By Utkarsh Gupta
The philosophy of corporate social responsibility, or CSR, in the business world, has gained momentum over the past few decades. Now, many companies are practicing some form of social and environmental responsibility with the broader goal to contribute towards the well-being of society. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a hot topic these days, especially in current pandemic times. It has become an integrated part of how a company operates its business transactions and the possible impact it has been creating for the society.
Nowadays, companies can demonstrate social responsibility in a myriad of ways, such as donation provided to education, underprivileged children, animal welfare, art, culture, employee volunteering, implementing environmentally safe processes, fundraising, abolishing poverty, malnourishment and hunger, improvising health care and more. CSR can also be practiced passively through performing activities like animal rescue, donate for dog, crowdfunding that directly advance social goals or refraining from implementing socially harmful acts.
India is the first country in the world to make corporate social responsibility (CSR) mandatory, following an amendment to the Companies Act, 2013 in April 2014. According to a National Geographic survey, which studied 17,000 consumers in 17 countries, Indians are the most eco-friendly consumers in the world. India topped the Consumer Greendex, where consumers were asked about energy use and conservation, transportation choices, food sources, the relative use of green products versus traditional products, attitudes towards environment and sustainability, and knowledge of environmental issues.
However, there are certain areas where the CSR involvement is quite small compared to global parameters. For example- animal welfare is not encouraged in India, whereas internationally there are organisations who receive grants & funds both from government bodies and individuals. There is organisation that receives donation from benevolent donors across India who donate for dogs and often also come to adopt a dog in their shelter.
Corporate social responsibility not only offers a wide range of benefits to a company but also render to the wellbeing and betterment of society. Social efforts, whether big or small, say a lot about the organization. Companies that consistently demonstrate their commitment towards the CSR initiatives are recognizing their ability to help the community and acting on that knowledge. By contributing to Corporate Social responsibility, organisations maintain a balance between making a profit and contributing to society. Social responsibility is a way of overseeing the business through balancing the objectives in a long run, analysing the decision, and behaviour of a company with the values, norms, and expectations of society. Social responsibility is considered a moral obligation of an organization in promoting universal ethical standards with private and public corporations.
Apart from building the reputation of the organization and giving back to the society, here are some of the major benefits of CSR that you must know:
Help in attracting investors
Embedding a strong social responsibility allow organizations to build a better reputation in the society and amongst the stakeholders. CSR will not only increase the engagement of customers but also increase the interest of investors in the organization, as investors are more likely to back a reputable business. Many professional investors are more inclined to invest in the stock of a company well-known for its social responsibility, viewing such initiatives as an indicator of greater transparency and honesty in operations, financial reporting and resulting in lower risk.
Retaining and finding the talented staff
One of the areas that CSR addresses are the welfare of employees and the employee experience. We know that the employees of an organization are considered the most precious assets and when a company is socially responsible and reputable, it builds trust amongst the employees and helps in retaining the existing employees, and attracts fresh talent. Being a responsible, sustainable business, employees can feel motivated to stay longer, thus reducing the costs and disruption of recruitment and retraining.
Encourage professional and personal growth
When companies adopt the culture of corporate social responsibility, they can easily promote volunteerism amongst their employees and inspire them to donate towards a cause. Consequently, employees can grow professionally and personally and develop a habit of corporate social responsibility in their lives. Also, employees know that their employer is committed to bettering society and global communities and feel more inclined towards productivity and creativity on their own. Working towards charity can improve empathy skills and employees who are engaged in CSR causes can make them feel purposeful.
Sustainability can be seen as a long-term benefit for a business and helps companies become more sustainable. Many organizations become socially responsible towards reduction of carbon emissions and start using renewable resources. Companies can encourage their workers to switch off the devices when they are not in use and turn off the lights and air conditioners after work. By encouraging this, the organization can save an ample amount of money on its utility bills as well as getting recognized as being a socially responsible company.
Organizations spends quite a lot of marketing monies in promoting their products and services to garner higher traction for their business. However, when CSR activities are organised and executed by organisations, the media fraternity is more than happy to cover this news. Such news become a big plus point in building the long-term reputation of an organisation in both domestic and international markets. That is why most companies have teams to propagate their CSR activities and communicate the work they have done to a larger audience.
It is widely held view that any publicity is good publicity. When your organization starts a CSR campaign, it will automatically give the organization a particular level of publicity. And it won’t be wrong to call this type of publicity as an advertisement. Just ensure that all the products and services are aligned with the CSR activities you are indulged in. CSR activities improve the public image by promoting the efforts an organisation is talking towards betterment of the society and help in becoming favourable brand in the eyes of the consumers. It helps in standing out from the competitors when the organisation is involved in any kind of social work.
Getting involved in any CSR activity can be truly important these days, meeting the requirement of the current generation without compromising the future generation needs. Corporate social responsibility is not only about donating money or doing charity but there can be multiple contributions that can be done in various other segments like animal welfare, forest, water conservation etc. Many corporates have religiously engaged themselves in animal welfare activites or clean- up plastic waste campaigns or installation of renewable energy systems to push their CSR agenda.
Consumers are increasingly concerned about the ethics of goods and services they purchase and they want to know the source of the ingredients and whether they have been procured ethically or whether these brands support activities for betterment of communities.
For companies, the overall objective is to achieve a positive impact on society, by increasing the creation of shared value for the owners of the business, its employees, shareholders, and stakeholders. The benefits of CSR are much more than what is described in this article. Social activities not only do well for the company itself but also benefits the community and society at large.
Summary of the Interview
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a hot topic these days, especially in current pandemic times. It has become an integrated part of how a company operates its business transactions and the possible impact it has been creating for the society.
Nowadays, companies can demonstrate social responsibility in a myriad of ways, such as donation provided to education, underprivileged children, animal welfare, art, culture, employee volunteering, implementing environmentally safe processes, fundraising, and more. CSR can also be practiced passively through performing activities like animal rescue, donate for dog, crowdfunding that directly advance social goals or refraining from implementing socially harmful acts.
CSR will not only increase the engagement of customers but also increase the interest of investors in the organization, as investors are more likely to back a reputable business. One of the areas that CSR addresses are the welfare of employees and the employee experience. Encourage employees to grow professionally and personally and develop a habit of corporate social responsibility in their lives. It helps organizations to become socially responsible towards reduction of carbon emissions and start using renewable resources. CSR news become a big plus point in building the long-term reputation of an organisation in both domestic and international markets.
Introduction of Author
Utkarsh Gupta is the young and dynamic Director of Save Nishabd & Managing Director of Ramagya Group. With 20 companies under the mother brand of Ramagya, the Group is well known for its exceptional performance in the education, sports & entertainment, e-commerce, real estate and CSR sector.
Utkarsh has been an ardent traveller and his experience with global education hubs span across Europe, Australia and Asia where he did his formal education and learnt about the superlative education practices globally to imbibe best of these in Ramagya Group. As he became Ramagya’s leadership face and took on the responsibility with wider vision and clear targets, Ramagya School collaborated with University of California and Cambridge University, paving the way to international exposure for students in more than 150 countries, contributing in progressive vision combined with critical thinking and learning. The revamped and global curriculum also fosters global outlook in students and motivates them for experiential learning.
Since Utkarsh is a fitness enthusiast himself, wellness and sports activities have been an integral part of his personal and professional life. Ranked as No-1 in India for sports education by Education World in the year 2020, Ramagya Sports Academy in collaboration with M.S Dhoni Cricket Academy, provides the best cricket training in Noida. Also, The Bhaichung Bhutia Football School has stepped up to coach Ramagya’s Football enthusiasts.
Similarly, it has collaborated with Jwala Gutta’s Global Academy for Badminton Global, NBA Basketball School and Ashley Lobo’s The Danceworx. Utkarsh further adds, “We aim to take passion of kids to next level by not only providing them the trainings and equipment but also an active access to our team of nutritionists, sports councillors and physiotherapists who work round the clock and prepare kids to represent us on international forums.”
Utkarsh actively oversees the CSR division of the company- Ramagya Foundation, which works selflessly for under privileged kids and more than 1 lakh people have benefitted from various programs of Ramagya Foundation. For the kids suffering from anxiety, depression, sexual harassment, Ramagya Foundation started Baal Saathee project which identifies those kids and works for their mental and physical growth. In this process, a large team of doctors, clinical experts, pshyclogists, nurses and councillors work endlessly.
Utkarsh also practices transcendental meditation regularly which is a great source of his tenacious energy. A golf and snooker lover, writer at heart and avid globetrotter, Utkarsh Gupta is a man many would aspire to be.