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AseanAffairs Magazine November - December 2010



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Auttaphol Rerkpiboon, Executive Vice President, Corporate Communications and Social Responsibility, PTT Public Compamy Ltd., was interviewed by Asean Affairs in Bangkok about the Corporate Social Responsibility program in place at the Fortune 500 company, PTT, currently ranked at # 116.

Auttapol Rerkpiboon, center, and a PTT group Executive, donate 1 million baht to aid victims of the Haiti earthquake.

A:Critics of CSR say it is just a form of corporate charitable activity. Please explain PTT’s view of CSR.
PTT views CSR as an obligation which the company has to serve its stakeholders to carry on sustainable business activities. Many tend to view CSR activity as something that is difficult to start and maintain; therefore, some believe that only large corporations can conduct CSR activities. That is not true.

CSR activities are not limited to projects that are just simply charitable activities by donating money, funds, or financial support to communities. They also include activities that benefit the society and community as a whole. What is important for any organization is to conduct CSR activities with employees that are willing to conduct business in a socially responsible manner.

A:When did PTT start its CSR program? What was the motivation to start a CSR program?
PTT originated as a state enterprise with the responsibility to develop Thailand’s energy security; therefore, the role or business of PTT since its establishment as the former Petroleum Authority of Thailand in late 1978 was definitely considered as part of a CSR program.

Even after its corporatization as PTT Public Company Limited in 2001, PTT carried on its CSR commitment and came up with many more new CSR programs. The company’s policy in conducting businesses with responsibilty toward the community, society, and the environment has motivated all employees to initiate new CSR programs including both the “In-Process CSR” activities and what most organizations call “Social Investment” activities.

>>“ Many tend to view CSR activity as something that is difficult to start and maintain; therefore, some believe that only large corporations can conduct CSR activities. That is not true.”<<

The In-Process CSR activities are those activities that are ignited from “within” or initiated by the company without having anybody to push them to do. For example, PTT initiated and was the first to launch unleaded gasoline in Thailand to reduce air pollution. As the result, all competitors were forced by consumer demand to follow PTT, leading to the removal of ordinary leaded gasoline from the market since then. On the other hand, social investment activities are another kind of CSR and are related to activities such as scholarships, sponsorships, community development programs and disaster relief.

A:Why does PTT regard CSR as a necessary corporate function? Is CSR just a fad or is it here to stay? Why is CSR more than a public relations exercise?
CSR is a necessary corporate function because it leads to sustainable business. PTT’s stakeholders or customers also include all Thais, the general public, and communities throughout Thailand. Providing them good CSR programs by PTT will help our stakeholders to have better lives. They can be more self-reliant, which leads toward a long-term and sustainable future.

At Rajamangala National Stadium, Auttapol Rerkpiboon, right, presents a 1 million baht donation. to Suwat Liptapanlop,left, to sponsor a bicycling tournament.

In such a positive business environment in dealing with potential customers or stakeholders, PTT can ensure its long-term and sustainable business. PTT believes that the organization cannot easily survive if society fails. Therefore, if CSR is treated just as a public relations activity, a business or product might not last very long.

A:What specialized training have PTT staffs in charge of CSR obtained?
Instead of specialized training, PTT is more focused on the communication or corporate culture which inputs to both our new and existing employees. The CSR related messages being delivered to the employees are part of their daily working life. The employees are always being motivated to have a CSR mind. Once in a while, there are CSR exhibitions, activities, or events being hosted at both the head and regional offices, and all employees are urged to participate.

For example, PTT has come up with a program called “Act Now”. The program is to urge the employees to conserve energy by realizing that prior to any delivery of CSR program toward the community or external parties, PTT employees themselves should set as a good example for others to follow. PTT also set up a “Palang Thai Jai Arsa” or “PTT Voluntary” Club.

The club consist s of PTT Group employees who go out to help communities whenever they need help, especially during natural disasters.



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