Vientiane, 1 October 2021 – The Australian Chamber of Commerce, the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Canadian Embassy, the British Business Group Lao PDR, the European Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Lao PDR, and Civitas Co., Ltd, together announced today the launch of Lao PDR’s first Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Awards, to be issued in February 2022 under the theme “Encouraging Environmental Excellence”.

CSR, also known as Responsible Business Conduct, is an area of increasing global discussion, and can be defined as the voluntary activities undertaken by a company, over and above legal requirements, to operate in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable manner. In other words, businesses have obligations not only to shareholders but to society at large and must act in social and environmentally responsible ways.

One of the greatest challenges of this century will be to ensure sustainable, just, and balanced development. The needs of current and future generations cannot be met unless there is respect for natural systems and international standards, protecting core social and environmental values. The role of the private sector is crucial in this context.

Businesses can only flourish when the communities and ecosystems in which they operate are healthy. Businesses can have enormous environmental impacts, from emitting hazardous pollutants to consuming vast amounts of natural resources. Today, many companies undertake environmental sustainability not just as a legal obligation, but as a business opportunity and moral imperative.

The organizers behind this new CSR Award wish to recognize those Laos-based businesses applying outstanding CSR practices, and with a focus for this first year on an environmental theme. The contest is an opportunity for businesses to increase and extend their visibility, to be recognized as role models by the business community, and to actively advocate for the broader application of CSR in Laos.

“Doing good is not only measured in terms of profit, but also by how a company addresses its social and environmental impacts”, said Carli Renzi, President of the Australian Chamber of Commerce. “We want businesses in Lao PDR to contribute to local economic development while improving the quality of life of the local communities and society at large,” added Mr Oudet Souvannavong, President of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Each year, the CSR Award will go to two successful companies operating in Lao PDR, representing small and medium-sized enterprises (up to 25 employees), and larger enterprises (25 and more employees). A company can only apply once per cycle. The CSR initiative has to have been undertaken for at least 6 months.

Deadline for applications is 1 December 2021, and the CSR Awards winners will be announced at the next Responsible Business Conduct Forum which will coincide with the International CSR Day 18 February 2022.

For further information please visit the dedicated Lao CSR Awards Website