The key issues of concern for external stakeholders such as buyers, consumers and investors are child labour, workplace conditions, fair wages, human rights and environmental management. The recent treatment by the US and other western buyers of the garment, shrimp and leather products give a lesson that the CSR practices are a crucial factor ensuring global market access. On 4 October, 2007, a hearing was held by the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on a petition lodged by American Federation of Labour and Congress of Industrial Organisation (AFL-CIO) alleging non-compliance with labour rights in the garment and frozen food industries of Bangladesh. 14 The AFL-CIO brought four allegations in the petition including the violation of domestic and internationally recognised workers’ rights in the Export Processing Zones (EPZs) in Bangladesh, the violation of domestic labour laws and internationally recognised labour standards in the RMG industries, similar violations in shrimp and fish processing industries, and repressive and violent actions taken by the government security forces against trade unionists, workers, and labour rights groups. 15 It is also noted that USTR on 13 July, 2004 was about to recommend the withdrawal of preferential trade privileges from Bangladesh on its failure to enforce freedom of association in the EPZs. 16 In view of all these events it can be assumed that the adoption and implementa- tion of social, environmental and safety standards are the basis for the survival of the garments and frozen fish sectors in the US and other foreign markets. Non-compliance with the said CSR issues can be viewed as a non-tariff barrier for access into the international market. Hence, CSR application is crucial for the 14 See, ‘Ministry of Fisheries and Live Stock of Government of the Peoples’ Republic of Bangladesh, A handout answering allegations in the petition (manually collected). 15 See for details 14 December 2007. 16 See US Department of State, USTR Considers Withdrawing Bangladesh’s Trade Preference (13 April 2004, updated 30 July 2008) 14 December 2008. 4.3 The Need for CSR Practices in the Private Enterprises 79
expansion of businesses of the private sector through occupying and retaining a positive image in the foreign market and thus for the benefit of national economy. 4.3.2 Need for CSR Practices from Internal Perspective As for the internal perspective on CSR, companies’ economic activities impact the lives of the employees who are the engine of the business product. The success or loss of the business in many cases largely depends upon the employees; their skilled and intelligent performance. The improvement of the living standard of employees and their families is one of the fundamental goals of CSR. In Bangladesh the private enterprises are the major employment-providing sectors where a significant number of employees are less educated and poor. Through the application of CSR the
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- Spring '20
- Economics, Private Enterprises of Bangladesh