CSR initiatives during Covid-19 is bringing Companies closer in Thailand

CSR initiatives during Covid-19 is bringing Companies closer in Thailand

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Patarachai Sonthikhant

Since April 2020, Thailand has locked down its country due to Covid-19 and slightly lessened measurements during the past few months. No doubt the disease has ruined the country economy which pretty much relying on tourism and export, numbers of unemployment estimated 2 million people, higher than Tom Yum Kung crisis in 1997. But how this phenomenon effects to private sector’s CSR in Thailand.

Before going to the point, we must understand a bit about people perception to CSR in Thailand. Thai people see CSR more on “CSR After process” which means about private sector doing “some good activities” for the society or environment and they could be in any form of donation, sponsorship (through NGO or academy), community investment or social services through its own employee engagement.

For instance, toilet building for school, playground painting, mangrove planting etc. And usually these activities set for some specific purposes or geography depending on each company’s CSR policy or where the company or factory located in.

Though Covid-19 makes private sector have less money to spend and slow down many CSR activities, it becomes a bridge for CSR to really engage in general Thai people lives.

CP All PLC, the retail giant own 7/11, offered those who fly back to Thailand and voluntary quarantine themselves free meals as well as snacks, and deliver to their homes. CP All, with its 11,700 branches across Thailand, now also extends delivery service to general public to help reduce risk in visiting their stores, even safeguards like temperature check and wearing mask already be there.

Not only big names do CSR, but also small business. There were many street restaurants offered free meals to any who passed by their restaurants. We can see here that those CSR activities are not specific to company’s CSR policy or target people anymore, but directly engage in people daily lives, and many of them becomes more “CSR in process” like delivery service provided by CP All.

Another evidence showing CSR in Thailand moves more to “CSR in process” is transformation of CSR Club to Thailand Responsible Business Network in December 2019. The network focuses on the following areas; human rights, circular economy, supply chain, climate change, anti-corruption and responsible investment. Each member actually does great CSR both in process and after process, but when they would like to harmonize their expertise and experience for best practice, distance to go.

Lastly, a funny story about “CSR in process” against Covid-19, a big chain department store applies green/red light before riding on escalators, in respect to social distancing. No offense, but it is funny when thinking that we are closer to each other than ever when we are in a long queue waiting to use them.

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