By Himanshu Chanda & Harsha Mukherjee
CRY successfully conducted the CRY Corporate Responsibility Summit 2013, here in Mumbai on 11 Jan 2013. The prime motive of the event was to delve deeper into corporate responsibility and CRY did a phenomenal job at it by having the best minds in the Corporate Responsibility domain come together, share the same stage and reward trend setters for their significant contributions in CSR.
An insightful discussion with John Elkington on Break through Corporate Responsibility
The event kick started with insights from John Elkington one of the foremost personalities in CSR across the world. It also had several other champions from the corporate, government and social sectors who provided their views and answered all the queries related to corporate responsibility, sustainability and how innovations in this domain can change the face of Indian CSR.
John started the event by talk ‘Breakthrough Corporate Responsibility’, a detailed understanding of what is and what is not included in CSR. He described how businesses have now started being more aware to corporate responsibility and the same is being appreciated by their investors buying patterns too. He discussed several concepts of how the Indian corporates are now moving from the ‘denial to social innovations’ phase in CSR. Concepts like 6D capitalism and creative destruction helped the audience connect with the new trends easily. His examples like Zeronauts, Green peace and later case study on Novo Nordisk helped show the impact much further.
Corporates on Responsibility and Sustainability
Post the inaugural talk John moderated a session with business honchos like Mr Anand Kripalu (Mondeléz International), Mr Harsh Mariwala (Marico Ltd), Mr Ronnie Screwvala (UTV Group) and Dr Bhaskar Chatterjee (IICA). Together each panellist explained how they are trying innovative ways both in CSR and PSR (Personal Social responsibility).
From Harsh Mariwala’s mission to identify 1000 entrepreneurs and scale their businesses, to how the Cocoa tree found place underneath the coconut in south India (and be called the cadbury tree); how UTV group did their extensive research to zero down on the water and sanitation issues, to how IICA is getting the regulatory and CSR employ-ability factors come up at par were some of the areas of discussion.
An important fact to notice was Dr. Chatterjee’s comment that there is no single certified CSR Consultant in India and IICA would be the first institute to come up with a course curriculum dedicated for CSR. To this Mr Anand quoted that it is a situation where “Blind is showing way to Blind” since no one has an idea.
The CSR Provision in Company Act
Immediately post that Mr KK Upadhyay (Head CSR, FICCI) held a session with My Bhaskar to explain the amendments in the Companies Bill and the new mandate of CSR reporting. As highlighted by him doing CSR wasn’t legalized by the bill but highly recommended. 2% of the net profit was the least expectation the government suggests, However it is mandatory for companies with Net Profit more than Rs. 5 Crore to report its CSR activities and initiatives in a clear format on their site for public to view and scrutinize.
Panel discussions – CSR for the Stakeholders
Post Lunch there were 3 great panel discussions. The first one was around Employee engagement. Mr Madhvendra from Deutsche and Mr Raj Ivaturi from Delloitte highlighted how employee engagement is driven with help of CSR activities.
Delloitte celebrates an ‘Impact day’ where all 17 thousand employees are asked to work for one day across several causes they support. Mr Sandeep Singh from Toyota talked about how they are driving the cause of eco-friendly vehicles and community responsibility. All the companies capture employee CSR impact in their respective systems. Ms Srimathi Shivashankar from HCL discussed how employees are becoming more responsible and engaging with the local communities to help and support them.
The second discussion was around Indian consumer and social responsibility, with Mr Hemant Bakshi (Hindustan Unilever), Mr Santosh Desai (Future Brands), and Mr Kiran Khalap (chlorophyll brand & communications consultancy).
Mr Khalap talked about his understanding of CSR models with the help of several examples from Indian mythology.
Mr Bakshi discussed how innovative products like detergents that require less water and campaigns like regular hand washing, can help drive greener initiatives and get consumer support in the mass market. Mr Santosh Desai too expressed his views w.r.t. how CSR is shaping up in Corporate India.
The last talk was a discussion between Mr John Elkington and Ms Ingrid Srinath (Former Secretary General, CIVICUS) where both took several examples and case studies of how Corporates can exercise responsibility with passion and a gamut of different ways.
As it came with the discussion people today are more aware and less can be hidden in today’s world of hyper communication and connectedness. The panel was very interactive and took impromptu questions from the audience too.
Child rights, the need of the hour
Post break we saw a concluding discussion about Child rights. With the increasing population of India and growing number of youngsters entering the working group, it was insightful to realize that a major part of the world’s children would be Indian and hence it was very important to take the Indian Child rights seriously to ensure benefit to the world and not just India.
The panel which included John Elkington, Marie Sigsworth (Aviva), Shanta Sinha (Chairperson, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights), and Puja Marwaha (CEO, CRY) discussed the important issues related to child right and how corporates can ensure a better tomorrow taking care of these issues today. Marie discussed how Aviva is impacting life of several street kids, a cause chosen and supported by its stakeholders. Pooja and Shanta highlighted how still several thousand children are forced to child labour and become a victim of a few government or corporate vices who see them as a mere source of cheap labour.
CRY Child Rights Champion Awards 2013
We learn not just from views and insights but from clear examples to follow; and it was great to see CRY taking the baton of learning forward with starting the CRY Child rights champion awards. The awards were to acknowledge the stalwarts for displaying exemplary contribution and action towards ensuring child rights in India.
The winners for the awards were as follows:
• Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) – ‘CRY Child Rights Champion’ GOLD
• Procter and Gamble India Limited (P & G) – SILVER
• Aviva Life Insurance Company India Limited – BRONZE
• A Special Jury Award was presented to Genpact India Private Limited for their contributions too.
We believe such initiatives will drive more awareness and a sense of ownership within several corporate CSR departments. Awards like these encourage the corporate leaders of tomorrow to move from cheque book philanthropy to devising replicable and scalable initiatives that can bring multi-fold impact in the societies they thrive today.
Overall the event was a great endeavour, executed with precision and right mix of speakers, guests and awards done together. It was not just informative but insightful and actionable. We congratulate the team behind the summit and hope many more will follow suit.