There’s been a growing interest worldwide about the importance of CSR to a company, both from a business’s perspective and a societal one. This interest and an awareness of fluctuating conditions has prompted companies to look deeply at today’s socio-political and environmental issues which will affect people tomorrow, and model sustainable CSR strategies accordingly.
Expack Corrugated Cartons (Pvt) Ltd. manufactures corrugated cartons for domestic and export use, partnering with its stakeholders to deliver complete packaging requirements. As a B2B company, Expack formulated its CSR mechanism by identifying social, governance, and environmental gaps issues which require attention in the area it operates in and uplifting the community. Over the years, Expack has taken on these issues through philanthropy, education, health, ethical labour initiatives, and volunteering through its CSR programmes.
A core part of strong CSR is creating shared value for the business as well as the community. Another is sustainable CSR which creates an impact instead of feel-good isolated initiatives. Expack’s philanthropic and CSR activities have strengthened its relationship with its community and stakeholders, and have been designed as long-term initiatives.
At Expack, social responsibility begins within the organisation and is reflected in its business ethos. The company endeavours to build a compassionate culture which enables its employees and facilitates inclusivity. Keeping this in mind, a Medicamp is conducted annually for all employees across the board and medical records are maintained to assess their health needs. Expack also supports the school-going children of employees by annually providing school packs with paraphernalia such as books, school bag, lunch box, stationery, and a shoe voucher. Monthly arrangements have been made to provide essential provisions and medicines for Expack employees to help with escalating living costs, while during the recent floods affected employees were given financial assistance.
Having identified the need for affordable healthcare among residents in Pattiwila – where Expack is based – the company carries out a Medicare Clinic thrice a week and has treated 30,000 patients to date. After close engagement with the villagers in the area, Expack has also constructed a public notice board, a bus stop for the convenience of commuters, and a drain to prevent heavy flooding in the low area land in Pattiwila village. Furthermore, the company also interacts with the community by carrying out regular philanthropic activities with local authorities such as dengue prevention programmes, dhansalas, provision of funds for the needy, and religious activities to uplift the community.
The company carries out educational CSR by disseminating industry knowledge through training and partnerships with state and private institutions, providing insight on trends in the printing and packaging industry and new technologies. Expack also encourages a culture of volunteering within the company and its CSR unit was quick to mobilise volunteers to provide cooked meals in the village temple and provide dry rations.
“Our society grapples with numerous socio-economic issues and live in a climate of uncertainty. As businesses operating in this environment, it is our responsibility to have a clear corporate conscience and give back to the community. Our CSR is an extension of our business values,” noted the founder directors of Expack, reflecting on the company’s CSR endeavours.
For a developing country such as Sri Lanka, which is also emerging from a post-war climate, the mandate for CSR is more crucial than ever before. The conversation about CSR has moved from the periphery into the mainstream and it’s vital for businesses to sustain the conversation, have an impact, and ensure that this is not merely a trend.