Corporate citizenship

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Corporate citizenship

Enterprises are proud members of society and required to do their part to address social problems. Corporate citizenship is a widespread concept and campaign around the world. Companies should go beyond donations and charities and instead take the initiative as a way to sustain equilibrium between social obligations and economic needs for sustainable symbiotic progress.

More and more companies are practicing corporate citizenship - tree planting by Yuhan Kimberly, education and welfare projects by Posco, campaigns to increase the birth rate by Samsung Life Insurance and social venture promotion projects led by investment company Sopoong are some examples. Social contributions from the corporate sector have become a valuable asset to our society.

However, our laws and the social system lag behind changing corporate behaviors and practices. They even discourage goodwill and philanthropic or volunteer work. The social enterprise promotion act of 2012 is hardly realistic. According to the law, a company must use two-thirds of its profits for public service in order to receive government funding. But no company could survive for long if it contributed that much of its profit to the public good.

The government and legislature must modify the law first so that it encourages more companies to share their profits with their communities and society at large. They also must enact a regulation that would require companies to disclose their social contribution activities and expenditures in their annual report. Companies can be more responsible and participate in the betterment of society only if their acts are appreciated and encouraged. The 5 percent cap on corporate stake-holding in public funds also should be lifted so anyone who has the resources is free to do philanthropic work.

Ordinary citizens’ attitudes must change, as well. Companies should be respected as partners in building a better society and environment. They should be given more opportunities and cheered on for their efforts. If corporate and civilian communities work hand in hand, many of our problems could be more easily solved.

JoongAng Ilbo, May 28, Page 34

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