MUMBAI: To promote dialogue on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Collaborating Chambers, a collective of business organisations, has started ‘CSR and Coffee Mornings’. On Wednesday, William Bissell, managing director of retail chain FabIndia, spoke at the first of the quarterly sessions at a Kala Ghoda restaurant.
Explaining the company’s strategy, Bissell said they had artisans supplying them products get organised and start their own companies.
“We helped our artisans to form community owned companies and assisted them with short term and collective finance at the grass root level, impacting 40,000 people,” he said. He added that out of the 15 companies that were formed by artisans, 13 are profitable and one is likely to be profitable soon.
Such encouragement, Bissell said, helped improve livelihood opportunities for artisans but also nurtured local leadership.
“Communities have gone ahead to start sustainable tourism and equitable water distribution initiatives. This came as a surprise to us and we realised that our impact was well beyond our expectation,” he said, urging corporations to look at CSR as a long-term investment. “CSR can be your company’s most profitable division,” concluded Bissell.
(Hindustan Times, Mumbai, July 31, 2010)