The CSR Association National Excellence Awards provide a platform for the recognition of exceptional CSR efforts by organizations and to provide a forum for interaction and knowledge exchange. This year’s awards were preceded by a CSR Networking Forum with a host of international speakers and guests including representations from the United Nations and the Pakistani Business Community. The main event included the award-giving ceremony and concluded with a Gala dinner & recognition ceremony.
This year’s new format required the submission of a 1,200-word report from each company, for the judging panel to assess. With 104 competent companies, the judges found it difficult to choose the finalists. The CSR Awards targeted the core of CSR practice rather than individual projects. A total of 19 companies were shortlisted for evaluation from the entries by an elite panel of 12 experts which also included Amir Adnan and Dr. Abdul Bari Khan.
These corporate organizations represented diverse sectors ranging from telecoms, food and beverage to textiles across the entire country. This year new categories were introduced which is a precursor to instilling child centric CSR within the private sector.
One of the judges commented “Winners were selected on the basis of the company's CSR activities particularly good governance; internal and external stakeholders; sustainability and on-going commitment in incorporating ethical values into their business. The companies were evaluated for their overall CSR best practices and not for one-off or short-term projects. It was truly hard work but we got to see some fantastic work being done in Pakistan.”
The Chairman delivered a special note to the guests and participants, where he highlighted the collaborative approaches as a key enabler and that businesses needed to look for collaboration and partnerships to bring around collective impact. He added that CSR is not merely a public relations exercise and that the values, standards and best practices of CSR can be applied more broadly, beyond the marketplace. He also emphasized the needto focus on child centric CSR and that the Association will be supporting companies wishing to sign up for that.
Chairman of the CSR Association Dr. Zubair Bawany commented, “The Awards are more about bringing people together to share knowledge and the best practices. This kind of recognition event provides a vehicle for new practitioners within CSR to gain insights into how they can follow the lead of stalwarts. Through such forums, attendees will glean some useful ideas from the initiatives of the nominees and these initiatives can serve as examples that future participants can emulate. It additionally supports moving towards collaboration and partnerships approach, which in the current economic time is something that I’m sure more organizations will be working towards.”
The CSR Association of Pakistan has high aims for 2013. Their vision for the Association is to be an independent organization to create tools, resources and methodologies for companies to support their behavior on social, economic and human resource issues. This will enable businesses to have a positive impact on the development of their society as well as facilitate the integration of CSR within and across businesses. Today, many companies appoint a CSR specialist and publish detailed CSR or sustainability reports. The association will be supporting that further through introducing a mechanism of rankings and ratings.