Role of international multilateral organization

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Social responsibility has no longer a "stranger" to today world. It requires everyone to pick up their responsibility and cares to every single action they take. From ways of disposing trashes, fairness in humanity, to economize in terms of using resources, all needs human attention and action to improve our living environment.

Global warming has been a hot topic in nowadays society. Earthquakes, tsunami, volcanoes eruptions that have gradually happen to places that have never had these incidents for decades to centuries. Weather that is lost of ordinary tracks starts shocking more and more people. Deathly diseases are increasing their categories and taken away the lives of misfortune persons. And much more hidden nature disasters are alerting and threaten our future.

Social responsibility also contains factor such as, imbalance in treating human being. For instance, child labor-force, gender discrimination, unfair compensation, poor working environment and others mistreat behaviors are located all over the world, that needed people to help the poor to raise their voice and fight for the rights.

Though, social responsibility is said to be each individual job. However, people all turn their heads staring and blaming the faults came from corporate acts. Due to its mass production and profits its earned, people give up all their responsibility and lay it on business entities that they are the killer of fairness and harmony. Unconsciously, Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become a critical element that corporate needed to take in great consideration for its business practice.

Regarding to globalization and technology improvement, products diversity has colorized our live through cross boundaries trade. However, this pushes business either in the point of domestic or international operation into high competitive battle. Today's market occupy by not only plenty of similarity and/or imitation products, but also innovative supplementary products. Consumers facing hesitation in selecting a suitable product as there are lots of choices. Thus, beyond comparing in price and quality, consumer would tend to based on rumors or news from the public about the brand, as well as it corporate image to make purchase decision. Hence, CSR has been a new competitive advantage and a strategic that motivate firms to participating in moral practices.

In the following texts, we will come across with some common arguments about CSR, and how the intervention of multilateral institutions, as well as media influence corporate in its social practices.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Defining CSR:

There are numerous arguments about corporate practicing social responsibility. Some people stated that CSR it is a "show" that corporate performs to win community trust in order to stabilize and/or to improve its market share. Others stated that it is a duty that a company must do - since it is the person who excavate resources and a place where labors are used. And the others declared due to CSR practices, living conditions of the poor is positively improving. CSR helps create new jobs for the community, create chances for poor children to receive education, etc.

Various statements about corporate social responsibility bring the words an infinite definition. With different perspectives, CSR means differently to each individual, as well as to business entities, national and international institutions. However, throughout my CSR class, a definition that I find it is interesting and practical stated by my lecture, that "CSR is about doing something with intention". It brings us back to the human basic that nobody is doing something without an intensive - there is always a purpose hidden behind an action.

Perhaps, the intention of firms practicing CSR is due to the only purpose for maximize profits. Benefits bought from CSR might include, maximize the corporate market share, populate its reputation and remain good image in order to increase customer loyalty and investors participation. Or perhaps, firms see CSR as a tool to mask its ugly facts from its behaviors. Or perhaps, managers or headquarters of the firm truly has the public-spirit that think CSR as a must to do. …. All sorts of "perhaps" could only become facts when the firms stated their intention. But, whatever the intention is, it has already show that their social practices are putting corporate interest as a priority.

The Practice of CSR

Basically, when people think of CSR, the first image that arrives in people's minds is the word "donation" or "sponsorship" to places that are having poor conditions. Well, in facts, companies do donate their money to improve the poor for a better condition. For instance, in 2005, McDonalds donated $250,000 Australian dollars to Tasmanian vegetable industry with the hope in assisting the industry performs better. [1] 

Practically, CSR is something much more than donating. As mentioned above, CSR related to daily practices within the organization, such as, treating employees equally, distribute fair compensation, improve the working condition and forbidden hiring child-labor, and so on. To the external environment, CSR refer to factors in providing safety products to consumer, and honesty in selling price. In environmental area, corporate should consider their ways of disposing trashes. Be aware of any pollutions that are affect or harmful to the community.

In short, applying the theory of "help yourself before helping others", CSR started from the corporate inner circle, which is its internal and external environment. It should perform itself well before helping the others. Afterward, it can move a step forward to help people who are in need. This refer to a bigger scope of CSR - develop a better social society, a better world.

Donation views as short-term assistant to the CSR field. It is regarding as a temporary assistant to the people who are urgently in need of helps to certain circumstance. For example, during and after the flood, the act of donating is reasonable, because in that circumstance the most important things people need are food, drink, clothing and a place where they can shelter from the calamity. However, in long term view, donation is consider as an act of giving that do not dig deep enough in assisting others to help themselves. For instance, donate money to the poor who finds difficulty in their daily meals. How long the money can help them? Few days, weeks or couple months? How about in 3 years, 5 years or 10 years time? Does company have the capability to keep funding such large amount of money in "raising" them? If we think negatively, long term donating would not motivate the poor to work hard as they will rely on the fund given by donors. Thus, in the modern society, CSR require a higher responsibility. That is, to create a long term development for the society. Including: schools, research institutions, hospitals; support technique and machineries for the improvement in agriculture and/or technical; research for treatments to diseases, etc. All in the hope to assist new employment opportunities, as well as to improve domestic living conditions and push national economy growth.

In many cases, the projects mentioned above, some of them require numerous funds to execute. One firm might not have that much of capital to invest into such kind of CSR activities, therefore, its needs alliance with others corporations, NGOs, or with multilateral institutions to achieve each individual objectives.

The international multilateral organizations:

The consist of multilateral official organizations, such as: International Monetary Fund (IMF), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), International Labor Organization (ILO), World Bank (WB), World Health Organization (WHO), World Trade Organization (WTO) are parts of the essential elements to the giant United Nation (UN). [2] The institutions are formed through partnership of over multiple nations. [3] The purposes of forming of these institutions are to remain peace and justice in the living world, as well as giving support in developing countries. [4] They set rules to the world in terms of managing and balance the world economy, and set standards of what consider as good condition, human rights, peace and security and so forth. [5] The set of rules and standards are being labeled and recognized as: "international standards".

As distance among nations become closer, cross boundaries trading is wide opened than ever before. Businesses as well as government of one's nation no longer could stubborn and stick on its own policies. Instead, it ought to follow international regulation to set up its national policies; otherwise, its international trade will be strongly affected.

Regarding it to CSR activities, with what called "international standards" stressed on a national performance, and thus, the government passed the tasks down to its nation's corporations. Similarly, they also set standards to measure the performance of businessmen to its social society. Any activities that are harmful to the environment, or fail in offering humanity justice to the working environment, operation of the business will somehow be affected. However, in positive view, the creation of multilateral institutions and its policies pushed the growth of CSR performance. There are cases that corporations alliance with the multilateral institutions for the contribution of new solutions to the social issues.

For instance, in 2004, together with McDonald's, Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo, Unilever and Carlsberg supported by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and Greenpeace [6] , they formed a global not-for-profit initiative of companies for the against in climate change and ozone layer depletion by harmful fluorinated gases. [7] The alliance was for promoting a new point-of-sale cooling technology with free Hydro-fluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerant, which is an environment friendly refrigerant. [8] 

Similarly, Unilever alliance with United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to developed new working environment to the local farmers in Tanzania, Africa. By offering them a locally owned supply chain for oil made from Allanblackia's seeds, the farmers now have a sustainable career and better income compared to their previous job of earning $1 USD per day. [9] 

The two incidents stated that, a corporate could hardly implement such huge CSR project alone. The cause might due to insufficient in capital, resources, techniques and/or specialists to perform the activities. Therefore, if the corporate truly have the public-spirit that to contribute long term benefits to the society, it should consider of partnership with institutions that could support and provide the missing materials the corporate do not have. However, there are still arguments judge that, though these giant CSR activities beneficial the social society, but the actual purpose behind the action are still the benefits CSR looking for.

Antonio Vives in his article stated that, firms' alliance with social institutions - whether it is non-government organizations (NGOs) or multilateral institutions - the benefits of partnership for CSR activities are over the supporting of tools, skills and other resources. It is the benefit of rewarding to the firm's reputation. As reputation improved, credibility to its stakeholder will improve as well. Probably, it will reduce risks in business performance. Thereby, CSR in that case consider as win-win to the firm. [10] 

The media:

News has always been an important component to our daily life. We need news to collect information therefore we could know our world better. As the rapidly growth of technology, tools for receiving reports has also been dramatically improved. In addition, with the development of internet, news and information can appear and obtain anywhere. From the traditional media - newspapers, radio and television to the internet available on PC and mobile phone, information available 24 over 24 hours per day, and breaking news can be update in any second. With new technology, the press and journalistic industry has become more convenience in capturing news and public it to the community.

In business perspective press can be a firm friend, contrary, it can be a traitor. In positive condition or during downturn in businesses, firms need press and journalism to spreads good words to the public for the purpose winning more stakeholders attention and cares. However, when firm faces issue that against legal statement, CSR standards, and/or financial difficulties …. All will turn into journalism's gossip column.

Corporate, especially big corporation hardly have choice to eliminate the eyes of journalism. Simply every single movement is in their spy. Therefore, corporate should take care of its CSR practices. Any clue in wrong practices will stimulus journalism making stories, and words will travel fast to the public, thereby corporate image, reputation, and credibility will be all dragged in dust.

Conclusion

Though, reputation and profit might be the only reasons that pushed to the action of CSR. The true meaning of "Corporate Social Responsibility" will lay on the corporate as an entity, or as an individual thought to the corporate head-quarter. It will all depend on how each corporate value it.

Fortune enough, the existent of international multilateral organization foster more and more firms throughout the world to participate in CSR by rules and policies. Collateral with the multilateral institutions and improvement in CSR practices has helped to change the poor environment. Although it is not perfect - and there is nothing is perfect, but the numbers of people who dare to raise their voice for justice are increasing, it is a good news to the society where people are protected and break away from human rights abuse. Furthermore, as we are facing more unpredictable nature disaster due to global warming, multilateral institutions have stood up and asked for more responsibility from the firms. They are required to think of green solution in disposing trashes and removing harmful chemical away from human, away from nature. Multilateral institutions also have program that support firms who willing to contribute to the society - new experiments for the improvement of lives, as well as strategy for stimulating economy growth.

Media has also played an important role in influencing CSR practices. As people concern about environmental issue, justice, and others valuable information every day, journalism will have to keep searching for those information - either positive or negative matters - then to publicize the news. This unconsciously pressured firm to be discipline in CSR matters, otherwise, bad story spreads might bought irrecoverable results to the firms.

To conclude, whatever the intention that leads the firm to participate in CSR activities, notice that we take from the nature, from our surrounded environment and the community to reach for today achievement. Shouldn't we give out something from our faithful heart?

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