The integration of the ASEAN community will present many opportunities and benefits, said Thomas Thomas, chief executive officer of the ASEAN Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Network, on June 12.

At a workshop on the ASEAN CSR Vision 2020 initiative in Singapore, Thomas said fast economic growth will, however, also come with many challenges. If the growth is not equitable and inclusive, it will create tensions in society and be unsustainable.

He noted that businesses need to respect basic human rights, raise labour standards, protect the natural environment and eradicate corruption.

He added the ASEAN CSR Vision 2020 initiative aims to create a common view on how to build the bloc as a sustainable community so as to benefit all people.

This will be reached by creating a common strategy on CSR, pushing up the application of international standards on CSR, and working together on important issues.

At the function, representatives from the governments and business circles, international organisations of the regional countries and Japan, the UK and Sweden shared their views on CSR, hoping for a healthy and balanced development among the bloc’s nations.

The ASEAN CSR Network, launched on January 11, 2011, is supported by the ASEAN Foundation, through the ASEAN-Japan Solidarity Fund. It seeks to mainstream the practice of CSR in support of ASEAN’s goals of sustainable, equitable, and inclusive socio-economic development.-VNA