Corporate Social Responsibility – Iran’s private sector must play an increased role in saving the environment

February 18, 2016

In today’s energized, post-sanctions era Iran, so much has become possible. More will become so.

One can expect increased economic growth and also an increase in the amount of capitals flows into the country. As these businesses grow, they should be expected to make profits. This is how a nation’s prosperity increases.
But businesses should also be expected to act responsibly – in terms of the social, environmental and economic betterment of their communities. One important means to contribute to such goals is through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
In many countries, CSR has become an essential tool for private corporations to connect with – and support as a partner – larger social goals.
This enables the private sector to graduate from providing simple charity or goodwill. It will open the pathway to partnering in development. For this reason, CSR should be seen as a sound investment which businesses plough into their communities.
With this in mind, I call on the business-people of Iran to find out more about CSR and engage in partnering with communities through the UN and other similar organizations in order to make Iran’s growth more environmentally-sustainable and more inclusive.
Today, one of the biggest human development challenges we face in Iran is the threat to our environment. This will get worse as the Middle East becomes hotter and drier as a result of accelerating climate change and as a result of past decisions which have damaged our environment.
The UN is working with the government of Iran to tackle many of these challenges. Water stress. Desertification. Deforestation. The inefficient use of energy. Air and water pollution. Dust and sand storms. And, lastly, the disastrous – and often irreversible – loss of our biodiversity.
CSR needs to be recognized as a strategic management tool which should influence corporate decisions and then filter down to corporate operations. If done well, it can certainly enhance corporate reputations.
For this reason, CSR should no longer be considered as a luxury item available only to large enterprises.
Such an approach also fits into the larger overall global effort to protect our planet. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by all the 193 Member States – including Iran – at the Summit on Sustainable Development which was held in New York in September 2015.
The 17 new SDGs aim to end poverty, hunger and inequality, improve access to health and education, build strong institutions and partnerships, and more. Crucially, they devote significant attention to action on climate change and the environment.
One in particular – Sustainable Development Goal 17 – calls on all states to “Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development”. This is a direct call upon the private sector to partner on the environment and sustainable development, something which is already occurring under the UN’s Global Compact in other countries.
By mobilizing our combined strength, through CSR, we can support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in all countries. Including Iran.
My sincere hope is that the private sector will join those of us who are already engaged in Iran to safeguard the environment.
• Our development must be sustainable,
• Our growth must be inclusive and
• Our fragile, endangered planet must be protected.
Everyone has a part to play. All are welcome