Making CSR work...!

The NEWS of India being the first nation to make the historic CSR Act is still fresh, so is all the controversy and improbability that surrounds it, majorly from the Corporate sector. It is not that imperceptible as it would be the corporate world that would be forced to ‘Comply or Explain’, at least for the first year for the effect of the CSR Act. However, the picture is also not that blurry if put in a right angle and understood from a holistic perspective.

At the outset, the financial implication of this Act that is being taken as an additional 2% Tax needs to be reconsidered and thought of as an investment in future, if nothing else. After all ‘sustainable’ means nothing but being able to survive in future. And ‘inclusive’ couldn’t get simpler than facilitating the future consumer of your product or service not only just to survive but retain (and even improve, if possible) its purchasing power all the way to the future. Moreover ‘Development’ could make sense only when it does justice to all its stakeholders – the key concept of any project, for that matter.

Now once we understand the intent and spirit of CSR, it would be crucial to learn about its desired attributes that spell ICT – Initiative, Contribution and Transparency. Let’s take a closer look at all these 3 in a conscientious way.

1. Initiative - Elbert Hubbard was so right when he said ‘Initiative is doing the RIGHT things without being told.’ It should be the governing factor of any ‘Initiative’ for that matter and ‘Right’ here doesn’t necessarily mean ‘technically correct’, but it has a broader sense of being legal, ethical as well as conscious. It is spelled by –

  • Rational – being considerate of all the implications of your act, intent or even thought.
  • Inventive – finding new means to do the routine chores in an economical and ecological way.
  • Glocal – a new age term introduced with the globalization – Thinking Global Acting Local.
  • Humanitarian – having humane values in mind all the time all along the progress graph.  
  • Trustworthy – being righteous, honest and generous to the extent of benevolent for larger good.

2. Contribution – Misunderstood as only a monetary concept by and large, this is more of an Involvement – an internal phenomenon, rather than Giving or Offering – an absolute external and philanthropic kind of activity that discriminates the ‘Donor’ from the ‘Beneficiary’. This spells more like the Corporate Citizenship with all the responsibilities thereof rather than a Corporate Tycoon that could white(green)-wash any activity that is not really conducted with an inclusive perspective but more of an increased productivity or higher profitability act compromising either a single or many societal, environmental and/or ecological norms and ethics, so to say. A simple measure to keep this in check is to ask three additional questions, apart from ‘Is it profitable?’, for every business decision – 

  • Will this activity impact the world economics in any irrecoverable way and if yes, is it worth it?
  • In the long run, is this activity potential to commit ecocide of the ecosystem it belongs to?
  • If this activity is going to make any harm to environment, could it be compensated and how?

3. Transparency – It’s been years ‘Honesty is the best policy’ has become a cliché as futile as ‘Man is a social animal’; nowadays media has found a place in between and man has become a social media animal! That’s where the value of transparency counts. In the era of WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook, it is neither affordable nor possible to do something secretly that involves more than one person; in no time it could go viral. Why, with the CCTV cameras, even a solo act could be put under scrutiny. Considering this power and influence of these tools, it could be leveraged for good.

A consistent, decent and honest web-presence all around the year is the best way to remain transparent and open for all the concerned authorities, stakeholders and general public as well. It not only helps image building but also adds up to the trustworthiness in multitude eventually. The best way to do is – 

  • Fabricating a righteous CSR Policy and making it available in the public domain.
  • Define, design and develop few good CSR projects and declare their adoption.
  • Keep your audience updated on the development of those initiatives regularly.

Apart from help improve your trustworthiness and ‘brand-value’, transparency has an intrinsic, seemingly small but effectually big, benefit of being the currency of leadership. This single characteristic of any entity or identity can put it in the ‘Leading from the front’ spot, as it takes people’s faith to lead and faith is nurtured by the openness aka transparency!

Last but not the least is the 3C approach towards the CSR policy – Connection, Communication and Credibility. The CSR initiative must establish a connection between the brand and it’s project, Communication being the key, it must be communicated loud and clear what is intended, why is it chosen and how will it be achieved. Finally, credibility is nothing but the integrity throughout! ICT and 3C approach towards CSR would definitely prove it to be the boon as deliberated by its masterminds and not the curse as it is comprehended by its protagonists. Way to go…!

Community Posts