India CSR Network
Ahmedabad: Sharon Weir is the founder of The 4th Wheel, a social enterprise which focuses on research, advocacy and consultancy of CSR, based in Ahmedabad, India.
An economics graduate from St.Xavier’s ColleSharon Weirge, Mumbai and a MSc. in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. Sharon’s interest and passion lies in economic and human development, research and travelling. She has worked with NGOs such as Pratham, Colaba Spastic Society and CRY as a volunteer and intern.
In an exclusive interview with INDIACSR, Sharon Weir shares her views on her projects and dream and passion towards CSR.
Q. Tell us about your organization and the rationale behind the name 4th Wheel
We are a social enterprise which focuses on research, advocacy and implementation of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs. Traditionally three players namely, the State, civil society and NGOs and International development organisations like USAID, United Nations, etc. have played a crucial role towards solving pressing social issues. The 4th Wheel for us is the business sector. We decided to aid in making this sector a key player in driving and deriving development. The name signifies our focus area which is CSR. We have conviction in the potential of CSR and aspire to play a significant role in the field of CSR consultancy in India.
Q. Tell us about the people behind the 4th Wheel.
The three of us are from Ahmedabad, Gujarat. I am an economics graduate from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai and have pursued my masters in Development Studies from SOAS, University of London. I have undertaken research projects with Gujarat Institute of Development Research (GIDR) and freelanced for international students working on development issues in Gujarat and Rajasthan. Salomi is a graduate in Social Work with a diploma in French. She has an experience of 3 years in PR with her core competency being planning and implementation of high visibility public relations for CSR related initiatives. Payal has a B.Com degree from HL College of commerce and holds a Masters Degree in International Relations from IE Business School, Madrid. She has been a part of the Corporate Social Responsibility team of Suzlon Foundation, responsible for Education projects in Kutch, based out of Gujarat.
Q. How do you view CSR?
Rather than looking at CSR purely as philanthropy and as external to their business operations, businesses need to understand how ethics and altruism can be incorporated into their business operations to generate profits. This serves two purposes- the self interest and profit purpose of capitalism and the purpose of contributing to and ‘developing’ society.
Q. Why did you decide to be social entrepreneurs?
We did not take up 9-5 jobs because we are independent thinkers and would like to be a part of the entrepreneurial spirit of the state. We are committed to making a long lasting change in the way human and social development activities are undertaken. We do not want our energy and free spirits to be curbed by an organisation’s myopic and fixed agendas. We wanted to do things our way, explore possibilities and avenues and excel in our field of choice.
Q. What are your current projects?
Research: Research study on CSR in rural areas of Gujarat, Research and advocacy for CSR and Solid Waste Management in Ahmedabad. Advocacy: Seminar showcasing Sustainable business models as effective CSR investments, Quarterly newsletter on Corporate Social Responsibility , Implementation: PVR Green Films program, NGO related: Content writing and social project proposal for SEWA and Kids Foundation of India project development are our key projects.