Being Great by Doing Good


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Great entrepreneurs and companies do more than excel in business. They make bigger impacts than solely manufacturing high-quality products and distributing earnings to their shareholders. Great entrepreneurs and companies around the world find ways to make the world a better place. Indonesia’s PT Gajah Tunggal Tbk, founded by Sjamsul Nursalim, is one such company.  Through its “Citizen Social Responsibility” initiatives, this company demonstrates that corporate citizenship and financial success go together.

What Is a Good Corporate Citizen?

Businesses working towards being responsible corporate citizens prioritize meeting their ethical, legal, environmental, and economic responsibilities. They dedicate resources towards producing a higher quality of life for their surrounding communities. In the current social environment, more consumers, employees, investors, and other stakeholders are pressuring companies to adopt a corporate citizenship mentality.

Companies typically progress through five maturation stages when incorporating citizenship into their cultures.

  •         Elementary. Companies follow the rules and regulations but do not spend resources going above basic compliance.
  •         Engaged. Senior management develops policies and procedures that promote employee engagement in socially-conscious activities.
  •         Innovative. Community involvement receives corporate funding and becomes a functioning part of the organization. Stakeholders may monitor results through reporting.
  •         Integrated. Citizenship activities assimilate smoothly into the corporation’s regular operations. Part of the company’s overall performance measurement includes assessing community initiatives and employees may receive training on citizenship issues.
  •         Transforming. Corporate citizenship is a vital component of the corporate culture and an integral part of the comprehensive business and growth strategy.

How Did Social Responsibility Gain Traction?

The corporate social responsibility movement traces its roots back to Nike in the 1980’s. Factory workers in Vietnam, Korea, and Indonesia participated in uprisings and strikes over wages as low as 14 cents per hour and dangerous working conditions. Spring forward to today, and the Nike brand is a model for corporate social responsibility. Although management initially made changes under pressure from stakeholders, the company evolved to incorporate community involvement as part of its overall business model and brand messaging.

Formalizing Community Involvement Efforts

The PT Gajah Tunggal Tbk “Citizen Social Responsibility,” or CSR platform, has matured since the early days when Sjamsul Nursalim launched the business. The company now has formalized documentation that defines its CSR procedures and activities. The CSR program is built on a four-pillared approach.

  •         Pillar 1 – Natural Environment. Accomplishments include continuously planting more than 16,000 trees, running a tree nursery that develops plants and tree seedlings, and creating greener areas surrounding the factories.
  •         Pillar 2 – Wellbeing. The company has supported local and regional events focusing on healthcare issues such as childhood and breast cancer awareness, Alzheimer and dementia care, and HIV and Aids prevention. It has also offered employee seminars covering topics such as aging, investing, and dealing with teenagers.
  •         Pillar 3 – Society. Employees participate in local, regional, and national community events such as company-sponsored Indonesian Independence Day celebrations.
  •         Pillar 4 – Economy. The company makes efforts to create jobs and career paths through education, including supporting a technical school and providing scholarships to underprivileged students.

Driving Employee Engagement

A fundamental part of the PT Gajah Tunggal Tbk corporate culture centers around employee participation in eco-living practices. Team members are encouraged to behave in socially-responsible ways both at work and throughout their daily lives. Examples of individual efforts include:

  •         Turning off lamps and air conditioners when not in use
  •         Unplugging chargers, printers, computers and televisions after use
  •         Choosing reusable drinking containers instead of single-use plastic bottles
  •         Separating organic and non-organic waste into the appropriate waste bins

Profiting by Doing Good

PT Gajah Tunggal Tbk has shown its commitment to improving how its business operations impact local communities to create sustainable livelihoods for its employees and the surrounding populace. With strong corporate citizenship being a priority throughout the organization, this company strives to prove that social responsibility and profit can make great companies even more successful.


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