Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Evans redefines Corporate Social Responsibility

The chief executive officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Steven Evans has redefined the meaning of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), saying that it entails a wholesome relationship with stakeholders and creating value through all products and services to benefit all in the society.

Speaking at the recently held BusinessDay Annual Giving Conference in Lagos, Mr. Evans who dwelt on ‘Etisalat CSR: Enhancing Sustainability through Innovation,’ enumerated some benefits of CSR to include improved standard of living, increased global competitiveness, security, innovation and skills development among others.

He also highlighted the company’s CSR achievements despite its being a recent entrant into the Nigerian telecommunications industry, saying “Our CSR activities are designed to positively impact the various socio-economic levels with unique schemes ranging from education to health and environment.”

He told participants at the event with the theme ‘Giving Back: Investing in our Community for Sustainable Development’ noted that Etisalat’s organisations expansive CSR activities despite its ‘being young in Nigeria’, involved into support for the Lagos State government’s drive to improve the educational sector through Etisalat’s Adopt-a-School initiative by adopting three secondary schools in Lagos State.

By organizing a career counseling programme, he said, employees of Etisalat volunteer their time to counsel students of secondary schools on which career path to pursue.

In the area of health, he mentioned the Fight Malaria initiative in which insecticide treated mosquito nets were distributed to boarding schools as a preventive measure against malaria.

“This initiative was supported by a dedicated drama series designed to educate listeners on symptoms and prevention of malaria and get them actively involved in the fight against it,” he said.

Additionally, he said, Etisalat partnered Lagos Business School CSR centre to provide a research centre that aims to create, disseminate and apply CSR knowledge.

Pointing out that the company’s CSR initiatives have been tailored to be sustainable, applying innovative means, which further acknowledges the efforts of the private sector in Nigeria.

“Businesses are doing CSR, following the same principles but delivering it in varying ways and achieving results,” he said.

Equally speaking at the event, the chief executive officer, T.Y. Danjuma Foundation, Ms. Thelma Ekiyor, explained the difference between charitable giving and Corporate Social Responsibility.

CSR, she said, has its main features as accountability, sustainability and credibility, stressing that CSR should not position itself as replacing the government but should be complementary.

Ekiyor enjoined companies to engage in collective sharing of ideas so as to avoid duplication of initiatives but instead have a collective purse to be able to achieve significant change.

In his remarks, the chief executive officer and publisher, BusinessDay, Mr. Frank Aigbogun expressed appreciation to speakers for honouring BusinessDay’s invitation by being present at the event, stressing that the level of commitments displayed makes the BusinessDay annual giving conference worthwhile.

Remmy Nweke
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