Standard Chartered Bank and The Financial Express yesterday awarded three companies for their outstanding corporate social responsibility activities that created jobs, brought education to poor children and spread awareness on nature conservation.
This year's awards went to BSRM, a leading steelmaker, Grameenphone, the largest mobile phone operator in the country, and Unilever, the world famous consumer goods multinational company.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith handed the awards to the recipients at the fifth Standard Chartered Financial Express Corporate Social Responsibility Award ceremony at Radisson Hotel in the capital.
Alihussain Akberali, chairman of BSRM Group of Companies, Vivek Sood, chief executive of Grameenphone, and Chowdhury Hasan Mazhar, product group manager of Unilever Bangladesh, received the trophies.
BSRM won the award for undertaking CSR projects which have empowered 100 women through job creation, ensured pure drinking water for 300 families, and made solar power available for 40 families in Sylhet.
Grameenphone won the accolade for its partnership with the national Special Olympics Team since 2007. As the main sponsor, the telecom company supports sports among the physically and mentally challenged groups.
The jury board also took into consideration
Grameenphone's telemedicine and water cleanliness project and online school project in giving the award. The telemedicine and water cleanliness project is providing consultations on skin disease to underprivileged communities through an innovative device that allows video and audio communication.
The online school, powered by high-speed internet, ensures quality education for underprivileged and secluded children living in urban slums and remote locations. A total of 360 children already have reached 10th grade in the school.
Unilever won the award for Laser Beam, a project which aims to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by working in the areas of health, hygiene, food, water and livelihoods.
The company is feeding 100,000 children in schools, has developed safe water and proper sanitation facilities for 70,000 people and taught natural resource conservation to 40,000 people.
Unilever is ensuring access to preliminary medical services for 350,000 people in the char areas and supporting income generation for 3,000 ultra-poor women and their families.
Speaking at the event, Muhith said: "I am here to know the award winning companies whose CSR projects have brought welfare to the society." "Other corporate houses should come forward with CSR activities to serve the society.”
Bangladesh Bank Governor Atiur Rahman said CSR obligations are a global survival urgency in the face of looming risks from social iniquity, environmental degradation and climate change threats.
“There is indeed no escape from the imperative of major global shift from polluting output practices and lifestyles towards equitable and environmentally sustainable options in the one world that we all share,” he added.
Jim McCabe, chief executive of Standard Chartered Bank, said: “Vision with action has the power to change the world. CSR efforts that combine a vision with tangible action can benefit Bangladesh for sustainable economic growth.”
“We believe that we can make a positive impact in society. The CSR award honoured such visionary actions that are making a lasting difference in Bangladesh.”
Hafiz GA Siddiqi, jury committee member of the award, and Moazzem Hossain, editor of The Financial Express, were also present.