Thursday, 19 November 2009

Top 10 CSR Issues

CSR Asia released the Top 10 CSR Issues Report that highlights the top 10 CSR issues for the next 10 years in the Asia Pacific Region. The 2009 report ranks the following as the top 10 priorities:
1. Climate Change
2. Corporate Governance
3. Labour and Human Resources
4.Environmental Issues
5. Partnerships with Stake holders
6. Regulation and leadership from Government
7. Community investment and pro-poor development
8. Product responsibility
9. Professionalisation of CSR
10.Bribery and corruption
In this context of growing importance of CSR and sustainable development, the professionalisation of CSR is imminent. A new breed of young professionals with solid grounding in development principles and management techniques is the need of the hour. Current CSR practitioners and professionals should share best practices and develop a comprehensive curriculum for the education and development of CSR professionals.

The full report is available at the CSR Asia website

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Teacher training for 21st Century

Education is the focus of many CSR programmes of corporate foundations and MNCs in India. When IBM launched its Smarter Education for a Smarter Planet Roundtable consultation in Chennai last week, there was a smattering of educationalists and NGOs who gave some insights into the role that teacher training plays in transforming school systems to become smarter and effective.

Panelists shared experiences from the field which showed that teacher education should be looked in the context of increasingly technology driven society. Teachers adept at using web 2.0 and social networking tools will be able to connect more with their students and peers and learn through collaboration and sharing.

More teacher training institutes have roped in specialists and professionals to train their teachers in using web 2.0 and other tools to align their skills to requirements of 21st century. IBM and many other IT companies too are sharing their technology expertise to make this a reality. 

The Education Plus page of The Hindu Dt. Nov 16th carries details of this story

CSR Credits for Indian Companies

Companies operating in India now have the option of 'earning' credit for CSR activities. They will even be able to trade these CSR credits in a CSR Credit exchange. This way companies that do not have CSR activities in their portfolio could 'buy' CSR credits from companies that have earned them.

Let us hope that this gives the needed fillip to CSR activities in India which is seeing a rapid upswing in these times of economic recovery.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Best corporate citizens 2009

The acclaimed and trusted Corporate citizenship survey 2009 conducted by CRO is out. IBM tops the list of computer hardware companies at no. 3 in the list of top 100 best corporate citizens. Symantec tops the list for computer software development companies at no.23. The full list and the survey methodology could be accessed from:

Once again, feedback is divided on this compilation with many people taking exception to CRO covering only big companies and leaving out efforts of smaller companies. Any thoughts on how small companies could get their voices heard?

Please visit and give your views.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

CSR makes business sense even during economic recession

Does CSR make business sense in this time of Economic Recession. Yes is the reaffirming answer from corporates across India. Many companies continue without any apparent cutbacks on CSR events and activities. In fact sustainability the core of Community development has become the mantra of companies doing business in these tough times.

Express computer on 22nd June had this article which analyze the CSR scenario against the backdrop of relentless downturn. It is heartening to note that India INC is tightening their purse strings rather than their heart strings.

You can read the full article here:

Thursday, 11 June 2009

IT Companies gear up on CSR front

Corporate Social Responsibility is slowly but surely getting its due importance in technology companies scheme of things. A recent article in dataquest, India Chicken Soup for IT, vividly describes several efforts by Indian and MNC IT companies.

The CSR article talks about IT companies partnership with NGOs and their work in the education sector. It is heart warming to note many Indian companies taking the lead and setting the trend in improving quality access to education. MNCs like CISCO, Microsoft and IBM in their own way also have been going it alone to work on various education projects.

While many of these CSR projects are in collaboration with NGOs, IBM is perhaps the only IT MNC that has partnered with Govt. Depts and working on a very large scale "Reinventing Education Project" Check out the Dataquest article for more details.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Clean Energy

While the Tata Nano is making waves in India and across the Global Auto world for its smart design and affordability. However, the larger issue of energy conservation, environment pollution and smarter use of clean energy still remain.

In this context it is worthwhile to note the "Clean Energy for a Smarter Planet" initiative launched by IBM worldwide. IBM and Harvard University, Dept of Chemistry and chemical biology have joined hands on the Clean Energy Project. What really makes this initiative smart is the effective contribution of the World Community Grid members across the world!

World Community Grid simply uses the downtime of computers across the globe to add power to Research projects like the Harvard University clean energy project and other life saving research.

Check out this YouTube Link for an overview of this smart collaboration of IBM and some of worlds best researchers around the world to fight global warming and create cleaner and greener environment for all

Friday, 20 February 2009

Business Govt. Partnership to solve Urban Problems

When we think of CSR, usually we think about rural poor and how CSR policies and programs have transformed rural communities. However, today's increasingly urbanized world, CSR initiatives could be an effective way to tackle the burgeoning urban chaos and pollution. Traffic congestion is one problem that every metro in every part of the world is struggling

It is common knowledge that congested roadways cost billions of dollars annually in form of sheer number of hours lost in waiting for the traffic to clear, and several billions of gallons of wasted fuel and not to mention the increased emissions from the idling vehicles!

Just like the successful partnerships that corporates have forged with NGOs and Govt. sector in rural areas, businesses should join hands with Govt. and NGOs that work on alleviating urban problems. I am yet to come across a CSR initiative that has addressed the urban problem of traffic congestion and the related pollution.

Readers who know of good CSR initiatives targeting urban problems, please share your views.

Friday, 13 February 2009

National Seminar on CSR

Dept. of Social Work, Dr G R Damodaran College of Science, Coimbatore, India is organizing a 2 day National Seminar on Corporate Social Responsibility on 27 and 28th February 2009. Industry and NGO professionals, Social workers are expected to deliberate on CSR evolution and its current status in the Global Economy.

I am glad to note that Professional Socialwork students are taking interest in CSR and hosting this seminar. Corporates need the skills of community development and social work professionals to strategize and implement sustainable development programs. Seminars like this will go a long way in equipping the Social Work students with necessary real world skills. Businesses and Private Enterprises also will benefit from this exchange with academia.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Business Voluntary Sector Partnership

Partnership between Businesses and Voluntary sector is an accepted model for Sustainable development. Many Indian companies have realized this and have forged successful partnerships. To mention a few, Cisco Systems India and its partnership with Dr. Reddy's Foundation on livelihood systems, IBM India partnership with Bharthi Foundation for their Kidsmart early childhood education programs, Microsoft India and Development Alternatives on IT education etc.

Such Partnerships enable the company to leverage their core competency - mostly technology and managerial skills for the benefit of society at large. Similarly, NGOs with their grassroots experience and knowledge of local communities help the disadvantaged sections of society to benefit from the cutting edge technology that these companies have to offer. This win-win strategy is well documented in the CII Partnership Case Studies.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

IBM CSR Survey - the CSR Value Curve

An IBM CSR Study 2008 covering 250 companies globally, argues that "there is a shift in thinking from CSR as a cost or risk mitigation effort to CSR as a strategic goal that brings in new revenues" Apparently, many companies are growing up this "CSR Value Curve" from the lowest level of CSR seen as a legal compliance to the highest view of considering CSR as a Strategic Goal that brings in new revenues. Now the interesting question is how many Indian companies are there at the lower end of this CSR Value Curve? Please go through the full IBM CSR survey and let me know your views.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Top 5 CSR focus of Indian Companies

The top 5 sectors of CSR focus of Indian companies as seen in their websites are as follows:

1. Health 2. Education 3. Environment 4. Community Development and 5. Disability / women empowerment

Saturday, 17 January 2009

CSR or Philanthrophy?

According to a recent pilot survey by CII in Tamil Nadu, ( see Express Buzz 13th Jan) only 40 per cent of the companies practice CSR initiatives. The pilot survey, highlighted that a majority of the companies did not take CSR seriously and those who did, did it only with a philanthropic frame of mind. The pilot survey also revealed that more than 50 per cent of the companies made their employee welfare activities as part of their CSR initiative, not really contributing to an outside community or its development.

While companies in India have started taking tentative steps in the CSR direction, apparently there is a long way to go. Historically, Indian companies had always strong philanthropic activities mostly targeting their employees and their families. However, if CSR has to truly become the soul and DNA of a company, then it has to break away from employee welfare mindset and encompass sustainable development.

Indian enterprises should realize that a sound corporate strategy is actually profitable to the company.

CSR A Winning Proposition

It is nothing but sheer coincidence that my blog started off on my birthday! I always wanted to put my thoughts on paper but was too lazy to begin. Finally, when I discovered it just takes few clicks to get my thoughts out there on the world wide web, I started right away.

What I intend to do in these pages is to share my experiences and thoughts on a subject that has become more than just a buzz word in the Corporate World. Corporate Social Responsibility is finally a ‘reality’. Enterprises have to look not only at the economic dimension of a company, but also at its ecological and social impact – the three pillars of CSR.

Companies in India have started to realize that CSR is a ‘win-win’ situation and are willing to take that extra step.