Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal has said that the private sector should pursue environment friendly policies in order to deal with the issue of climate change, protecting public health, and averting climate emergency, and economic downturn in the country.
The Federal Development and Planning Minister while addressing as the chief guest at the 15th International CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Conference-2023 organized by National Forum for Environment and Health (NFEH).
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He said the private sector had to play a key role in helping Pakistan achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations for the welfare and uplift of the downtrodden communities. He told the audience that corporate sector entities, which looked beyond the objective of maximizing their profits for the welfare of the community and society at large should be duly recognized and appreciated.
He said history time and again proved that the business organizations, which failed to deliver beyond the cause of their own profitability lost their sustainability quite soon. The Federal Planning and Development Minister said that corporate organizations should spare resources and make efforts for ending illiteracy and diseases in the communities where they do their business so that their commercial activities should align with the SDGs.
He said the companies, which regularly invested under their CSR-related obligations to make sure that children of their employees received quality education get the best service input from their workforce. He said the corporate sector and industrial organizations were under a strict obligation to consume natural resources responsibly and make their commercial activities environment-friendly to avert the climate crisis for future generations. Iqbal urged industries and business entities to make sure that their operations shouldn’t cause pollution by adopting responsible industrial practices including waste recycling.
He said the corporate sector had to play an important role in protecting public health and serving the cause of poverty alleviation in society in line with the SDGs. He said the corporate sector had to go a long way for ensuring economic stability in the country by increasing exports from Pakistan. “As many as 530 companies are listed on the Pakistan Stock Exchange as merely 74 of them have annual exports of more than 10,000 dollars as this trend has to be changed to create an export-led economy for good of the country,” the Federal Minister added.
He appreciated the NFEH for organizing an event every year to duly acknowledge and appreciate excellence shown by the business and industrial organizations in the field of CSR.
Speaking as the guest of honour, Akhuwat Founder, Dr Amjad Saqib, expressed gratitude to the corporate sector of Pakistan for generously donating to support the massive relief and rescue work after devastating floods in the country last year. He said the generous donations received by his non-profit had enabled it to run a massive welfare drive to help out millions of poor people under the noble Islamic charitable principles. He urged the non-governmental organizations, charities, and corporate sector, to join hands to run a micro-finance programme for the livelihood, health, and educational needs of the needy communities in accordance with the teachings of Islam.
He said the Akhuwat Foundation had done its best to help out differently-abled persons and people of religious minorities who were part of the downtrodden communities in the country.
Earlier, NFEH President Naeem Qureshi, welcomed the audience and reiterated the resolve of his non-governmental organization for making efforts for environmental protection, the use of renewable energy, sustainable development, and tree plantation in the country.
NFEH’s Ruqiya Naeem, Nadeem Ashraf, Uzair Zavary of Baitussalam Foundation, Zeeshan Afzal of Million Smiles’ Foundation, Rizwan Ahmed of Faizan Global Relief Foundation, Ali Majid Director MEA and CA Longi Solar Technology, NEPRA Chairman Tauseef Farooqi, also spoke and highlighted relief work by the bona fide charities during recent flood emergency in Pakistan.
The Federal Minister also gave awards to some 70 companies for showing excellence in CSR work in the last year. Non-profits Al-khidmat Foundation, Saylani International Welfare Trust, Baitussalam Foundation, Million Smiles Foundation, Faizan Global Relief Foundation, and Pakistan Disable Foundation were given special awards for doing excellent relief work during a flood emergency.