The challenges of development are inescapable across most of Asia. Concerns with the effective rule of law, given levels of corruption in the public sector, and with basic material needs, given levels of poverty and an absence of comprehensive state welfare provision, and with consumer health, given toxicity sometimes found in food, beverages and water supplies due to weak regulation, and with basic equality, given racial tensions and the subjugation of women, mean responsible enterprise initiative is focused on these practical challenges. Therefore much activity is, paradoxically, either philanthropic (and thus not addressing how business processes avoid adding to public problems) or innovative, seeking enterprise solutions to particularly public challenges.63 The common element to both corporate philanthropy and social enterprise is that they seek immediate and tangible returns on investment of time and resources. However, one problem is that an expectation of ‘tangible’ returns may reduce attention to more systemic actions that are harder to demonstrate impact. In addition, this approach may hamper the potential comprehensiveness in how Asian enterprises approach their social and environmental effectiveness, something we turn to now.
(The references are available in the pdf download and hard copy versions of this annual review, available from Lifeworth’s bookstore.)
This section can be referenced as:
Bendell, J., and C Ng, ‘Introduction’, in J. Bendell, N. Alam, S. Lin, C. Ng, L. Rimando, C. Veuthey, B. Wettstein (2009) The Eastern Turn in Responsible Enterprise: A Yearly Review of Corporate Responsibility from Lifeworth, Lifeworth: Manila, Philippines. (Page numbers for this section are available in the pdf download and hardcopy.)