Amid the current economic crisis, the world's attention is gradually turning to corporate social responsibility. Companies protecting their employees from the widespread "wave of layoffs" are wining universal praise.
It is a need as well as a must for companies to fulfill their social responsibilities, to facilitate, rather than hinder, businesses recovery.
Companies, as participants in socio-economic activities, can only thrive as long as they work together with other players, including consumers, investors and the government.
Their willingness to perform due responsibility, especially under the current situation, will help improve their image, build public trust and enhance core competitiveness in future development.
To achieve the goal, corporate responsibility should first involve cautious and responsible behavior on the part of companies in their business operations.
One of the causes that triggered the crisis has been attributed to the lack of risk-control and the absence of accountability by some US financial companies.
In pursuit of profits, some lenders in the US granted mortgage loans to property purchasers with subprime credit. Then some financiers designed the loans into complex securities that appeared lucrative to investors.
The irresponsibility eventually blew up the risk balloon. The lesson to be learnt: regulate risk management and act responsibly in line with the public's interest.
In times of crisis, corporate responsibility also means fighting the economic downturn hand in hand with the government, the people, as well as all parties concerned.
The fall in consumer demand, rising unemployment and tightening of credit, as well as other factors as a result of the crisis, are gravely affecting the business environment.
The way out of the mire and restoring prosperity can only be achieved through active cooperation and joint efforts.
In addition, high-tech innovation has always been regarded as an effective tool to achieve development breakthroughs, and even more so, in an economic downturn.
When traditional goods and services have lost their appeal, high-tech products can stimulate the appetite of consumers and boost demand, because of their novelty and concept of being environmentally friendly.
It is a rewarding investment for the future, and will ensure companies a leading role in sustainable development.
Noeleen Heyzer, vice secretary-general of the United Nations, has said: "At the core of the crisis is a collapse of trust in the capital markets."
To regain public trust, firms must start "shifting their focus from short-term profit considerations to long-term sustainable value creation," she said.
Heyzer said that instead of cutting down on corporate responsibility spending, companies should be investing in it heavily.
(Xinhua News Agency April 9, 2009)