Now the challenge is that CSR should not be taken as another job, business and employment opportunity rather it should be considered as holistic option in life to connect passionate professionals with grassroots communities and work to make tangible impact of the beneficiaries they target.
By Anil Jaggi
Whenever I tried to meet head of an organization, Corporate or PSUs to get the exact status of their ongoing CSR activities, most of the time response pattern is same. Either they are quite aware about various CSR programs or they are already implementing various CSR activities and making larger impact on community.
But when it comes to get access to their CSR report, picture is contrary to it. Either they are not doing anything worthwhile, or not clear about the directions, or doing some level of charity. Their reporting standards are not up to required standards or we can say few activities in bits and pieces.
Sometime or most of the time company gives this responsibility to someone who is a trusted man of CMD /CEO or who is already looking after HR department of the organization without any direction or initial training on this core subject.
My personal experience is that, when Govt. is getting serious on the account of CSR and corporate India is also jumping into this due to various drivers, be it management or conscious decision or pure market driven, we need to have someone who can justify with this emerging career opportunity. We need someone who can connect their actions with community by coming out of his/her comfort zone.
I can foresee two challenging issues in this domain and they are, first is to have right person at right place with right understanding and second is to sensitize them about fragile issues of sustainable and responsible business development, which need to be addressed through defined and sustainable CSR framework. Changing time will demand more trained CSR professionals with clear cut understanding of this vertical.
Though I keep on visiting IIT-Roorkee, Doon University, FMS/BHU, GB Pant Agri business School, but when I got a call from IMT (leading Business School) from its Hyderabad Campus, I was a bit surprised that why IMT needed someone who can talk about CSR and Business ethics for the future corporate managers from this part of world. Then I got clarification from Professor in-charge there, Dr. Debadutta K Panda (Ph.D) –Faculty Member, Economics and Strategy that IMT is following Harvard Pattern which requires 30 % of the curriculum to be taken care by active practitioners, so that students can learn direct from field experience, develop some case studies and connect with the issues of social and financial inclusion.
Considering the offer and checking my work schedule, I decided to visit IMT Hyderabad and to have direct interaction with students. My previous interaction with seasoned CSR manager, I found this as an opportunity to sensitize future business and corporate managers with whatever knowledge I carry.
As I wanted to make them understand the importance of CSR and business ethics not only in promoting business at global level but to transform the society at large with their community centric and locally relevant CSR strategies, which is not only beneficial to the company but for the society they operate in and can address the local issues in a much more meaningful manners.
When Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Govt of India is making it mandatory for all business houses to shed some profit for CSR funds, PSUs are already moving in this direction and making the difference. Now it’s time when Pvt. business can also make larger impact on society with their effective functioning and reach. It is essentially important to have right human resources to tackle the subject more effectively.
But now the challenge is that CSR should not be taken as another job, business and employment opportunity rather it should be considered as holistic option in life to connect passionate professionals with grassroots communities and work to make tangible impact of the beneficiaries they target.
My visit and interaction with MBA students at IMT/Hyderabad gave me another impression that if given the opportunity with right blend of mindset and resources, which corporate have, CSR is going to stay and will remain there for long.
I feel when school curriculum covers value education, its right time that all B-Schools must teach about business ethics, global standard compliances, Indian traditional value system for CSR and its required reporting pattern so when students are out from business schools and ready to undertake the responsible positions in Private or Govt. Sectors, they would be having enough knowledge and understanding about CSR and its reporting standards like GRI etc.
Anil Jaggy is the ICT4D and CSR Expert/Consultant. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org cell: +91-9412009273