Making Social Business As an Integral Part of CSR

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India CSR News Network

MUMBAI: “Corporate Social Responsibility” (CSR) has assumed an important role in the corporate world of late. It is often a chance for a corporate to showcase its care and concern for society by addressing various social causes and remedying them.

Indeed, many corporates have taken wonderful advantage of acting as caring corporate citizens. The Tata Group in India probably leads the pack over the last century of undertaking outstanding philanthropic work through its various trusts.

Philanthropy and charity are somewhat good. They provide temporary relief and solution. But it is temporary. A charity dollar has only 1 life. After it is used, it has to be renewed once again. In many cases, it is not sustainable.

Therefore CSR, which is based on charity does not have an inherent scope of sustainability and scalability. It is based on a fragile foundation. A foundation which will collapse when a corporate undergoes a troubled financial period.

So, my dear friends, what is the solution ?

The solution is “Social Business”.

What is “Social Business” ?

“Social Business” is that business which is formed solely for addressing a particular social need. It is a business, not a charity. In its model, lies the power of sustaining itself. It has a long term view. It has a solid foundation.

There have been tens of “Social Businesses” formed under the Grameen umbrella, each addressing a social problem.

Let us look at 1 such example. Bangladesh has one of the highest rates of child malnourishment. This indeed is a big social problem. We scratched our heads. Indeed, a deep analysis of any problem in the world does lead to a solution. We decided to address malnourishment through the method of the creation of a tasty yoghurt fortified with the necessary micronutrients like zinc, iron, calcium, etc. We called it “Sokti Doi”, which in Bangla means power yoghurt. Indeed, it was the world’s most powerful yoghurt. To partner with us, we joined hands with Danone, a leading dairy company in
the world. We created a “Social Business” company titled GRAMEEN DANONE. Today, tens of thousands of “Sokti Doi” yoghurt cups are sold everyday which has created a healthier growing up years for the children of Bangladesh, especially the poor. Danone started a “Social Business” as part of its CSR with the twin benefits of sustainability and scalability.

This is the new trend which is going to be the mainstay of a forward looking CSR programme. A CSR model which is inherently sustainable, and scalable and effectively addresses a social issue. Yes, the answer is “Social Business”. A corporate’s strength of professionally managing a business and using it to address a social problem is beautifully aligned by the concept called “Social Business”. A “Social Business” allows the investment to be repaid back but does not allow for dividends. This ensures that the objective of meeting a social need and addressing poverty is not mixed with a profit objective. Thus, “Social Business” retains its purity.

The answer to a forward looking, sustainable, scalable, and pure CSR programme is “Social Business”. Join hands with the Grameen Creative Lab and incubate your own “Social Business”. Your inner joy will overflow.

(Sourced from SBWIRE)

(Submitted by Sunali Kothari , Manager, Wockhardt Foundation)

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