Nationwide, thousands of households are facing challenges that have only been intensified by the pandemic. In a recent poverty study, according to the world bank, Bangladesh’s poverty rate increased by 7.0 percentage points to 30 percent in the last fiscal year than that of a non-Covid counterfactual scenario. The fresh surge in Covid infection cases has pushed the poverty rate up and that is why the need for spending CSR funds for the distressed, jobless, vulnerable, homeless and helpless people has become vital. But the total status of application of CSR in Bangladesh is very small Some factors that challenge the progression of CSR practices include lack of Good Governance, lack of strong labor unions or consumer rights groups, and failure of the business community to identify CSR as a pre-condition for survival in the export and PR investment local market.
However, some organizations have proved to make a change by engaging in csr initiatives; such as PRAN-RFL Group , as a part of their csr initiatives provided protective equipment and drinking water to DNCC Covid Hospital for its health workers who are carrying out their professional duties during the epidemic taking risk. Dhaka Bank limited had taken the initiative to provide an ambulance for COVID-19 affected people; for the use of religious funeral service to deceased people; provide free of cost ambulance service to poor families. For this year’s Ramadan, Energypac has taken their first step towards corporate social responsibility for the year 2021 in partnership with Bidyanondo to financially contribute and help deliver sehri meals to the low-income families at the slums of mirpur. On the last week of Ramdan, volunteers from Bidaynondo and Energypac employees had physically engaged in distributing the meals after midnight and finished off just in time for sehri. The tired but happy faces of the people receiving the meals shows what corporate social responsibility is all about.
This pandemic reminds us that this hardship will not leave anytime soon and these initiatives of CSR may not seem like a lot, but gradually can add up to make a difference. Bangladesh would benefit from adhering to such standards and possibly mandating CSR reporting. This may be done by mandating compliance with global reporting standards or having separate reports for Social Activities through the year, which not only reports recent developments, but follows up on previous effects and whether they have sustained. When thinking of ways to donate and give back, we must start locally, and then move from there. This initial CSR project by Energypac is the first of many to come in order to make a real difference for the society.
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