Terms of Reference
Terms of Reference for the National CSR Platform in Cambodia
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) involves voluntary sets of guidelines for social, environmental and economic behaviour for companies. This concept has various interpretations, a long history and is not without debate. But in today’s world everyone is talking about it: governments, international institutions, civil society, and the private sector itself.
CSR is a relatively new concept in Cambodia. The majority of businesses and stakeholders are still not fully aware of the strategic importance of CSR as a tool to increase competitiveness at both the organizational and industry levels. Only careful deployment of CSR principles can facilitate and guide the sustainable and inclusive socio-economic growth of Cambodia by boosting the competitiveness of existing sectors as well as by opening up new markets and opportunities.
According to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development(1997)CSR is “the continual obligation of corporations the behave ethically and contribute to economic growth while simultaneously striving to improve the quality of life of employees and their families, and the local community and society as a whole.”
There are a number of other CSR definitions. The most popular and comprehensive working definition is by the ISO 26000 Working Group on Social Responsibility(2007) “Social responsibility (is the) responsibility of an organisation for the impacts of its decisions and activities on society and the environment through transparent and ethical behaviour that is consistent with sustainable development and the welfare of society; takes into account the expectations of stakeholders; is in compliance with applicable law and consistent with international norms of behaviour; and is integrated throughout the organisation.”
A core element of any CSR framework is “managing impact”; the indirect costs of an enterprise spread across the community within which it operates. Regulation of these costs is the responsibility of the government institutions in developed markets.
Key advantages of promoting a nationwide CSR culture include increased market access, foreign direct investment, integration with global markets, robust development of private sector, sustainable socio-economic development, rural development, climate change mitigation, better risk management and enhanced reputation and image. Cambodia has a solid foundation for the promotion of CSR, with vibrant small and medium enterprises, a dynamic economic sector, the presence of different Chambers of Commerce and supportive stakeholders.
To overcome the major impediments for the promotion and deployment of CSR there is an urgent need to develop a common understanding of the benefits of CSR, while strengthening national governance and creating a favorable regulatory environment. A three pronged strategy should be in place: capacity building, advocacy and regulatory reform.
Therefore, a core group of like-minded CSOs (Action Aid, DPA, NGO Forum and Oxfam) along with a number of leading companies, felt the need for actively promoting CSR through a collaborative partnership between private, public and civil society actors. Establishing a national-level multi-stakeholder CSR platform was considered as the first step in this direction. The National CSR Platform initiative commenced on the 31st March 2015 and involved 17 private companies, 3 Chambers of Commerce and 7 CSO members, and will encourage other likeminded companies to participate in the long run. This ToR is jointly developed by a core group voluntarily engaged to take this effort forward. (Please see the list below.)
To have a national CSR framework adopted by the Royal Government of Cambodia by 2018
-CSR guidelines, tools and principles are widely known in Cambodia and have started to be adopted and implemented by companies and enforced by the Government in the best interest of communities and the environment.
Linking and learning:
– To have a platform for learning, networking, information sharing and best practices through appreciative inquiry
– To disseminate the theoretical and practical knowledge on CSR among stakeholders in line with the UN Global Compact and UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, ISO26000 Guidance on Social Responsibility and GRI Sustainability Reporting Guidelines.
– Increase CSR competencies through the development of local service providers, training and information dissemination
– To promote integration of CSR into core business operations
Advocacy, lobby and networking
– To advocate and lobby at the national level for a supportive legal environment for responsible business
-To identify specific opportunities for promoting CSR in various business sectors and work with stakeholders to facilitate their implementation
-To contribute to national CSR agenda setting and raise relevant and material issues which facilitate or inhibit the development of CSR
-To build relationships with different Chambers of Commerce for common goals
-To promote ethical behaviour among companies in Cambodia
-To involve researchers and academics for policy recommendations/suggestion
Timeframe: 2015 to 2018
Core group members to develop ToR for CSR Platform
– Pactics Cambodia
– Nexus for Carbon Development
– EuroCham Cambodia
– TI Cambodia
– NGO Forum
- Small or big business company, local or international registered in Cambodia
- Committed to CSR both internal and external
- Compliance in business principles
- Tax compliance
- Compliance with labour law in terms of working hours
- Intention to try to follow the global standard guidelines of CSR