India CSR News Network
MUMBAI: Global experts and Industry honchos discussed, debated and deliberated on the key challenges faced by CSR practitioners and the impact of CSR strategies in brand building and long term sustainability at the CRY Corporate Responsibility Summit held in the city today. The highlight of this 3rd year of the summit, held at Palladium Hotel, was the Master Class by the global authority on corporate responsibility – Mr. John Elkington and domain experts from different sectors.
The summit this year majorly focussed on providing in depth learning on creation of CSR programmes that are effective, taking into account diverse aspects of business imperatives, stakeholder engagement, impact on brand and long term sustainability. To this end, uniquely designed “Master Classes” and live case studies were conducted by experts to ensure adoption of global best practices by corporations. The working sessions provided participants with hands on understanding on creating successful programmes, tackling prime challenges in implementation and on worldwide trends that will impact Indian companies going forward.
The summit kick-started with a dialogue on corporate responsibility in India and implications of the Companies Bill. Emphasizing on the Indian CSR scenario, Mr. John Elkington, Founding Partner & Executive Chairman of Volans and Co-Founder of sustainability said, “The best corporate responsibility programs have always been voluntary, rather than forced by governments—an approach which often encourages a defensive, minimalist response from most business leaders. But now the Act exists, business should use the stimulus to jump their thinking to new levels. I think India Inc has an extraordinary opportunity here to leapfrog other countries in this field.”
Mr. Prasad Menon, Chairman, Tata Consulting Engineers Limited added, “The Companies Bill must not be viewed as a regulation or an imposition but as an opportunity for corporations to facilitate a significant change. If large conglomerates get together and identify key issues which they can impact by collective efforts, it is very likely that many other organizations will follow suit.” He emphasized on the importance of community engagement by quoting Mr. Jamshed Ji Tata, “In a free enterprise, community is not just a stakeholder but the very reason for existence for a corporate”
Resonating these views Dr. Ajit Ranade, Chief Economist, Aditya Birla Group said, “We have gradually moved from shareholder capitalism to stakeholder capitalism, moving away from the traditional notion that Business of business is to do business. We will witness a large number of companies slowly drifting from conventional strategies thus broadening the scope of CSR”.
The opening session was followed by a one of its kind Master Class spearheaded by Mr. John Elkington and Ms. Srimati Shivashankar, Associate VP-HR, Diversity and Sustainability, HCL Technologies. The session worked on live case studies to enable practical application of concepts and strategies learnt.
Strengthening brand equity and consumer loyalty through CSR was discussed in the second master class which was facilitated by marketing stalwart and social commentator Mr. Santosh Desai, MD & CEO, Futurebrands Ltd.
Elaborating the importance of amalgamating brand and social causes, Mr. Santosh Desai said, “Consumers of today are evolved and scrutinise brands all the more. For brands to demand loyalty they must be inspiring. For a consumer, the idea of the brand needs to get redefined not as a set of benefits describing a product or a service but as an interconnected system that emanates for an idea, a belief system. The key to bridging the gap between commercial and social is to define the difference the brand makes to people and not consumers. Being a Brand-hearted rather than a Brand faced corporation is the key.”
In an era where digital media influences major strategies of many corporations, a discussion on extensive use of digital media to drive CSR programmes formed the basis of another session with experienced panellists like Mr. Neeraj Roy, Managing Director Hungama Digital Media Ltd., Mr. Arvinder Gujral, Head Business Development – India and South East Asia at Twitter, Mr. Sujith Narayanan, Industry Head, Financial Services, Google and Mr. Vivek Bharagava, Managing Director iprospectCommunicate2.