In my earlier article on ‘The Road to Corporate Social Responsibility’, I tried to extend beyond the normal comprehension of CSR.
In the light of my first article, I reiterate that rather than disbursing money as charity it is worth having a takeaway from a proverb that means “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime”
In the same light, Self –interest is bad but not when it includes the interest of others who have become a part of self i.e. reaching out of self, the expansion of self to include others as well. Thus, a true self is not one individual, one family, one society but an extended self that associates itself with each entity of this world – a part of self. Without this self-expansion, CSR is nothing but akin to a barter system – extending contribution for profitable returns.
At this juncture, extending my thoughts on CSR further, I would propose a CSR model for effective CSR interventions on a larger scale:
A Model for CSR:
If an organization is to contribute significantly to the society, a systematic & comprehensive approach to CSR is imperative. Gone is the time of isolated systems. Today the world has realized that an organization is a component of a bigger system where different component systems are interdependent. In this era of “open-systems”, an organizations need to consider their reliance on the external environment (socio-economic & environmental) as much as (or may be more) than the external environment’s reliance on them.
With these thoughts, we present a comprehensive model for CSR with integrated systems approach as follows:
Fig. 1 : A Model for comprehensive & systematic approach to CSR
We know that a government performs several types of functions such as social, legal, administrative transcending domains such as education, employment, health, sanitation, environment protection etc. If an organization can help government in performing its functions, it also forms an integral part of CSR on part of the corporation.
For a large organization, a Social Responsibility Committee should be formed from top-level executives (preferably including the CEO) of the organization to chart and provide necessary push for seriousness towards CSR. The CSR policy of a corporation should be in sync with the business strategy and derived from the governmental policies/functions as referred above.
The execution of the policy is given a thrust by an executive committee that acts as a “CSR Policy Champion.” Under the executive committee there will be a Social Dialogue (SD) & Health, Safety & Environment (HSE) Council to actively initiate steps for social dialogue with society and address health, safety & environmental concerns.
Under the SD/HSE council there would be a SD/HSE Panel deriving team members from both – internal as well as external experts/reputed NGOs in the field of health, education, environmental protection etc. Here we would like to mention NGOs such as Parivartan & Dhrishtee. Drishtee, having successfully supported an e-governance initiative “Gyandoot” in Madhya Pradesh, is now successfully using Information & Communications Technology (ICT ) for enhanced access to various valued services such as e-governance, e-education, Health, Insurance etc to the rural areas.
Similarly, Parivartan is spreading awareness about the Right to Information Act (RTI) that has emerged as a potent tool in the hands of ordinary citizen to keep a check on the corruption at various government bodies. Arvind Kejrival a mechanical engineer from IIT Kharagpur left his IRS job in 2006 to dedicate himself towards this noble cause. Through parivartan he promotes participation in governance by people. His efforts were lauded by distant countries as well and he won the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay award in 2006.
By associating such organizations in the SD/HSE Panel, much needed momentum can be garnered in the CSR initiative with government as stakeholder. Then a segmented workgroups for education, health, environmental protection etc will augment the efficiency & effectiveness of CSR initiatives in these directions. And last but not the least, there should be regular periodic reviews/feedbacks across the model structure, to monitor the progress of CSR initiatives.
Thus a participatory/inclusive model (as shown in Fig 2) incorporating the various stakeholders such as corporate, NGOs, government, community, environment, suppliers, customers etc is likely to bear fruitful results.
Fig 2 – A proposed participatory model for CSR
In line with above, consider some of the following initiatives:
- How about involving organization such as Parivartan for spreading information in the community about the RTI Act and using it as a tool to check corruption in various public organizations?
- How about organizing events such as awareness week for the promotion of awareness about different government policies/schemes such as National Rural Employment Guarantee (NREGA) scheme, the Pradhan mantra Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSJ), New Pension Scheme (NPS) etc.? Quite a few people remain deprived of benefits extended by the various governmental schemes due to unawareness of such schemes and the modalities involved therein.
- How about extending information about agri-loans & assistance to fill up various loan – forms so that farmers get loans at a cheaper interest rate from NABARD initiatives rather than going to the private money lenders. This can be a noble effort towards curbing farmer suicides in view of inability to repay loans with exorbitant interest charged by the private money lenders.
- How about promoting an entrepreneur in the field of waste management and help him tie up with Municipality to start a venture utilizing waste for composting, landfill, energy generation from waste etc as shown below:
Fig 3 – Waste Management Initiative
Such initiatives can keep a check on the health & sanitation issues in a city/town.
- How about promoting involvement of community in the schemes such as the Joint Forest Management Scheme that augment their livelihood along with promoting sustainable environment as shown below:
Fig 4- Better quality of life through forest enrichment
This is just an indicative list and much more can be explored in the field of creative CSR interventions.
Let us grow together, enjoy together
Let us talk together, walk together
Let us live without conflict, perform heroic deeds by working together
Let our hearts vibrate together
Let us tread a road together, a road to effective CSR.