History of CSR:
- There is no specific legislation in Bangladesh to assist the regulation of
- CSR is gradually being normalised in Bangladesh, with CSR projects moving from the peripheral management by external actors, to the mainstream management within local companies.
- No sign of the term social responsibility itself gaining parlance.
- There has been a trend in recent years to emphasise CSR as philanthropic donations.
- There has however been some development of social compliance terms in the garment sector.
- During the last five years a wide range of organisations have offered CSR discussions and events. These were largely organised by embassies and universities.
- Many companies are very active in CSR, but their activities are still largely limited to philanthropy.
- The CSR issue has been emphasized much more specially after collapse of the garments factory building ‘Rana Plaza’ in 2013 in Savar,
Legal framework and Initiatives:
- Child Labour & Forced Labour
Many children work in the informal sector in Bangladesh, and the government has come under international pressure to legislate against this. In the garment industry a minimum work age of 18 is in place but not effectively enforced. The forging of documents also enables the continuation of these activities. The factories that employ such children are often, contradictorily, contributors to children’s education and health programs.
- Labour Law
Labour laws exist, but the major Bangladeshi laws related to corporate regulation and responsibility do not possess necessary features to develop a socially responsible corporate culture in Bangladesh. The Bangladesh Labour Law 2006 has been questioned and amended in recent years to include some social responsibility considerations. It generally upholds international standards, but these are not enforced in practice.
Many companies publish CSR reports annually, however this is self-regulated and not subject to any external scrutiny. This lack of accountability, combined with research findings of illegal child labour suggests corrupt practice.
Environmental regulations have been somewhat present since the penal code of the 1860s, but only in the last decade have stringent environmental law been enacted. Today, laws range from pollution, displacement, land management and everything in between.
- CSR Law
No law explicitly dealing with CSr currently exists in Bangladesh.
Several key players are essential to the development of CSR in Bangladesh.
- The Governor of the Bank of Bangladesh has taken a personal interest in CSR Development
- The Commercial Banks have now become leaders in the funding and implementing of CSR Projects.
- Senior Executives of a number of Bangladesh based companies have taken personal interest in CSR.
- Several NGO’s have established CSR Centres including:
- MRDI and Manusher Jonno and their Connecting CSR with Development to Address Poverty initiative which includes the publication of “CSR Review”
- Save the Children Bangladesh and their Child Labour initiative
- Centre for Disability in Development and their ‘Disability in Development – Connecting to CSR’ initiative
- International companies with departments or offices in Bangladesh have also been influential, as exemplified in the good practice example below.
Organisations that have been recognised for their exemplary CSR in Bangladesh include Standard Chartered Bank and HSBC. Reports of good CSR practice by these companies in the national media have been influential in fostering the development of CSR in Bangladesh. Particularly the Daily Star and the Financial Express have been influential in providing third party monitoring of CSR.
Latest news on CSR:
Mapping of Good CSR Practices in Bangladesh – Save the Children Bangladesh – Save the Children International
Khatun, M. M. (2014). Corporate Social Responsibility in Bangladesh: The Law and Practices. Journal of Law, Policy and Globalization, 31, 10-17.