Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 7th 2014 Contents It is this coming together of minds and influence
that makes it possible to overcome challenges and
work in the best interest of its membership and the
wider T&T business community.
The corporate social responsibility committee which
sits within the chamber and is one of 10 purpose-
driven work groups, is poised to entrench CSR practice
nationally and to serve as advocate. It is our mandate
to educate, advice and promote CSR initiatives
amongst our membership and to implement a com-
mon process for measurement and reporting.
At the start of 2014, the CSR committee completed
the first of a planned series of development workshops.
The series in itself is geared towards deepening the
understanding of CSR and to guide the process of
CSR programme design and implementation.
The first session looked at the fundamentals of
CSR and an introduction to the UN Global Compact
principles. The next two workshops will look at strat-
egy and implementation, and monitoring and eval-
uation. By doing this we are able to bring everyone
on an equal footing. With the members in mind, it
is a way to of strengthening the network and to share
A key objective for 2014 is to work with the mem-
bership in identifying risks, particularly in the form
of external expectations and pressures, and to trans-
form these risks into opportunities and competitive
Our members should be seen as the influencers
in society by embedding structured CSR into their
organisation and making social, economic and envi-
ronmental responsibility an integral aspect of how
business is done.
The committee is diverse and brings rich context
from across several industries including manufacturing,
government, regulatory, private sector SME s, oil and
gas and public sector.
Creating sustained profitability for its shareholders
is the primary success indicator for every good com-
pany. However organisations are accountable not
only to their shareholders, but also has varying degrees
of accountability to governments, employees, cus-
tomers, suppliers, regulators, community and the
environment in which it operates.
Value creation includes all these stakeholders. The
role of the CSR professional is to support a company s
business objectives by aligning its Social Responsibility
programme with those objectives being mindful of
the organisations stakeholders.
Brand it as you may, the principles of CR, CSR,
sustainability and sustainable development are all
the same. The Brundtland Commission in its 1987
report "Our Common Future" coined what has
become the most often quoted definition of Sustain-
able Development, "development that meets the
needs of the present without compromising the ability
of future generations to meet their own needs."
So before a company begins to chart and implement
a plan for addressing social responsibility, it should
work collaboratively to define and evaluate the needs
of its stakeholders and make careful analysis of how
any interventions on its part can bring benefits for
AUGUST 2014 • WEEK ONE www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
COMMENTARY | BG21
In the T&T context, CSR is in its
discovery stages. This is not from
a corporate perspective but from a
societal one. You can usually gauge
the enthusiasm and interest when
you broach this topic at a social
gathering. And if you look really closely, you
will see that point at which they come to
a conclusion about CSR: "I get it, you do
Public Relations... Wonderful!"
This tells us two things; firstly that the
embedding of CSR is taking a while and
only through the advocacy in media like
this, and that by taking the initiative, will
we succeed in making this the ethos of our
Secondly, and perhaps the more indicative
of our society, is that we live in a country
where the level of social services and the
welfare system is adequate to support those
In some ways, CSR for T&T (from a phil-
anthropic perspective), is a welcome
enhancement to our livelihood that is better
than many of our Caribbean counterparts.
So while across the region, businesses are
focussed on those critical interventions that
support the social investment agenda, in
T&T the imperative for the business com-
munity is to progress the social responsibility
agenda in the areas of responsible gover-
nance, ethics and sustainability.
It is the role of the chamber to act as the
voice of its membership; to represent them
on the national business front which they
are unable to do effectively on their own.
T&T Chamber of
Industry and Commerce
Impact of corporate social responsibility
Organisations are accountable not
only to their shareholders, but also
has varying degrees of
accountability to governments,
employees, customers, suppliers,
regulators, community and the
environment in which it operates.
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