Baseline Study on Corporate Social Responsibility Practices in Maldives

Date: 2010

Team:

  • Fareeha Shareef
  • Hamid Sodique

Summary:

The main goal of this study was to measure the level of CSR engagement among the business community and non-corporate stakeholders of CSR promotion in the Maldives, and develop recommendations for a CSR policy framework for the Maldives. This study was commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Development (MED) and the Maldives National Chamber for Commerce and Industry (MNCCI) with support from UNDP, and conducted by FJS Consulting Pvt Ltd from June 2010 to August 2010. The research methodology, which was developed in consultation with MED, MNCCI and UNDP, primarily makes use of qualitative methods and desk research.

Main Findings

  1. In the business sector the concept of CSR is not widely understood, and the term itself is seldom used to describe CSR related activities. The concept of CSR is often reduced to acts of philanthropy and charity.
  2. The level of awareness on CSR in general is low among promoters of CSR as well. None of the non-business stakeholder groups can be seen as playing a particularly significant role in CSR promotion. The main promoters of CSR in Maldives are the businesses themselves.
  3. Majority of companies (68%) do not have a formal CSR strategy, and only 23% of companies have consulted stakeholders in planning their CSR activities. A mere 9% of companies have conducted any form of performance assessment. Public disclosure is unusual except by listed companies and resort operators.
  4. The primary target of CSR efforts for most businesses is underprivileged individuals in the society – mainly in the form of financial assistance towards medical treatment. Employees are the second most frequently targeted group.
  5. CSR involvement is relatively high in the tourism sector. The primary target of CSR efforts in the tourism sector is environmental protection, followed by employee welfare.
  6. The Government does not have a CSR policy and there is no designated focal point for CSR within the Government. Government institutions generally do not play a significant role in CSR promotion apart from regulatory enforcement.
  7. The link between NGOs and business sector is weak. There is no NGO that specifically targets CSR promotion; there are NGOs that target specific areas such as environment protection or community development.
  8. CSR awareness in the media is low. CSR is not a topic of interest in the media. It is rather considered as free advertising. At the same time, the dependence of media on advertising income prevents media from reporting freely on negative CSR activities.
  9. Higher education institutions are few in numbers, and have come to existence only recently. None of the colleges run a specific program on CSR or features CSR in a major way within a program. Management and professional programs feature modules on professional and business ethics rather than CSR in its broad sense.

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