Thursday, June 22, 2006

Lapindo Could Have Been More Responsible

Mudflow spreading from a gas drilling in Sidoarjo has now become a disaster. Thousands of displaced persons are seeking refuge in shelters. Many afraid that diseases emerge from lack of sanitation will start to take life. During his visit to the affected area in Sidoarjo last Tuesday (20/6), Vice President Jusuf Kalla called Lapindo Brantas to be responsible for the damage the company inflicted thus far.

Why now? Why we ask for a company's responsibility only after disasters occur?

This is actually reflected in the way we tend to define corporate social responsibility. For many Indonesian, CSR often equals to community development. That is why, when people think of CSR, what comes across to their mind is activities like donations, community involvement, or even capacity building to community.

On the contrary, CSR should not only be limited merely to company's external social activities. But it should also be reflected in the ways in which a company posits itself within the community and how it conduct a business within a society. CSR should be incorporated in a company's business strategy.

If we have this mindset, CSR would also include various issues like company internal regulations, accountability and transparency, as well as corporate governance. Also included are procedures to prevent accident, and standard measures should be taken suppose accidents occur. All of these will be developed to prevent surrounding community suffer negative consequences from such work-related accidents. CSR will also become a tool for a company to prevent major disaster like what we have currently in Surabaya.

Regardless the result of police investigation, Lapindo Brantas has failed to have a good CSR policy. The damage has been done. The company has to bear the consequences of the devastating mudflow that now has covered hectares of land and crippled the environment and economy in the area.

All of these could have been prevented.

No comments: