Rethinking social responsibilityChey Tae-won, chairman of SK Group, expounded on the need for a greater corporate role in addressing social problems in the first Global Engagement & Empowerment Forum on Sustainable Development held in Seoul last week. “Companies can contribute to solving poverty, inequality and pollution, all which threaten the lives of mankind,” he said.
The emphasis on corporate social responsibility from the chief of the country’s third-largest conglomerate should send a resonant message to the Korean corporate community, which recently has been too focused on growth to care about society. Chey proposed scaling up social contributions by corporations to 3 percent against the gross domestic product from the current paltry share of 0.25 percent over the next decade.
For-profit companies no longer can last. “It has become essential for companies to pursue both financial and social values to sustain business,” Chey said. Younger generations at home and abroad are more sensitive about environmental and social problems than those who came before them.
According to a study by Cone Communications, a U.S. public relations and marketing agency, 94 percent of those in Generation Z (born from 1995 to 2005) think that companies must get involved in social and environmental issues, and 89 percent said that they would use the products and services of such companies.
SK cannot contribute and make changes by themselves, Chey said, urging other Korean peers to join in the campaign of doing their part for the greater good of the society.
JoongAng Ilbo, Feb. 9, Page 34