Corporate Social Responsibility as Bridge to Sustainable Business

Hundreds of national and multinational business representatives, government officials, academics and  donor organizations openly discussed the challenges and successes of the implementation of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in a rare dialogue forum.

For the second time in successive years, the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Ministry of Industry, Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN Indonesia) and the Indonesia Business Council for Sustainable Development (IBCSD) in cooperation with GIZ Indonesia hosted “Sustainable Business Dialogue” on 19th November 2014 in Jakarta. This followed the successful first Sustainable Business Dialogue held in Jakarta on 2013 themed “Reconciling Corporate Success with the Responsibility for Future Generations”. More than  150 Indonesian and international business representatives participated in the one-day conference to discuss the advantages of sustainability practices within business operations as well as opportunities from Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

More often, CSR is not one of the top priorities of Indonesian business leaders. Yet, other business leaders who already implemented CSR feel that they need more governmental support, stronger media presence and higher acceptance not only by their peers, but also by the society at large. The 2nd SBD created a dialogue forum showcasing companies that have successfully invested in and implemented CSR activities. The forum aimed to strengthen the broad recent understanding of CSR and cover the multiple facets of this corporate obligation and strategy.

Despite the existing policy for mandatory CSR practices, the regulation is not always well understood and socialized nor enforced appropriately. For example, in 2012, the Ministry of Environment defined 7 CSR areas for environment: Cleaner Production, Conservation of Energy and Resources, Eco-Office, 3R, Renewable Energy, Climate Change Adaptation, and Environmental Education. Most companies are yet to implement these CSR areas due to lack of promotion and enforcement. This business forum addressed those concerns by creating a medium for Indonesian business leaders to discuss the issues while highlighting the successes of several top companies implementing their CSR focusing on preserving the environment while also gaining more profit through sustainable business.

“Through this event, IBCSD creates a room for dialogue between private sectors and policy makers. In order to sustain their businesses, private sector should develop CSR as part of the corporate strategy” Shinta W. Kamdani, President of IBCSD, said.

Ulrich Mohr, GIZ country director for Indonesia and Timor Leste, said, “Germany fully supports the initiative from Indonesian government and business sectors to utilize CSR as an important building block for sustainable corporate culture in Indonesia which also contributes to the Indonesian Government’s greenhouse gases emission reduction targets.”

The event gathered top Indonesian and international business representatives, high-ranking government officials, academics and representatives of civil society. The forum also included 4 (four) parallel break-out sessions with the themes of: CSR Internationally and Best Practices; Social Entrepreneurship; Doing Business in Our Changing Climate; and Connecting Community with Business. The results and recommendations of the whole dialogue will serve as valuable inputs for related policy making.