CSR news digest – 004
Three Ways CSR Can Attract Mature Millennials To Your Business
CSR is more than just altruism on a grand scale. It attracts a strong workforce that, in turn, bolsters your initiatives and brings in new employees. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, so keep your good efforts strong (and public), and watch your workforce blossom along with it.
One of my guiding principles is that a successful company should be able to simultaneously perform well in business and contribute to its community.
Why CSR Puts The Shine On Your Company
Skilled millennial employees are highly sought after and highly discerning. They want to join a company whose culture fits their own sensibilities rather than work somewhere that forces them to conform. CSR is the perfect instrument with which to highlight your company’s cultural strengths.
Let Your Good Deeds Go Noticed
Most millennials have a cause of choice. Research done by the Millennial Impact Report notes that 46% of them volunteered for an organization they cared about within a month of the study. Those are the hires executives should key in on.
1. Settle upon shared ground. Make sure you’re focusing — at least in part — on the values and goals you share with them. Find commonalities in your company’s vision with the types of goals mature members of that audience want to achieve. Then, highlight how those goals can be accomplished.
2. Make it a grassroots movement. To truly attract (and keep) senior millennials, CSR can’t just be lip service — it needs to be present and active in every level of the company. Encourage your senior employees to volunteer, either through company events or on their own time.
3. Talk yourself up. Media attention about your CSR informs the wider world about important issues in the community, and it can attract a mature Millennial audience that might not have been aware of your company or the great work it does.
Don’t camouflage spending on CSR, says ArunJaitley
Union finance minister ArunJaitley has called for strict discipline and an arm’s-length between corporate proposals and spending on corporate social responsibility (CSR) to ensure that companies are not supporting “their own proposals” from this sphere.
Calling the CSR expenditure being made mandatory for corporates in 2013 a “good beginning”, he said that initially, not all the funds were spent towards CSR activity by corporates. “In the very initial years in the government we did calculate the width of the whole CSR to be implemented. In its very first stage, it should have been to the tune of Rs 14,000 crore. Obviously, the entire amount was not fully invested, there was lack of understanding and awareness about it,” he said.
“While the idea is working well, strict discipline has to be enforced so that the expenditure is not camouflaged,” he said.
Education and job skills get a CSR boost from Indian IT firms
Technology companies are also allotting more of their social budgets to regions beyond their headquarters, according to a Nasscom Foundation report
(From left) Forbes India’s ParamitaChatterjee; DebjaniGhosh, MD, South Asia, Intel Corporation; GauravDwivedi, CEO, MyGov, and Dr Harsh Vinayak, senior vice president, NTT DATA
As Indian IT companies vouch for sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) to create a socially inclusive and equitable India, a major chunk of their mandatory spending on CSR goes into education and employable skills, says a report by Nasscom Foundation, a social arm of the IT/BPM industry body Nasscom.
Titled ‘Catalysing Change Through CSR’, the report reveals that about half of the IT companies interviewed spent 60-70 percent of their CSR budgets on education initiatives in 2015-16, while the remaining half spent about 30-40 percent of their budget on education during the same period.
“Education and employable skills are key to [solving] most of India’s social problems. An industry which has grown solely by investing in knowledge and key skills realises the difference a skilled society can make and therefore, a major chunk of CSR funds has been allocated to education and employable skills,” says Ganesh Natarajan, chairman, Nasscom Foundation. He was speaking at the CSR Leadership Conference organised by NasscomFoundation in Delhi on February 22.
The report also states that India has the largest number of illiterate adults in the world and that the dropout rate in schools continues to be high due to insufficient investment in education.
IT companies are also spending their CSR budgets on health care, agriculture and environment, according to the report.
“CSR is not PR [public relations]. If a company is able to focus on its core strength and use it for a social cause, the effort is maximised,” says GauravDwivedi, CEO at MyGov, a citizen engagement platform of the central government.
The report also notes that companies are now increasingly looking to invest in geographies outside their headquarters.
Three years of CSR: Spending on the rise, yet hurdles remain
It is true that CSR rules enacted in April 2014 have created a buzz and that CSR spending is on the rise, but deployment of funds remains a matter of debate.
A file photo of beneficiaries of an affordable housing project run by Habitat for Humanity, an international not-for-profit.
Even as annual CSR spend is on the rise, the impact on the ground and effective deployment of the funds remain a matter of debate three years on.
“Impacting or changing a social problem is hard work and requires patience and experience… but often we have come across companies who hand over the CSR department/workload within the company to individuals who are either not exposed to or do not understand the nuances of any given social problem,” aid Caroline Boudreaux, founder of not-for-profit Miracle Foundation, which works with orphans. But she hastened to add that since the law is new, the thought and approach to it are evolving.
Sector experts feel that companies need to approach CSR more strategically to be able to address the root causes of problems rather than just throwing money at them.
Another key challenge that has emerged is the fact that companies choose certain causes over others, not always based on the needs on the ground…
CSR spending on environment, women empowerment declined in 2015-16
Expenditure on category related to slum area development in 2015-16 was just Rs 9 crore, a far cry from Rs 123 crore spent last year.
The government data put out in Parliament shows decline in funding related to environment, women empowerment and slum development. The total spend on these accounted for only 11 per cent of the total CSR expenditure in 2015-16, as compared to almost 19 per cent in 2014-15.
For instance, expenditure on category related to slum area development in 2015-16 was just Rs 9 crore, a far cry from Rs 123 crore spent last year.
Initiatives related to encouraging sports, art and culture and contributions to the Clean Ganga fund seem to also seem to have lost sheen.
Barely a fraction of firms contribute towards environment
A recent CRISIL report on CSR spending in 2016, showed that less than 9% of the total CSR funds went into environment, and even lesser in rural areas. “Corporates would rather spend in urban areas where they get better visibility, than in remote forests. Moreover, most would also like to spend within their own districts — this would mean forests of Western Ghats, where there are hardly any big industries nearby, do not get CSR spending,” said Mr. Luthra, who said corporates enrolled currently were primarily due to the passion for wildlife among their promoters.
UNICEF-CII pact to set up CSR hub for kids in TN, Kerala
UNICEF and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Southern Region today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen the private and corporate sector involvement on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) towards children in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
As per the MoU, a CSR hub would be set up to strengthen knowledge base and build capacity of corporate/private sector in CSR for advancing child rights. The MoU was exchanged here at the National Summit on Climate Change
and Disaster Risk Reduction, between James Gitau, Deputy Representative, Operations, UNICEF India, and T TAshok , Past Chairman, CII.
Gitau emphasized the need to have child-centric disaster risk reduction framework and said that the CSR hub will help to channelize private sector resources towards realisation of the rights of children.