Sustaining business and peace

A resource pack on corporate responsibility for small and medium enterprises

Summary:

The purpose of this resource pack is to introduce Sri Lankan SMEs to the concepts and approaches of corporate responsibility.

Recently we have seen a growing number of Sri Lankan businesses embracing corporate responsibility, which is a vital part of active corporate citizenship. Society, government and the economic community itself have started to acknowledge that businesses have a role in addition to their core mandate of wealth and job creation. This realisation has recently brought the business community to the socio-economic and political forefront as an agent for change. The substantial positive, or sometimes negative, impact businesses can have on our social, economic and political environment justifies a systematic approach. This is where corporate responsibility comes in.

Larger, often Colombo-based companies, are becoming increasingly familiar with strategic corporate responsibility. This is partly because most corporate responsibility promotion initiatives and literature on the subject have been tailored to suit the needs of larger companies. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) may find it difficult to relate to them. Unlike large corporations, SMEs command fewer human and material resources and face different challenges in their communities. Therefore there is a need to adapt corporate responsibility to each company’s context, scale, sector, location, reach and comparative advantage, as well as constraints.

This resource pack will address this gap. It will help SMEs plan, implement and monitor their own corporate responsibility approaches according to their own need. It presents a coherent framework that will help SMEs identify ways of adapting corporate responsibility to their own context and purposes. Through this it aims to support a more stable and manageable business environment by: strengthening the capabilities of SMEs to address challenges that they and their communities face; enabling SMEs to act on their concern for their own communities and environment; and encouraging SMEs to analyse how their own actions (or sometimes inaction) form part of the context in which they operate.