Sue Meng Chan, Global Head CSR, Amicorp

“The next generation of job seekers choose to work for companies with higher purpose, and companies with strong ethics and sense of responsibility”

Comments on the Mandatory 2% contribution to CSR

Mandatory 2% contribution to CSR: I am still trying to make sense of this. I don’t believe companies without profit has to ‘create’ a profit in order to contribute, and I think there should be the option of donating in kind, i.e., other resources aside from financial.

Sustainable Development the concept and practice: your comments please.


Sustainable Development: Is the opposite of rapid development, like traditional business. Sustainable development is long-term focused. Whilst traditional biz is typically focused on short term revenue returns, companies that develop their businesses sustainably tend to take a longer term view, develop slowly, reap profits at a slower rate and lesser profits, and the means in which they employ tend to make the business model more longer-lasting, hence the term sustainable. Social enterprises tend to fall into the category of biz that develops sustainably, i.e., they proposition a small financial ROI + a big dollop of social good in exchange for loans,  but because their lenders are not always lending for altruistic reasons but are trying to jump on the bandwagon of ‘social enterprises’ to make money, they force the social enterprises to act in the same way as traditional enterprises in order to generate the same rapid development model that traditional businesses take. Sustainable development also refers to developing in a way that considers not just profit, but also the people (community) and the planet (environment), hence it takes a much slower time to grow profits. The path to profit is sometimes taken by building an ethical brand that people want to do business with rather than selling the product – reputation building by communicating company ethics. People, planet, profit the 3 P’s (pillars) of sustainability is popularly called ‘blended value’. There’s the 4th “P’ that people forget / don’t focus on: cultural heritage. For social enterprises, sustainable development means that they have to be constantly mindful of remaining true to all the founding goals and values of doing good and going profitable. Traditional enterprises mostly don’t care, the first and sometimes only bottom line is profits, as much as possible in as short a time as possible.

“Inequality will be a driving force for new thinking about greater commitment to ethics, morality in business decisions and capitalism itself”: Please comment.

I disagree. I don’t think inequality will be a driving force for new thinking. We are living in a world of zero sum games. The driving force I believe will be recognition by companies that the only way they can stay in business is to  build reputations that can be backed up by being able to prove that they have a greater and higher purpose than simply raking in profits at any and all costs.

The next generation of leaders will be more socially concerned and committed as employers, consumers and investors : Your comments please.

The next generation of leaders will do what the consumers demand to win the votes. And if it’s a developing country, those leaders will do what the business leaders want to make the economy as vibrant as possible in as short a time as possible. Hopefully, the next gen. of leaders will have a long term strategy on how to fix the cost of the rapid development.

Sustainable development demands a change in processes, policies and products of a company: is this an opportunity or a threat for Indian corporates?

Change is an opportunity for change makers, but usually perceived as a threat or with suspicion and skepticism by stakeholders who don’t know where they fit in the new space and they don’t know what to do to get there, or the cost of learning. And to manage change and transition properly, a long term plan and view is required. And most importantly, change has to be communicate the minute change is considered not at the implement or execution stages.


What opportunities do you see for education institutes in the growing field of CSR and Sustainability 

I don’t really have a comment on this, but to add to the above answer. One of the most important things that an education institute can deliver to students is training in change management. How to cope and how to prepare for the above. The other training is communication skills, how to inspire and persuade with power. Leadership training, in other words.


“Companies that create employee-driven CSR programs help workers feel a sense of greater purpose; helps attract and retain top talent; and provide strong platforms for employee leadership and development. In today’s world, employee volunteer programs are an essential component of a company’s CSR approach, one which unquestionably benefits employees, the community and the company.”

True. The next generation of job seekers choose to work for companies with higher purpose, and companies with strong ethics and sense of responsibility


What is the business case for CSR? Is it the same in developed economies as in emerging markets? Would you please describe a specific environmental, social or governance issue from a business case for CSR perspective, comparing and contrasting the business case for CSR perspective of the specific issue in a developed economy and in an emerging market.

In developed economies, CSR programmes are more developed and sophisticated. Companies recognize that sustainability, being able to make it in the long run means that they need to create win-win situations, in the same way that societies in developed economies need to consider all stakeholders: the society and the business and the shareholders, and to stretch out their available resources as long as possible. They can afford to because they are in a leading position. Emerging economies on the other hand have to catch up, and catch up rapidly and that often comes at the price of a society / environment. An international insurance company for example cannot make money as fast and as easily in advanced economies as they can in developing economies because there are laws in place to protect the consumer. That’s government social responsibility trickled down to CSR.  In developing economies, there are less laws to protect the consumer, which makes it more favourable for revenue and profit generation. An insurance company can get away with selling medical policies that does not cover reconstruction of a nose after the nose has been removed for cancer. That could be regarded as cosmetic surgery. In advanced economies, it cannot happen. Similarly, CSR in developing economies is regarded as an option, not a necessity. You’ll get individuals, or individual companies recognising the need, but not whole societies.

Please describe how your company or a company you are closely aware uses the concept of sustainable development to create better products or services.

Amicorp is an extremely responsible company. We set up a foundation to run projects that empower under-privileged societies by providing free vocational skilling, and we invite our clients to participate. Al our offices are encouraged to organize CSR events where our clients are invited to participate, hence giving them an opportunity to fulfill their CSR goals or self actualisation goals. We lead by example by contributing up to 1% of our revenue to CSR and sustainability. We intend to reforest degraded land by planting trees as a way to offset our CO2 emissions where we cannot neutralize them, and we also offer the same service and product to our clients. We help clients to identify, set up and manage their CSR / SUSTAINABILITY / PHILANTHROPY structures so that we can expand our one-stop shop proposition for clients. If we can help others to easily help others, we can change the world slowly and sustainably. Sustainable development is not the exclusive responsibility of a few people who have become wealthy must pay back by giving to those who are poor. It is the responsibility of everybody and a commitment of every single person to give what they can, what they have or what they are good. Sustainable development / CSR / charity / philanthropy does not mean going out to build houses or paint rooms when you are not trained or talented at it. Leave that to those who know how to do it, and give in ways that you are good at, i.e., skills or resource based giving. That’s what Amicorp promotes.