IndiaCSR News Network
NEW DELHI: Mr Jairam Ramesh, economist, politician, member of parliament and former union minister, felicitated Thought Leaders in development and responsibility domain at CauseBecause Coffee for Cause:Conversations around CSR, on 9 January 2015 at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. Mr Ramesh was the guest of honour and the first Thought Leader at the event.
‘I congratulate all Thought Leaders and appreciate thisone-of-its kind platform that Team CauseBecause has created to recognize the efforts of individualswho are spearheading the social and development agenda of India’s corporate houses. It is with their thought leadership that the corporate social responsibility space in India is positively shaping up,’ said Mr Ramesh.
Ramesh urged corporate groups to focus on long-term CSR programmes instead of short-term projects and also to have aplan in place to make those programmes self-sustaining in a few years. He asked corporate groups to collaborate and join hands for focused CSR programmes. He cited an example wherein companies operating in a particular district along with the help of the deputy commissioner had identified areas that needed intervention and were jointly investing their CSR funds. The partnership, said Ramesh, has given an additional boost of about Rs 300 crore annually to the district’s development fund. The model can be replicated across the country.
Mr BS Bonal, member secretary, Central Zoo Authority, Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change, was the special guest and aThought Leader at Coffee for Cause.
Mr Bonal appreciated Team CauseBecause’s efforts in the development domain and said, ‘Asthe government has mandated spending towards CSR, I believe platforms like “Coffee For Cause” become very important. These will not only provide corporate groups with ideas and avenues for their social investments, but also help them in meeting their potential partners to implement their social programmes. At the same time, NGOs working in diverseareas get a platform to closely interact with concernedheads at various companies.’
On the crucial question of the development sector’s role in environment sustainability, Mr Bonal said, ‘It is heartening to note that a lot of people talk about the environment, forests and wildlife and their importance in our lives. However, when the time for implementation comes, this subject gets the least attention. I must emphasize that wildlife conservation and environment protection fall within the ambit of CSR. I do not know how much attention the CSR leaders will give to this aspect. Hence, such events certainly should encourage various voluntary and non-government organizations to consider this aspect of the mandate. I am hoping that many corporate groups will invest a part of their CSR spends in forest and wildlife conservation activities and contribute towards environment sustainability.’
Thought Leaders felicitated at Coffee for Cause
Mr BS Bonal
Member Secretary, Central Zoo Authority (CZA), Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change
Ms Sheetal Mehta
Chief – CSR, Mahindra Group & ED, KC Mahindra Education Trust
Ms MohiniDaljeet Singh
CEO, Max India Foundation
Mr Vijay Chadda
CEO, Bharti Foundation
VP, Group CSR, Avantha Group, & CEO, Avantha Foundation
Regional director, Shell Foundation India
Dr Y Suresh Reddy
Director – SRF Foundation
Mr Gunjan Patel
Head – CSR, SAP India
Ms Urja Shah
President, Setco Foundation
Head – CSR, Aircel
Ms Rita Soni
Ex-CEO, NASSCOM Foundation
Conversations at Coffee for Cause
The event started with ‘Conversations Round 1: 25 questions – many answers’ where all Thought Leaders came onthe daiswith Mr Jairam Ramesh to share opinions/ideas/thoughts on several well-researched issues collated by Team CauseBecause with inputs of various stakeholders in the development sector.
One of the key points addressed by corporate groups was focused on the ‘intent’ behind their CSR programmes – how much of the return value they sought was public relations-driven. The CSR headsassured the gathering that while marketing and public relations were not the focus, they believed that an impact story must be shared with the public, especially their stakeholders.
The round also saw representatives of various non-government organizations getting their doubts addressed.
‘Conversations Round 2: Empower a woman, empower the country’ had a women-focused NGO presenting their project to corporate leaders whose programmes primarily revolved around women empowerment. This round helped NGOs in understanding the needs of various corporate groups, so they may align their own programmes to become their CSR implementation partners.
In a special address, Mr Siddhartha Upadhyay, founder and general secretary, Stairs, shared his story of how the organization managed to scale up its reach from 50 children to 200,000 children without any major funding – but yes, what he had was a generous dose of help from cause-conscious friends and like-minded people. Stairs is a non-profit organization working towards sports, education and health of underprivileged children
In ‘Conversations Round 3: Country’s health versus its wealth’, CSR leaders evaluated healthcare-focused programmes and underlinedtheir strengths and weaknesses. They also shared ideas on how NGOs in this domain could strengthen their programmes. This was followed by ‘Conversations Round 4: Our children, our pride’, wherein NGOs working in this domain understood what elements their projects might contain.
The event was supported by Aditya Birla Group and DLF Foundation.
NGOs Who Participated
Action in Community & Training
Women Power Connect
Public Health Technologies Trust
CURE International India
Roko Cancer Charitable Trust
St. Stephen’s Hospital
Aids Healthcare Foundation
Centre for Catalyzing Change
Joint Women’s Programme
Purkal Youth Development Society
Magic Bus India
Society for Promotion of Youth & Masses
Agastya International Foundation
Indo-Global Social Service
I Want to Learn Better
Family Planning Association of India