MART, the markets management consulting firm, has organised a round table conference on ‘Strategies & Models For CSR Action’ recently in New Delhi. Chairing the event, Pradeep Kashyap, CEO and Founder of MART, began with a brief on the transition of CSR from ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ to ‘Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility’. He talked on how companies need to take advantage of the CSR Bill as a strategic advantage as well as a means to serve the communities. He stressed that CSR’s actions should be a win-win for all the stakeholders and be based on the principles of ethics and transparency.
The event witnessed participation from various stakeholders, including corporates, non-governmental organisations, academics and CSR professionals.
Representing FICCI, KK Upadhyay, Head – Corporate Social Responsibility at the industry chamber, elaborated on two types of CSR: one, which companies do to solve problems in their own vicinity, and the second, where companies focus on issues of national importance.
Lamenting the implementation of rural development programmes, Divya Rajput, Head, Centre for Business Innovation at Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs, said, "The annual CSR fund stands at around Rs 20,000 Cr while the Union Ministry of Rural Development gets 70-80 thousand crores of rupees. However, the policy paralysis, lack of governance and other reasons do not let the projects be completed. Around three lakh NGOs are registered in India while those who are working on the ground you can count on the finger tips."
Biren Bhuta, Head – Social Responsibility at Tata Steel, stated that the projects which companies take should be ‘impact based’ rather than ‘Output or Outcome based’. If corporates take a larger area, then they will be able to show a larger impact. Apart from this, it is very important that companies adopt a multiple-theme approach when doing their CSR activities and not be isolated as most of the social issues are inter-related. Another important thing is ‘partnerships’. Stakeholders roles have to be defined clearly and like-minded ‘stakeholders’ need to come together and offer what they are the best at, added Biren.
A major issue that cropped up during the round table is how smaller NGOs and smaller corporates can find better ways of planning and implementing their CSR activities. It is important for them to keep themselves updated with the latest trends in the ‘CSR and Sustainability Industry’ and be more relevant to the needs of society.