Strategies for Adopting CSR in the Business of Sonali Bank Limited

Strategies for Adopting CSR in the Business of Sonali Bank Limited


 Sonali Bank Limited (SBL) is the largest government commercial bank in Bangladesh addresses social concerns that threaten the structure of society and redress social conditions that adversely affect the well-being of people and society of Bangladesh.

Banking industry in Bangladesh is now a days very prospective and competitive. To give a competitive edge, CSR is a very strong and helpful tool for any bank. Sonali Bank took the tool and work with it before anyone does in the banking industry in Bangladesh..SBL is one of the most successful banks in Bangladesh and still growing having enough prospects. Other player in the banking industry should take a part in this field to gain certain competitive edge.

Today, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) goes far beyond the old philanthropy of the past –donating money to good causes at the end of the financial year and is instead an all year round responsibility that companies accept for the environment around them, for the best working practices, for their engagement in their local communities and for their recognition that brand names depend not only quality, price and uniqueness but on how they interact with companies workforce, community and environment. CSR encourages companies to look at a wider range of stakeholder interests, which can widen understanding of the potential risks and opportunities for the business while offering wider social or environmental gains.

SBL practice thus encompass the professional activities of helping individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities to enhance or restore their capacity for optimal social functioning and of creating societal conditions favorable to this goal. They see Corporate Social Responsibility as the business contribution to sustainable development.



Modern banking system plays a vital role for a nation’s economic development. Over the last few years the banking world has been undergoing a lot of changes due to deregulation, technological innovations, globalization etc. These changes also made revolutionary changes of a country’s economy. Present world is changing rapidly to face the challenge of competitive free market economy. It is well recognized that there is an urgent need for better-qualified management and better-trained staff in the dynamic global financial market. Bangladesh is no exceptions of this trend. . Banking Sector in Bangladesh is facing challenges from different angles though its prospect is bright now and in the future.

To meet up the growing needs of skilled and eligible managerial and executive manpower of in the country, University Of Uttara, has initiated the BBA (Bachelor Business Administrator) Program which follows the international education quality standards. The objective of the BBA Program is to prepare individuals to develop the specific skills and judgment required for effective business operation. The BBA Program is designed to integrate the whole business knowledge and ideas to with gather practical knowledge about actual business environment and activities. For this purpose, our course supervisor has assigned me to prepare a report on the topic “Strategies for adopting CSR in the business: Sonali Bank Limited”.


The primary objective of the study is to meet the partial requirements for the fulfillment of the BBA Program.

      The core objectives of the report in bank are as follows –

      To gain practical exposures in CSR activities conducted by banks.

      To apply theoretical knowledge in the practical field.

      To observe and analyze the performance of CSR activities of the bank.

      To find out the effect of CSR activities in the country both for the stakeholders and the organization.

      To have some practical exposures that will be helpful for my future; student as well as a professional in rest of my life.


The report is mainly

      The “Secondary Sources” of data and information’s are –

      Annual Report of SONALI BANK LIMITED.

      Internet was used as a theoretical source of information.

      Some article has been used as a source of critics and their analysis.

      Daily newspaper and the bank’s website is used for sourcing related information about the bank.


Analyzing the critical financial business activities of a Bank is not that easy. Moreover due to obvious reasons of lack of my expertise we might not make the report as like as it should be. But we have tried our best to make is as much better as possible to us.

The following main limitations are apparent in the report –

      We do not have that much practical knowledge to make the report that much meaningful.

      The availability of information was limited. We could not collect all the necessary information we needed.

      Making the report on the whole banking industry was hardly possible for us. That is why, with the permission of our instructor, we put a limit on our report and conduct the report on only SBL.

      And of course as students of BBA Program, we might not be able to capture the whole situation in our report for our lacking of experience in this regard.


Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

 Corporate social responsibility is necessarily an evolving term that does not have a standard definition or a fully recognized set of specific criteria. With the understanding that businesses play a key role on job and wealth creation in society, CSR is generally understood to be the way a company achieves a balance or integration of economic, environmental, and social imperatives while at the same time addressing shareholder and stakeholder expectations. CSR is generally accepted as applying to firms wherever they operate in the domestic and global economy. The way businesses engage/involve the shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers, governments, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, and other stakeholders is usually a key feature of the concept. While business compliance with laws and regulations on social, environmental and economic objectives set the official level of CSR performance, CSR is often understood as involving the private sector commitments and activities that extend beyond this foundation of compliance with laws.

 From a progressive business perspective, CSR usually involves focusing on new opportunities as a way to respond to interrelated economic, societal and environmental demands in the marketplace.  Many firms believe that this focus provides a clear competitive advantage and stimulates corporate innovation.

 CSR is generally seen as the business contribution to sustainable development which has been defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”, and is generally understood as focusing on how to achieve the integration of economic, environmental, and social imperatives. CSR also overlaps and often is synonymous with many features of other related concepts such as corporate sustainability, corporate accountability, corporate responsibility, corporate citizenship, corporate stewardship, etc..

CSR commitments and activities typically address aspects of a firm’s behavior (including its policies and practices) with respect to such key elements as; health and safety, environmental protection, human rights, human resource management practices, corporate governance, community development, and consumer protection, labor protection, supplier relations, business ethics, and stakeholder rights.

 The practice of CSR is subject to much debate and criticism. Proponents argue that there is a strong business case for CSR, in that corporations benefit in multiple ways by operating with a perspective broader and longer than their own immediate, short-term profits. Critics argue that CSR distracts from the fundamental economic role of businesses; others argue that it is nothing more than superficial window-dressing; still others argue that it is an attempt to pre-empt the role of governments as a watchdog over powerful multinational corporations.

 The societal marketing concept is an enlightened marketing that holds that a company should make good marketing decisions by considering consumers’ wants, the company’s requirements, and society’s long-term interests. It is closely linked with the principles of Corporate Social Responsibility and of Sustainable Development.

 The concept has an emphasis on social responsibility and suggests that for a company to only focus on exchange relationship with customers might not be in order to sustain long term success. Rather, marketing strategy should deliver value to customers in a way that maintains or improves both the consumer’s and the society’s well-being.

 Most companies recognize that socially responsible activities improve their image among customers, stockholders, the financial community, and other relevant publics. Ethical and socially responsible practices are simply good business, resulting not only in favorable image, but ultimately in increased sales.

Societal marketing should not be confused with social marketing. The societal marketing concept was a forerunner of sustainable marketing in integrating issues of social responsibility into commercial marketing strategies. In contrast to that, social marketing uses commercial marketing theories, tools and techniques to social issues. Social marketing applies a “customer orientated” approach and uses the concepts and tools used by commercial marketers in pursuit of social goals like Anti-Smoking-Campaigns or fund raising for NGOs.

Development of CSR

Business ethics is a form of the art of applied ethics that examines ethical principles and moral or ethical problems that can arise in a business environment. In the increasingly conscience-focused marketplaces of the 21st century, the demand for more ethical business processes and actions (known as ethicism) is increasing. Simultaneously, pressure is applied on industry to improve business ethics through new public initiatives and laws.

Business ethics can be both a normative and a descriptive discipline. As a corporate practice and a career specialization, the field is primarily normative. In academia, descriptive approaches are also taken. The range and quantity of business ethical issues reflects the degree to which business is perceived to be at odds with non-economic social values. Historically, interest in business ethics accelerated dramatically during the 1980s and 1990s, both within major corporations and within academia. For example, today most major corporate websites lay emphasis on commitment to promoting non-economic social values under a variety of headings (e.g. ethics codes, social responsibility charters). In some cases, corporations have redefined their core values in the light of business ethical considerations (e.g. BP’s “beyond petroleum” environmental tilt).

The term CSR itself came in to common use in the early 1970s although it was seldom abbreviated. The term stakeholder, meaning those impacted by an organization’s activities, was used to describe corporate owners beyond shareholders from around 1989.


Companies interested in advancing corporate social responsibility and in improving their social and environmental performance as part of their business have a wide range of tools available for application. Tools can vary widely in terms of objectives, scope, costs, level of formality, partnerships, extent of stakeholder involvement, and many other characteristics. Tools can be applied to one or more of the planning, implementation, checking, and improvement facets of corporate operations.

 Businesses have options in how they can use the tools. For example, companies can use the tools that have been developed by others or they can develop their own tools – either independently or in partnership with other stakeholders. SBL develop their own CSR tools and other can follow them at the beginning stage. On the other hand SBL can follow the best practice around the world.

Approaches of Adopting CSR

 Some commentators have identified a difference between the Continental European and the Anglo-Saxon approaches to CSR. And even within Asia the discussion about CSR is very heterogeneous.

An approach for CSR that is becoming more widely accepted is community-based development projects. An often alternative approach to this is the establishment of education facilities for children’s, as well as HIV/AIDS education program for adults. The majority of these CSR projects are established in Africa. A more common approach of CSR is through the giving of aid to local organizations and impoverished communities in developing countries. Some organizations do not like this approach as it does not help build on the skills of the local people, whereas community-based development generally leads to more sustainable development.

 Auditing and reporting

To demonstrate good business citizenship, firms can report in accordance with a number of CSR reporting guidelines or standards, including:

  • Accountability’s AA1000 standard, based on John Elkington’s triple bottom line (3BL) reporting
  • Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Reporting Guidelines
  • Verity’s Monitoring Guidelines
  • Social Accountability International’s SA8000 standard
  • Green Globe Certification / Standard
  • The ISO 14000 environmental management standard
  • The United Nations Global Compact promotes companies reporting in the format of a Communication on Progress (COP). A COP report describes the company’s implementation of the Compact’s ten universal principles.
  • The United Nations Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR) provides voluntary
  • technical guidance on eco-efficiency indicators, corporate responsibility reporting and corporate governance disclosure.

Some nations require CSR reporting, though agreement on meaningful measurements of social and environmental performance is difficult. Many companies now produce externally audited annual reports that cover Sustainable Development and CSR issues (“Triple Bottom Line Reports”), but the reports vary widely in format, style, and evaluation methodology (even within the same industry). Critics dismiss these reports as lip service, citing examples such as Enron’s yearly “Corporate Responsibility Annual Report” and tobacco corporations’ social reports.

the SONALI Bank Limited:

 Background of SBL


: SBL Profile

Name of the Company:Sonali Bank Limited
Chairman:Quazi Baharul Islam
CEO and Managing Director:Pradip Kumar Dutta
Company Secretary:Zaheed Hossain
Legal Status:Public Limited Company
Genesis:Emerged as Nationalized Commercial Bank in 1972, following the Bangladesh Bank (Nationalization) Order No. 1972(PO No.26 of 1972)
Date of Incorporation:03 June, 2007
Date of Vendor’s Agreement:15 November, 2007
Registered Office:35-42, 44 Motijheel Commercial Area, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Authorized Capital:Taka 2000.00 core
Paid-up Capital:Taka 1125.00 core
Number of Employee:21,839
Number of Branches:1200
Phone-PABX:9550426-31, 33, 34, 9552924
FAX:88-02-9561410, 9552007
E-mail:[email protected]

About Uttara Model Town Branch

  • Year of establishment: 1985
  • Name of the Manager: Kazi Nazrul Islam.
  • Number of Employees: 40.
  • Address of the branch: Sonali Bank Limited, Uttara Model Town, Dhaka-1230
  • Way of Contact:    Tel.- 8951211, 8914639

                                 Mail- [email protected]

History of Sonali Bank Limited:

Soon after independence of the country Sonali Bank emerged as the largest and leading Nationalized Commercial Bank by proclamation of the Banks’ Nationalization Order 1972 (Presidential Order-26) liquidating the then National Bank of Pakistan, Premier Bank and Bank of Bhwalpur. As a fully state owned institution, the bank had been discharging its nation-building responsibilities by undertaking government entrusted different socio-economic schemes as well as money market activities of its own volition, covering all spheres of the economy.

The bank has been converted to a Public Limited Company with 100% ownership of the government and started functioning as Sonali Bank Limited from November 15 2007 taking over all assets, liabilities and business of Sonali Bank. After corporatization, the management of the bank has been given required autonomy to make the bank competitive & to run its business effectively.

Sonali Bank Limited is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of 11(Eleven) members. The Bank is headed by the Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director, who is a well-known Banker and a reputed professional. The corporate head quarter of the bank is located at Motijheel, Dhaka, Bangladesh, and the main commercial center of the capital.


Socially committed leading banking institution with global presence. 


Dedicated to extend a whole range of quality products that support divergent needs of people aiming at enriching their lives, creating value for the stakeholders and contributing towards socio-economic development of the country.


Your trusted partner in innovating banking.

 Sonali Bank at a glance

SBL is one of the largest public banks in Bangladesh. Recently it is going to introduce shares. It operates through One Head Office, 30 Main Divisional Offices, 6 General Manager’s Office, 42 Principal Offices, 19 Regional Offices and 198 fully computerized branches, ensuring best possible and fastest services to its valud clients and  efficient management.

Management of Sonali Bank

The Board of Directors is the top of Management, which is constituted in terms of the Bangladesh Bank’s Nationalization Order 1972. Management hierarchy of Sonali Bank is given below:


General Meeting In SBL Conference


Functional Structure

Sonali Bank Limited is the largest commercial bank of Bangladesh. It has 1187 branches throughout the country. It has also overseas branches. The Head Office of the bank is located at the Motijheel Commercial Area, Dhaka. The Divisions are headed by the DGMs and the departments are by AGMs. There are also many sections under every department in the Head Office. A DGM is the chief of the Principal Office and an AGM usually runs a regional office. Principal Offices are the local points of the bank’s administrative zone in the districts. The regional offices are under control and supervision of principal offices. The offices are situated at Thana level within the districts. The corporate are nearly equivalent to the GM office and usually headed by the DGMS. They provide all the banking services such as general banking, loans & advances etc.

 Interest Rate

Sonali Bank diversified its rate of Interest on loan and advances in compliance with the interest rate policy declared by Govt. in 2005. To encourage the agricultural sector the rate of interest fixed to 2.0-16.0 percent and to increase the rate of industrial production and services industry, the rate of interest rate is fixed to 9.0-11.0 percent and 13.0 percent. Rate of interest of Sonali Bank is given below:



Loan Advance

YearSavings AccountShort Term Deposit Account Fixed Deposit AccountWeighted AverageAgricultural Sector Industrial SectorService SectorsWeighted Average

[Source: annual report of Sonali Bank on 2006-2011]


Sonali Bank staff college, Dhaka along with four Training Institutes / Centers at Chittagong, Rajshahi, Khulna and Bogra have been conducting training program covering total Banking activities in order to impart training to all categories of officers and staff of Sonali Bank.

In the year 2003 as many as 8430 officers and staff received training in 383 batches of different courses, workshops and seminars conducted by the aforesaid training institution & Staff College.

Library Facilities

With the objectives of enriching knowledge and working efficiency of the officers and members of the staff of Sonali Bank, the Bank has a central library. Library is situated on the 7th floor of its Head Office Building. It has now been turned into a modern library by extending its facilities. It has been enlarged with the latest books on Banking, Foreign Exchange, Computer, Management, Accounting, Agriculture, Industrial Finance, Economics, Economics, Religion, and Literature and on many other disciplines. Moreover, different international journals covering world economy, political and other aspects are also being available here to attract and inspire the readers.

 Corporate Social Responsibility of SBL

Activities of SONALI Bank Foundation (SBL)

The ethos of SBL for pursuing its activities in social arena has got further momentum with your enthusiasm and support. Sonali Bank Foundation (SBL) is consistently pursuing its objective of being active in those social areas where it is needed most. The Foundation carries out diverse social and philanthropic activities in the field of education, health, conservation of nature, creation of social awareness, rehabilitation of distressed people and such other programs to redress human sufferings. It also promotes different socio-cultural and sports activities. Your Board of Directors in order to discharge its corporate social responsibilities in a greater perspective continued its contribution amounting to 5.00% of Bank’s profit after charging loan loss provision to Sonali Bank Foundation (SBL).

It is important that citizens of a society enjoy the full benefits that society offers. A society, in turn, flourishes when its citizen can contribute their fullest potential. The well-being of individuals is jeopardizing when normal developmental processes are interrupted by personal crisis, poverty, unemployment, poor health and inadequate education. SONALI BANK LIMITED (SBL) is the first Bangladeshi  bank in Bangladesh addresses social concerns that threaten the structure of society and redress social conditions that adversely affect the well-being of people and society. SBL practice thus encompass the professional activities of helping individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities to enhance or restore their capacity for optimal social functioning and of .creating societal conditions favorable to this goal. Sonali Bank Limited Foundation (SBLF) was established on 3rd June, 2001 to perform humanitarian works like rehabilitation of the destitute and neglected portion of the society especially grassroots level poor in right track. Aim and objectives of SBLF are as bellow.

Aim and objectives of SBLF:

  1. To grant, pay or give, award scholarship, stipends, prizes, rewards, allowance and other financial assistance or help in cash or kind to students with a view to help them in prosecuting their study in universities, schools, colleges, educational institutions, technical institutions, art schools, institutions of teaching commercial and training, research or educational works in Bangladesh or abroad subject to such terms and conditions as shall from time to time be prescribed by the Board of Trustees for advancement and promotion of education.
  1. To foster and encourage education and training in the field of banking among the persons employed in banking sector or who wishes to partake training with a view to be engaged in banking service and to establish and found institutions imparting such education and to establish, maintain, support or .help by monetary gifts or otherwise, centers and institutions for such education and training.
  1. To meet traveling, boarding and lodging expenses for students going abroad for higher commercial and technical education, especially in banking subject(s).
  1. To open, found, establish, promote, set-up, run, maintain, assist, finance, support and I aid or help in setting up and / or maintaining and / or running hospitals, clinics, maternity and child care centre, boarding houses, libraries, reading-rooms, gymnasium and other training and vocational institutes.
  1. To publish and or publishing books, pamphlets, periodicals, and newspapers in Bangladesh or outside for the spread and advancement of education and culture.
  1. To establish, promote, set-up, maintain, assist, financial support and / or aid to or to help in the setting up and / or maintaining and / or running schools and other
  1. institutions, orphanages, widow homes, lunatic, asylums, old homes, poor houses or other establishments for relief and / or help to the poor, old and infirm people and / or destitute or to give, provide and / or render help and assistance in cash or kind to poor and or destitute, widows, etc; or to give, provide and I or render help and assistance to and / or implement any scheme for providing livelihood and enlistment of the poor.
  1. To give, provide and I or render food, medicine and other help find assistance in any shape or form to the poor deserving and needy persons.
  1. To give, provide and I or render monetary and / or other help and assistance for the relief of persons and animals affected by natural and other calamities such as flood, fire, famine, cyclone, earth-quake, storm, accident, pestilence, drought, epidemic, etc.
  1. To open, found, establish, promote, set-up, run, maintain, assist, finance, support and / or aid or help in the setting up and / or maintaining and / or running institutions, centre, auditoriums and the like for the running of welfare and other services to the public and to provide meeting-room for socially useful activities and functions.
  1. To promote, organize, administer, establish, support, maintain, and / or grant to any person, institution or society or organization whatsoever having for its objects or charitable purposes and or incur expenditure in connection therewith.
  1. To promote sports and culture through establishment of Clubs for sports, recreational and cultural activates and introduce awards, shields, medals etc. and also organize debates essay and sports competitions to achieve this object.
  1. To organize meetings, seminars, symposia etc. to create awareness among the people aimed at spreading and upholding the ideals, values and spirit of the Banking and related products and services.
  1. To work in collaboration with other Trusts, Foundations, Associations and bodies having activities, programs, and projects aimed at establishing, spreading and upholding the ideals of Sonali Bank Limited Foundation.

 sblF’s CSR Programs

 Sonali Bank Limited Foundation has adopted various programs to make fruitful the aims and objectives:


SBL distributes the Treatment Cards to 50 HIV/AIDS positive patients

As a part of Corporate Social Responsibility, SONALI BANK LIMITED have been extending medical facilities and other support to 50 HIV positive patients since 2004. In continuation of this program, SBL organized a “Treatment Card” distribution program among the HIV positive patients on June11, 2007 in Hotel Purbani International, Dilkusha, Dhaka. Major General (Rtd.) Dr. ASM Matiur Rahman, Honorable Advisor, Ministry of Health & Social Welfare, Water Resources and Religious Affairs, Govt. of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh was present as the chief guest and distributed the Treatment Cards to 50 HIV/AIDS positive patients while Mr. Md. Yeasin Ali, Managing Director of the bank presided over the function. Professor Nazrul Islam, Head of Virology Department, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) and Dr. Md. Shahzahan Biswas, Director General (Health Services), Health Directorate were present as special guests. Among others, Mr. K. S. Tabrez, Deputy Managing Director (Administration), Mr. Ghulam Kabir, Deputy Managing Director (Operation) and Senior Executives of the bank were also present at the function.

HIV/AIDS Assistance Program

Target group: HIV/AIDS affected women and children.

Description of the program: HIV/AIDS is setting its firm foothold in Asian countries, Bangladesh is one of them. In Bangladesh HIV/AIDS related activities are limited to build up awareness but there is a little work for affected person. SBLF has taken a program of supporting HIV/AIDS positive women and children by providing medicines, clinical support, food supplement and other essentials. Under this program treatment cards were already distributed to 23 HIV/AIDS positive patients among them 03 are children. Tk.17,25,000.00 (Taka seventeen lac twenty five thousand) only

has already sanctioned for implementation of the program to support 23 HIV positive patients (HIV/AIDS affected women and children).

Plan for next five years: If this program becomes success then after evaluation it will be extended for future.

Smile Brighter Program

Target group: Boys and girls suffering from cleft-lip and palate whose parents are incapable to bear the operation cost of cleft lip.

Description of the program: Cleft-lip is far more a social setback than a health problem. Boys and girls cursed with cleft-lips face a lot of problems in everyday life ranging from disruption of formal education, attending social ceremonies and impediment at the time of getting married. Considering the gravity of the situation SBLF has taken the initiative to bring back smile on the face of the boys and girls

with cleft-lip through plastic surgery since 2003. More than 800 numbers of poor cleft-lipped boys & girls have so far been successfully operated across the country. Through arrangement of special camps of under this ‘smile brighter’  program in Dhaka, Chittagonj, Rajshahi, Sylhet, Khulna, Barisal, Bogra, Comilla, Rangpur, Dinajpur etc.  As a continuous process, the cleft-lipped boys & girls are being operated across the country for restoration of hope and dignity in their lives.

SBLF continues with the plastic surgery program at ifs cost throughout the country for those cleft-lipped boys and girls (age up to 20 years) whose parents are unable to afford the cost of plastic surgery. So far 700 cleft-lips and / or palate surgery were done. Cost of each surgery is Tk.8,500.00 (eight thousand and five hundred) only. In this connection SBL already spent the amount of Tk.59,50,000.00 (taka fifty nine lac and fifty thousand) only

This is an ongoing program. Around 1500 cleft-lip and/or palate boys and girls will come under this program in the next 05 years and the expenditure in this regard will be Tk.l,27,50,000.00 (one crore twenty seven lac fifty thousand) only.

Support to ACID & Dowry Victims

Target group: Women especially from rural areas who are the victims of Dowry and Acid Violence:

Description of the program: To create social awareness, SBLF is supporting the acid and dowry victim women of different parts of Bangladesh by one time donation for their rehabilitation and to maintain small scale business like poultry rearing, goat farming, fish farming etc. Under this program 400 (four hundred) helpless dowry victims and 100 (one hundred) acid victims has already received one time donation of Tk.10,000/- per person in this year (2005) which cost totaling Tk.50,00,000.00 (taka fifty lac) only. If the victims can utilize the money properly then SBL will provide them loan in a reduce interest rate (5%) for their betterment and proper rehabilitation. Another advertisement also has published in different newspaper on 3rd and 4th of June, 2005 inviting application from the victims where another 500 victims will get Tk. 10,000.00 (ten thousand) each and this will cost totaling Tk. 50,00,000.00 (taka fifty lac) only.

Plan for continuing the program: SBLF has planed to extend the program depending on the situation, analysis and evaluation report of the first phase.

3.5 Information Technology

SONALI BANK LIMITED (SBL) undertakes a project with BASIS (Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services) to award the best IT uses by Bangladeshi companies.

 SBL and BASIS organized IT award-giving ceremony in this regard. The award Ceremony was held on 30th November 2005, which was the day before last day of BASIS SOFfEXP02005 (November 27-December 01, 2005). This was a gala evening (with dinner and cultural program) attended by around 700 dignitaries including government high officials & policy makers, corporate heads, representatives from development agencies, IT policy makers, academicians and the IT industry members.

In this regards, SBL’s contribution in supporting this event was 50% of the estimated cost with Tk. 6.25 La


SBL has donated Tk. 25 lakh for the victims of devastating landslides in Chittagong

Mr. Md. Yeasin Ali, Managing Director of the Bank handed over a Payment Order of Tk. 25.00 lac (Taka Twenty Five Lac) to the Honorable Adviser Major General (Rtd.) M. A. Matin at Chittagong Circuit House on June 13, 2007 for victims due to a devastating landslides following torrential rains lashed down in Chittagong city and its adjacent areas.

 SBL donates 130 bundles of GCI sheets to Noakhali district

SONALI BANK LIMITED (SBL) donated 130 bundles of GCI sheets worth Tk. 5.60 lac for rehabilitating the homeless people affected by river-erosion of Ramgoti Upazila under Noakhali District on August 14, 2005.

SBL donates 700 bundles of high grade GCI sheets to Gaibandha and Rangpur districts

SONALI BANK LIMITED donated 700 bundles of high grade GCI sheets worth of Tk. 29.00 lac for rehabilitating the standard people of the four Upazilas of Gaibandha and Rangpur districts. Dr. Mozammel Hossain Khan, Co-ordination, SBL is seen handing over GCI sheets to Mr. Tapan Chandra Mazumdar, Deputy Commissioner of Gaibandha district.

SBL has distributed blankets among the cold-affected people

Mr. Md. Yeasin Ali, Managing Director, SONALI BANK LIMITED is seen distributing blankets among the cold-affected people of Angarpota and Dohogram – the enclaves of Bangladesh. Notably, 4,000 blankets were distributed to cover each of the 4,000 families of the villages waiting for blankets.

 SBL Recognition

SBL has received Asian CSR Award-2005

SONALI BANK LIMITED has won Asian CSR Award-2005 for its outstanding program on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Mr. Yeasin Ali, Managing Director, SBL is seen receiving Asian CSR Award-2005 from the Chief Guest, Dr. Juwono Sundarsono, the Honorable Minister for Defense, the Republic of Indonesia at a ceremony held on September 09, 2005 in Jakarta

SONALI BANK LIMITED has been again nominated for the Asian CSR Awards 2006. SBL has decided to participate in the category of-

  1. EDN- Support and Improvement of Education
  2. POV- Poverty Alleviation
  3. Concern for Health


Business benefits

The scale and nature of the benefits of CSR for an organization can vary depending on the nature of the enterprise, and are difficult to quantify. SBL is an organization having a huge number of customers in the local market and very successfully satisfies its stakeholders. However, businesses may not be looking at short-run financial returns when developing their CSR strategy and what exactly SBL follows. SBL has already proved that in Bangladesh. Not only as a local bank, SBL is the number one bank in Bangladesh with respect to CSR activities and has achieved ample growth and success in recent years.

While there are different ways to frame the benefits because they are interrelated, they generally include the following:

  • stronger financial performance and profitability through operational efficiency gains
  • improved relations with the investment community and better access to capital
  • enhanced employee relations that yield better results respecting recruitment, motivation, retention, learning and innovation, and productivity
  • stronger relationships with communities and enhanced licence to operate
  • improved reputation and branding
  • CSR as an Investment
  • Branding Bank and its services.

Stronger Financial Performance and Profitability

Businesses can use CSR and corporate sustainability to produce direct benefits for the bottom line. Operational efficiencies can be achieved in other facets of CSR such as streamlining the way that information is provided to the investment community as well as to other stakeholders that demand increased transparency. Managing potential risks and liabilities more effectively through CSR tools and perspectives can also reduce costs. Using corporate responsibility and sustainability approaches within business decision-making can result not only in reduced costs but can also lead to recognizing new market opportunities such as when new branches are opened that can be expanded to other areas, regions or markets.

Improved Relations with the Investment Community and Better Access to Capital

The investment community has been exploring the links between corporate social responsibility and financial performance of businesses. There is growing evidence that companies that embrace the essential qualities of CSR generally outperform their counterparts that do not use features of CSR. This information is being translated into action within the investment community. An increasing number of mutual funds are now integrating CSR criteria into their selection processes to screen in sounder companies and/or screen out businesses that do not meet certain environmental or social standards. Thus, a CSR approach by a financial company can improve the stature of the company in the perspective of the investment community, a company’s stock market valuation, and its capacity to access capital from local market.

Enhanced Employee Relations, Productivity and Innovation

A key potential benefit from CSR initiatives involves establishing the conditions that can contribute to increasing the commitment and motivation of employees to become more innovative and productive. Companies that employ CSR related perspectives and tools tend to be businesses that provide the pre-conditions for increased loyalty and commitment from employees. These conditions can serve to help to recruit employees, retain employees, motivate employees to develop skills, and encourage employees to pursue learning to find innovative ways to not only reduce costs but to also spot and take advantage of new opportunities for maximizing benefits, reduce absenteeism, and may also translate into marginally less demands for higher wages.

Stronger Relations within Communities through Stakeholder Engagement

A key feature of CSR involves the way that a company engages, involves, and collaborates with its stakeholders including shareholders, employees, debt holders, suppliers, customers, communities, non-governmental organizations, and governments. To the extent that stakeholder engagement and collaboration involve maintaining an open dialogue, being prepared to form effective partnerships, and demonstrating transparency (through measuring, accounting, and reporting practices), the relationship between the business and the community in which it operates is likely to be more credible and trustworthy. This is a potentially important benefit for companies because it increases their “licence to operate”, enhances their prospects to be supported over the longer term by the community, and improves their capacity to be more sustainable. Companies can use stakeholder engagement to internalize society’s needs, hopes, circumstances into their corporate views and decision-making. While there are many questions about how far a company’s responsibilities extend into communities relative to the roles of governments and individual citizens, there is a strong argument that CSR can effectively improve a company’s relations with communities and thereby produce some key features that will improve business prospects for its future

Improved Reputation and Branding

A potential benefit of CSR is that it can improve a company’s reputation and branding and this in turn improves the prospects for the company to be more effective in the way that it manages communications and marketing in efforts to attract new customers and increase market share. CSR as a concept with various tools can help a company to position itself in the marketplace as a company that is more responsible and more sustainable than its competitors.

A Word on CSR as an Investment

CSR can be viewed by businesses as a form of investment that helps to differentiate a bank and its products and services.

What then is the right way to look at CSR as an investment – particularly given that it frequently involves intangible and less quantifiable domains. The bottom line is that a prudent business may tend to regard CSR in the same way it treats most investment decisions. It would be inclined to use the same systematic approach to assess the anticipated benefits and related revenues relative to the costs that it employs for investment proposals. A rigorous and systematic approach to CSR investment is likely to yield the most positive results for both the business and society as it is likely to demonstrate the most efficient allocation of resources from the perspective of both the firm and society.

There are many different areas where a bank can invest to develop CSR attributes (e.g. human resource management, environmental protection, health and safety, community involvement, etc.). Investment decisions on CSR need to take account of various factors and parameters as well as the anticipated cost and benefit stream to be produced by the investment.

Branding Bank and its services:

“A brand is nothing but a set of memories”

We are directing, managing, dealing and enhancing memories.

SBL is in the business of managing memories of customer through adopting extra-ordinary innovative CSR activities. For example SBL donated 9.73 core for establishing a research center in DU campus by the name of “Sonali Bank Social Science research center.” With the activities the 50,000 students of DU will remember it which will create a positive attitude in the minds of them. The students and researcher of DU and the country will see it as social contribution of SBL and they will create a buzz marketing and try to campaign SBL’s reputation on effective CSR activities. Buzz marketing later pull customer to SBL and they will fill good image of CSR activities of SBL which will create later a strong brand equity. Now a days brand equity is a unique asset for a business. Brand equity is an unique asset for a business which will be clarified by an example.

A Harley Davidson customer…………………………..

” I had been married four times.

I have been 8 girl friends

I was fired from 14 jobs

I have moved my home 11 times

-But I have had only one Harley Davidson “

So for a brand equity a customer can sacrifice everything even four times higher price than other brands even a hard long journey to find the brand.

So creating a strong brand by adopting effective CSR activities is indispensable.

 We know A brand is a promise, a reassurance of consistent quality. Consumers face so many decisions each day in the market place that brands are an essential convenience to navigating the complexity of life. And in a recession, brands are even more important because we tend to rely even more on trusted, known quantities rather than experiment with new ideas and new products.

So with the above seen we see that SBL does so by adopting CSR activities which are fully accorded with their mission and vision. They are doing business in Bangladesh according to there promise which are stated in their mission and vision statement.   

Critical analysis

CSR is entwined in the strategic planning process of many of our local and multinational banks. The reasons or drive behind social responsibility towards human and environmental responsibility whether driven by ulterior motives, enlightened self-interest, or interests beyond the enterprise, is subject to much debate and criticism.

Some critics argue that corporations are fundamentally entities responsible for generating a product and/or service to gain profits to satisfy shareholders. Milton Friedman and others argue that there is no place for social responsibility as a business function.These critics point to the rule of corporate law that prohibits a corporation’s directors from any activity that would reduce profits.

Other critics argue that the practice cherry-picks the good activities a company is involved with and ignores the others, thus ‘greenwashing’ their image as a socially or environmentally responsible company. Still other critics argue that it inhibits free markets or seeks to pre-empt the role of governments in controlling the socially or environmentally damaging effects of corporations’ pursuit of self-interest.

Disputed business motives

Some critics believe that CSR programs are often undertaken in an effort to distract the public from the ethical questions posed by their core operations. Examples of companies that have been accused of this motivation include Standard Chartered Bank (SCB), which produces major CSR reports, and the petroleum giant BP, which is well-known for its high-profile advertising campaigns on environmental aspects of its operations. The global players do much more CSR activities in the developed world, but comparably do less in developing countries like Bangladesh.


Some CSR critics argue that the only reason corporations put in place social projects is for the commercial benefit they see in raising their reputation with the public or with government. They suggest a number of reasons why self-interested corporations, solely seeking to maximize profits, are unable to advance the interests of society as a whole. They point to examples where companies have spent a lot of time promoting CSR policies and commitment to Sustainable Development on the one hand, whilst damaging revelations about business practices emerge on the other.

These critics generally suggest that stronger government and international regulation, rather than voluntary measures, are necessary to ensure that companies behave in a socially responsible manner.

Other views from this perspective include:

  • Corporations really care little for the welfare of workers or the environment, and given the opportunity will move production to sweatshops in less well-regulated countries.
  • Companies do not pay the full costs of their impact. For example, the costs of cleaning pollution often fall on society in general. As a result profits of corporations are enhanced at the expense of social or ecological welfare.

Hindrance of free trade

These critics are generally supporters of Milton Friedman, who argued that a corporation’s principal purpose is to maximize returns to its shareholders, while obeying the laws of the countries within which it works. Friedman argued that only people can have responsibilities.Because of this, moderate critics suggest that CSR activity is most effective in achieving social or environmental outcomes when there is a direct link to profit. This approach to CSR requires that the resources applied to CSR activities must have at least as good a return as these resources could generate if applied anywhere else. This analysis drastically narrows the possible scope of CSR activities.

Critics who believe that CSR runs against capitalism would go further and say that improvements in health, longevity or infant mortality have been created by economic growth attributed to free enterprise. Investment in less developed countries contributes to the welfare of those societies, notwithstanding that these countries have fewer protections in place for workers. Failure to invest in these countries decreases the opportunity to increase social welfare.


Corporate social responsibility is about the integration of social, environmental, and economic considerations into the decision-making structures and processes of business. It is about using innovation to find creative and value-added solutions to societal and environmental challenges. It is about engaging shareholders and other stakeholders and collaborating with them to more effectively manage potential risks and build credibility and trust in society. It is about not only complying with the law in a due diligent way but also about taking account of society’s needs and finding more effective ways to satisfy existing and anticipated demands in order to build more sustainable businesses. Ultimately, it is about delivering improved shareholder and debt holder value, providing enhanced goods and services for customers, building trust and credibility in the society in which the business operates, and becoming more sustainable over the longer term.

 Despite having debate on CSR as a voluntary social welfare or as a marketing tool, CSR brings a lot of benefits for a corporation and SBL is a bright example for the local banks. Banking is a very much related with relationship management practice with its clients. So when a bank can touch the inner spirit of the people and can provide standard service, it will more likely to be successful. SBL is no doubt emotionally attached with its stakeholders and that is a key success factor for it. However every player in the industry should adopt and follow or go beyond the current CSR activities.

Sonali Bank Limited