The spending on corporate social responsibility (CSR) by the commercial banks operating in the country soared by 5.5 times to more than Tk3bn in 2012 from Tk554m in 2009, Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Atiur Rahman said on Saturday.
“Over the past few years, direct and indirect expenditure of banks on CSR initiatives have increased manifold,” he told at a book launching ceremony in the city. The book titled International Standard Responsibility Book jointly produced by High Commission of Canada and CanCham Bangladesh.
Indeed, businesses in Bangladesh and elsewhere will need to hasten establishing good CSR performance track records for holding on to and expanding their customer bases, said the governor.
He stressed on the CSR performance because consumer lobbies in both developed and developing countries are voicing louder concerns and demanding for socially responsible performance from producers and providers of goods and services.
“The recent Savar tragedy is yet another eye-opener for all of us who care for socially responsible businesses.”
CSR engagements have helped our financial sector keep itself in good shape during the global financial crisis and in the subsequent still ongoing global slowdown, he said.
Pointing fingers at the central bank’s initiatives to encourage CSR activities by banks and financial institutions, Atiur said “we have a separate department of green banking and CSR, which is steering our campaign on socially responsible financing.”
“Annual reports of individual banks disseminate information on their CSR activities, and BB has been issuing consolidated annual CSR reports for the entire banking sector,” he said.
He also said bank’s lending support for environment friendlier output practices in renewable energy, effluent treatment and adoption of energy efficient output processes have also been growing rapidly.
“We expect the financial sector embracing CSR ethos and objectives will in turn sensitise and activate its non-financial client businesses in CSR commitments and initiatives,” said the governor.