Sunday, September 6, 2009

Combining Corporate Social Responsibility and Health at Work

I am no expert on corporate social responsibility but I would certainly like to congratulate companies, involved in health, CSR as well as welfare issues of their employees as well as the community. It is a welcoming change to see large as well as small level enterprises consider health and safety of their products and the society beyond their traditional responsibilities.

Recently, I read an Internet Research study on corporate social responsibility issues in Africa. This study made me aware of the fact that the discourse for CSR on health still needs to be developed over there. I was surprised to learn that the issue of reproductive health in Africa is not a vital part of the CSR agenda. Even though multinational companies are offering family planning/reproductive health services at work, the change is not visible.

According to a Harvard University survey of companies in South Africa and Durban, to fund losses incurred by HIV/AIDS, companies will have to keep aside approximately 7.5% of their annual payroll. It has also been proved that savings due to health education and prevention programs are as high as 3.5 to7 times the cost incurred in intervention.

I feel that this novel strategy of health promotion at worksite will not only guarantee the welfare of employees but also benefit the cause of generating a responsible and sustainable business. The whole idea lies in clothing a socially responsible activity as ‘health promotion’ to accomplish the desired task in an effective manner. Companies need to understand that health promotion can have several unanticipated consequences that require proper attention. This in turn will help the management understand the drawbacks and prospects of modern CSR policies.

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