According to OXFAM, sustainability refers, by definition, to the satisfaction of current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs, guaranteeing the balance between economic growth, care for the environment and social well-being. This is where the idea of sustainable development was born, a mode of progress that maintains a (delicate) balance today, without endangering the resources of tomorrow. So, the question here is: how?
Optimizing resources to build a better tomorrow:
There will be many answers, and many of them will be correct. But in this post, we want to focus on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), as one of the creators and promoters of this sustainable development. In Nepal, according to the law, companies do not need to carry out CSR activities, except banks and financial institutions. Unfortunately, their funds are not used strategically and lack the true essence of social progress. As in Spain (and many other countries), Nepalese companies use CSR more as a marketing gimmick, and activities are rarely focused on people and society as a whole.
CSR as a catalyst:
But, luckily, green shoots always appear, like the people from The Revolution Project: an organization that since 2017 has been working to address the problems related to the execution and effectiveness of CSR in Nepal, helping companies and communities to be environmental and socially sustainable. From projects focused on the conservation of biodiversity, to revitalizing sports among young people; their ultimate goal is that, in a country where economic and political problems intensify with each passing day, CSR can be a catalyst that reaches the areas that the country does not address.
And it is necessary to think that the potential of CSR in Nepal is significant. Until now, the impact can be considered insufficient, but it can be positive for millions of lives. More so, if we target it correctly in the rural and more remote areas of Nepal. It is precisely there where many social problems in terms of rights and facilities are happening and, generally, considerable time is needed to achieve gradual changes in the communities. That is why, to achieve long-term growth, there needs to be a series of proactive steps, based on circular sustainability; that is, the objective must be achieved in a way that is both restorative and regenerative in order to be able to be maintained over time.
The advantage is that this idea of sustainability is very present in the Nepalese culture, but as in most developing countries (or even western ones), the current problem in terms of sustainability is the imbalance between sustainable acts and unsustainable acts. There are many factors that contribute to social problems, but very little effort when it comes to seeking change.
At this point, sustainability is not a choice in Nepal; it must be an obligation for all the social actors involved. The country faces many critical problems when it comes to politics and economics, but the current pandemic has added other social and humanitarian ones.
That is why the next step for Nepal in terms of sustainability, should mark a before and after, and a good start is to take a social and sustainable responsibility on all of us who want to see progress in the country in the long term.