CSR- More than a hand out- it’s good for business!

by Paul Oeka - May 13, 2022

Photo credit: Port Moresby Nature Park​​

CSR: It once meant a big company handing over large sums of cash in the hope (or more usually, on the condition) of getting something in return, but today it means a whole lot more.  Today it is about the social licence to operate and also a necessity if we are to meet net zero by 2050.  Today’s global society is identifying that doing good for others is actually doing good for you.  In this way Corporate Social Responsibility, although still evolving, is also proving to be good for business.   A company that ‘cares’ for its staff and others, creates a happy workforce, a happy workforce leads to less staff turnover, greater productivity and overall, makes for a good bottom line.   In fact, progressive companies proactively use their CSR programs as marking tools.  

Furthermore, it doesn’t focus just on big corporations.  Every entity, private, government and not-for-profit, big or small, has a role to play in improving our communities.  It is as simple as the choices we make in whatever our line of work.  Ensuring supply chains are equally socially responsible is a sure way to drive change, and really takes little, to no extra effort.  By adding a few questions to your procurement processes you’re making a difference.  Better yet, those that can, should proactively assist/encourage business in the right direction:  if you supply in this way, we will commit to your product/service.    

Being socially responsible is worth more than just the material worth that may be provided.  It provides the concept of planning for tomorrow, because today is taken care of.  It provides long term assurance that support is ongoing, so there is no need for an immediate cash grab.  Advanced programs also provide for growth within arrangements and often involve more than one partner.  An initial relationship can create leverage and multiply the ROI when further relationships come onboard. This is often the case when industry partners with the not-for-profit sector; partnerships reach out to wider community groups to facilitate work required ‘on the ground’.

More and more we now see collaboration between partners that was previously unheard of.  Consider the recent arrangement between one of Australia’s largest pastoral companies, The North Australian Pastoral Company and Australian Wildlife Conservancy, one of the largest conservation NGO’s.  This will manage 6 million hectares with key objective to demonstrate that conservation focused land management can benefit both pastoral productivity and biodiversity.  It’s an innovative investment in the ongoing sustainability of both party’s core business. You need an open mind but if you start by finding similarities instead of targeting historic conflict, you’ll go a lot further.

Good CSR arrangements aim to become more than year to year grant submissions.  To be successful and truly fit the definition of corporate social responsibility, CSR arrangements need to be just like any other facet of business.  Budgeted for, measured, and reviewed accordingly to provide an effective feedback mechanism, thus ensuring the biggest bang for your buck! 

Agreed milestones also provide greater flexibility into how the project may evolve, even mid allocation, provided it meets criteria and each completed stage provides engagement opportunities between partners as well as to the wider community.  These celebrations are equally as important to schedule and commit too as the program itself and what’s more, they are wonderful brand promotional activities. 

Regularly sharing progress to the wider community, rather than just listing in an annual report offers your program momentum, credibility and adds to your reputational profile.  After all, if nobody hears about it, is it really social responsibility or just a business deal between two companies?   Additionally, consider delivering your success to wider audiences.  Make them a part of everyday business, promote them at industry expos and during networking events or conferences.  Offer to present them to other industry networking events as well.  You’ll be surprised at the response. Most of all, share your stories.

Port Moresby Nature Park simply wouldn’t exist without our corporate partners, big and small.  Annually they make up 30-40% of our budget.  Many of our partners have been with us from the very beginning: ExxonMobil PNG, Ela Motors, Digicel, being key players in our foundation wildlife and education programs.  Partners such as Newcrest Mining maybe newer on the scene but equally important as we expand our reach and capacity to assist rescued wildlife, enhancing the awareness of key environmental issues along the way.  In our future there are plans for major upgrades to infrastructure to provide a platform for an international conservation research hub.  A place where international players can base their fieldwork on PNG biodiversity.   With a focus on collaboration and coordinated research, we aim to be the most sought-after platform in the country, and to also utilise this to provide stability to finances.   There are a few steps to go in reaching this goal but we are perfectly positioned in a biodiversity hotspot central to current global conversations regarding climate change.  We remain steadfast in our Vision- to inspire the guardianship of PNG flora, fauna and culture; we hope you will join us.  Remember, it’s not just good for the planet, it’s good for business!



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Papua New Guinea put on World Map by Port Moresby Nature Park

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