New Delhi: Corporate Social Responsibility has been a buzzword, since India has been the first country to introduce statutory provisions with respect to CSR under companies act 2013. In the five years of the mandated CSR era, India Inc., has made significant progress from adoption to application of the law, and now from alignment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to extraordinary contribution in these times of the pandemic. To recognize and celebrate the contribution of CSR in these difficult times Brand India organized “India International Corporate Social Responsibility Summit – 2020” and the theme of the year -2020 was “Corporate Social Responsibility 4.0”.
The online event had eminent speakers and thought leaders from CSR fraternity, NGO and corporate world. The day one started with Vivek Prakash – Jubilant Life Sciences followed by Jayant Rastogi – Magic Bus, Jasrita Dhir – Fortis Health Care and Ajit Kumar of Khushi Gram. Following three days were packed with vibrant and experienced speakers including Anupam Nidhi – Hindustan Zinc, Pratyush Panda – ACC, Anjali Makhija – Sehgal Foundation, Kaushik Sinha – Magma Fincorp, Disha Srivastava – Sledgehammer Oil Tools, Lopa Mudra Priyadarshini – Aditya Birla Group, Adil Firoze – CSR Consultancy Inc., Brajesh Gupta – GMR, Swadesh Saxena – Arvind, Richa Pant – L& T Financial Services, Rajiv Williams – Jindal Stainless Limited, Atul Singh – Emami, Arun Nelavadi – Magic Bus, Tania Pal – CRISIL, Abhishek Agarwal – The Judge Group, Prashant Hota – Jindal Steel & Power Limited, Tara Chand – Oak North Group, Deepak Jain – Vijayash Foundation, Tanu Katharia – Birlasoft, Pradeep Tandon – JSPL, Geetanjali Chopra, Wishes and Blessings and Vikas Bhatia of Chambal Fertilizers and Chemicals.
The discussions centred around the impact of spending that has happened so far and how can corporations leverage on it by creating essential services such as sanitation, health care, clean drinking water, education and financial literacy and what can be done to maximize it, scale it up, and make it sustainable. Most of the corporate and civil society groups are working with government to support their programs. There is a paradigm shift in the approach after the pandemic, they have a shared vision, a shared goal and commitment that will benefit all stakeholders. The summit headed by Sandeep Simon Behera, Chairman of the IICSR Committee and K.K Upadhyay, the Co- Chair of the IICSR Committee was successful in providing a platform to corporate and civil society to work together to mitigate the effect of the pandemic through cooperation. The response from delegates and online attendees was over whelming. The in-depth discussions and professional handling of the event was well appreciated by everyone.
From the four-day summit discussions it is clear that the CSR obligation is a game changer for ensuring that the gains made by corporations in India can be transferred back to society in a meaningful manner. The government’s efforts to keep the activities permitted under the obligation broad based is commendable. Moreover, linking the CSR activities to the SDGs both explicitly and implicitly will ensure that CSR spending aligns with and augments national priorities. Considering the magnitude of the crisis, it is apparent that the government would appreciate support from individuals and organisations. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented yet another opportunity to companies to make good on their corporate social responsibility (CSR) commitments. CSR is about integrating purpose into an organisation’s core philosophy and mission and utilising the organisations’ core strengths to help larger, societal needs, which is of great urgency now.
To conclude the series of discussions the prestigious “India International CSR Impact Award-2020” in category NGO of the Year was presented to SEESHA (Samiti for Education Environment Social and Health Action.) Headquartered in Chennai. It works towards the holistic community development of poor, downtrodden communities across India with a fourfold view of development focussing on Education, Health, Environment and Livelihood. Jindal Steel and Power Limited was presented the Most Innovative Project of the Year for – ASHA- the hope “OP Jindal rehabilitation and Vocational centre”, it has been working as a CSR initiative of JSPL, since August 2009, devoted towards rehabilitation and empowerment of persons of disabilities, particularly those inside formative age group. The objective of this initiative is to empower persons with disabilities, so as to include and integrate into the mainstream of society. Atul Singh, Vice President – CSR of EMAMI Limited was honoured as CSR Leader of the Year. Mr Atul Singh is a senior management professional and a new age CSR thought leader with over 30 years of rich national and International experience working with various organizations in Australia. India and Bangladesh
A limited-edition book on “Corporate Social Responsibility 4.0” edited by Mr. Sandeep Simon Behera Director Branding – Karunya University and Dr.K.K.Upadhyay, Chairman DNR Foundation, was launched at the function. The book provides insight into various aspects of CSR from traditional to strategic CSR – creating a workable link between people, planet and profit, from CSR reporting to CSR communication. If you are interested in CSR or from CSR fraternity it will stay on your mind for days. If you are looking for answers in these new normal times of pandemic, the book gives you clues, that may provide you the answers even in these uncertain times and tells you about the better world to which good corporate are contributing through CSR.