India CSR News Network
RAIPUR: A three day workshop on Corporate Social Responsibility was organised by the Global Gandhian Trusteeship & Corporate Responsibility Foundation in Raipur, Chhattisgarh on April 21-23, 2011. This was the Tenth such Workshop organized by the Foundation. It was conducted by the Centre for Training & Research in Responsible Business, the training and education wing of the Foundation. Spread over three days the Workshop included classroom session and visits to CSR Project sites.
The companies represented at Workshop included Lafarge India, Balco, Monnet Ispat & Energy Limited, South Eastern Coalfields Ltd, Bhilai Steel Plant, Ambuja Cements, Orissa Power Generation Corporation, Airports Authority of India, Bharatiya Barood Udyog and the Chhattisgarh State Industries Development Corporation (CSIDC).
The first day’s session was flagged off with a presentation by Mr Ravinder Kher, Head CSR Balco on Stake Holder Engagements in the mining Industry. In a well documented presentation studded with interesting details Kher stressed on the importance of Stakeholder Engagement. The Speaker pointed out that in recent years, private and public sector companies, had identified Stakeholder Engagement as a critical element in the success of development programmes.
Kher said companies were increasingly realizing that Stakeholders can make or break their business. Well planned and implemented Stakeholder Engagement strategy was the key for the assured success of any business and its long tern sustainability. Kher pointed out that it was essential that there is proper engagement between business, community and environment. Only when the relationship between the three is properly made and coordinated would any business achieve sustainability.
Stakeholder engagement strategy, said Kher, is action oriented and consists of three main elements. These are thinking and planning, preparing and engaging and responding and measuring. The first step, he said, is to determine why one should engage with stakeholders. He said Stakeholder engagement could result in several benefits. These benefits he said included increased community confidence in the company, more user-friendly community-company targeted services, reduction in cost because of time saved in managing crises of confidence, increasing organizational effectiveness and the creation of better two way communication skills and better understanding on both sides.
Highlighting the steps required to develop effective engagement with the stakeholders Kher said the first would be to identify who were the real stakeholders for the company, their key groups and sub groups. He said it was not necessary all organization will have the same type of stakeholders. “Stakeholders are diverse for each team, section or division and may change as a response to circumstances.” An effective way of identifying all relevant stakeholders was to drawn up a map, illustrating key stakeholders and their relationship to each other. It was important that the right stakeholders were identified before a proper engagement programme was initiated.
Thereafter the company should undertake an indepth analysis of the group’s interests and the type of influence they can exert on the company. It is on the basis of this study that the company will be able to build a proper stakeholder engagement strategy. It was essential, he said, that a company’s stakeholder engagement policy should be guided by sound principles.
Kher noted the attention of the participants that there is a definite difference between strategic and operation principles of stakeholder engagement. Strategic principles, he said, referred to a higher level understanding and structuring of stakeholder engagement which involved the identification of the stakeholders, significant issues and expectations. Operation principles were concerned with the actions of dealing with the stakeholders like the stakeholder engagement plan and consultation.
According to the Speaker strategic principles covered dealing with issues of significance to the stakeholders, understanding their concerns, vision, needs and expectations, and responding appropriately and coherently to the various issues. Elaborating on the operational principles Kher identified listening and talking for open and effective communication, clear and agreed information and feedback processes, efforts to seek mutually beneficial outcomes where possible, recognizing, understanding and involving stakeholders in the process, and, conducting the engagement in a manner which fosters mutual respect and trust.
Sounding a word of caution he said it was very essential that the persons responsible for stakeholder engagement take into confidence the senior/top management of the organization. ” If you are responsible for a particular engagement strategy, make sure you get the required support of senior officers. It is advisable to have thought through the strategy, including the benefits, so that you can clear them with the senior management.”
Kher cautioned that it was necessary to define the rules of engagement when dealing with the stakeholders. From the very beginning it is essential that the work, position and reason for a dialogue and the company’s capacity to meet the demands of the stakeholders should be clearly defined. The stakeholder should be informed clearly about the rules of engagement as also the limitations.
According to Kher communication is the core in all relations with stakeholders. Communication involved being honest and open about the company’s objectives and planned activities. The stakeholder should be kept on the loop as much as possible through emails, phone calls and even face to face engagement
After completing all the essential steps to identify the stakeholders, the issues to be taken up the demands it is necessary to formulate an engagement plan wherein the objectives of engagement, scope and method are clearly outlined. Kher stressed on the need for the implementation plan to be made an integral part of the company’s business plan. The Speaker stressed on the need to make it clear to the stakeholders where the CSR Department does not have control in decision making and it should be made clear what is negotiable and what is not.
Kher said it was very essential that the results of the engagement should be measured and properly documented. It will provide the company an opportunity to act on the in formation gained through the engagement All information gained through the engagement should be put together in a formal evaluation. If the outcome has been less than satisfactory the entire enagement process needs to be reviewed and suitable changes made.
Concluding he pointed out that it is essential to remember that all stakeholder engagement is different. Each group has specific needs, wishes and constraints.”Tailor your engagement to the needs of the stakeholders.”
In the afternoon of the first day participants visited CSR Projects at the Bhilai Steel Plant.
The second days session start with a presentation by Suresh Kr Pramar, Executive Director, Centre for Training & Research in Responsible Business on Corporate Social Responsibility in India: What Would Mahatma Gandhi Do ? At the outset the Speaker pointed out that Gandhiji could be named as the pioneer of responsible business in India. He said Gandhi had prior to independent propounded the theory of Trusteeship which incorporated principle of responsible behaviour for business.
Pramar said Gandhiji had conceded that business will make money and that creating wealth by fair and ethical means was not something to be frowned upon. He quoted Gandhiji as saying : “ the businessman will look for profit. That is not unethical as long as the wealth is earned through ethical means. While earning profit was right the businessman needs to show concern towards his less fortunate fellow beings
Earn your crores but understand that your wealth is not yours; it belongs to society. Take what you require for your legitimate needs and use the remainder for society”
The Speaker pointed out that Corporate Social Responsibility as understood today has almost all the elements of Gandhiji’s Trusteeship. Both call upon the rich to use their excessive wealth for the welfare of society. Ethics and concern for the poor and the environment are part of both Trusteeship and CSR
He said the World Business Council For Sustainable Development has defined the concept as “the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the work force and their families as well as of the local community and society at large.” Another definition says that CSR is a ” A concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their interaction with their stakeholders on a voluntary basis.”
According to Pramar CSR covered three objectives: economic, social and environmental. The five key issues in CSR were The five major issues are: Human Rights, Employees Rights, Environment Protection, Community Involvement Customer Relations and Supplier Relations.
The Speaker pointed out that CSR in India evolved through the concept of giving’, which he pointed out is an integral part of Indian culture. It took the form of Philanthropy and Religious donations. Modern connotation of CSR in India came with the Gandhian concept of Trusteeship followed by the Bombay Plan (1944-45) – First initiative by leading business houses (Tata, Bajaj, Birla group) And Individual initiatives by individual corporate.
Corporate Social Responsibility, had now become an important part of most business in India. Most of the Indian executives now agree that CSR is relevant to business and feel that business has responsibilities not only to the shareholders and employees but also to customers, suppliers, society and to the state. Surveys, he said, have revealed that large sections of the population now belief that business has a responsibility to society.
Pramar said there is a wide spread belief in the country that corporates were not doing enough for the poor and needy in the country. Quoting the observations of an international known CSR Expert Bradley Googins, he said, Googins has said that throughout his recent travel in India a question which kept popping up was “What Would Gandhi Do” about the current state of business and society in India
According to Googins “CSR is developing quickly and broadly throughout India, reflecting its colonial roots but perhaps forgetting its more “hands-on” and “activist” expression in the Gandhian tradition. Talks with managers and visits in companies evidenced traditional philanthropy in practice. What you see in Indian CSR is a heavy emphasis on philanthropy with the beginnings of a movement to use corporate resources and know how to establish and build partnerships across the sectors in service to society.
“As you travel across India, you see stark contracts between the squalid slums of Calcutta and the glistening corporate edifices in HITEC (the Hyderabad Information Technology Engineering Consulting city) where multinational giants like Google and Microsoft compete alongside Indian powerhouses like Infosys and Wipro. Companies that operate in HITEC pride themselves on embracing “international” standards of CSR.
“But there are paradoxes in being socially responsible in a nation as diverse and as poor as India. Despite child labor laws and minimum wage standards, thousands of poor children are sent by desperate parents to be smuggled across the region at night to make a few rupees for the family. The children work from 4 am to1 pm, take a two hour break, and then work until 7 pm. In addition to laboring 13 hours a day, they are exposed to insecticides and report a variety of health problems ranging from nausea and headaches to skin diseases and respiratory illnesses. During the three month stint in the fields, the children earn about 13 rupees a day (or 1 rupee an hour).
“Gandhi freed his nation from the yoke of Britain. No doubt a new genetically-based “green revolution” has increased the productivity of Indian farms. But has it done enough to free people from the yoke of poverty? We believe that Gandhi would put a stop to this exploitation of the poorest of the poor, even at his own peril and at the expense of supposed economic and rural development. Where is the Indian CSR voice on this and other such matters?”
According to Pramar Gandhi demonstrated to the world the value of a principled life and introduced a leadership model where participation and engagement are essential to leading well. The CSR in India has a great deal to learn from the Gandhian emphasis on affordability and sustainability in the production and distribution of goods and services. “At the very least,Googins has said” we should find ways to dialogue with and learn from the Gandhian principles that can link CSR to business model innovation and to reaching the poorest of the poor. That would go a long way to advancing the practice of a more vibrant and meaningful CSR across the globe.
“According to Pramar, Googins has pointed out Three themes which emerged that should give us all pause as we assess CSR practices: Gandhi would be chagrined at narrowly pitched and bureaucratically managed CSR offices dispensing surplus profits as charity (“You must be the change you wish to see in the world”). Gandhi would take executives by the hand and walk them through poor cities and villages (“An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching”); Gandhi would make corporations trustees of the people’s wealth (“Capital as such is not evil; it is its wrong use that is evil”).
Highlighting the future course of action for India companies the Speaker said Indian companies today need to start looking at solving genuine problems and not those created by the irrelevant and artificially created scarcity model. Many “bottom of the pyramid” initiatives by Indian companies simply view the poor as a large market that needs to be captured. The corporate belief that “we are creating consumers” must be genuinely replaced by a real welfare model for the poor
Pramar said Indian companies need to pay greater attention to ensure sustainable growth and employment by generating rural livelihoods at a large scale. Creation of products, services that empower livelihoods can be a part of corporate initiatives. He felt that here is a very tangible business case for these initiatives because they carry the dual benefit of reducing carbon footprint and simultaneously providing sustainable livelihoods. It’s a win-win, like they say in management jargon.
The Speaker felt that there was urgent for Indian companies to move away from standardization and mass production to local, sustainable and small as is presently being experimented in the west. This he said Indian companies too can with considerable ease and successfully market not just their products but also celebrate and create exposure for the local manufacturing community. By doing this companies will not just be spotlighting the product but will be involved in the complete lifecycle, impacting thousands of lives in the process.
With the release of the ISO 26000 document one more international CSR standard has become available to business world wide. Introducing ISO 26000, Mahendra Pramar, EE Mahagen, said that the new international standard is intended for use by organizations of all types, in both public and private sectors, in developed and developing countries, as well as in economies in transition.
Speaking on An Introduction to ISO 26,000 Mahendra Pramar said ISO 26000 though a voluntary guidance is expected to encourage the implementation of best practice in social responsibility. He said it will assist companies in their efforts to operate in the socially responsible manner that society increasingly demands. He said unlike the standards like ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001:2004, ISO 26000 is not a management system. According to Mahendra Pramar ISO 26000 offers elements that may be incorporated to the management systems already existing, suggesting usual ways of integrating social responsibility to the usual activities of the organization.
Dwelling on the advantages of the standard, he said, ISO 26000 adds value to existing work on social responsibility (CSR) and extends the understanding and implementation of CSR. The standard helps in developing international consensus on what SR means and the SR issues that organizations need to address. It also helps in providing guidance in translating principles into effective actions.
According to Mahendra Pramar ISO 26000 redefines best practices that have already evolved and promotes the dissemination of the information worldwide for the good of the international community. The Standard addresses the role of social responsibility facing the social and the environmental challenges brought by globalization and in the quest for sustainable development
The Speaker pointed out that the new Standard was important because it will distil a globally relevant understanding of what social responsibility is and what organizations need to do to operate in a socially responsible way. Previous initiatives, he said, have tended to focus on “corporate social responsibility”, while ISO 26000 will provide SR guidance not only for business organizations, but also for public sector organizations of all types
According to Mahendra Pramar ISO 26000 will help all types of organization – regardless of their size, activity or location – to operate in a socially responsible manner by providing guidance on : Concepts, terms and definitions related to social responsibility, Background, trends and characteristics of social responsibility, Principles and practices relating to social responsibility, Core subjects and issues related to social responsibility, Integrating, implementing and promoting socially responsible behaviour throughout the organization and, through its policies and practices, within its sphere of influence, Identifying and engaging with stakeholders, Communicating commitments, performance and other information related to social responsibility.
The Speaker pointed out that ISO 26000 has highlighted certain core issues like Organizational governance Human rights, Labour practices, Fair operating practices,the environment, Consumer issues, and Community involvement and development. The guidelines provide detailed information on these core issues and how companies can go about dealing with them.
Mahendra Pramar stressed on the fact that ISO 26000 will help all types of organization – regardless of their size, activity or location – to operate in a socially responsible manner. This, he said, it would do by providing guidance on : Concepts, terms and definitions relating to social responsibility, the background, trends and characteristics of social responsibility, principles and practices relating to social responsibility, core subjects and issues relating to social responsibility, integrating, implementing and promoting socially responsible behaviour throughout the organization and, its sphere of influence, identifying and engaging with stakeholders, communicating commitments and performance related to social responsibility.
The Speaker pointed out that companies before taking up the guidelines should review the principles which it should respect while practicing CSR. An organization should consider two fundamental practices of social responsibility: recognizing its social responsibility within its sphere of influence, and identifying and engaging with its stakeholders. When approaching and practising social responsibility, the overarching goal for an organization is to maximize its contribution to sustainable development.
He said once the principles have been understood, and the core subjects and relevant and significant issues of social responsibility have been identified, an organization should seek to integrate social responsibility throughout its decisions and activities. This can be done by making social responsibility integral to its policies, organizational culture, strategies and operations; building internal competency for social responsibility; undertaking internal and external communication on social responsibility; and regularly reviewing these actions and practices related to social responsibility.
Mahendra Pramar said there were several benefits in the use of ISO 26000 By implementing ISO 26000 you can optimise your internal processes and assure integration between your management systems and your efforts within social responsibility and sustainability. As a socially responsible organization, he said the organisation can improve its relationship with partners, government, the media, suppliers, peers, customers and the community in which you operate. Risk management is improved as the likelihood of stakeholder conflicts, bad publicity and reputational crises is greatly reduced.
An improved reputation will increase staff morale and the ability to attract and retain qualified professionals. Investors, sponsors and the financial community are also more interested in investing in ethically sound organizations. Enhance the appeal of your organization in the financial community.
Concluding his presentation the Speaker said ISO 26000 assists organizations in addressing their social responsibilities while respecting cultural, societal, environmental and legal differences and economic development conditions. It provides practical guidance related to operationalizing social responsibility, identifying and engaging with stakeholders, and enhancing credibility of reports and claims made about social responsibility
He said it would also highlight performance results and improvement, and increase confidence and satisfaction in organizations among their customers and other stakeholders. Be consistent with and not in conflict with existing documents, international treaties and conventions and existing ISO standards.
Surveys of Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives by companies in India indicate that these are mainly in the area of health, education, livelihood creation and environment. Some corporates undertake these activities on their own without the support of civil society organizations. There are however some non government organizations, like the Action for Food Production(AFPRO), an international organization which is actively involved in various states promoting activities relating to food production.
In Chhattisgarh AFPRO is involved in several projects supporting business in giving teeth to their CSR interventions in the rural areas. Speaking on Incomes and Livelihoods Dr. S. Srivastava, Unit Manager, AFPRO Task Force, based in Raipur, briefly described the activities of his organization in Chhattisgarh.
AFPRO has done considerable work in almost all districts of the state. Major interventions were in the area food security, irrigation facilities, renovation of water bodies and sustainable livelihoods for tribals in four districts. In addition work on Water management for Drinking and Irrigation, Organic farming system, Improvement of biomass, Capacity building, training for community and Women empowerment of particular interest, he said, was the work undertaken for the Ultra Tech Plant located at Hirni. He said in four targeted villages, in and around the plant. AFPRO and undertaken detailed planning of soil and water conservation. Srivastava said AFPRO was providing technical support for the plan.
The other projects taken up were a Feasibility study on Rain Water harvesting measures at the Grasim Plant, mines and township area, Rawan, Raipur Planning for the detail survey of the area is under process. ( 2010-11). AFPRO had also taken up a Village Development programme with ACC and NABARD at Durg. Another project was a Study of Process Adopted in Different Watershed Programme in Chhattisgarh during 2004 – 06 : A Project Supported by ICEF, Canada in Collaboration with WASSAN, Hyderabad
Dr Srivastava drew a profile of Chhattisgarh indicating that 80 percent of the people lived in rural areas and rest in urban areas. Of the total population of the state Scheduled Castes made up 12 percent while Scheduled Tribes constituted 32 percent. He revealed that 44 percent of the state was covered with forests. He said that though the state was rich in natural resources it had a poor management structure
He said the major issues of development in the state were Environmental, pollution and social. He pointed out that there was a loss of agriculture because of the change in the land use pattern, loss of biodiversity, loss of top soil and water and water related problems.
Under the issue of pollution Dr Srivastava said there was dust, noise and water pollution along with sediment desposition. He pointed out that under Social issues was the displacement of population, loss of livelihoods and cultural loss.
Pointing out that human development was very vital for the state. He highlighted the fact that economic growth without social growth would further accentuate the regional, sectoral and communal disparities. Dr Srivastava indicated that the northern, central and southern regions of state had their own peculiar problems. It was therefore not possible to find common solutions to all problems.
He pointed out that there was urgent need to put together the growth and development road map bearing in min the ground realities. This he said was necessary for both human and material development. : “We must exploit our greatest strength – our participatory work culture to take our people ahead rapidly leading to an improved quality of life and eco-system,” he said.
According to Dr Srivastava drought has been identified as the most important threat to livelihood for the villagers. About 27 percent of the Village Reports cite the lack of employment opportunities in rural areas as a threat to livelihood. In addition decrease in forest produce together with lower prices of non-timber forest produce are a major concern in 23 percent of the Village Reports. About 12 percent of the Village Reports list illiteracy as a threat to their livelihood.
According to village reports improvement in irrigation sources ad improved price for forest products would go a long way in helping to improve the economy of the rural areas. Almost 44 percent of the people surveyed had indicated the need for better irrigation facilities while 35 percent had said that promotion of agriculture was important. Better pricing of forest products was identified as important for over 60 percent of the respondents.
Dr Srivastava said focused attention is required to promote livelihood options in certain sub-sectors and within sub-sectors in dynamic clusters. He said some sub-sectors that may be considered are: Forest products, Repairs and small engineering, High value handicrafts, and Herbal and medicinal plants. Identifying other areas for intervention he mentioned better credit facilities for the farmers are required. Organic farming is an alternative option that should be promoted.
The Speaker stressed the need to reinforce Rural infrastructure. Basic rural access roads, local storage and warehousing facilities need to improve, especially if farmers are to have the choice to grow crops that do not have immediate local demand and can be stored.
Concluding his presentation Dr Srivastava said the State and its institutions will have to play a vital role in expanding the macro linkages and networks associated with livelihoods. These linkages have so far been poorly established and used, and have not allowed for a steady and stable growth of potentially viable work sectors. He said that people look to the state for assistance since they are unable to translate their lack of opportunities into a macro environment and context
He said there was considerable potential in institutions of local self-government to economically empower the rural population. “Effective, genuinely empowered and strengthened LSG institutions have the capacity to sort out many issues, especially conflicts between different interest groups, between the people and State, between the people and the market,” he said
Companies interested in sustainability adopt Corporate Social Responsibility. These companies, among other things, take up community investment programmes for the stakeholder impacted by their operations. Community development programmes have become the trademark of all companies which claim to run responsible business.
Presenting his case on Why Corporates Undertake Community Investments:
Getting It Right, Suresh Pramar said one important reason why companies undertake community investments is their desire to build and support positive company-community relationships They build schools, run health centres, run livelihood programmes They support local charities and provide funds for various programmes of benefit for the community. All this, he said, is done because of strong external pressure from customers, investors, the media, the local community leaders and other stakeholders.
Pramar said the community’s expectation from business has increased over the years. Peoples’ expectation of what business should do for the society is growing
Corporate investments in the community is no longer considered to be discretionary. It has become a business necessity. Business now realise that community responsibility and economic goals can, and should, be merged. Today community relations are viewed as a managerial activity, distinct from public or external relations
Business and community need each other “ the community creates the environment for the trouble free functioning of the business. The performance of the business and the development of the community depends heavily on how business interacts with the community. Businesses which are aware of this pay increased attention to issues of concern to the community.
Leading business organisations in India and abroad are increasingly realising that social problems are actually economic problems. That community investment programmes create a win win situation for both business and the community. They have realised that helping to solve chronic social problems of the community stimuates their business development. “Today’s better educated children in the community are tomorrow’s skilled workers. Lower unemployment in the community helps to increase consumption of goods and services which in turn help to improve the company’s bottom line.”
Quoting the World Council for Sustainable Development, he said ” Community issues cover a broad range of activities, including community assistance programmes; supporting educational needs; ensuring community health and safety; sponsorship; enabling employees to do voluntary work in the community and philanthropic giving” Pramar pointed out that even the best community development programme has its pitfalls. This is because of wrong planning and implementation. “ This is strong when business goes in with pre set notions of what is good for the community instead of looking into actual requirement. The mismatch of expectations of the community and what business is willing to offer makes the investment both unacceptable and wasteful while leaving the community unhappy.”
According to the Speaker, “There are three areas that determine if companies get it wrong or get it right. These are benefit distribution, behaviour and side effects. All these three areas are important for the success of any community-company relationship.” It is not enough that a company gets its benefit distribution right and fails in the area of behaviour and side effects. When a company distributes benefits in a transparent, fair and inclusive manner, behaves respectively, demonstrates a caring approach and takes responsibility for the side effects of its presence it will have a positive impact on the local community
“How a company distributes benefits can work either positively or negatively in terms of company-community relations. The single most troublesome issue in distributing benefits is the resentment that the community feels that the wrong people gain a lot while other deserving people get nothing. This they rightly feel is unfair. Generally communities are aware and comfortable with the fact that some people will gain more while others might not. They are aware that straight equality is not a standard of fairness,” he said
Most often problems arise because company managers tend to define fairness according to market economic, believing that everything of value has a price that is fair and appropriate. This mind set leads managers to approach benefits distribution as a transaction rather than an aspect of relationship building
“Getting it wrong and getting it right in benefits distribution requires that managers see their decisions in a new light – seeking to be fair in the terms that local people define. It requires that managers engage consistently with the non-threatening and reasonable people in local communities rather than with trouble-makers and that they allocate benefits (material and non-material) in ways that build on and reinforce shared interests and benefits rather than in ways that divide people.”
Pramar cautioned that good intension with bad behaviour can result in producing negative results A research study undertaken over three years worldwide,he said, revealed that communities are able to tell how a company reacts through the actions of its staff and its institutional stance. They are able to tell how much the company cares or does not care. When the face of the company is represented by armed guards at the gate and barbed wire around the compound and entry by local people is forbidden, the message to the local communities is a hostile, and separating one.
He went on to say that when people feel mistrusted and feared, they wonder what the company needs to hide. Fear begets fear mistrust begets mistrust mistrust. Fear and mistrust do not provide a basis for healthy interaction. A company that keeps its distance will not have a human face to which the people can relate. Without personal relationships companies find it easy to image the worst about the company and therefore feel constraint in their own behaviour towards the community and its people. The language of community company interaction becomes one of intimidation, threat and possibly violence.
The Speaker identified three main areas of possible tension between the company and the community. These were influx of outsiders, influx of cash and the impact of the company’s operations on the environment. The influx of outsiders can have a number of negative impacts on the community including disruption of of the lives of the locals.
It threatens social cohesiveness as people with differing backgrounds, norms, and modes of doing things enter the area and interact with local people. Further, increasing numbers of people strain existing resources. Environmental damage often results from the sheer number of people crowded into a previously thinly populated area. Disease may follow, for example, when water sources are strained. Increased demand for goods may cause prices to rise. People also bring extra traffic on the roads, causing more congestion and deterioration of whatever infrastructure exists.
A major point of resentment is the feeling among the local youth that they outsiders are stealing their women. As many of the new arrivals are young men, sexual norms of the receiving community can be challenged. Prostitution may appear; sexually transmitted diseases may increase. The norms of traditional family life often begin to shift in response to such pressures as young women are courted by itinerant youth relatively wealthy company employees. Local men complain, “Outsiders are stealing our women’ When growing numbers of local young men are disappointed in their job seeking, crime may follow.
Another area of conflict arises because of the influx of new cash which results in a challenge to old and traditional leadership. Money becomes a new standard by which people gain importance and power, replacing previous standards of wisdom, age, and experience as prerequisites for political leadership. The shift in leadership is reinforced by a rejection of the established ways of doing things and of the older people who formerly were leaders. In societies where extended families have traditions of sharing, new cash wealth can be disruptive.
Communities across the country, Pramar pointed out, are today concerned about environmental impacts caused by the operations of companies. They are worried effects on the fertility of their land, the availability and quality of water, the dust and noise levels they are exposed to, and the quality of air they breathe. People’s connections to their land or water, their hills and their forests go far beyond these as factors of production. Environmental assets represent ties to ancestors, history, a way of life, spiritual meanings, and so on. When a company is unaware of, or ignores, its environmental impacts company-community conflicts become strong
Pramar pointed out that community perceptions are realities for companies. Communities are not dumb. They respond both to what companies do and to how they do it. Doing the right things in the wrong way gains little. Doing the wrong things in the right way also does not work. To change perceptions, a company must first change itself. The only way to manage community perceptions is through effective management of company attitudes and actions.
Company actions undertaken in each of the three categories described – benefits distribution, behavior, and side effects – grow out of company-held assumptions about communities. A manager who is aware of the linkages by which assumptions flow into practice that shapes perceptions that determine community attitudes is a manager who can create positive company-community relations.
Should Business report on its CSR activities? According to Suresh Pramar there is a feeling among companies that there is just no need to inform others about their welfare activities nor do they have the time or means of doing so. They say that reporting their CSR initiatives is like “blowing their own trumpet. ” Others say that publishing their work is not part of the core business expertise. Still others feel that informing the public will attract NGOs and Fundraisers
Speaking on Communicating Corporate Social Responsibility Maximising Business Returns through CSR: Role of CSR Communication, Pramar said there were several benefits for companies in reporting they CSR activities. He said recent studies have revealed that business returns on CSR are contingent on stakeholder awareness of the company’s CSR activities. He said awareness about a company’s CSR activities, among both its external and internal stakeholders, is low This constitutes a major stumbling block in the company’s attempt to reap strategic benefits from its CSR spend.
He pointed out that while reporting on the CSR activities of the company was necessary there were pitfalls in over reporting. Pramar said while stakeholders want to know about the good deeds of the company they buy from or invest in they are liable to become leery about the company’s CSR activities if it tries to aggressively promote itself.
Companies need to carefully plan their reporting to ensure that they do not overplay themselves. Generally the stakeholders’ attitude on a company’s CSR motives may be of two kinds: extrinsic, when company’s attempts are seen more to increase its own profits, and intrinsic, when it is felt that the company is acting out of genuine concern for the people. Stronger attributions of intrinsic motives makes stakeholders react more positively towards the company. On the other hand extrinsic motives leads to less favourable stakeholder attitude.
According to the Speaker the stakeholders are aware that the company seeks to achieve certain business goals through its investments in social causes. Companies should highlight both the social and business interests and openly admit that the CSR endeavour benefit both the society and the company. Acknowledging extrinsic, company serving motives in CSR communication, enhances credibility and inhibits stakeholder skepticism
Stressing the need for increased CSR reporting Pramar said effective CSR communication can in the long run build the company’s corporate/brand image, strengthen stakeholder-company relationship and enhance stakeholder advocacy. Companies in Indian will need to overcome their fear of communicating their CSR activities. Stakeholders’ low awareness of and unfavourable attributions towards the company’s CSR activities are critical impediments in the company’s attempts to maximise benefits from its CSR activities.
He three day event was well received by the participants. All the sessions were well attended and highly interactive. Both the Speakers and the participants felt that the sessions helped them understand in greater depth the various dimensions of Corporate Social Responsibility.
Ms Shyamala Sanyal, representing Trishul Explosives, Nagpur said attending the workshop had reaffirmed her beliefs in CSR it also helped to understand what did not constitute CSR. It has helped he to learn from others’ experiences and to grow and strengthen her own CSR practices. She said that people involved in implementing CSR were committed and inspiring people. She felt that there was need to include more case studies from participating companies and their representative be asked to come prepared to make these case study presentations.
Kunal Sharma, Lafarge India, (Sonadhi) said the Workshop was very educative for him and gave him a better insight on CSR. Interaction with CSR personnel and sharing their views on various issues was very informative. He felt that case studies should be taken up for intensive study.
K.K. Raut, Lafarge India, (Sonadhi) said that the workshop gave him an opportunity to interact with many CSR professionals at the workshop and to share their experiences. He said the information shared by representatives from Balco and Monnet was very interesting and a good learning experience. The site visit to various CSR projects were very informative.
Yogesh Mishra, Lafarge India (Gopalnagar) felt that there was need for more such workshops. The workshop, he said, was very productive and helped to better understand CSR and its various dimensions and challenges. He felt that sharing of experience and networking with other CSR professionals was a plus point of the workshop.
Narender Prakash Mena ( Ambuja Cement, Bhatapara) said the Workshop was an excellent platform for CSR Professionals to meet and interact with each other to share experiences. The programme, he said, would have benefited more with video presentation on CSR activities and case studies discussing problems, the causes and possible solutions.