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Responsible Business

"A responsible business will pay attention to mitigation and risk alleviation measures to prevent harm from taking place."

Definitions of responsible business abound, yet examples of universally acclaimed responsible businesses are actually rather hard to find.

Consistent with Spectrum’s vision, we imagine that operation of responsible business will result in a society where people live with peace, dignity, justice, equity, fullness and quality of life.

Central to our picture of responsible business are the concepts of “Doing No Harm”, “Human Dignity”, “Respect for Human Rights”, “Inclusive Business” and “responsible resource use from an intergenerational perspective”.

Some business sectors have a higher risk profile than others, in the hope of a higher potential reward. Where the risks are higher, and impacts of those risks might be externalised to the broader public, a responsible business will pay attention to mitigation and risk alleviation measures to prevent harm from taking place.

There has been a lot of recent progress in Myanmar in helping further define responsible business practice. Examples include:

  • CSR Asia’s “Responsible and Inclusive Business in Myanmar”
  • Shift’s “Conducting Meaningful Stakeholder Consultation in Myanmar”
  • Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business’s (MCRB) “Sector Wide Impact Assessments”
  • Spectrum’s “Seven Joint Recommendations for Positive Development”.

What kind of behaviour makes a Responsible Business? [MCRB)

  • "Obeying the law
  • Respecting human rights
  • Having a commitment to avoiding corruption and not paying bribe or tea money
  • Paying taxes
  • Respecting its employees
  • Respecting the environment
  • Treating other business responsibly
  • Being transparent
  • Responding and engaging with stakeholders."

We hope to see more convergence on a broad and holistic picture of responsible business that can move beyond ideas of corporate philanthropy, mandatory Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes and prescribed CSR spending targets. We hope to see more of those businesses, which are not just successful through superior service and products, but meet the needs of stakeholders through approaches that are inclusive, transparent, fair, accountable, respectful, and ensuring that harm and injustice is not done along the way.

Join with us in pursuit of these ambitious and aspirational goals.

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