With each passing day, Corporations are realizing that Corporate Social Responsibility is not just about managing, minimizing and eliminating business risks, it is about creating new opportunities, generating improved performance, making money and leaving the risks far behind. Hence Corporate sectors are paving paths to be at the forefront of these social responsibility issues. How Australia CSR Programs Can Help the Healthcare sector In Pakistan.
CSR in Australia:
Although there is no particular CSR requirement under Australian law, organizations are waking up due to community pressure to report on factors other than the financial bottom line. There are already many laws in Australia that control the behavior of businesses and corporations..
The Work Health and Safety legislation in each State of Australia provides that any person conducting a business is duty bound to ensure the health and safety of employees, workers and other people who may be put at risk as a consequence of the business activities.
Due to The Corporations Act, companies in Australia are obliged to mention product disclosure statement relating to an investment. The law states that product must include a statement about the extent to which labor standards or environmental, social or ethical considerations are taken into account in assessing the investment. It is needless saying that institutional investors will strictly look to CSR reports to make decisions about the quality of the management team, and the company’s longevity and profitability. Principle 3 of the ASX Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations states clearly that companies should promote ethical and responsible decision making.
Even without specific human rights legislation or CSR law imposed by the government, businesses that operate within Australia have a lot to comply with. The sustainability of the business regarding its environmental impact is sufficient to understand that it’s high time to adopt an appropriate CSR strategy that can help them to minimize the risk of failing to identify and monitor these legal obligations.
In this era, corporations must consider the power of social media before taking business decisions and policymaking as negative publicity can spread quickly and can remain accessible online; infinitely damaging their reputation forever. Keeping that in mind Government departments of Australia and large corporations are constantly pushing suppliers to have CSR policies as a prerequisite condition of tendering for their work because having a CSR framework in place becomes less about the legal requirements and more of a commercial incentive.
How Australia’s CSR Can Help the Healthcare Sector in Pakistan:
Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Development reported that Australia has invested in Pakistan’s human development to improve health, and nutrition, specifically for women and girls.
In the health sector of Pakistan, Australia is dedicated to improving nutrition deficiencies amongst all in the country. The Government of Pakistan has marked nutrition as a first and foremost key policy priority. Fortunately, in such circumstances, Australia is well-positioned as a lead donor in the healthcare sector. Australia’s initial $40 million investment has attracted an additional $100 million in donor funding for nutrition and nutrition-sensitive programs. To supplement these investments, Australia has invested in nutrition-sensitive programs, such as school feeding programs, and adapting agriculture investments to improve nutrition and water and sanitation.
The Australian investment in maternal and child health is supporting provincial governments in Balochistan and Sindh to offer better services in selected districts. Australia has also supported Pakistan to fight the threats of infectious disease such as polio, through its invaluable contributions to regional health initiatives.
A World Bank report has warned that malnutrition costs countries up to 3.0 percent of the yearly GDP and malnourished children lose 10% of their lifetime earning potential. Unfortunately, malnutrition in Pakistan is the most severe issue in the South Asian region. As per WHO statistics, 51% of the women in Pakistan is suffering from Anemia because the health sector has failed to fortify wheat flour with iron. Various researchers and evidence have shown that fortified flour almost eliminated Anemia in a population that consumed products made from fortified flour.
Economist Yunus Kamran said that better nutrition enhances economic growth: “ We still need solid economic theories and models with which to formalize this relationship.” According to Kamran mal nourished children cannot be expected to grow up as productive adults compared with those that were fed adequate food in the first five years of life.
Despite Pakistan being a low-middle income developing country, its health system has evolved into a well-planned district based network of health facilities. In addition, the presence of highly skilled manpower and availability of lifesaving medicines with indigenous manufacturing capacity is making it a potential sector for foreign investment.
Over the last few years, the expectations from the health system in Pakistan have also increased. The present health system is facing difficulty in coping with growing pressure from the media, politicians and the civil society, which must be considered as a big business opportunity for relevant corporations with their sustainable programs as here lies the possibility of generating handsome revenues and reputation.
Health Economics is an emerging discipline in Pakistan that immediately needs institutions to provide a reorientation of health policy towards efficiency and cost-effectiveness services. Thus respective corporations can ensure the efficient delivery of healthcare in Pakistan and meet the needs of its deprived population through accessible services supplemented with greater accountability and transparency efforts.
CSR is an unstoppable force. It is the product of growing demands from everybody including the interests of the stakeholder web. Rapid technological change; above all the spread of the Internet, makes it far easier for firms to supply information, reach the consumers, and make it harder for them to keep secrets. Firms are aware of the fact that their internal e-mails may someday become public knowledge.
Rather than engaging in futile resistance to transparency and greater accountability, it’s better to concentrate on corporate behavior. Australian corporations must rethink their values, embrace transparency, and generally get in better shape. Stakeholders would never want companies to make a profit at the expense of their staff, wider community, and reputation. The successful companies of the future will be those that integrate business and employees’ personal values.