In the two day 16th Annual Sustainability & CSR Conference in Hyderabad, Kanika Pal, Chief Thinker of SoCHE Foundation was invited to speak about strategic CSR.
Excerpts of her talk:
India has witnessed a number of programmes, plans and schemes being launched in the last 18 months. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Digital India, Skill India, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, Make in India, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao etc, to list a few.
Globally, in September this year the world adopted the new Sustainable Development Goals with focus on 17 critical areas of development. At the on-going COP 2015, two days back PM Modi announced the Global Solar Alliance and Mission Innovation showcasing India’s concern and sense of urgency, if not ‘binding commitment,’ towards GHG emission reduction and climate change.
But what does this mean for Corporations?
Should corporations focus on climate change, poverty alleviation, human rights, or gender equality, skilling and training, health and sanitation, or anything else – some of it or all of it as part of its CSR? What should their sphere of influence be really in a country with diverse development challenges?
With the 2% of profit mandate for CSR spending in India, corporation can be confused and sometimes directionless in identifying the development issues that are material to both its business and stakeholders. They get stuck in classical CSR definitions and work on pretty much repetitive themes, with little innovation and limited impacts.
While there are many large companies that are doing exemplary work and are role models in their sectors; there are many that are just getting started. It is therefore important for any corporation (however big or small) to first define “Inclusive Growth” within the business context. This alone can give clarity, direction and sense of purpose to CSR commitments that follow hereafter. The actions emerging directly from this will automatically lead to a win-win situation for the corporation, communities, consumers and help co-exist with Nature in harmony.
This is the very foundation of strategic CSR.