Sustainability : people-planet-profits
 Responsible business practices increasingly adopted worldwide
 Large companies more likely to adopt CSR than smaller companies
 In the Sri Lankan context, philanthropic activity at the rural level is very
high - the importance of CSR in the sense of creating social value seems
to be now recognized in many companies
• In the Post-Tsunami scenario many companies adopted CSR practices
and were exposed to the need and thereafter continue practicing it
The Need for Strategic Focus
• Now Sri Lankan businesses have a strong focus on CSR
- 40 companies collectively spend around Rs.4 billion annually on CSR through
various avenues (CSR Lanka)
- Some of the critical areas covered by existing CSR projects
include: Environment protection, awareness and prevention
of health risks, capacity building and youth empowerment,
SME development etc.
- However, there is a lack of coordination of CSR activities; there is
an overlapping of activities; split of resources among different projects; ad hoc
selection of projects, while certain development areas have gained more
priority than others
• Better coordination to streamline CSR activities according to national priorities will:
- Enhance the impact of CSR activities on national development
- Avoid overlapping of programmes to ensure efficient use of resources
• Important to identify national development priorities & streamline CSR activities
• MDGs based priorities and general priorities based on contemporary needs
Identifying National Development Priorities: Focusing on
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
1990 or
Closest year
Proportion of population
below National Poverty Line
Poverty Gap Ratio
5.6 %
Closest Year
Halve by 2015
1.7 %
Halve by 2015
Share of poorest quintile in
National Consumption
8.9 %
6.9 %
No Target
Prevalence of underweight
children under 5 years of age
26.9% (2006/7)
Halve by 2015
Proportion of Population
below minimum level of
dietary energy consumption
Need to
On Track
50..7% (2006/07)
Halve by 2015
“Off Track”
Identifying National Development Priorities: Focusing on
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Contd.
Achieve Universal Primary Education
Net Enrollment Ratio in
Primary Education
Literacy rate of 15-24 year
olds, women and men
1990 or
closest year
Closest Year
92.7% (1994)
98.5 %(2012)
Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
Ratio of girls to boys in:
Primary education
Tertiary education
Share of women in wage
employment in the nonagricultural sector
Proportion of seats held by
women in National
94.2 (1995)
30.8% (1993)
21.4 %(2012)
No Target
Need to
5.8% (1989/94)
No Target
Need to
Identifying National Development Priorities: Focusing on
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Contd.
Reduce Child Mortality
1990 or
closest year
Closest Year
Under-five mortality rate
12.1 (2009)
On Track
Infant Mortality rate
9.7 (2009)
On Track
Proportion of 1 year old
children immunized against
On Track
Maternal Mortality Ratio
7.4 (2009)
Proportion of births attended
by skilled health personnel
98.6 (2006/07)
Improve Maternal Health
On Track
On Track
Identifying National Development Priorities: Focusing on
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Contd.
Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases
1990 or
closest year
Proportion of population aged 1524 with comprehensive correct
knowledge of HIV
Closest Year
35.3 (2006/07)
Need to
Death rates associated with
malaria (per 100,000)
Death Rates associated with
3 (2010)
Need to
0.6 (2008)
No specific
No specific
Ensure Environment Sustainability
CO2 per capita emissions
CO2 kg emission per $1 GDP (PPP)
Proportion of households using
an improved drinking water
0.1 09
72 (1994)
90 (2012)
No specific
Need to
On Track
Identifying National Development Priorities: Focusing on
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Contd.
Develop a Global Partnership for Development
1990 or
closest year
Closest Year
Telephone lines
per 100
7.9 (2006/07)
17.15 (2011)
No specific target
Need to Improve
subscribers per
100 population
14.8 (2006/07)
29.8 (2009/10)
No specific target
Need to Improve
6.7 (2012)
No specific target
Need to Improve
Internet users per
100 population
National Development Priorities In Summary:
Key areas to focus CSR activities on
• Uplifting living standards in rural areas especially in Northern, Eastern, Uva, North
Western and Sabaragamuwa provinces by:
- Focusing on sustainable agriculture
- Rural employment and income generation
- Promotion of alternative livelihoods
- Development of rural infrastructure
• Improving the level of dietary energy consumption
• Improving the quality of education and education outcomes
• Increasing employment opportunities for women with secondary and higher levels of
education, especially in rural areas
• Improving child and maternal health in war affected areas and estate areas
• Ensuring environment sustainability by working towards reducing CO2 emissions
• Improving connectivity through facilitating greater usage of telephone, mobile and
internet especially in rural areas
Private Sector as a Partner in Development
• Private sector can play a key role in helping countries attain MDGs and national
• ChevronTexaco
- Achieving universal primary education is a key
development priority in Africa
- African Governments lack sufficient funds to
invest in education
- Programmes implemented by ChevronTexaco to enhance
educational attainment include:
a) Alliances and partnerships with government institutions:
In Angola - Partnerships with the education ministry and provincial
education departments; In the Republic of Congo - a $2 million reconstruction
project at the country's only state-funded university in Brazzaville
- Partnerships with NGOs and INGOs: Nigeria Opportunities Industrialization
Center (NOIC) and International Foundation for Education and Self-Help (IFESH)
• Private sector is a True Partner in Development; can contribute to achieving
national development priorities through partnerships & alliances with state and
non-state institutions that lack sufficient funds
Private Sector as a Partner in Development in Sri Lanka
• In Sri Lanka too, the private sector has often partnered with state
institutions to facilitate the attainment of national development priorities, a
few examples:
Microsoft Sri Lanka: Partnering with Ministry of Education to improve the quality of
education by promoting the use of ICT in education through: competitions for teachers
& students; equipping teachers with the International Computer Driving License (ICDL) in
the Eastern province, etc.
HSBC: Partnering with Wildlife Conservation Department (WCD) to clean-up the visitor
areas of six national parks in Sri Lanka, efforts in preserving Horton Plains through cleanups
Chevron Lubricants Lanka PLC: Partnering with Ministry of Transport to refurbish the
the Kandy Railway Station at a cost of Rs. 8 Million; enhancing the quality of healthcare
available by partnering Ministry of Health renovating the Matara General Hospital at a
cost of Rs. 7 Million
Singer (Sri Lanka) partnered with the Department of Railways for reconstruction of the
Omanthai Railway station at a cost of Rs. 10 mn and partnered with the Central
Environment Authority in the E-Waste Management project
Selected Strategic Areas of National
Priority for CSR
• Issues due to loss making state-owned
enterprises -- railways
• Issues arising due to lack of economic reforms –
University curricula/Entrepreneurship
• Issues emerging in the transitions to a middle in
come country – traffic congestion & old aged
• Issues due to environmental factors – Dengue
Accidents/Loss of Lives
• Sri Lanka railway has been a loss-making enterprise and does
not have adequate funds for vital investments
• Many deaths and injuries take place every year due to
accidents related to unmanned level crossings that are mainly
in semi-urban and rural areas, numbering 755
• An initiative was made to prevent these accidents by building
speed bumps and installing mirrors at such railway crossings
• A commercial bank in partnership with the Department of
Railways installed mirrors at 2 or 3 level crossings under its
CSR but what is actually needed are gates or bell & light
systems which are more costly
• This is an area that the private sector can easily move in with
the partnership with the government
Skill Development
• Reforms in the tertiary education sector with more private sector
involvement has been slow due to Students’ Union protests and
other vested interests
• There is space for the private sector to move in to the tertiary
education sector to bring about change
• NDB promoted entrepreneurship from the business level to the
academic level by sponsoring Endowed Professorial Chair in
Entrepreneurship at the University of Moratuwa and was successful
in introducing entrepreneurship into curriculum
• Bridging the gap between the academia and industry and building a
nation of ‘job creators’ instead of ‘job seekers’ were the prime
• The initiative is categorized under the broader umbrella of
Sustainability but its micro foundations are in CSR
• Sri Lankan private sector is lagging behind in the region in creating
University Chairs and it is time that they look at this area closely
Traffic Congestion
• There are slightly above 5 million vehicles, i.e., 250 vehicles
per 1000 people; vehicles grow at 10% when the road capacity
expand by 3%
• Traffic congestion is a major issue in contemporary Sri Lanka
contributing to 1.5% GDP loss every year
• Addressing this issue by improving public transport and other
measures cannot be left to the government alone
• Private sector can move into selected areas and contribute
• For example, CEAT School Traffic and Safety Programme has
covered more than 50 schools in addressing school related
traffic congestions
• Companies now encourage people to work from home for
specific jobs under CSR thereby contributing to easing traffic
Ageing Population
• Sri Lanka has an aging population but geriatric care has not kept up with
this reality thus many elderly are neglected
• The above 60 years population will double from 12.5% (2.5 mn) in 2011
to 24.8% (5.4 mn) by 2041 and the challenge for old age care is
• 90% of the medical beds in government hospitals are occupied by
patients above 65 years (except during epidemic times) but none of the
hospitals have separate units for Geriatric Care
• US has 7000 Geriatricians where as Sri Lanka has no Geriatricians to look
after patients with Alzheimer, Dementia, Parkinson, etc
• Old aged homes are in demand due to the changing life styles of the
youth who are unable to look after their aging parents – 6% (150,000) of
the elderly people live alone
• Old-aged care centres are emerging in the market but there is very little
CSR taking place in this area (e.g., Elpitiya Plantation)
• In many companies around the world, old-aged care is part of their CSR;
for example, Synergy says “Our hearts go out to the Old and Forgotten”
who have a right to dignity after their prime”
Dengue Eradication
• With the rapid urbanization the spread of diseases like
Dengue is on the increase
• Dengue deaths and victims in Sri Lanka are on the increase,
especially during rainy seasons
• With the partnership of the Public Health Department firms
can embark on a sensitization programme, Expolanka, Union
Assurance, Mawbima Papers, and few others have given
priority to this area
• However these sensitization programmes should not be oneoff attempts but should be done on a continuous basis
CSR Challenge
• Many business are doing CSR now, and investing a good deal
of time and money in the process, but does that mean every
business is doing well ? Are the investments wise ? Do the
intended beneficiaries feel a difference ?
• These questions can be effectively addressed if there is a
specific division in charge of CSR activities that coordinates
effectively with the other divisions of the company
• The companies should look at best practices and have a close
dialogue with the government and the academia
• Private sector is much more responsive than the government
and can make a big difference to the society by adopting best
practices in CSR
The Role of CSR Lanka in helping companies
align CSR activities according to
national development priorities
Private Sector
CSR Lanka
Sate and
Non-state actors
working towards
the attainment of
• Difficulties faced when adding strategic focus to CSR projects:
- Lack of awareness & information on national development priorities
- Weak links with key stakeholders (state, NGOs, Communities, academia)
• CSR Sri Lanka: A Resource Centre in facilitating linkages between the private
sector and related institutions; initiative to bring stakeholders to a single
platform and align CSR activities under one umbrella
Thank you

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