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The private sector must play a vital role in fostering corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices, said Khaled Kassar, founder and CEO of CSR Lebanon. "Responsible corporations can further the CSR culture by complying to internationally recognized standards and embedding relevant policies in their workplaces, marketplaces throughout their value chains, their communities where they can support awareness raising and fostering accountability, and surrounding environment where they can invest in minimizing their negative impacts in favor of their direct stakeholders," he told The Daily Star in an interview.By speaking about the private sector, he does not only refer to companies but also to businessmen associations who are expected to provide significant support for such initiatives. Thus, the problem lies in implementation where majority of corporations involved in CSR projects or initiatives lack strategy and long term vision," Kassar said.He stressed that CSR is a business strategy that should be mainstreamed in every business aspect and activity. It said that only 16 percent of bank customers are aware of the presence of CSR reporting in the banking while only 2 percent of banks published official CSR reports.In addition to the great role that must be played by the private sector in promoting sustainability, Kassar believes that the government must also do its part in raising awareness about the importance of integrating CSR as well as in creating opportunities, facilitating partnerships, and offering incentives.
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