CSR or Corporate Social Responsibility has become a very important part of business operation nowadays. The term became common used in the early 1970s and became accepted worldwide after the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, attracted global attention for “corporate social responsibility” in the World Economic Forum in 1999.
Laguna Phuket, a network of hotels, properties, restaurants, services and leisure facilities established in 1983 on the site of an abandoned tin mine at Bangtao Bay, is one of the organizations that considers CSR an important tool to achieve sustainable development.
“We began shifting our focus from corporate philanthropy to CSR about 2 years ago. Laguna Phuket supported associates to attend training sessions to gain basic knowledge of CSR and to apply that knowledge into action. We believe a positive relationship between both internal and external stakeholders will give advantage to our business.” states Director of Community Relations, Ms Suthasinee Rukmit of Laguna Resorts & Hotels Public Co., Ltd.
“Laguna Phuket actually started doing CSR from the very beginning when Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket was established in 1987. The term CSR was not used then but we had already started.”
Laguna Phuket core CSR team comprises of 40-50 volunteers from all business units known as “Laguna Phuket Social Committee”, and includes such personnel as CSR Manager and CSR Executives. This Committee is the driving force behind most CSR initiatives focusing on social and community development, health development, religion and cultural preservation, environmental conservation, and staff benefits.
Laguna Phuket Kindergarten, Community English Language Centre, Annual National Children’s Day, Laguna Phuket Foundation for Education, Sea Turtle Conservation Program, and School Development project are a few examples of Laguna Phuket’s successful CSR initiatives.
“We realized that for associates to be able to give back to society, their well-being must be considered first.” As a result, Laguna Phuket and Banyan Tree Management Academy signed an MOU with Phuket Polytechnic College to provide vocational skills trainings to interested associates during their free time. Courses include cooking, dessert making, sewing, appliances repair, etc. “Skilled associates were also invited to train fellow associates on such topics as floral arrangements and bartending.” Language courses were offered for associates to improve work related skills.
One of the highlights of CSR initiatives is the development of Baan Klong Sai School in Phang Nga. “The school is only an hour and a half drive away but it was surprisingly underdeveloped. So Laguna Phuket committed to a continued support for the school.” Since June 2008, Laguna Phuket raised 30,000 USD (over 1 million Thai Baht) for the school, 7000 USD of which came from staff and 23,000 USD from ESPN Star Sports Charity Golf Tournament and Auction held at Laguna Phuket. “We organized three activities in 2008; big cleaning day in June, cement block laying activity, and roof renovation for a classroom building in October.”
“We received great feedback and dedication from our staff, sponsors, and community members. It was very exciting. We tried our best to spend the money raised in the most sustainable way for the school. The villagers who at first were suspicious of us now understand and really welcome us after they saw our sincerity and good intention after many visits.” Suthasinee tells us with a big smile on her face.
Laguna Phuket has supported and initiated many projects over the years. “The coming projects we are about implement include Laguna Phuket Associates Saving Co-operative carried out by staff and for staff, to encourage saving habit and limit dependency on loan sharks. We also have a training course on ‘Sufficiency Economy’. There is also Laguna Phuket TO BE NUMBER ONE Club which campaigns on drug awareness and healthy living.
“Teamwork is a must. Successful CSR needs strong collaboration between communities, businesses, and other stakeholders in order to contribute to a better society guided by community expectations. However, we do not to over-push it nor impose demands, so communities would be willing to continue with the initiatives themselves. This is the way to sustainable development.”
Businesses cannot stay alive if its surroundings are getting weaker, because no one can live alone, right?
Learn more about Laguna CSR and its projects at www.lagunaphuket.com/CSR