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Malaysian stock exchange steps into CSR fray

November 2006

The Malaysian stock exchange has published a CSR framework setting out guidelines for public listed companies on environmental, community, marketplace and workplace activities.

Bursa Malaysia has issued a definition of CSR as meaning ‘open and transparent business practices’ with respect for the community, employees, the environment, shareholders and other stakeholders, and triple bottom-line reporting. The statement says: ‘CSR goes beyond compliance to laws. And we wish to emphasize this.’

Yusli Mohamed Yusof, chief executive of the stock exchange, said the time had come for Malaysian public limited companies to take CSR seriously. He wanted to see them going beyond legal compliance, philanthropy and public relations, operating CSR throughout their activities, communicating through sustainability reporting, engaging with stakeholders, creating a CSR agenda and undergoing cultural transformation.

In their environmental policies, he said, companies should concentrate on climate change, renewable energy, energy efficiency, biofuel, waste management, biodiversity and endangered wildlife. In their communities they should pay attention to employee volunteering, education, schools adoption schemes, youth development, the underprivileged, graduate employment and children.

In the marketplace companies were reminded they should develop green products, obtain supplies from ethical businesses, manage their supply chains, develop vendors and social branding, and work on corporate governance. Their workplace policies, he said, should embrace employee involvement, workplace diversity, gender issues, human capital development, quality of life, labour rights, human rights, and health and safety.

Despite the announcement, there are criticisms that Bursa Malaysia has fallen into the trap of suggesting that CSR is solely in the hands of companies, rather than emphasizing that policies should involve consultations with stakeholders.




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