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Anti-counterfeit Media workshop

National Foods Limited (NFL), Pakistan’s leading multi-category food company, is a strong supporter of intellectual property rights (IPRs) and ethical business practices. NFL recently participated at a special media workshop on IPR protection organized by the Anti-Counterfeit and Infringement Forum (ACIF), in Lahore. Mian Shahbaz Sharif, Chief Minister Punjab was the chief guest of this event along with eminent representatives of the corporate sector. Represen-tatives of the corporate sector and media presented their reports and analyses to the participants of the workshop.

The rampant counterfeiting and piracy is depriving the national exchequer of billions every year while causing tremendous harm to the industry and adversely impacting the country’s economic development. According to Mian Shahbaz Sharif, “it is Pakistan’s dilemma that the common man is poor and impelled to buy cheap products to meet his day to day needs. Sometimes it becomes real ly difficult to distinguish between the fake and genuine products being sold in the markets. Taking advantage of this situation, counterfeiters and smugglers, who are virtually controlling the domestic markets, are openly selling their spurious, fake and counterfeit goods.”

Sarmad Bashir, President Lahore Press Club, said that the media in Pakistan offered an immense opportunity to create awareness among masses about social and political issues. Media could project practices of legitimate industry by raising societal awareness about piracy issues at grassroots level. The outreach and popularity of the media had grown manifold and so had the social responsibilities. Mr. Bashir called for effective law enforcement along with appropriate level of awareness, to curb widespread piracy and counterfeiting. He particularly drew attention towards book piracy, saying that the serious crime denied authors their due rights and hence it must be curbed with an iron hand.

Pakistan is passing through a steady economic transition but the awareness is extremely low on the issues of piracy, counterfeiting, tax evasion and violations of IPRs, said Senior columnist Javed Choudhry.

In recent decades the ripples of demand for the protection of IPRs on the international forum, such as the United Nations, have also been felt in Pakistan. Many know that IPRs exists but few know how it affects them. Media has a crucial role to play in raising awareness about this critical issue among the masses.

Abrar Hasan, Vice-Chairman ACIF and CEO National Foods, said that IPRs included not only the traditional literary, artistic and musical materials but also the protection of an idea, which in the past was an unheard concept, software development, industrial property. “Two main objectives of the IPRs is to promote respect for intellectual property including industrial property and copyrights on one hand and to promote its protection around the world through international cooperation by amending national laws,” he said.

The growing menace of counterfeiting of famous brands presents enormous health and safety risks to consumers. Besides inflicting financial loss to the national exchequer, and also harming the goodwill, reputation and credibility of Pakistani products. Genuine brands may lose substantial sales, in the range of 7 to 15 percent in general, due to piracy causing loss of taxes to exchequer. Health authorities, sales tax and excise enforcement machinery can play a vital role in eradicating piracy and boosting revenues for the benefit of public, according to ACIF spokesperson and legal director and Company Secretary Unilever Pakistan Limited, Amar Naseer.

Eradicating masses for the righteous cause of Pakistan’s economy is extremely important and this event was held in the hope that the responsible media personnel’s cooperation, understanding and determination, can define the economic future of Pakistan.

Tree Planting Initiative Marks National Year of Environment in Pakistan

An event for Guinness World Record in Tree Planting was held in July 2009, organized by the Ministry of Environment Pakistan, with Pakistan Wetlands Programme (WWF) being the main partner and facilitator.

The event took place in Keti Bundar, Thatta District, which is about 200 km (125 miles) South-east of Karachi in Pakistan. The event was a part of the government’s planned initiatives to mark 2009 as the National Year of Environment in Pakistan. The tree planting took place in collaboration with the Forest Department of Sindh and the National Bank of Pakistan.

The team of 300 planters – local community members who had experiencing of working in the coastal area – were carefully selected and well prepared for this event. 15 teams took part, each consisting of 20 members; every team was given a dedicated portion of land to work on, which was clearly marked out with flags. The event took place on two islands that are next to each other and a total of 322 hectares (795.85 acres) of land was used in the record attempt.

Guinness World Records™ Adjudicator Aadil Ahmed also attended this event.

Due to the nature of the land being used, the planters knew they had a difficult task on their hands, as they had to plant as many trees as they could before the tide came in. Once the tide was in, planting would have to stop for a few hours. Mudflats were chosen as the location for this event, as this is the best location for the type of tree that was to be planted.

The planters had chosen mangrove (rhizophora mucronata) saplings, as this kind of tree plays an important role in carbon seizure and acts as a protection against natural disasters such as tsunamis. Mangrove forests are also a great breeding ground for fish, shrimps, prawns and other wildlife.

The record attempt was attended by many local dignitaries and media, including the Minister of Environment for Pakistan, Hamidullah Jan Afridi and Mr. Kamran Lashari, Secretary for the Ministry of the Environment.
The most number of trees planted in 24 hours by a team (of 300 people) now stands at a 541,176, breaking previous records.

The record attempt started at 6:45am and ended by 7:35pm. The previous record had been set in India: the 21 JAT Regiment (Indian Army) had planted 447,874 trees in the Shrigram Reserve Forest in Dhubri, Assam, in June 2009.

Asian Forum on Corporate Social Responsibility

The 8th annual Asian Forum on corporate social responsibility (AFCSR), organized by the Asian Institute of Management, will be held on November 10 & 11, 2009 in Manila. CEOs from all over Asia will present successful CSR projects and share their experiences with delegates.

The task will be achieved through the dissemination of relevant information via expert resource speakers and state-of-the-art visual aids. Mr. Ramon R. del Rosario, Jr., Chairman of the Board of Advisors, Ramon V. del Rosario, Sr. AIM Center for Corporate Social Responsibility (AIM-RVR Center) will chair the event.

This year’s theme is “Sustaining CSR in Difficult Times: How business can benefit and why it still makes business sense”. The conference is to be a two-day affair featuring the integration of a) plenary sessions addressed by keynote speakers, b) special interest sessions that focus on specific dynamics, learnings and best practices of companies, c) an expo featuring specific company CSR programmes, and d) optional field visits to innovative CSR programme sites in and around Manila.

Special Interest Sessions
The intensive two-day event features 30 information-packed workshops led by a team of CSR practitioners, academicians and industry experts.

Experts will share useful tools and strategies that will help corportions address their corporate social responsibility challenges.

Special Plenary Briefings
Five special plenary briefings will update delegates on the major trends and developments shaping the CSR landscape. These sessions will identify CSR challenges and opportunities for business, government and civil society and how collaboration produces win-win situations.

Meeting of Minds
These are facilitated sessions where delegates, speakers, exhibitors and sponsors are polled prior to the Forum topics they would like to meet and discuss. Arrangements will be made to create new sessions encouraging interaction among small groups around specified topics of mutual interest.

Networking opportunities with international delegates and experts
Participants will benefit from the extensive experience of a “faculty” of 60 to 80 CEOs and senior management from several nations representing government, corporate and NGOs, who will conduct the discussion-based panel workshops.

Presentations of the prestigious
Asian CSR Awards. Companies from across Asia will be honoured with the awards in five categories.

Asian CSR Expo
AFCSR 2009 will showcase the latest frameworks, examples, products and technology designed to help companies integrate CSR into their business processes. For more information on this event, please visit: http://www.asianforumcsr.com/

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