For corporate social responsibility (CSR) to become second nature to businesses, it must be more closely linked to company profits in the minds of board directors.
This was a suggestion made by Ms Erin Lyon, the executive director of CSR Asia, a research and consultancy firm.
Companies also need to talk to stakeholders to decide on the issues that are likely to have an impact on the company's long term survival, such as measuring the cost of climate change, she added.
Ms Lyon was on a panel discussing CSR issues in the region at an event organised by confectionery company Ferrero.
The Italian company, the world's fourth-largest confectioner, is behind brands such as Ferrero Rocher, Nutella, Kinder and Tic Tac. Singapore is its headquarters for the South-east Asia region and the company employs 80 staff here.
At the event held on Wednesday at the National Library Building, Ferrero also launched its latest CSR report, which outlines its efforts ranging from setting up social enterprises to sourcing for sustainable ingredients.