Promoting Sustainable and Responsible Business in Asia and the Pacific

The Role of Government

image of Promoting Sustainable and Responsible Business in Asia and the Pacific
This policy-oriented paper identifies initiatives that policy-makers in the Asia Pacific region should duly consider for promoting CSR practices, at both the regional and national levels, and spanning domestic SMEs to large MNEs. The initiatives are diverse in focus and scope, although there is one common denominator: virtually none can be enacted by government alone. Any initiative to promote sustainable and responsible business needs to be sustainable in itself, and that in turn necessitates the active engagement and tangible inputs of the business community.



First principals and factors governments should be mindful of when embarking on CSR promotion initiatives

As with any policy intervention, it is important that government does not seek to expend limited public funds on actions that can be undertaken by existing players in the market. At best, that is duplication, and a misallocation of limited funds. Rather, it should identify where there is market failure or weakness, and seek to catalyze activities in that space, in ways that can become sustainable in the long-term, thereby allowing the government to exit, and move on to other tasks. This is no less true in promoting sustainable and responsible business, which must inevitably be a task that is embraced and practiced by relevant members of the corporate community. Therefore, legislating for CSR, through separate laws on CSR is generally not advisable, as the direct and indirect consequences of doing so can be costly and ineffectual, at best, and even counter-productive at worst.


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