Home Reflection on CSR

Background

The dynamics of the relationships between voluntary organizations, the Corporate Sector and Government have changed substantially since the notification of Section 135 of the Companies Act 2013.

It is now seen as an opportunity to collaborate, cooperate and learn from each other rather than being perceived as adversaries to each other. CSR is more a collaborative effort among the three partners to ensure the desired impact that will help improve the quality of life of the people of India.. Each of these three constituents is expected to come with their unique experiences and skills to table and work for the benefit of the marginalized sections of society. The resultant impact needed to take the nation forward and be seen as a progressive one is to reduce the stark disparities that exist today between "India" and "Bharat".

Concept

We all recognize that charity/ philanthropy is not new to the Indian corporate sector and there are some shining examples of successful models of collaboration between Voluntary organizations and companies as well as support to social enterprise. However, we all agree that lots more needs to be done. In the current context, we observe that education, health, environment, and sanitation are key drivers for development and there is an urgent need to undertake projects that have the desired, long-term impact.

Nature of discussion and its Objective

Therefore, it is imperative to reflect and review the process as we have recently completed a year since the legislation regarding the mandatory CSR spend has been implemented (April 1, 2015). Acting on the advice from the leaders of Corporate, Voluntary Sector and government, MANCER Consulting, through its Foundation (The World Integrity Foundation) is organizing a Conference entitled, "Evolution of CSR- from Philanthropy to Sustainable Value Creation; to look at the journey so far and devise a road-map for the way ahead. Through the conference, we would like to address the following:

1. most of the engagement under CSR is charity, relief or welfare-based in nature. The success of this collaboration is seen in very tangible targets. The number of schools, number of toilets, number of health camps, etc. is seen as the parameter of their achievements. Despite this, experts of development field question the impact and sustainable value creation of this model. Is it time to think if we need to move from delivery to empowerment model where people take charge of improving their lives, and development partners provide support.

Question: Do we need collective expertise of government, voluntary sector and corporate to make CSR effective?

Question - Do we need to move from welfare/ philanthropy mode to justice mode?

It is also necessary that all the three development partners, viz. government, voluntary sector and corporates look at their relationship beyond money. Although, the CSR legislation as tabled in the Companies Act 2013 requires 2% of the net profits to be spent on CSR activities; there are many companies who have seen enough value to invest far beyond the mandated 2%.

2. Also, past experiences have shown us that focusing only on funds can lead to expenditure without any long-term gain. We have seen crores being spent with no tangible impact on the lives of the beneficiaries; this has been due to lack of a proper thought out strategy. One that has failed to involve the beneficiary communities into the planning process.

Hence, it is of significant importance to leverage the expertise of government, voluntary sector and corporates together to address the issues with long term perspective.

My CSR Journey

There is also need to analyze record and appreciate the work done by corporate and voluntary sector to achieve common goal. We would like few corporates to present their experience in CSR journey so far undertaken. In this occasion we would like all SIDCUL Corporates to share their best practices in CSR and like to capture this in our first edition of the CSR Journal- "My CSR Journey".

Thus we would like you to present the story of your CSR and share with others your success story, the hiccups you face and the obstacles you need to overcome to make it a bigger success

Please share your story so far and we will publish this in the journal. The essence of such journal is to create awareness and brand value for the work done so far. The journal would cover a circulation base about 500+ corporates and all eminent PSU's. This would be covered by various leading newspaper.

Conference date: 21st August, 2015

Time: 11 AM

Venue: WIC,Dehradun