Most comprehensive CSR report launched
While previous reports on corporate social responsibility have concentrated amongst the big corporates in Colombo, a new report released last week attempts to take the views of people and business across the countryside.

Yet the study commissioned by International Alert (IA) confirms what most people in Sri Lanka already know and believe - that the business community doesn't care about society; does its own thing, corruption persists and are close to politicians.

The report - extracts of which are reproduced on Page 2 - was the focus of a discussion at a launch meeting called by IA attended by business leaders, NGOs and civil society groups to review the study.

The study showed that there was a huge gap between NGOs and business. Many participants criticised the role of religious leaders saying they had failed the country. But the study showed that people in the south leaned heavily on religious leaders for their needs while some discussants felt that it would have been the same in the northeast if not for the war. Respondents in the war-torn region voted in favour of NGOs as being the closest to the people.

Franklyn Amerasinghe, a former Employers Federation Secretary-General, said the business community didn't have any credibility with society but change was coming fast and companies were now getting close to their consumers and society.

Azmi Thassim from the Hambantota Chamber of Commerce said companies outside urban cities were much closer to the people than their city counterparts.

IA officials said the study is part of an overall strategy of engaging Sri Lankan businesses in peace building. - Business Editor

Your views on CSR
This CSR report has raised some interesting issues. The Sunday Times FT invites views from the public and the business community on CSR and the role of business in society.

Contributions should be kept short and emailed to or mailed to The Sunday Times FT, 8, Hunupitiya Crossroad, Colombo 2. More information on the International Alert report could be obtained from Mr V.S. Srikantha at the IA office on 5549621.

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