Gone are the days when business houses used to do community service by the side of business through charity with paternalistic approach. Responsibility towards society, known as corporate social responsibility is no more a charity now. It has gone beyond simple donations with less accountability of the person/NGO taking such donations which resulted into a disconnect between the business processes and the CSR activities.
With new company law in force making CSR mandatory for companies in India, probably the first in the world to move in this direction, companies have to become more strategic while undertaking CSR projects. The inclusion of CSR mandate is an attempt to supplement the Govt. efforts of equitably delivering the benefits of growth and to engage the corporate Inc. with the development agenda of the country. That's why now COs need to make it an integral part of corporate governance because the combination of regulatory as well as societal pressure has meant that companies have to pursue their CSR initiatives more professionally. The companies need to see that CSR initiative should be of impact making in society at large and for that two things are required. Firstly- a strategic approach and secondly-a passionate leadership believing firmly in CSR.
It has to be a Strategic CSR now in place of ad-hoc charity or mere compliance orientation. To make it long lasting, this initiative has to be backed by employees. Dedicated teams of HR have to work on it to ensure that CSR investment should result in to improvement of disadvantaged and marginalized segment of society as well as stakeholders relations. The key to maximizing returns for all stakeholders is to emphasize on developing effective and need based CSR strategies so that investment can yield intended results. No doubt, employees are an important stakeholder in the business. Their perspective towards CSR can not be ignored because they can act as social change agent when they push the company to adopt socially responsible behavior. HR has to ensure that their CSR teams design activities in a sustainable, stable manner and result oriented.
The cover story of Business manager magazine –Oct. 14 issue encompasses an understanding of the concept of CSR, the intent and requirements of new law and its implications with good CSR initiatives taken up by some business houses. Archana Balasubramanian, Shivi kalia, Rajiv Williams, Pawan kaushik,P.B.S.kumar, Indranil banerjee and chandini jafiri shared their views along with New CSR rules.