In a bid to introduce an inclusive development model in the power sector of Pakistan, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has envisioned developing a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) culture with its CSR drive of “Power with Prosperity”. In this regard, a webinar cum seminar was hosted at NEPRA Tower on 18.01.2021 (Monday), attended by a number of senior representatives from power industry, public and private sector entities as well as members of the Authority, Mr. Rehmatullah Baloch and Engr. Bahadur Shah.
Chairman NEPRA, Mr. Tauseef H. Farooqi in his keynote address told that the Authority is proactively working on an inclusive development model in consultation with the industry stakeholders and to learn from the already executed successful models. Unpacking the vision behind the initiative, Mr. Farooqi further elaborated that with the proactive CSR approach, NEPRA envisioned to transform the socio-economic landscape of Pakistan by bringing about the most efficient and fair business practices to ensure affordable, reliable, and sustainable power services with the active engagement and development of local communities. He expressed the intend to create buy-in and broad-based acceptance of NEPRA’s CSR strategy by providing a platform to the licensees to execute inclusive and participatory development models so that the power becomes means to bring prosperity. He further said that Engro Energy Limited (EEL) is the CSR champion and a trendsetter in the power sector of Pakistan and now is the right time to learn from its experience and share further with the CSR intenders of the power industry.
Detailing upon the philosophy behind Engro’s inclusive development model, Engro Energy Limited (EEL) Chief Executive Officer, Ahsan Zafar Syed said that the recipe for a successful CSR model is a combination of partnering with stakeholders and bringing on board the social sector experts and not mere arrangements of funds. “As a responsible corporate citizen we strive to deploy inclusive business in all communities that we operate. I believe it is important that the public and private sector form alliances to ensure that together we are able to achieve common goals of uplifting communities and benefitting the underprivileged. However, the most challenging part of executing a successful model is to ensure the sustainability of the development efforts through innovation and adoption of an institutional approach to CSR,” he added.
NEPRA CSR Consultant, Huma Zafar shared CSR strategy that provides a roadmap for all licensees on how to ensure that electric power brings prosperity in Pakistan at the community level. She further added that their CSR stands on pillars of Compliance and Proactive Approach so that the licensees are facilitated to opt minimum standards of inclusive development model. She quoted the Power Policy, 2015’s section 12(xi) and 12 (xiv) which binds the power sector stakeholders including generation companies and provinces to undertake CSR activities within their project areas. She further elaborated that undertaking CSR activities manifest the social responsiveness of the companies however, the phenomenon spans over a time period of 100 years starting as a way of doing charity to making companies rethink business ethics and aligning their strategy to the triple bottom line (People, Planet, and Profit). While sharing CSR trends, she elaborated that currently all CSR activities are being undertaken at self-discretion and without any dedicated facilitating arm of the federal and provincial agencies, and the approach towards CSR is normally seen to be reactive and primitive. However, being a socially responsive power sector regulator, NEPRA is ready to play the role of enabler for the execution of meaningful CSR through its licensees to achieve the objective of inclusive development aligning CSR goals with United Nations-Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs) 2030. Last but not the least, she shared the proactive response received from the key players in the power sector as well as local and global development organizations to join hands with NEPRA for impactful CSR programs creating difference at the national level to improve Pakistan’s rank at human development index.
Chief Executive Officer of the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC), Syed Abul Fazal Rizvi who is also heading the Thar Foundation said, CSR has now evolved to engender stakeholder capitalism and not shareholder capitalism. “The real stakeholders of the development of our project are people of Thar who must achieve the economic gains of the development taking place in the area,” he said. “Thar Foundation has set up a target to make Islamkot Taulka, our primary beneficiary area, Pakistan’s first UN-SDG compliant area by 2024,” Rizvi added.
Representative of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), Dr. Sara also highlighted their contributions towards the socio-economic uplift of the local community in Mianwali and Karachi districts. She added that their CSR commitments include employment for the local communities, mitigating social and environmental impacts, and contributions in the health and education sector making a huge difference in the lives of local communities.