Announcing Social Bridges – a 5-month long nationwide discussion on social responsibility

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socialbridges-logo The first droplet on whats next is something I have wanted to do for some time and I’m thrilled to finally get it going.

Back in the summer of 2007, there were a number of posts about Corporate Social Responsibility which attracted a lot of interest among the readers.

Ever since then, I have wanted to really give this subject some dedicated focus on G&W, and explore whats happening in our economy for CSR – what companies are truly making significant inroads on being a responsible part of our society, and which of them are just this as marketing buzzwords? Find out what Social Innovation is, and what its not. Raising questions and awareness about these issues is just as important and "hands-on" as doing social activities themselves – we all have an important role to play, and I’ve really wanted G&W to play a deeper part in societal development.

I’ve spent a long long time finding people who would actually want to have this discussion in the same way we wanted to – an open, democratic, exploratory discussion between all parts of our society – consumers, students, professionals, academics, researchers, government people, NGOs and corporations… we wanted everyone who’s closely involved in CSR thinking or decision making to be a part of this nation-wide discussion.

And I am very very happy that now I have finally been able the find good community members, mentors and panelists, and have also able to find support for this initiative from Telenor, Mishal and a number of other companies behind the scenes to make it happen.

So ladies and gentleman, we’re happy to announce our second major blog under the Green & White umbrella: Social Bridges. I hope it will become just as passionate a discussion and community looking at social responsibility and social innovation as Green & white is for innovation.

Check out my first post there.

I also want to announce the newest member of our team of editors, Waqas Sadiq, who will be leading that initiative along with Ramla Akhtar from the NEXT> and G&W fame. Here is Waqas’s thoughts on the need for Social Bridges.

I hope you will all follow us there and be as participatory to that cause as you have been for Green & White.

If you feel very passionate about SR and want to write on it – Social Bridges is an open blog – anyone can register and start writing today.

Let us know what you all think, and do excuse any initial kinks or hiccups you find on the community.

Facebook comments:


  • Congrats! Need to add another blog to my blog feeed :)

  • A job Well done,
    One more step for society betterment, May Allah give you enough resources and strength to achieve your goal.

  • Shamila keyani

    Excellent initiative…..keep it up..

  • CSR is certainly a hot topic in the western world and rightly so. The companies who have made their fortunes and still do so have the duty to put some of this back in to the communities.
    CSR was not a voluntary decision for the companies it was due to public pressure and voluntary organisations highlighting the damage some corporations were doing to the areas and communities they were operating in. One of the major issues raised was the damage that big oil companies like SHELL, EXXON, BP etc were doing to the Niger delta in Africa. These companies in the western world have to pay attention to public opinion. To ignore it is commercial suicide.
    Unfortunately, the situation is rather different. CSR is the last thing on any company operating in Pakistan has on its mind. They know that public opinion in Pakistan does not count for anything. Unfortunately, they also know that if something negative about them is published (which media companies will never do in Pakistan), they can easily buy off an official high enough in authority to get over it. Ample examples of this can be found in recent Pakistan history.
    Until Pakistani public starts to exercise it consumer rights and power, companies know that they do not have to give back anything except the most basic products to the Pakistani people. CSR is a luxury item in a figure of speech, which companies in the west have used purely for PR reasons.
    A boycott of any sort has never worked in Pakistan against any company. Even due to our disgust for any thing said against our religion, people will still carry on buying as they always did. Look at what happened after the Danish Cartoons scenario. Did Pakistanis boycott any product from Denmark. Of course they did not.
    Just look at the difference in Customer services international corporations offer to Pakistani people compared to what they do abroad. Etisalat, Honda, Toyota etc take note. These companies rave on about their customer service and quality in the western world. In Pakistan, there service could not get any worse!
    SO yes CSR is of great importance, but it will only become an issue once companies start to worry about public opinion. Unfortunately, I do not see that happen in Pakistan during the foreseeable future.

  • Great news Osama ..May you have every success with your new blog i have just launched with a simliar tho’ niche’ focus.

    There is many things happening which may well bring about a radical change in thinking about every companies mission..not just to make money but to actually improve the society we live in.

    This new business thinking is already starting at the student level.It just needs many more of them to make an impact.

    A good question for your new blog:” How can we make more people move quicker in the direction of CSR ?”


  • Hi
    You have mixed up a lots of things together with CSR.

    Your leadership requires clarity.

    For Telenor, its their Hobson’s choice.

    Do bear with it.

    For how long you would be showing these comments.

    Sip them with Green Tea.


  • Jazzup,

    Since you’re implying that you know a lot more about CSR than the rest… why dont you contribute to Social Bridges – its an open blog, that means you can just set up an account and tell what you actually know.

    Otherwise you know, people are likely to believe that you’re just full of hot air and bitterness.

    As for Telenor, they’re just one of our supporters – next week hopefully the evolution of this community will become a bit more clear.

  • Hi

    Thanks for your response.

    First, be notified that
    CSR is totally different than any NGOs activity ( with exceptions ).
    Simply, every NGO is not performing CSR. Its SR not CSR.

    Rural Development is the subject matter of Economics rather more precisely of Development Economics. Not any IT subject dude.

    Same rule for the “Sustainable Development” Man.

    with exception you can
    Add Communication in CSR in its totality it has never been a shape of CSRism.

    Social Innovation, one more “Big Word”. Justify its usage.

    So for the moment, bear it.
    And at the end , reply to your remarks.
    Your remarks did show the level of a typical Non Courteous kind.

    This reply is above those notes.
    I am full of zip rather than hot air and
    regarding bitterness
    My Protector saves me from being bitter.
    basically, its the wrong or dubious explanations, presentations of the IT people which ignite me to let them know that how bitterly they are misquoting, misrepresenting the actual Business Jargon.


  • Jazzup,

    You just made a really big mistake assuming me to be an “IT guy” who has no “business” sense when you explained your stereotype against stereotypes – I’ll leave the community to explain to you what my background is.

    But this comment is also a bit full of buzzwords. Sustainable Development, as an area of study, applies to economic as well supply-chain management (which is actually my area btw) but you cant discount it as not being a CSR activity – otherwise I wouldnt suppose Chevron or Exxon Mobile have any business applying research funds to alternative energy? (actually thats an itneresting Q because they’re probably just expandign their business line rather than doing CSR in a stricter form). Does Unilever have any responsibility to help in the global food crisis? Did any of the major construction firms have any obligations towards helping with the Pak earthquake in 2008?

    As I said in my previous comment, it really doesnt seem like you follow G&W because it might have been clearer then what we genrally mean by innovation – or social innovation or entrepreneurship.

    Its easy being a critic (I know) but there’s no “justification” for using the word as broad as innovation. That covers the activities of farmers teachign other farmers about watering patterns down to rural broadband down to inventive recycling and packaging techniques by large corporations.

    I think the issue is that you may have read the same terms in economics and your area in Finance, but have an open mind to realize that these terms mean different things to SCM, and even IT.

    Its accepting our differences that makes us mature, not pointing them out.

    Again – I’ll welcome your POVs in social bridges – why dont you start writing articles about the same issues (e.g. why communication in CSR isnt precisely csr etc.) That would be healthier

  • And by big mistake I really mean a few things:

    1- Yes I have a history in IT and still enjoy it, but that doesnt really mean only you have the right to impart business education on us IT low-lives.

    2- An average joe like me CAN also have a background both in IT and business. I know it sounds like the world might explode if that were the case, but its true.

    3- I really dont like people who stereotype – yes, there are a LOT of CEOs (and I mean even experienced veteran CEOs running seemingly successful firms) who have no idea about value-chain economics, specifically platforming or community (“edge-driven”) economics which is an area of interest for me. BUT I tend to try and talk about the important issues and the importance fo understanding it via writing and education (atleast I hoep I do – the readers could tell you more about whether I succeed or not). The important thing is though, I dont stereotype into assuming no one else can ever possibly know this because they’re IT.

  • osama: lOlzzz!!! your last comment had me in stiches!! especially points 1 and 2.

  • Hi
    so you have tossed up the coin.
    It was heads for Reale Madrid today.

  • Reply to your post
    Timed as 4:08 am.

    Pay heed albeit don’t feel heat.

    Absolutely disagree, you misunderstood it, but even you still continue to take it in your own way, I restate your leading skills at any rate for the “Social Bridges” are nebulous.

    See, your own reply reveals that you have misunderstandings with in your good self. What you have to do with concept of “Sustainability in SCM” when you are advocating for CSR. Understand.
    Differentiate between Sustainability in SCM
    Sustainability in CSR.

    Yah, I have recently started to read Green and White.

    I don’t want to be a critic of any of your activities.
    That where you could score, but your, don’t want to repeat, be rectified.

    Oh dear you still misunderstand, you are in CSR ism.

    So where do you end up?
    What s your choice ?
    being mature or
    being rectified at an early stage.

    Sorry dear. It’s difficult for me to contribute where the leader does not accept his or her mistake.

    Do people say that your Ears are your complete body?

    Augment Communication with
    As well as
    IT and Telecommunication.

    Reply to your second post is underway.

  • Regarding More Personal views:
    Reply to post Timed as 4:31 am

    I have never ever advocated this theme. You simply felt the heat. Yah, its summer, but you can have Cold Tea or Coffee.

    Dear, I don’t have any apprehensions.

    But do realize that any disturbed writing can damage not only your own image but also the subject under discussion. It’s good to have a reading and writing habit but with care. And what we are discussing
    Corporate Social Responsibility.

    Imagine what would happen if any one of this community’s reader expresses one’s concern (being influenced by you / your lead Community)and one comes to know that what did one had in one’s mind through you was non sense.

  • Sorry sir
    your query remained un answered
    Unilever’s CSR
    Regarding Global Food Crisis
    Be attentive
    you can’t compel any Coporate Entity to perform its CSR as per your own desires. Fortunately if any one does so it would that entity’s “Most Chivalrous” response to the society.
    Unilever is already having a first class CSR policy.

    Regarding Earthquake and Construction Companies Role,
    I would again say, the Shape did not matter.

  • Sorry sir
    your query remained un answered
    Unilever’s CSR
    Regarding Global Food Crisis
    Be attentive
    you can’t compel any Coporate Entity to perform its CSR as per your own desires. Fortunately if any one does so it would that entity’s “Most Chivalrous” response to the society.
    Unilever is already having a first class CSR policy.

    Regarding Earthquake and Construction Companies Role,
    I would again say, the Shape did not matter.


    At the end , i duly excuse for any kind of uncourteousness. I lately came to know that you are a CEO and Editing Manager.
    So bear it in its positivity.

    Thanks again

  • How interesting..the comments, especially as i am in the process of writing a white paper on two of the biggest problems ( which concerned about?) climate change and how CSR can help mitigate the problems we all may face ?
    This is not just :My daughter teaches scuba diving in Koh Tao Thailand, for the first time (ever? )This diving season has been bad weather..consequence ? Poor trade.
    ..climate is and will effect evrybody sooner or later…
    Unless i have this wrong SB is attempting to make the business world wake up and actually do something ?
    There have been millions of words written about ,,social responsibility…often by academics who simply make a living by selling specialized knowledge and reports..which very few poor people read..thankfully as being prgmatic they would think; That report could have payed for my months water ration ”
    My point is let us make SB a place for, at least, attempted solutions to problems which can only get worse..
    Can we start with the Pakistan student population what are they thinking ? more…ian

  • Why the students ? CSR should start with the executives of the large corporations and big business as a whole..what chance is there of them discussing their responsibility..some if only to appear ethical..and increasing awareness that that just might be some economic advantage ( i am not being synical ) because many executives are doing their best within the restraints of their particular organisation.
    My suggestion is there is no time for this process to happen within the (climate change time scale ) A drunk one eyed frog can see that we are running out of time and a much more radical approach needs to be made..
    The answer needs be sort within the body of people who are willing enough and whose circumstances allow the student population of Pakistan ( the world ?)
    How many colleges in Pk are actively discussing this with the students, how many executives who read” greenwhite” discuss it with their sons?
    What prevents students in every college starting at least one project on sustainable business ethics “on the fly?”
    MY SOLUTION; every business idea should start with the brief ..Whatever business is started it must be based on improving the environment or at least not doing futher damage.
    It is busines which has caused the problems let new businesses start to solve them ? more..on how to wake up the worlds students ian

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