An article by Medilyn Manibo,

A network of corporate social responsibility (CSR) practitioners in Southeast Asia has initiated a three-year plan that aims to put responsible business practices at the heart of the regional integration of the ten countries that make up the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN).

The Asean CSR Network (ACN) on Thursday presented their ‘Asean CSR Vision 2020’, an initiative to mainstream responsible business in the region by setting up a common framework on CSR among the Asean business community and civil society.

As the integration of the Asean community opens vast economic opportunities for the region, challenges naturally come with it. Economic growth in the region, if not achieved equitably, will only create tensions in society – and thus will not be sustainable, ACN chief executive officer Thomas Thomas told partners and members of the network at the launch event held in Singapore.

The Singapore-headquartered ACN said that it will work with Asean governments and various business and non-profit groups over the next three years to map a shared strategy and practices on CSR based on international CSR principles.

The launch of the ‘Asean CSR Vision 2020’ is supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and builds on the initial work of the Asean Foundation, said ACN in a statement. The Asean Foundation, which paved the way for establishing ACN in 2011, has integrated CSR as an essential component in building the ‘Asean socio-cultural community’ – one of the blueprints included in the formation of the Southeast Asian regional bloc.

The CSR network outlined its plans to help raise awareness and build capacity on the adoption of known international standards such as the ISO 26000 Guidance on Social Responsibiity, the UN Global Compact Ten Principles and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

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