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Asean network to boost social responsibility in business
[January 12, 2011]

Asean network to boost social responsibility in business

SINGAPORE, Jan 12, 2011 (The Straits Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Five members of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) hope to spread the message that it is time for businesses in its 10 member nations to make commercial decisions with community and society in mind.

The principle of corporate social responsibility, or CSR, advocates that businesses go beyond just giving money to the poor and underprivileged to being mindful of how businesses can sometimes threaten, for example, a country's native flora and fauna or tribes and cultures in pursuit of economic growth.

To get this mindset going, The Asean CSR network, to be based in Singapore, has now been officially launched.

For a start, the network will comprise representatives from existing CSR bodies in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and the Asean Foundation, a 14-year-old body set up to bring prosperity and a sustainable future to all 10 Asean member countries. The remaining member countries will be roped in to the network over time.

The Asean CSR network will encourage networking and sharing of CSR practices among its members, and push for international standards and guidelines for CSR to be implemented region-wide.

Network chairman Edgardo Amistad said the network will not be a regulating or grant-giving body, nor will it implement projects in each country. One immediate task is to study the state of CSR in Asean, and reach out to Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam.

Singaporean Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Zainul Abidin Rasheed said Asean businesses need to recognise CSR as a commitment to sustainable growth and ethical practices, "that our companies have solid corporate governance and consider fellow human beings and our shared planet in daily operations".

He added: "We have developed economically over the past decades, but to do our traditions and cultures justice, we have to consider developments on other fronts, not just the economic one." To see more of the Asia News Network, go to Copyright (c) 2011, The Straits Times, Singapore / Asia News Network Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For more information about the content services offered by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services (MCT), visit

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