If the only thing you got was one last chance to eliminate poverty – what would you do with the Rs. Eleven Thousand crores which socially responsible companies in India have earmarked to spend on CSR projects in 18-19.
This question came up during a car ride with a friend in Mumbai when we were approached by beggars at a few traffic lights. We were also aware that each one of us in the car had studiously looked straight ahead when we were passing slums.
Now, Eleven Thousand crores! – That is the kind of money being shelled out for the mandated 2% CSR spends. While some of the corporates are getting it right, there is still a paradigm shift required in understanding the difference between philanthropy and CSR.
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Philanthropy – Is Giving
Historically, in India, philanthropy, understood as giving to charitable causes was guided by religious and cultural trends. Even today, most CSR practices are deeply rooted in traditional philanthropic ideas. However, philanthropic activities alone do not achieve the objective of addressing economic, social, and environmental issues we are facing as a developing economy.
Social Responsibility – Is Taking up
Importance of social responsibility in business should be integrated into corporate strategy, with assigned duties and accountability at all appropriate levels of the organization. It should be reflected in decision-making and considered in implementing activities. As social responsibility concerns the potential and actual impacts of an organization’s decisions and actions, the ongoing, regular daily operations of an organization constitute an essential behavior which needs to be addressed as a part of social responsibility.
If we have the money to eliminate poverty, the CSR approach to address this would require corporates to identify who their stakeholders are, where they are based and what they want done for poverty to be eliminated. Also, yes, they may then identify the right partners to ensure the poverty elimination schemes are implemented effectively. Moreover, if this CSR approach has the leadership support- you are sure their CSR initiative is genuinely impactful.
On the other hand, corporates, in the name of philanthropy, write out a cheque and in many cases are not sure if the potential impact or benefit has been maximised.
To chart this journey on social responsibility (and not just philanthropy), the ISO 26000: Guidance on Social Responsibility provides substantial guidance to corporates for their sustainability journey. It offers detailed advice on seven core subjects of social responsibility – Organisational Governance, Human Rights, Environment, Community, Consumer issues, Labour, and Fair operating practices- that directly and indirectly affect business and the society it operates in.
BlueSky CSR Assessment Scorecard is an assessment tool based on ISO 26000 and reflects the requirement of National Guidelines for Responsible Conduct – 2018. The scorecard helps identify activities which have matured and can be fully deployed as well as red-flag those CSR issues which may be potential brand risk. So, if you want to ensure that your last chance to eliminate poverty is optimised – try out some strategic CSR based on ISO 26000 Guidance.