There was a time when socially responsible corporations were viewed as ineffective and unimportant. It was worse for them to only depend on their balance sheets. But now the mindset and business landscapes have changed. Companies want to be socially sustainable and cautious. They now understand the fact that engaging stakeholders is essential for the growth of the organization and that the younger generations are more socially cautious. They look for companies with social-impact-driven missions when entering the workforce.

This fundamental aspect is given the name — Corporate Social Responsibility. But what is CSR exactly?. The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has defined it as a management concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and interactions with their stakeholders. The main tenets of a CSR program include the “three P’s”: people, planet, and profit. It means that companies need to be economically viable, have a positive impact on society, and respect and preserve the environment.

On April 1, 2014 India became the first country to make CSR mandatory, following an amendment to Section 135 of the Companies Act, 2013. As per the said section the companies having a net worth of INR 500 crore or more, or turnover of 1000 crore or more, or net profit of INR 5 crore or more, during any financial year shall be required to constitute a “CSR committee of the Board”. All such companies in every financial year have to spend 2% of the average net profit of the company made during the three immediately preceding financial years.

While the education sector in India, the year 2019 received a major chunk of CSR spent by corporates, let’s take a look at some top CSR companies in India and their work in different sectors ( Note: Because of the unprecedented lockdown situation, the CSR report for the financial year 2019–2020 is not available). The following report is based on the year 2018–2019.

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Tata Chemicals Ltd: belonging to the chemical sector went on to spend INR 25.68 crore. Improving the quality of life and fostering sustainable and integrated development with the help of the Tata Chemicals Society for Rural Development (TCSRD) and 30% of the budget of TCSRD on wildlife conservation distributed in three places — Gujarat, West Bengal, and Uttar Pradesh.

Infosys Ltd: belonging to the IT sector spent INR 342 crore (2% of the net profit of INR 17,018 Cr) in work with NGOs to restore water bodies in Karnataka, supporting the construction of a metro station in partnership with Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited, enabling the pursuit of access and excellence in sports through the GoSports Foundation, and relief efforts in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Kerala.

Bharat Petroleum Corporate Ltd: belonging to the energy sector had the CSR budget of INR 146.87 crores from the financial year 2017–18 which was carried forward next year (FY 2018–19). It could not spend the entire amount and left INR 172.25 crores unspent during the year because the majority of its projects span between one to five years.

Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd: belonging to the automobile sector spent INR 93.50 crores on CSR initiatives, INR 8.36 crore on the Nanhi Kali program which provides educational support to underprivileged girls in India through an after-school support program.

ITC Ltd: belonging to the consumer goods sector is an Indian multinational conglomerate company headquartered in Kolkata, West Bengal. The Company has spent more than the prescribed CSR budget in the last three financial years. In FY 2018–19, ITC Limited spent INR 306.95 Crores.

Many companies simply do not have the bandwidth (employees, consultants, and supervision) to undertake consistent CSR implementation. These companies not only need to spend on CSR, but also on CSR training for their employees, or adding manpower dedicated to CSR capability. Although large corporations, like Godrej, Reliance, Wipro, Infosys, Tata, and the Birlas have established their own foundations and trusts, NGOs pitch a streamlined, customized solution to these corporations. India possibly is home to the world’s largest number of active not-for-profit NGOs. They have the advantage of being location-specific, flexible, having a greater understanding of the community requirements, and bridging India’s wide gap between rich and poor.

Leading NGOs such as the Reliance Foundation have worked out several models that help in using CSR for urban renewal.

Contributed By- Umme-Aiman Rampurwala, Content Writer @Mitti Ke Rang

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