Importance of Professionals in Corporate Social Responsibility – Fiinovation

The advent of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in India opened new avenues for employment for people belonging to the social development sector. The mandate under the Companies Act, 2013 made it a more focused area for the businesses which might look at CSR in a strategic manner. Hence, the effectiveness of CSR initiatives lies in the hands of CSR professionals who are well versed about the concept and can utilize the initiatives for benefiting the organization.

It has been observed that in most of the businesses, there is still no CSR department, rather it’s the Human Resource department or the senior management which takes care of such initiatives, that too because of mandatory compliance. When called to enquire regarding the CSR department, most of the times the calls are answered by the HR and not by the CSR committee members. This brings us to the question that, are the businesses really serious about giving back to the society or considers CSR as a tick-box exercise?

The presence of CSR professionals in the organization is definitely an indicator of the seriousness of the initiatives. There are several benefits attached to having a CSR professional within the organization. Not only it provides chances to improve the social return on investment, but also improves the communication of CSR initiatives to the stakeholders. As a brand, businesses look to increase their consumer base and market outreach. CSR definitely provides an opportunity to boost the brand value, and the CSR professionals do play a significant role in devising implementation strategies.

Globally, leading CSR professionals have moved one step ahead and are looking not just to initiate ‘give back’ projects, rather incorporate the concept of being a responsible organization across the value chain. They help the corporate communications department to put a number on the value that has been created through the CSR initiatives. It is always recommended to not to give the job of handling the CSR manager position to someone in the HR or any other department, so that there can be a complete analysis on the social return on investment.

With increasing competition among the businesses, CSR could be an innovative mechanism to differentiate a brand from its competitors. The increase in effectiveness of the CSR programmes due to the presence of CSR professionals is definitely a motivating factor for the socially responsible investors. It is also due to the increasing demand of CSR professionals in the businesses and business foundations that several b-schools have started offering degrees in CSR. It is expected that in the years to come, the businesses which doesn’t have CSR professionals will look to recruit them to optimize their social return on investments. Hence, for a CSR professional the future seems to be bright in terms of employment opportunities, but their definitely will be more pressure on them with greater responsibility towards the organization and society at large.

 

By Rahul Choudhury

Media & Communications, Fiinovation

CSR Contributions – Is it a Burden for the Companies?

Despite global turmoil, India continues to emerge as one of the fastest growing investment destination in the world. The Indian government’s efforts towards ‘policy reforms’ and ‘ease of doing business’ are major steps directed to meet the demands of its citizens. Socio-economic growth of the nation is directly linked to profitability of businesses. Without growth, the domestic consumption is not likely to increase. This is one major reason for the businesses to invest their share of profits in activities that are aimed to benefit the marginalised sections of the society.

Although, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is mandatory in India for businesses falling under the CSR ambit, yet the attitude of the Indian companies have not changed much. Businesses are mostly interested in earning profits even after realising that businesses can sustain only if communities prosper. Fiinovation, a global CSR consulting company suggests that companies who are mandated to contribute towards CSR are merely focusing on compliance, rather than impact of the initiative.

In such a situation, when there is not much visible impact, the companies tend to believe that funds have gone wasted. Hence, CSR becomes a burden for them.

It is understandable that while the CSR spending went up from Rs 8,330 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 9,882 crore in 2015-16, the utilization of funds and overall social outcomes have not been quantified or reported. As per experts, it is important for businesses to understand and measure the impact and return on investment of CSR initiatives. Research has also suggested that the rise in contributions by the larger businesses is related to partnership with implementation agencies, mainly CSOs for execution of the CSR programmes. It is noteworthy for the companies facing challenges in CSR to understand that partnership with CSOs help boost compliance of the law.

Effectiveness of the CSR programmes can also be determined through monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment studies. The companies must understand the purpose of CSR and actively engage in its implementation. It is not a matter of compliance, rather it’s about their survival. Companies should be looking to leverage the initiatives to build their brand image. Through CSR, the government is also trying to push the rural development agenda to spur economic growth. As per the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the CSR process which is perceived as burden by the businesses in India can help double the income of farmers. Hence, in this collective effort to eradicate poverty and boost socio-economic growth, businesses should play a pro-active role through collaborations with the civil society organisations.

 

By Rahul Choudhury

Media & Communications, Fiinovation

Fiinovation: Beyond the Mandate – Changing CSR Paradigms

Not long ago, not many people cared about corporate social responsibility, at least in India. The concept might be known to a few, but there wasn’t much thought on the same. In the last two decades, things have changed significantly. Firstly, the economic reforms in 1991 laid the red carpet for the MNCs to start operating in India.

With the MNCs came the concepts of cause marketing, corporate responsibility, employee welfare, volunteerism, ethical practices, etc. Few other concepts, such as the Triple Bottom Line Approach (coined by the British consultant John Elkington in 1994), Shared Value (Michael Porter in 2011) and Conscious Capitalism (Raj Sisodia and John Mackey in 2013) also came into the limelight.

It was clear that in the last two decades, the emergence of these concepts targeting the commercial enterprises came up suggesting that the businesses should go beyond the obvious financial parameters and develop a holistic framework for assessing the impact of the business operations. From the point of view of the businesses, time and again they have spoken about doing good towards the society and environmental sustainability in their annual reports. Yet, the big issues such as climate change and well-being of the people and planet are prevalent along with a huge disparity.

The passing of the CSR law in India, seemed to have formalised the social sector contributions by the private entities. With not much data, a comparison of the same cannot be made. However, at least in the last two years, there has been significant amount of funds being invested in social projects. Businesses are now taking CSR as a strategic business concept and not many are contributing as a mere charity.

The move to bring about a cultural change within the businesses in India highlighted two concerns. Firstly, majority of the companies are searching beyond their own competencies to create programmes as per the Schedule VII. Secondly, there is not enough capacity or capability in the existing NGOs to meet the requirements of the businesses.

Fiinovation, a global CSR consulting company suggests that social sector initiatives require endurance and extended periods of investments in capability and delivery to make a significant impact. The concept is still evolving and incorporating sustainability issues, despite specifications mentioned in the Schedule VII. The whole idea is not to departmentalize business ethics and social responsibility, rather focus on sustainable corporate practices which includes CSR. Fiinovation suggests the idea of amalgamation of social and environmental issues within the business processes, help the businesses achieve enduring socio-economic outcome.

sustainability-framework

The time has come for businesses to be linked with ecosystem and not empty effluents into rivers and then contribute funds towards Clean Ganga. If businesses are truly considering becoming responsible entities they have to reduce, re-use and re-cycle the waste at least by 50 per cent. Therefore, when corporate social responsibility emanate from the core competencies of the respective companies, there is a higher chance of creating systemic solutions for delivery of social benefits.

By Rahul Choudhury

Media & Communications, Fiinovation

International Day of Forests – Innovative Financial Advisors Pvt. Ltd.

International Day of Forests, observed for the first time on March 21, 2013. It was decided under a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly on November 28, 2012. To be held each year on the 21st day of March, the occasion is intended to be one of the world’s leading global platforms for people with an interest in forests and climate change to share their views and work together to ensure forests are suitably incorporated into any future climate change mitigation and adaption strategies.

Forests have been an integral part of human civilization since time eternal. They are a shroud of sustainability and protection for our planet. It is very deeply tumultuous to witness the apathy of the human kind towards such a vast resource which supports life on earth. It is strange since the Earth doesn’t need us to sustain, we need its resources to be alive. The thin blue line, called the atmosphere, a few meters thick, is what sets “The Earth” apart as a unique planet compared to rest of its family in the solar system.

Forests are the most biologically-diverse ecosystems on land, home to more than 80% of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects. Forests also provide shelter, jobs and security for forest-dependent communities(UN.org).They play a key role in our battle in adapting to and mitigating climate change. Forests contribute to the balance of oxygen, carbon dioxide and humidity in the air. They protect watersheds, which supply 75% of freshwater worldwide.

Yet despite all of these priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits, we are destroying the very forests we need to survive. Global deforestation continues at an alarming rate – 13 million hectares of forest are destroyed annually. Deforestation accounts for 12 to 20 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change(UN.org).

Each year more than 13 million hectares (32 million acres) of forests are lost. This is roughly the area covered by England. When forests vanish, so will go the plant and animal species that they embrace, which is 80% of all terrestrial biodiversity. They play a critical role in fighting climate change, global warming. Deforestation results in increase of 12-18 percent of the world’s carbon emissions, almost equal to all the CO2 from the global transport sector. Healthy forests are one of the world’s primary ‘carbon sinks’. Today, forests cover more than 30% of the world’s land and contain more than 60,000 tree species, many of them are yet to be unidentified. They provide food, fiber, water and medicines for approximately 1.6 billion of the world’s poorest people, including indigenous peoples with unique cultures

But its seems that man has lost connect with nature. For majority, livelihoods does not depend on forests and rivers anymore. But for those, it does, like the forest communities have been facing the challenges of displacement, man animal conflict and loss of livelihood in last few decades.

Experts are yet to reach consensus on the continued poverty of the natural resource users. However, it appears that the social systems from which they arise are quiet spontaneous, and justify the socialist view of environmental problems reflecting ‘unequal distribution of resources’ eluding a lasting solution. The Forest Rights Act, 2006 (commonly referred to as the FRA) is an important platform for improving the livelihoods of the Forest dependent people(FDPs), by decreasing their vulnerability through secure land rights(mainstreamweekly.net).

Innovative Financial Advisors Pvt. Ltd. understands that despite the FRA, livelihoods of the people living in the forests have not improved. Should we believe that the time has come for them to leave the forest environment altogether? Surmise and surrender to the whims of the states and population pressures to allow the never-ending displacements, loss of livelihoods, cultural extinction, disintegration of their society, and become victims of all kinds of atrocities, for the development of others (non-tribal’s) in the name of industrialization and development? The approach that Innovative Financial Advisors Pvt. Ltd. suggests to be adopted includes redefining the idea of development and have a sustainable course of action for future which is inclusive in nature rather than exclusive. All stakeholders including those who live thousand of kilometers away from forests should be a part of this.

Ultimately its the children on who hold the key to understand the preserve our Biodiversity because we don’t inherit this planet from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”.

By : Joyita Bhattacharya Pathak

Innovative Financial Advisors Pvt. Ltd

"The Earth"

“The Earth”

World Day of Social Justice – Fiinovation

The disparity between the rich and poor is growing day by day. A lot of work needs to be done to empower people, protect them and ensure their voices are heard. When we talk about social justice we actually mean promotion of gender equality and rights of people in distress. According to Fiinovation, social justice is when there is peaceful and prosperous co-existence within and among the  countries. Social justice can be achieved only when we overcome the bottlenecks related to gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability. 20th February is observed as the World Social Justice Day to promote social justice through employment and honourable livelihood, gender equity, fundamental rights and access to social well-being and justice for all.

It is important to recognize that inclusive development is a prerequisite while looking at maintaining international relations. As the world adopted the Millennium Development Goals there have been significant efforts in the areas of health and gender equality, including steady progress towards equal access of girls and boys to primary education. Fiinovation, have been working with various development agencies, donors & NGOs across India that have been implementing social development programmes of similar nature.

The team at Fiinovation understands the relevance of looking beyond 2015 and focusing on global sustainable development agenda. That would entail targeting poverty with the support of government and NGOs, private sector and other stakeholders like academicians and scientists through a systematic approach and in depth research. Together we have to set up new target indicators for social empowerment, which look at social determinants of health and  other sectors addressing the needs of the community. Our next development agenda should include empowerment and social justice as important factors that can be measured with set targets.

There is need to serve the vulnerable and harness their potential. We should work towards enhancing the capacities of women and children in the developing and underdeveloped countries. As we put our efforts together, we can hope that a sustainable and equal future lies ahead of us.

‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever does.’ -Margaret Mead

Fiinovation

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Fiinovation – Keeping Human Solidarity Intact – Fiinovation

Fiinovation – India has been seen so many lives lost due to communal violence, even after the government taking stringent action against violators of peace. India is a diverse country with so many religions, languages, cultures, faiths etc. Difference of ideology, thoughts and beliefs has led to riots more often than not. Sardar Patel the Iron man of India, united the country together and made this one nation. We Indians should value his contribution and live in peace and harmony. As the country continues to grow despite of these small hindrances that keep occurring from time to time reminding us that the path of violence will not leave a legacy of peace, prosperity and growth for the future generations.

Fiinovation is research based organization working for NGOs in developing projects that are being implemented across the country. The objective is to eradicate poverty and work for development of marginalized sections of the society. Fiinovation understands that development of a place cannot happen in isolation. It is important to target each and every community in a given area and involve all the communities in the development agenda to work together for the common goal. Solidarity is one of the human values that should be kept intact and should underlie relation between individuals.

All the development goals that are to be achieved couldn’t be done by a single person or nation’s contribution. All of them are shared responsibility and everyone should participate for the betterment of everyone. Solidarity is the key to bridge the gaps of the development goals and reduce the number of people affected by poverty, malnutrition, diseases etc. Every individual has a role to play in overcoming the economic, political and social challenges and work towards sustainable future of all. All the costs related to developmental issues and all the benefits should be shared among all. Government and other related to providing security to the people should make sure that there is social justice and peace is been maintained at all level. Unrest at any part of the world can affect harmony of another part of the world, we are connected in such way today.

Together we can maintain Peace and Solidarity in the world.

Together we can maintain Peace and Solidarity in the world.

Together we can maintain Peace and Solidarity in the world.

Innovative Financial Advisors Pvt.ltd

Fiinovation

www.fiinovation.co.in