Identity and define a CSR issue that relates to the SDG you have chosen to target and your organization.
Explore the issue by sourcing and analysing relevant and reliable information (riclading data).
Identity and evauate potential solubons to Me issue leading to clear recommerdason(s).
Understanding SDG 8
As responsible corporate citizens business organizations are expected to give back to the societies in which they do business and derive profits. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a concept that defines the actions taken by business organizations to contribute to the sustainable development goals in the places where they are located. CSR takes on many approaches in different countries and is understood differently in different countries and could address several Sustainable Development Goal initiatives such as poverty reduction, education and healthcare provision, promotion of good governance, human rights protection, economic development and environmental conservation. This paper takes a look at some of the possible CSR actions that could be taken by Sintgtel Optus Limited businesses in order to promote the SDG 8-Decent work and Sustainable economic development. Businesses are powerhouses for creation of jobs and wealth. Business entities make a significant contribution to economic development by creating employment opportunities for the citizens all through its value chain. Given that these efforts are not adequate; this is where CSR comes in.
It is necessary to underscore the stipulations of SDG 8; according to Scott, 2018 p. 4, it advocates the realization of decent work and sustainable economic development and in getting a clear picture of the situation as is, some facts and figures will come in handy. The expansion of employment opportunities since after the global recession in 2008 has been estimated at 1% every year. More than 60 % of all employed people do not have any form of employment contract (Tomei & Belser 2011, p.3). The percentage of workers employed on a permanent and full time basis is lower than 45% and is on the decline (Webster, Budlender & Orkin 2015, p. 128). Further, it is projected that by the end of 2019 more than 212 workers will be out of employment; it is unrealistic to talk economic development with such high rates of unemployment. Finally according to Hughes &Haworth (2011), at least 600 million new jobs ought to be created by 2030 to match the rate of growth in the employable age population.
As stipulated by the International Labor Organization (ILO), the promotion of decent work agenda is a social responsibility of every corporate entity as part of the larger agenda of promoting sustainable economic development (Hughes &Haworth 2011, p 38). The UN Organization reiterates the centrality of decent work opportunities in the realization of economic development. The rationale is simple; in order that sustainable economic development is achieved the people must be engaged in gainful employment or other income generating activities. According to ILO estimates as at 2016, 3 out of 10 people or 783 million workers are not able to rise out of poverty despite working because of poor work conditions that could be solved by provision of decent work (Kakwani & Son 2016, p. 178). In this regard, there are a number of dimensions to the CSR role that could be undertaken by organizations such as Singtel Optus Limited towards in decent work. They include job opportunities, productive work, equality in the workplace and safety.
CSR issues relating to SDG 8
The first dimension acknowledges the fact that there can be no talk of decent work in the absence of job opportunities; as such, corporate entities should create job opportunities for as many people as are willing to work. According to Persson, Weitz & Nilsson (2016), Job Opportunities advocates that Singtel Optus Limited to find ways of increasing income generating activities in the economy in the formal as well as informal sector so as to increase the number of individuals engaged in wealth creation. The second dimension-Productive Work mandates Singtel Optus Limited towards achieving a threefold objective; provide workers jobs that reward them with reasonable income hence boosting sustainable economic development and promoting the sustainable economic competitiveness of the business and the country as a desirable employer (Hughes &Haworth 2011, p 38).
As outlined in dimension 3 (equality), Singtel Optus Limited is tasked to the pursuit of fair and equal treatment of all employees at the workplace with regards to equal pay for equal work, non-discrimination against either gender, fair administrative actions such as promotions and salary increase. As Freistein & Mahlert (2016) submit all these have a bearing on the workers’ economic power and hence an impact in economic development. According to UN estimates, only about 49% of women are part of the labor force as compared to their male counterparts 75%, indicating a disparity of 26% while some regions have a disparity as high as 50% (Witkowska 2013, p. 338). With close to half of the world’s population not engaged in income generating activities sustainable economic development remains elusive. Workplace safety charges Singtel Optus Limited to ensure not only the health of workers but look into social security issues which include job security as well as the protection of workers right in retirement as well as in illness. As outlined by Queralt, Fu & Romano (2017), these aspects are instrumental to ensuring that the workers economic abilities are not hampered in any circumstance.
This section will take a look at some of the CSR strategies that Singtel Optus Limited can implement in order to actualize the SDG 8. It will attempt to provide an evaluation of the said strategies as well
From the very onset it is necessary that Singtel Optus Limited CSR has a strategy that promotes the economic empowerment for their employees. The comany should offer decent working opportunities which acknowledge and promote the 4 dimensions of decent work discussed before as Munro (2013) submits that a responsible business organization ensures workers are compensated adequately for work done, that performance is rewarded, reasonable employment contracts are signed, job security is observed and workers’ welfare is protected in retirement. This helps in the professional development of workers allowing them to give their best to their jobs, hence the economy while their own capacity to take part in sustainable economic activities is not impaired.
Potential CSR Solution Approaches
Breuer, Lüdeke-Freund & Brick (2018) underscore the fact that the formal sector can only employ a given number of people; Singtel Optus Limited should focus on creating job opportunities (dimension 1) by investing in the informal sector. Monsato, an agricultural biotechnology firm realized the potential of rice farming as an employment sector in Vietnam. In 2008, it undertook to train 5 million small holder poor farmers on biotech farming of rice by 2020. As at 2016, 4.2 million resource poor rice farming families were already on board yielding an extra $ 50 billion for the Vietnamese farmers (Kowitt 2016, p. 98). Given the rise of demand for Vietnamese rice in recent years, Monsato through this CSR strategy has helped create job opportunities for over 5 million families in Vietnam.
Singtel Optus Limited should execute CSR actions that target technology, as it is very instrumental to the realization of the agenda of SDG 8; borrowing from Google which has acknowledged the role that Small and Medium Enterprises play in many economies across the globe. According to Maheswari, Nandagopal & Kavitha (2018), SMEs are estimated to account for over 70% of self-employment. Google is targeting small businesses enterprise owners in several developing countries with a view to helping them establish an online presence to help them reach more potential customers and make more profits. Google intends to work with at least 20 million small and medium enterprises in India alone in 2018. Google has also created a business application called Google My Business which is allowing SMEs to create as well as manage the content regarding their business online and is available in both Hindi and English languages. This is another classical example of what Singtel Optus Limited can do in order to help SMEs holders to achieve sustainable development.
Sustainable economic development requires that economies shift towards becoming 24 hour operational. In most developing countries in Africa and in Asia, business closes with nightfall. This is only achievable if the provision of electricity or other sustainable lighting forms are available. In this regard, Singtel Optus Limited could borrow a leaf from Abzesolar S.A which under its brand MAMA-LIGHT provides sustainable energy and lighting for women. 84% of women are employed in the informal sector as opposed to men 63% (Witkowska 2013, p.340). This are ways that Singtel Optus Limited could help close the gap in gender inequality in employment (dimension 3) and help create new jobs (dimension 1) in order to spur economic development.
It is demonstrated from the foregoing that businesses have a major role in the realization of the SDGs because they owe a responsibility to the communities in which they work. As a responsible corporate citizen Singtel Optus Limited has to complement the government efforts to make the goals achievable. The said approaches are just some of the areas where corporates could come in to help create employment and wealth.
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Witkowska, D 2013, ‘Gender Disparities in the Labor Market in the EU’, International Advances in Economic Research, vol. 19, no. 4, pp. 331–354, viewed 2 October 2018, <https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=buh&AN=91842998&site=ehost-live>.
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