Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Issues: Social Bussiness Model for Women & Unwanted Pregnancy

For the past few days, the Malaysian newspaper highlighted several cases of abandoned babies.. most do not end happily.. the two latest news really make me really sad.. the first one of a baby girl being left.. when discovered her body was covered and bitten with ants (i hope that is not the cause of her death).. and the latest one was yesterday I think.. a baby boy burned in a rubbish bin (this one was believe to died before his small body was burned)... Most of these babies are belief from Malay aka Muslim origin...

It sadden me in a way cz Muslim and Islam should be merciful towards each others and this would include the mother and baby.. I believe most of these babies were born out of wedlock and being in a conservertive society, babies' death are preferable than the shame and stigma to bear and raised an out of lock baby.. the babies were innocent... but maybe in Malaysia, there are no ways of handling this increasing trend.. which make me incorporate them in my latest GBI assignment.. I have to do a 15 pages of academic paper tittled "Enhancing CSR and Promoting Social Busssiness in the Bussiness World: Pharmaceutical Sector Perspectives".. I've just did that.. but to post them all here is unlogical.. so just the segment on SB for these unwanted pregnancies.. hope somebody will learn something from this .. ;(


I didn't event have the heart to capture the whole of the baby's picture.. was sadden by the red welts on her sweet face.. being a mother of a 4 months old baby boy myself .. I can't understand why not these babies are given to adoptive parents.. there are lots of married couples yet to be blessed with babies for years.. maybe there are no centres of facilitation as yet.. I hope it would be soon taht just lip service of related ministry.. all talk and publicity.. but no real solution..

MODEL OF SOCIAL BUSSINESS IN MALAYSIA

Malaysia is bountiful in its resources and in this regard, social business seems to do not have a place here. Malaysia’s poor are actually still well off compared to others all around the world. Abundance of fertile soil and river of which we are still able to derive our livelihood, we have government aids such as Pusat Pungutan dan Pengagihan Zakat and Kebajikan Masyarakat; as well as charitable organization and programme, most famous of is TV3’ Bersamamu. Glaringly is the reluctance of Malaysian to be employed to work in hardship jobs which resulted in higher number of foreign labours into Malaysia.

In this regard, the idea is to target the group that are needful but are not catered to due to insufficient funding or stigma in which the unwanted pregnancy can be included. Based on Polis Di Raja Malaysia’s statistic, a total of 580 cases of unwanted babies were recorded from 2000 to 2006. From January till September 2008, there were 50 cases of baby abandonment which shows that the trend had increased tremendously. The feasibility of the business of selling unwanted babies is highlighted in the recent cases in Johor and Kula Lumpur of babies sold in between RM15,000 to RM20,000 by agents to couples unable to conceived their own baby.

As unwanted pregnancy is still a taboo subject within Malaysia which is predominantly Muslim, it is imperative to highlight the point that the initiatives will save the innocent babies, reeducate the young mothers as well as giving hope to childless couple.

These business models would include corporate initiatives, would be foster parents and concerned publics as investors for capital, land, equipment and other related items. Products and services that could be sold would include items for women – during pregnancy as well as post babies such as maternity clothing, baby items, cross stitched handicrafts and such. The labor would be the pregnant mothers with work designed to be suitable for their condition. To avoid stigma, inclusion of single mothers can also be included. The initiatives would also include small grants for these targeted groups to open their own sewing shop after their graduation from the centre.

Monday, February 8, 2010

EMBA GBI: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Social Bussiness - Global and Malaysian Cases For Pharmaceutical Sector

Well.. another of my GBI assignment that I believe have better place in the cyberspace than linguishing in my hardrive :)

CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

Corporate social responsibility (CSR), also known as corporate responsibility, corporate citizenship, responsible business, sustainable responsible business (SRB), or corporate social performance,[1] is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model. Ideally, CSR policy would function as a built-in, self-regulating mechanism whereby business would monitor and ensure its adherence to law, ethical standards, and international norms. Business would embrace responsibility for the impact of their activities on the environment, consumers, employees, communities, stakeholders and all other members of the public sphere. Furthermore, business would proactively promote the public interest by encouraging community growth and development, and voluntarily eliminating practices that harm the public sphere, regardless of legality. Essentially, CSR is the deliberate inclusion of public interest into corporate decision-making, and the honoring of a triple bottom line: People, Planet, Profit. (Wikipedia).

Recent cases include;
• GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is balancing the CSR as well as ensuring profits to its shareholders. It announced in early 2010 will only charge five percent profit on manufacturing costs for Malaria vaccine to ensure availability and affordability in poor countries as well as creating an $8 million fund for scientists in discovering newly accessible chemicals potential for new drugs.
• In 2009, GSK stated that it would grant South African firm Aspen the rights for manufacturing HIV drug Anacavir royalty-free in its effect to make medicine accessible to the poor. It had also announced a new fund to support NGOs working with HIV infected pregnant women in Afrika as well as contributing for patent pool focused on neglected diseases.
• Pfizer had also agreed to provide 60% price reduction on tuberculosis drugs for patients taking second-line HIV/AIDS medications and therefore improving access.
• Merck had also taken step to do R&D and produced drug Mectizan for threating river blindness or onchocerciasis which affected 80 million people or 2 per cent world’s population in poor developing countries. Without government and NGOs investments, Merck had provided the drugs for free as well as setting the initial distribution. Since 1987, Merck had contributed 2.5 billion tablets of Mectizan worth $3.9 billion on top of $35 million in their Mectizan Donation programme.
• Research by Roberts Environmental Center (REC) at Claremont Mckenna College found out the leader for CSR reporting for pharmaceutical sector are Bristol-Myers Squibb (U.S.) and Sanofi-Aventis (France).

o By analysing online sustainability reporting for the 26 largest pharmaceutical companies world-wide, REC scored the firms based on the transparency, intent, and performance for both environmental and social issues. The results are as follows:

 Highest Overall Scores
Bristol-Myers Squibb
Sanofi-Aventis
Abbott Laboratories

 Highest Environmental Reporting Scores
Bristol-Myers Squibb
Johnson & Johnson
Sanofi-Aventis
Abbott Laboratories

 Highest Social Reporting Scores
Merck
Sanofi-Aventis
Bristol-Myers Squibb
Abbott Laboratories
AstraZeneca

 Lowest Overall Scores
Forest Laboratories
NBTY
King Pharmaceuticals

• The winner, Bristol-Myers Squibs Foundation is created with the aim of reducing health disparities around the world. In 2008, the foundation allocated $150 million on R&D for least developed countries and vulnerable properties. They also increased access for HIV/AIDS treatments and maintaining the policy of no enforcement of patents for HIV/AIDS medicines in sub-Saharan African with process at level of no profit.

Cases against CSR:

• In 2009, Swiss drug conglomerates Novartis had raised comments when it refused to donate swine flu vaccines to World Health Organization (WHO) in the event of it making the breakthrough. The company would only provide the vaccine discounted price to poor nation. In contrast, Sanofi and GSK had offered 100 million and 50 million flu vaccines respectively.

CSR IN MALAYSIA

Only in the last few years that Malaysia had finally join the CSR forays with its aspiration ingrained in the National Integrity Plan, the 9th Malaysia Plan and the Capital Market Master plan. Significant boost to CSR was given during the Budget 2007 requirement for Public Listed Companies to report their CSR initiatives followed by Bursa Malaysia’s launched of CSR frameworks for Malaysia PLCs which were also directed to adopt CSR reporting. As part of its GLCs transformation programme, Khazanah Nasional had also release the Silver Book containing GLCs’ CSR Guidelines.
Other initiatives include the PM’s CSR Award aimed to honor the companies making a difference in the communities they served through their CSR programmes. The Prime Minister’s Corporate Social Responsibility Award 2009 will be awarded on March 10, 2010. Its aims is to recognise companies that have made a difference to the communities in which they operate through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes. There were 316 entries from 161 companies for the award. DiGi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd was named as the overall winner after being awarded the top prize in the best workplace practice and culture and heritage categories.

Other winners included British Petroleum in Malaysia (environment), Petronas (education), Intel Technology Sdn Bhd (community and social welfare) and Masterskill College of Nursing and Health (small company CSR).

Current initiatives include the establishment of Yayasan 1MDB (1 Malaysia Development Berhad) to manage the RM100 million CSR Fund by launching of efforts towards ensuring 1Malaysia value such as equal opportunity to education as well as quality of life.

Malaysian companies are also urged to set up childcare centre as part of CSR and will be entitled to a 10% tax reduction per annum on the cost of setting them up for a period of 10 years. Meanwhile, government agencies offering childcare centres at the workplace would be given a RM80,000 grant to create the facility.
Sample of Malaysian CSR for Pharmaceutical / Health Firms:

Pharmaniaga
Given the nature of Pharmaniaga's core businesses and its focus on knowledge, it is no surprise that it has chosen a consumer awareness campaign as its flagship social contributions programme dubbed mesti ambil tahu! (MAT), which loosely translates into "Must find out!”. Officially launched by Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek in April last year, MAT aims to persuade Malaysians to be more proactive in understanding health issues and the basics of healthcare. Pharmaniaga's other CSR activities also revolve around healthcare such as its support of Mercy Malaysia in carrying out disaster relief missions and National Diabetes Institute in the Fight Against Diabetes programme. Last year, the company donated surgical masks to traffic cops, postmen, firemen and students.

Top Glove Foundation (“TG Foundation”) was officially launched on Sunday, 14 June 2009 as a non-profitable organisation established solely for charitable purpose. The main objectives of TG Foundation are as follows:
• To provide funding for charitable purposes especially for the needy Community through donations, sponsorships and other means.
• To provide funding for educational purpose by giving out scholarships, advancement of education and other educational related funding.
• To carry out other activities in relation to environmental and community that are allow under the legislative provision of the Government of Malaysia.

SOCIAL BUSINESS

A social business is a non-loss, non-dividend company designed to address a social objective. The profits are used to expand the company’s reach and improve the product/service. Social business is a cause-driven business. In a social business, the investors/owners can gradually recoup the money invested, but cannot take any dividend beyond that point. Purpose of the investment is purely to achieve one or more social objectives through the operation of the company, no personal gain is desired by the investors. The company must cover all costs and make profit, at the same time achieve the social objective, such as, healthcare for the poor, housing for the poor, financial services for the poor, nutrition for malnourished children, providing safe drinking water, introducing renewable energy, etc. in a business way. The impact of the business on people or environment, rather than the amount of profit made in a given period measures the success of social business. Sustainability of the company indicates that it is running as a business. The objective of the company is to achieve social goal/s (Wikipedia).

Based from the first website to proclaim as the global hub for social business, social enterprise and social investment: http://www.clearlyso.com/ :



Right to Sight is designing a scalable eye care ‘product’ and provision system with the aim of eliminating avoidable blindness in developing countries. The company plans to partner with organisations and governments that can facilitate its work.
Dragonmobility designs, manufactures and supplies unique, customised, elevating powered-wheelchairs to provide independent mobility to its severely disabled customers. Dragonmobility's managing director originally designed the world's first powerchair (for use by those around 5 years of age) for his daughter, who used it to access mainstream education and work and who is now Dragonmobility's general manager. The company's experience allows it to provide a proven holistic approach to users who have all kinds of disabilities and who are aged from 11 months to more than 65 years old.

Elixir Foundations is a Community Interest Company that helps people suffering from drug addiction to become and remain abstinent.

CellAegis Devices is an early stage company developing a safe, non-invasive, and cost-effective medical device that reduces the magnitude of a heart attack by up to 40-50%. The external device automates the process of preconditioning which activates the body’s innate protective mechanisms to significantly reduce the amount of damage to the heart muscle during a heart attack. Validated in numerous clinical trials, preconditioning also reduces pain during angioplasty, results in few subsequent adverse events following cardiac surgery and is beneficial for high risk patients in non-cardiac patients

As such, most of the companies are in its infancy stage.

In Malaysia however, there is yet an entity able to claim itself as a social business entity.

REFERENCES

http://2sustain.com/2009/12/1028study-grades-online-csr-reporting-of-top-pharmaceutical-companies.html
http://www.clearlyso.com/
http://www.csrdigest.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_social_responsibility
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_business
http://globalhealthpolicynyu.wordpress.com/2009/11/23/the-pharmaceutical-industry-possibility-of-corporate-social-responsibility/
http://www.mallenbaker.net/csr/page.php?Story_ID=2572

Friday, February 5, 2010

EMBA GBI - Comments on Bio Piracy

This is actually my first assignment for the Global Bussiness Issues .. commeting on Joseph Stiglitz Chapter 4: Patents, Profits and People.. and focusing more on Bio Piracy.. seems better for me to post it in cyberspace that just sitting still in my hardrive.. quite interesting actually the issue of Globalisation on Patents .. esp. how it stimulated Bio Piracy.. enjoy ;)

STIGLITZ OPINION ON BIO PIRACY

The developing countries traditional knowledge as well as local cures derived from their rich biodiversity has been currently targeted by large pharmaceutical firms via the use of patenting. Bio-piracy term is invented to illustrate the unfair practices in which the company “re-discovered” and “rebrand” traditional cures and afterwards charging the locals what they have known and used over the centuries without regards toward preserving the biodiversity itself.

CURRENT DEVELOPMENT OF BIOPIRACY

Corporations such as Syngenta, Monsanto and others are currently pursuing the patenting of “climate genes” that are able to endure environmental stresses especially in view of the global climate change. Most of these genes are from Africans corps and thus sparking fears over biopiracy of the nation’s biodiversity.

Monsanto is currently leading the race towards patenting African key crops such as sorghum, maize, peanut, cotton, wheat, manic and sugarcane for their “climate” benefit such as biomass accumulation as well as stress and drought tolerance. An Israeli firms Evogene has also claimed 700 climate related gene consequences in a single patent submission covering African’s key crops such as maize, peanut, cotton, wheat, manioc and a number of economic plants including ornamental and teak species. US based Ceres Inc. has filed patents on “climate genes” for both agro fuels and food crops such as sorghum, maize, millets and rice. Swiss company Syngenta had patent pending for development of genetically modified (GM) plants resistance to saline soil and drought.

In 2008, non-government organization Environment Technology Council (ETC Group) stated that over 500 patents application has been filed around the world and many more pending afterwards. Agreements that might lead to biopiracy include:

i) Sorghum is a major African and Texan crop known for its draught tolerant quality with potential for grain, agro fuel and fodder production by Ceres that had signed exclusive rights for high biomass sorghum lines from Texas A&M University.
ii) Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) which is funded by Bill and Melinda Gates; and Buffet Foundation involving Monsato, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), the African Agricultural Technology Foundation and the national agricultural research institutes of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and South Africa.

These seeds are said to be available royalty-free to South African small farmers and are said to exemplify corporate generosity as well as how biotechnology can solved problems due to climate changes. However, critics such as the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) remain cautious liking the offerings as “Trojan horse intended to hook Africa farmers on GM seeds”.

Other case includes Teikoku Seiyaku Co. Ltd. (Kagawa, Japan) for patenting three traditional herbal remedies that are well known and commonly used by Chinese medicine practitioners.

These current cases of bio-piracy add on to the seriousness of old cases such as Enola vs. Mexican beans, South Asian’s basmati rice, Bolivian’s quino, Amazonia’s ayahuasca, Indian’s chickpeas, Peruvian’s nuna beans and Andean’s maca.

FIGHT AGAINST BIOPIRACY

Peruvians has proactively prevented patenting of their traditional knowledge by foreign firms. In 2009, the Peruvian National Commission against Bio piracy has challenged patent submission in France, Japan, Korea and the U.S. which were derived from the traditional knowledge. The patented products are derived from Lepidium meyenii, Plukenetia volubilis Linneo and Myrciaria dubia, three native plants that are well known for their medicinal benefits. Currently, the commission monitors 69 of their genetic resources at the world’s main patent offices.

In this regard, other developing countries should consider their own department of bio piracy allegation investigations. Foreign companies should be able to use the developing countries traditional knowledge and rich bio-diversity. However, they also need to compensate the local people fairly.

An anti-biopiracy treaty is expected to adopt by countries parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) when they gather in Nagoya Japan in October 2010 for the biennial Conference of the Parties. It is hoped that biopiracy can then be prevented as well as equal fair sharing of biological resources and the associated traditional knowledge.

ISLAMIC PERSPECTIVE ON BIO-PIRACY

In Washington, leaders of 80 religious faiths including Muslim, Catholic, Protestant, Jew, Buddhist and Hindu had in May 1995 held a joint conference stating the opposition against the patenting of genetically engineered animals and human genes, cells and organs. “….humans and animals are creations of God, not humans, and as such should not be patented as human inventions,”

Surah Al Anbiya -The Messengers (verse 21): (These people also accept that the universe has been created by Allah Almighty and is in operation according to His Laws ~ 23:84-85. 29:60-62. 31:25. 39:38. 43:9. However they are not ready to admit that their own socio-economic system and life should also be subordinated to His Laws). They carve separate deities for their earthly affairs (thinking that lives should be governed by their own or other man-made Laws) and believe that they should progress and flourish accordingly. (In short, they profess that there should be two different Ilahas. one for the outer universe and the other for life on earth. God should rule the physical world and earth should be ruled by man. What a terrible mistake they are committing!)

CONCLUSION

Stiglitz’s opinion against biopiracy seems to have continued on after his publication in 2007. As the potential benefits and profits are great, multinationals and large corporations continues their forays towards developing countries’ traditional knowledge and rich biodiversity. However, developing countries has started to take note as well as stand up to fight for their right such as the Peruvian state anti bio piracy initiatives. Though unable to do their own manufacturing of their rich flora and traditional knowledge, developing countries should be compensated for their resources instead of being taken advantage via use of patenting.

REFERENCES

Stiglitz J (2007) Making Globalization Work, Penguin Book
http://www.captainhookawards.org/winners
http://www.parvez-video.com/islam_economics.asp
http://www.policyinnovations.org/ideas/innovations/data/000143
http://www.scidev.net/en/news/peru-s-patent-win-strikes-blow-against-biopiracy.html
http://www.twnside.org.sg/title/pat-ch.htm
http://www.twnside.org.sg/title2/resurgence/2009/231-232/cover1.htm

Monday, February 1, 2010

EMBA - ABR or Applied Bussiness Research (Thesis & VIVA)

Quite busy actually this week, but had to jot done a bit on our ABR short course held last weekend. Hmm... quite packed as it was held on Thursday nite from 8 pm to 10.. as well as full day Friday. So, imagine my commute from office with the baby (who wasn't being cooperative along the drive .. from 4 pm Kuala Terengganu to nearly 7pm in Kerteh as had to pacify the baby along the way.. ) as well as balik kampung (going to the inlaws) after class... hectic hectic!!

Our esteemed lecturer Proff Wan from UITM Shah Alam. Very experianced. We were afraid of him in the beginning....but actually he is very impressive once you get to know him.

Respect! Even with the cane, he is still dynamic!

Actually, learned a lot from the packed 10 hours course. Lots of docs as well .. too many that we only covered the salient points. However, I will retain them as ref for my PHD (maybe a year rest after Master.. think of persuing it in Monash Malaysia)..

The group consultation session was torture. Instead of giving it straight on, Prof expected us to think and came out with new or revised idea before he gave us his blessing :) .. I quite like that cz we emerged knowing things better as well as more aware of syok sendiri or unstable subject.. From our long tittles of thesis, we had summarized it .. in to ensure relevancy. It was amusing to see additional tittling can make the grade bad as it does not jive with the study itself. We were given glimpes of BAD... Unrelevent.. Complicated as well as good ABR submissions.. I've learned A LOT esp. I haven't got the experiance of doing thesis during my undergraduates years.

Hehehe.. and the best point is... he seems interested and gave me the go ahead for my tentative PHD thesis tittle.. Yippee!!!!

THANKS A MILLION Prof Wan!!!!! :)